When it comes to workers’ compensation in California, there are many misunderstandings that can cloud the process. Workers’ compensation serves as a lifeline for employees who suffer injuries while on the job. It helps to cover medical costs and lost wages during recovery, providing financial security during a challenging time.
However, misunderstandings about the process can make it harder for injured workers to receive the benefits they deserve. Here is clarification on some common misconceptions about the workers’ compensation process in California and how the system truly operates.
Misconception: Workers’ compensation only covers major accidents
A common misunderstanding is that workers’ compensation only covers severe injuries or accidents. But in reality, workers’ compensation covers any work-related injury or illness, no matter how minor. Even repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome or health conditions developed over time due to job-related exposures can qualify for compensation.
Misconception: You must prove your employer was at fault
Another misconception is that you need to prove that your employer was negligent or at fault for your injury to receive benefits. However, workers’ compensation in California is a no-fault system. It does not matter who was at fault for the accident. As long as the injury occurred while you were doing your job or happened at the workplace, you qualify for benefits.
Misconception: Independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ compensation
Many people believe that independent contractors do not qualify for workers’ compensation. While this is true in many situations, the definition of an “employee” can vary. In some cases, an independent contractor could be an employee under California law, especially if the employer controls the manner and means of work.
Misconception: If you can work, you do not deserve benefits
Some think that if injured workers can still perform any work, even light-duty work, they do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This is untrue. If an injury prevents you from doing your usual job or limits your ability to work, you can still receive benefits.
Misconception: You will lose your job if you file a workers’ compensation claim
There is a fear that filing a workers’ compensation claim will result in job loss. However, California law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Understanding the facts about workers’ compensation in California can help ensure that injured workers receive the benefits and support they rightfully deserve.