Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim if I’m Employed by a Small Business?

California’s workers’ compensation laws operate as a compromise between workers and their employers. Regardless of fault, employees are given access to medical care and treatment for injuries that they suffer at work at the employer’s expense. Benefits are also available for temporary total disability and permanent partial disability. In return for those benefits, legislation was enacted that generally prohibits employees from filing lawsuits directly against employers for on-the-job injuries.

The Workers’ Insurance Coverage Obligation
Pursuant to the California Labor Code section 3700, the owner of a sole proprietorship isn’t required to carry workers’ compensation coverage for himself or herself. If that proprietor hires one or more employees, even on a part-time or temporary basis, the legal obligation to purchase workers’ compensation insurance is triggered, and it comes at the expense of the employer. It’s considered to be a cost of doing business. Even family members who are employees are required to be covered. Assuming that proper insurance coverage exists when an employee is injured, workers’ compensation benefits are almost always the employee’s sole and exclusive remedy.

Penalties for No Insurance are Harsh
No employer in California wants to be caught in an employee injury situation without workers’ compensation insurance. First of all, the employer can face a personal injury lawsuit for damages. Being without workers’ compensation insurance is also a crime in California that’s punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Other administrative penalties can be as high as $100,000 along with an additional $1,500 per uninsured employee.

Indeed a small business entity with only one or two part-time or temporary employees can have a workers’ compensation claim brought against it, so it’s best for it to comply with California law and purchase appropriate insurance coverage. This is especially true if the business is tied into construction work or physical labor where accidental injuries are at a much higher rate than typical office work.

Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney

In almost all cases when someone is injured on the job, the worker will get the best possible outcome by hiring an experienced Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer.

Attorney Alice A. Strömbom focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.

Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.