You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt while working, either in a single event or because of a series of events, and you may also be entitled to compensation for psychological harm you suffered because of your job, according to the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR).
Who Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
You may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you are a regular employee. If you are an independent contractor, a freelancer, or a volunteer, you will not be entitled to workers’ compensation.
How You Can File a Claim
All employers in California are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance from a licensed insurer or from the State Compensation Insurance Fund, no matter how many employees they have. If you got hurt on the job and discovered that your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can file a claim with California’s Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund.
Types of Injuries and Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation
You may file a workers’ compensation claim if you got hurt at work or while acting within the scope of employment. You may be entitled to compensation if an accident occurred while you were working, but not at the workplace. For instance, you may seek workers’ compensation benefits if you got hurt while making deliveries, picking something up at your manager’s request, or driving to a work-related meeting. You may not receive benefits if you were injured while commuting from your home to work or vice versa or while you were on your lunch break.
An insurance company may deny your claim if your injuries were self-inflicted or if they occurred because of fighting or horseplay or while you were committing a crime. You may also be ineligible for workers’ compensation if you got hurt while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The insurance company will have to evaluate the specific facts in those sorts of cases.
You may be compensated for losses related to a single event. For example, you may receive a settlement for a fall or a back injury that you suffered while moving a heavy box.
You may receive compensation if you developed an injury or illness over time. For instance, you may have developed a repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, after performing the same repetitive motion over and over, or you may have developed an occupational illness after being exposed to toxic fumes at work over a long period of time.
You may only receive workers’ compensation benefits if you needed treatment beyond simple first aid. If you were involved in an accident but you only suffered a minor injury, such as a cut or a scrape, you will not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
You may be eligible for compensation for a psychological injury if you experienced a traumatic event at work. You may also receive a settlement if your physical injuries caused psychological stress that led to a mental health condition.
Expenses Workers’ Compensation May Cover
Your employer’s insurance company should cover bills for medical treatment related to your injury. You may be entitled to a settlement that will cover estimated costs for care that you are likely to need in the future.
You may receive compensation for lost income while you are unable to work. You may collect benefits until you are able to go back to work, or you may continue to receive benefits after you return. Your injuries may prevent you from working full time and performing all of your former duties, or you may be unable to work in the same field at all and may have to look for a new form of employment. If you are permanently disabled, you may be entitled to a lump sum or a structured settlement.
Seek Help from a Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
An attorney with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can discuss what happened and whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The lawyer can consider the circumstances surrounding the accident or the series of events that led to your injury or illness. You can discuss when and where you were injured and whether you were acting in the scope of employment. If your employer considers you an independent contractor, but you believe you are an employee, a lawyer can sort that out.
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation, an attorney can work to help you get the benefits you deserve, including coverage for medical bills and temporary disability payments. If you are permanently disabled, you may be entitled to a settlement to cover future medical expenses, as well as lost income, even if you are able to work.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 529-9122 to discuss your case and learn more about how we may be able to help you.