As an employee in the San Fernando Valley, you should be aware of your employment-related legal rights. For example, if you were injured on the job or while performing work duties, workers' compensation may be an option for you to recover financially.
What is Workers' Compensation?
Workers' compensation benefits are designed to provide employees with the medical treatment required to recover from a work-related injury or illness, partially replace lost wages resulting from recovery, and help in returning to work. However, workers' compensation benefits do not include emotional damages or punitive damages.
Employees should receive prompt and effective medical treatment and compensation for on-the-job work-related injuries or illnesses without consideration of fault. In return, employees covered under the workers' compensation system are generally prohibited from suing employers over those injuries or illnesses. To discuss filing a claim against a third party, contact an attorney.
Workers' Compensation Coverage
Under California law, employers need only purchase workers' compensation insurance for employees. This means that independent contractors are often not covered. Perhaps you were incorrectly labeled as an independent contractor when you were really an employee. An employee is subject to the employer's control as to the means to achieve a result, whereas an independent contractor is subject to control as to results only. A judge or Worker's Compensation Board referee may consider the way the parties label their relationship, but that classification is not outcome determinative.
Workers' Compensation as Exclusive Remedy
If you are covered under workers' compensation and you suffered from a work-related injury or illness, you must file a workers' compensation claim through the state administrative agency. You cannot initiate a civil lawsuit against your employer as you have forfeited your right to sue your employer for such injuries or illnesses.
Workers' compensation does not consider who is at fault. Even if you were negligent, and such negligence was the cause of (or at least contributed to) your work-related injury or illness, your own negligence does not reduce or otherwise affect your workers' compensation benefits. However, there are exceptions to this rule where certain causes of injury may result in reduction or loss of benefits. For example, your claim may be denied if self-inflicted injury, violation of express company safety policy, or intoxication contributed to your injury.