Workers’ Compensation in California

Hoffman Hanono
November 15, 2021

Each profession comes with its own unique risks — some more dangerous and injury-prone than others. Workers’ compensation insurance protects workers of all stripes in case of occupational injury or illness.

How Workers’ Compensation Started

In the early 1900s, several states started adopting programs to pay workers who have lost wages or require medical treatment after suffering a work-related injury or illness. This protection stands no matter who is at fault. Prior to states adopting workers’ compensation insurance, workers faced an arduous process to prove their employers’ negligence. In turn, employers could take legal action and turn it on the employee, preventing them from collecting damages. At the time the program was adopted, social welfare was the states’ scope of responsibilities and workers’ compensation also fell into their purview.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?

Workers compensation—also known as workers’ comp—is a benefit that California employees are entitled to by law (California Labor Code Section 3700). While employers take measures to ensure safe working conditions, illness and injuries can still happen. This is where workers’ comp can cover employees with the following benefits:

  • Medical Care
  • Temporary or Permanent Disability Benefits.
  • Supplemental Job Displacement (for injuries that happened on 01/01/13 and beyond)
  • Return-to-Work Supplement Program (for injuries that happened on 01/01/13 and beyond)
  • Death benefits

Each benefit comes with its own stipulations. For example, an employee may seek treatment from their own physician unless they didn’t predestinate one prior to the injury or illness. In the case of temporary disability benefits, an employee must provide verification from a doctor that establishes the injury or illness as work-related. In the event of a fatal work injury, benefits have to account for the number of the deceased employee’s dependents (if any). These are just a few specific requirements for the different benefits included in workers’ comp.

How is a Workers’ Comp Policy Structured?

California’s Department of Insurance is especially helpful in this regard. In Part One of a workers’ comp policy, insurance providers compensate the injured or ill employee in a timely manner. By law:

“[A]n employer assumes absolute liability for all work-related injuries, and workers’ compensation benefits are the sole remedy for injured workers against their employers.  Generally, an injured employee covered under workers’ compensation laws cannot sue his/her employer for damages in civil court.”1

It is important to note that if an employee’s injury or illness isn’t within the scope of the workers’ comp policy, employers’ liability insurance provides essential coverage.

Keeping Your Workplace Safe

Workplace safety initiatives go a long way in preventing injuries. Employers are encouraged to hold regular safety meetings and listen to employees’ feedback when it comes to their working conditions. But while prevention and a culture of safety is important, there are things we can’t control. Make sure you have the essential coverage that workers’ comp provides.

With our decades of experience working with businesses like yours, Hoffman Hanono Insurance can help you find the right workers’ comp policy that fits your needs and budget. Don’t take any chances—lean on our expertise & trusted partnerships. Contact us for a quote today!