Pratt & Williams, Professional Law Corporation
Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Claims in California
In a previous blog post, you learned the difference and similarities between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims, but you still may have some unanswered questions about which claim you should file. Though they both vary in their processes and the damages available, it can be difficult to determine which claim would be more beneficial to you based on your unique situation.
Below is more information about how to determine whether or not you qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim. As experienced workers’ compensation attorneys in Long Beach, California, we can guide you to get a jump-start on your road to compensation.
Requirements for Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits
1. Your Employer Must Have Insurance
In the state of California, it is required for all companies to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If you are told by your employer that they do not carry insurance, they can be charged with a criminal offense and may suffer certain consequences:
2. You Must Be an Employee
There are a few exceptions to employees that do not legally have to be covered by insurance, including freelancers, consultants, independent contractors, and “gig workers,” who get paid by the project as opposed to a salary or hourly wage. However, some companies illegally misclassify their employees to avoid paying taxes or insurance.
3. Your Injury or Illness Must Be Work-Related
If you were injured off-site, you still may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Common causes of work-related injuries in California include an injured back from a job that requires heavy lifting and carpal tunnel from a desk job. On the other hand, some circumstances may be a little less clear about whether your injury was directly related to your profession.
What if you were on your lunch break and got into a car wreck? What if you were running to the post office for your manager and slipped on an icy sidewalk? For more insight, read our blog about on-the-job injuries here or reach out to our Long Beach law office to schedule a free consultation.
4. You Must Report & File Before the Deadline
Your first responsibility after your injury is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Once you are on a safe road to recovery, you must file a claim within the allotted time frame. If you fail to meet this deadline, your benefits could reduce greatly or may be denied completely.
In California, you have one year to file your workers’ compensation claim. This one-year period begins when you are aware of your injury, so an illness that you developed over time (but were only diagnosed recently) could still qualify for benefits. If you’re unsure about when you became aware of your injury, contact a Long Beach attorney immediately before it’s too late.
Why An Attorney Can Help
Filing a workers’ compensation claim, and fighting it if your employer refuses to pay benefits, is a difficult and complex process. To make sure you are given a fair chance at receiving the largest compensation amount possible, contact a workers’ compensation attorney today.
If you’re still unsure about whether or not you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim, we are here for you. Pratt & Williams, Professional Law Corporation offer free consultations in our Long Beach, California office and serve the surrounding areas, including Los Angeles, Ventura, and Riverside Counties.