Understanding California Workers' Compensation Insurance

With all the advancements California has made to workers' compensation insurance, there's no surprise it's the most expensive state workers' compensation plan in the country. Plus, employer coverage rates continue to increase year after year. The California workers' compensation program is the largest privatized social program in the world, next to Social Security insurance.

California was the first state to require companies to carry workers' compensation insurance in 1913. Being the first comes with a big responsibility to lead the charge. As in the Covid-19 crisis, California led the way in defining the public responsibility to essential workers who contracted Covid-19 at work.

California ordered employers to allow essential workers to file claims due to an increased risk of exposure to Covid-19. After the state made these changes to workers' compensation benefits, other states followed. Workers' compensation provides a safety net employees need to be able to do their jobs with confidence. This was especially true at the height of Covid-19 when essential workers were taking higher risks to work than other employees. Workers' compensation is essentially an insurance program that provides lost wages, reduced legal costs, and medical coverage at no cost to employees for covered incidents. In the event of death from a qualified and covered condition, the worker's family would qualify for death benefits.

Can I Be Laid Off While Out From a Covered Workers' Compensation Injury

Workers' compensation claims can be a source of confusion for employees. Being hurt on the job is already a stressful experience. The fear that your employer could retaliate because of your injury isn't something you should be worried about when filing a workers' compensation claim in California. With a workplace injury, the concern for your lost wages, the potential for long-term injury and disability can leave you wondering where to turn. While it's not as frequent in some industries, there are fields where employees are met with a frosty reception when alerting their employer to what should be a covered workplace injury. Some employees even find they've been fired while sitting home recovering on a worker's compensation claim. While this seems like it couldn't happen; It does. In a perfect world, it is because you're protected while recuperating on a covered injury. However, the law isn't straightforward when it comes to whether you can be terminated while collecting benefits. There are times when an employer can legally terminate your employment during your recovery.

According to California workers' compensation law, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employee because they suffered a workplace injury and subsequently filed an associated claim. An employee can still be terminated for any other unrelated reason that is not illegal. California, like many other states, is an "at-will" work state. Employees are free to leave the job "at-will," and employers are free to hire or fire "at-will" if the employer's reason isn't illegal. Workers could be legally terminated from their position while recuperating from a covered injury. Here are a few of the ways that an injured employee could be terminated:

  • Failure to Meet Obligations
  • Company Financing Issues
  • Layoffs and Restructuring

Workers' Compensation Free Consultation

If you feel like you've suffered an injury at work or you've contracted Covid-19 at work, contact our Elk Grove workers' compensation attorneys today. At Samra Dhillon & Associates, we are dedicated to helping workers and their families work through the details of their cases to gain the benefits they are owed. Contact us now at (916) 571-1550 to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.