Who isn’t Covered by Workers’ Comp?

People who suffer an injury while they are working at their jobs are sometimes eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, not all workers are eligible. Independent contractors, for example, are ineligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, while employees may be eligible to recover these benefits.

If you have suffered an injury while you were working at your job, a knowledgeable California workers’ compensation lawyer can determine your eligibility for benefits. If you are eligible for comp benefits, your attorney can file a claim on your behalf and work to maximize your compensation. Your lawyer can also represent you at any scheduled hearings and advocate for all of your legal interests there. In the event your claim is denied, your attorney might also be able to file an appeal in your case.

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California

Injured workers are typically eligible to pursue benefits through the California workers’ compensation system when they are injured while they are on the job and when they are working within the scope of their employment. This typically means that the worker is performing a job duty or function when he or she is involved in an accident and suffers an injury or illness.

Moreover, California workers’ compensation benefits are no-fault benefits. This means that a worker could be eligible to pursue and recover these benefits regardless of how the accident occurred and who was at fault for it.

Employees versus Independent Contractors

Not all workers who are injured at their jobs may be eligible to make a claim for workers’ comp benefits. These benefits are available to employees, but they are not available to independent contractors. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between these two classifications of workers.  

Generally speaking, an employee is someone who receives a W-2 form at the end of a tax year. Employees are also usually subject to tighter controls by their employers than independent contractors – especially in terms of their hours and wages. On the other hand, independent contractors receive a Form-1099 at the end of a tax year and typically have far more discretion when it comes to setting hours and getting paid.

If you are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, a California attorney can help you file your claim and determine which benefits you might be eligible to recover. Many workers can recover benefits not only for their related medical expenses, but also for a portion of their lost wages and sometimes long-term disability benefits if they suffered a permanent impairment while they were on the job. Likewise, workers who are seriously injured and cannot go back to the same employment after their accident might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits.

A workers’ compensation lawyer in California can advocate for your legal interests, pursue benefits on your behalf, and represent you at hearings. Similarly, if the insurance company makes an offer to resolve your claim by way of a full and final settlement, your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf and work to get you the compensation that you need for your work-related illness or injury.