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I was hurt at work, am I eligible for worker's compensation?

As an employee you have certain rights and benefits that you may not be fully aware of. In the State of California one of these employee rights includes access to workers compensation. California requires every employer using employees for labor to carry a workers compensation insurance policy. So, if you're injured at work, are you eligible to receive benefits through workers compensation? And if so, what is it that you will receive?

Anyone classified as an employee is covered under the employers workers compensation policy. California generally defines an employee as anyone who is engaged or permitted to work. However, there are certain categories of workers who may be excluded from coverage. Some of these workers include independent contractors, business owners, volunteers, farm workers, maritime employees and railroad employees. This is why it is particularly important to understand the nature of your employment and whether you qualify as an employee for purposes of obtaining workers compensation benefits.

If you are an employee injured at work, under most circumstances, you will be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits no matter who was at fault for the injury. Even if the injury was caused by an employee's own negligence, the employee may still receive benefits. There are, however, certain circumstances under which an injured employee may be denied workers compensation, particularly if the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury, if the injuries were purposefully self-inflicted or if the employee was acting in violation of the law or company policy.

Workers compensation will cover a variety of expenses, including medical bills, wage replacement, compensation for permanent injuries and survivor benefits. Workers compensation does not provide benefits for pain and suffering, and it is important to note that where an employee collects workers compensation, the employee may not also sue the employer for those injuries.

Being injured on the job is difficult enough, and filing a claim for workers compensation can be a complicated process. Thus, it can be helpful to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to assist with a claim.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Workers' Comp Benefits Explained," accessed Dec. 27, 2017