The purpose of worker’s compensation is to compensate someone who gets injured at work so that they won’t suffer significant financial loss because of a workplace injury. Both medical treatment and loss of wages are covered along with other benefits related to the injury.
For California’s workers, the payments for WC come from a private insurance company that covers work-related injuries. The premium is paid for by the company, and the benefits are paid out according to California WC law.
The system represents a trade-off between the rights of the injured worker and the needs of the company to survive. If one is injured at a workplace as a member of the public, then the injured can sue for all damages and usually get a substantial award or settlement so long as they prove that the company was negligent.
However, if a worker is injured, then the law will require the WC insurance to pay medical bills and a limited amount of lost wages and for some disability. The amounts paid are usually is much lower than they would get if they could sue in civil court, however, the worker doesn’t have to prove negligent.
So What Conduct is Covered by WC?
Generally speaking, WC is a no-fault system which means that it doesn’t matter if the employer did something wrong or not, just whether the person was injured while at work. Also, the injury must “arise out of an in the normal course of business.” This means that the person must be on the work site doing work in the normal course of business.”
This means that while you are at work and if you are inured doing things in the normal course of work-related conduct, then your injury will be covered. This doesn’t mean that if you are on a break or even goofing around with a co-worker, that your injury won’t be covered. As long at is wasn’t something completely unrelated to work like taking a controlled substance or the worker went to the hospital for a a drug overdose.
What Types if Injuries are Covered?
Just about any types of injuries are covered, some of the common injuries are:
- Broken bones,
- Torn ligaments,
- Head injuries,
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Deep cuts,
- Severe sprains
Other injuries aren’t as obvious. The typical injury comes about by an accident, however, some happen over time, such as:
- Lung disease,
- Asbestos (mesothelioma),
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD),
- Repetitive Injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff injuries
- Stress-related injuries
- Basically, any injury or disease that is cause primarily or made worse by work conditions can be claimed as injuries under WC.
What if the Injury Was my Fault?
Remember, all injuries are covered if they occurred while working. But many workers are reluctant to claim an injury if they think is was their fault. A typical scenario is that the worker wasn’t following proper trained safety protocols such as welding without proper eye protection or removing the safety mechanisms on a machine. While these can be seen as a workplace violation and even foolish, it does not allow WC to deny the claim.
What if I was injured on the way to work?
In California, travel to and from work is not considered work-related as you are not “at work” until you arrive at the designated worksite. Likewise, once you leave the worksite, you are no longer at work for the purposes of a work-related injury.
However, if you are running an errand for the boss, or you are driving to work at another location while on work duty, then even though you are out in the public, you will be considered “at work” for WC purposes.
What About Intentional Injuries?
If you are injured by another worker intentionally, then this will be covered under WC. However, it gets tricky if you were the cause of an altercation that caused your injury. For example, if you got into a fight at work and were injured, then it would be covered by WC unless the fight had nothing to do with work, or you were the initial aggressor.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
In almost all cases when someone is injured on the job, the worker will get the best possible outcome by hiring an experienced 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.