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Smith & Baltaxe, LLP

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

injured person with crutches
If you were injured while performing duties for your employer, you may be eligible for workers' comp.

Attorneys Byron Smith and Bernhard Baltaxe in San Francisco, CA, can help you determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation. In short, you may be eligible for benefits if you have been injured while performing work-related duties for your employer, but there are some exceptions. If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, call us at (415) 292-7800 or send us a message online to schedule a free case review.

Your Employer is Required to Have Workers’ Comp Insurance 

Every employer in the state of California is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance. In most cases, this coverage is purchased from the private market or a state fund. However, the majority of large employers, such as local or state governments, assume financial risk for their employees’ benefits. This is referred to as self-insurance. It is also important to note that federal employees' cases will be governed by the federal workers’ compensation system rather than that of the state.

Every employer in the state of California is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance.

You Must Be an Employee

This may seem obvious. However, the state of California has varying definitions of "employee." For example, independent contractors – such as consultants or freelancers – are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. In most cases, those who volunteer their services are not covered by workers’ compensation, although there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, in some states, volunteer firefighters are eligible for coverage. 

Your Illness or Injury Must be Work-Related

In most cases, it is fairly easy to determine if an injury was work-related. For example, if you were performing a task on behalf of and for the benefit of your employer and became injured as a result, then the incident is work-related. Examples of this include:

  • Chemical exposure at the jobsite
  • Back injuries related to unloading product shipments
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome caused by typing on the job

Not all incidents are black and white, however. For example, cases can be challenging when they involve an injury that occurred during a lunch break or at a company-sponsored social event. 

Rules for Certain Workers

Unfortunately, some who meet these requirements may still not be eligible for workers’ compensation. For example, if you are classified as a worker who is exempt under state law, you may not have access the benefits of this coverage. This can include:

  • Domestic workers, such as caregivers or housekeepers
  • Farm or agricultural workers, typically on small farms
  • Loaned or leased employees through a temp agency
  • Seasonal or casual workers
  • Undocumented workers

If you have been denied workers’ compensation but you believe you are eligible for coverage, speaking with a lawyer can help clarify the situation and alleviate your anxiety. Our attorneys are happy to consult with you.

Contact Us to Learn More

If you have been injured on the job, you need to take measures to protect your rights. There are time limits regarding workers' comp, so take action today. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, give us a call at (415) 292-7800 or contact us online anytime.

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