Workers’ compensation is a vital means of protection and support for employees who have been injured at work. Recovering from an injury is not always an easy process, but it can be made much more daunting if you are also concerned about how you will support yourself and your family while you are unable to work.
Similarly, workers’ compensation insurance is essential for employers. All employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, regardless of the size of their organization, as a way to protect themselves and their employees. When you have solid workers’ compensation insurance in place, you can trust that your employees will receive the care and support they need to return to work.
Despite its importance, however, the regulations and processes surrounding workers’ compensation can be difficult to navigate for employees and employers alike. One question that many people find themselves facing related to workers’ compensation is which of their employees are covered by their worker’s compensation insurance policy. Having the assistance of knowledgeable and experienced workers’ compensation attorneys like English Lloyd & Armenta can make the process much easier.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a social insurance program that was first adopted by most U.S. states in the early 20th century. The program requires employers to have workers’ compensation insurance either through the state, a private insurer, or self-insurance. This insurance policy is in place to cover any expenses that are accrued when an employee is injured while performing the duties of their job.
What Are the Benefits That Workers’ Compensation Offers?
If an employee is injured while at work, there are several key benefits that they can receive if they are entitled to workers’ compensation:
- Disability benefits are available to help ease any financial strain the injured party might experience as a result of not working. These benefits are either temporary or permanent, depending on the severity of the injury and the time needed to recover. The payout for these benefits is based on average income across the state and is adjusted each year to match any changes.
- SJDB, or Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits, are offered in addition to disability benefits. This program is primarily for individuals who are, for any reason, unable to return to their previous job following their recovery time. The program offers financial assistance to retrain them or further develop their professional skills as a way to get them more work.
- Medical care is an essential part of workers’ compensation because the injured employee needs to be able to heal and recover properly. Workers’ compensation will cover most, if not all, medical expenses. Depending on the circumstances, medical care could be classified as visits to medical providers, purchase of prescription medications, travel needed for medical care, and other things.
- Death benefits are available in the tragic circumstance when an employee dies as a result of their work injury. These benefits are paid to the family of the deceased employee to help with any costs they may have.
The benefits from a workers’ compensation claim are a fantastic asset for employees who have been injured at work. To receive the appropriate benefits, however, there is a process that must be completed.
How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim and receiving the correct benefits can be confusing. If you have been injured at work and need to file a claim, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Timing is a key factor in workers’ compensation claims. The best practice is to inform your employer immediately if you have been injured, but you have at least 30 days to inform them. When you have reported your injury to your employer, they should provide you with the necessary forms to file your claim within a single business day.
Some parts of the process will move quickly, while others may take some time. Medical treatment, if necessary, is likely to be approved within one business day and disability payments begin within two weeks. The investigation, however, may take several months, and you have the opportunity to collect benefits for a limited number of weeks throughout the next five years.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
California has some of the strictest and farthest-reaching laws regarding workers’ compensation. For the most part, anyone who is considered an employee of a specific company or organization is eligible to receive workers’ compensation in the event of a work injury.
There are no distinctions regarding part-time versus full-time work, minors are often covered, and workers’ compensation benefits are often not impacted by immigration status. Knowing this background, it can be difficult to imagine that there are any exceptions to California’s workers’ compensation laws, but there are a small number of employees who would be exempt.
What Workers Are Exempt From Workers’ Compensation?
Some of the workers who would not be covered by workers’ compensation are:
- The owner or sole proprietor of a business that has no other employees
- Employees who are compensated with something other than money, such as food or housing
- Certain volunteers, like those working with nonprofit organizations
- Independent contractors
- Some instances where an individual is employed by a family member
In many cases, an employee who is not covered by workers’ compensation falls into a very specific category. While there are other examples, these are some of the more common workers who would not be eligible for workers’ compensation in the event of a work-related injury. Despite some rare exclusions, employers must have workers’ compensation insurance to guarantee the protection of their employees.
Navigating the legal process required to file a workers’ compensation claim can be overwhelming and confusing. Having the guidance and support of an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney can provide you peace of mind and ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. Get in touch with us at English Lloyd & Armenta today if you need help with this challenging process.