The workplace can be dangerous, particularly for employees in outdoor occupations such as logging and mining. In 2015 alone, there were about 2.9 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in private industries. If you were recently hurt on the job, or because of your work, you should know what your rights are when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
You Have 30 Days to Report Your Injury
The first thing you need to do is tell your supervisor or employer about the injury or illness as soon as you learn about it. Not only does this prevent your request from being denied due to a delayed response, but it also allows you to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. If your injury prevents you from working at all, letting your supervisor know will allow you to take off the time you need to recover without losing your wages.
If you’re unsure whether or not workers’ compensation will cover your issue, consider that the following conditions are covered by workers’ comp benefits:
- Preexisting conditions worsened by the workplace
- Injuries sustained while on break, lunch, or at work-sponsored events
- Injuries caused by company facilities
- Diseases developed by exposure to toxins at work
- Injuries from mental and physical strain brought on by increased duties or work-related stress
Who Is Covered?
Particular employees won’t be covered by workers’ comp insurance. Independent contractors, for example, technically work for themselves and must provide their own health insurance. Workers such as computer consultants or freelance writers will need to pay for their own disability insurance. In California, however, household or domestic employees are covered by workers’ compensation if they work at least 52 hours or earn at least $100 at least 90 days or more before the date of the injury.
Agricultural workers are also eligible for workers’ compensation in California but may not have the same rights in other states. Check your state’s specific labor laws for more information. California, Arizona, Florida, Montana, Nevada, New York, Texas, and Utah also cover undocumented workers in their compensation statutes. Therefore, if you are an undocumented worker in these states, you are likely eligible for benefits if your injuries fall in the above parameters.
Can My Employer Retaliate?
Many employees are hesitant to file for workers’ comp out of fear they will be fired. While California employees are mostly hired at-will (meaning their employers can fire them for any reason), there are exceptions, including whistleblowing and filing for workers’ compensation. Under California law, you are protected from losing your job in retaliation of a filed claim. If your employer attempts to circumvent this law, contact a good workers’ compensation attorney to fight for your rights.
If you need legal representation in filing a claim, or you need to contest a denied claim, contact one of our experienced Orange County workers’ compensation lawyers. Tell us about your case today!