Workers’ compensation insurance is required in California. This helps cover medical expenses, lost wages and so on after an employee has suffered a work-related injury or developed a work-related illness. Of course, determining whether something is work-related can be difficult in some cases.
Injuries that occur at the workplace count in addition to injuries incurred in other locations if employees were still engaged in some job-related activity, such as driving a company-owned vehicle and running a job-related errand. Even attending a company party or social event hosted by the employer counts as relating to one’s employment.
Injuries suffered during a lunch break can count if the setting was on employer-owned grounds or connected in some other way to employment. For example, the employee may have been lunching off company grounds with a client. If alcohol served at a company event contributes to an injury, victims may have a case. Mental injuries and preexisting conditions that worsened over the course of employment may also form the basis for a claim.
In California, employers may deny workers’ compensation benefits to employees who were injured while “skylarking,” or indulging in horseplay, since this constitutes a willful disregard for job safety rules. Independent contractors do not qualify for benefits. However, undocumented immigrant workers are included under an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Workplace injuries can come in different shapes and different levels of severity. Victims may want a lawyer to assist them with the filing process while they focus on recovering. If they have incurred a permanent disability, they may need to wait until they have reached maximum medical improvement before filing for benefits. The lawyer may be able to explain all the relevant details to victims during a case evaluation. He or she may also handle any appeals.