Most workers in California have protection if they develop job-related medical conditions. Workers’ compensation benefits pay for medical care and can replace workers’ wages when they require an extended leave of absence. There are many scenarios in which employees generally know that they qualify for benefits. For example, if there is a machinery malfunction or a fire at work, injured workers would be able to apply for benefits that will help them until they can safely resume working.
However, there are many scenarios in which employees may not feel certain about their right to file a workers’ compensation claim. Oftentimes, workers are uncertain of their rights when they somehow contribute to an incident that leaves them unable to work.
The program offers no-fault benefits
The good news for employees injured on the job is that workers’ compensation benefits in California are a form of no-fault protection. An employee does not need to establish that the business or one of their co-workers was to blame for the injury. They can still qualify for benefits even if an employer has witnesses or security camera footage showing that they made a mistake that led to their injury.
The primary requirement for workers’ compensation eligibility in California is that someone’s health condition directly relates to their employment. Fault very rarely plays a role in a worker’s claim. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.
Most employers will require a drug or alcohol test after an incident that leaves a worker injured on the job. If a worker fails that test and the company can show that their impairment was responsible for their injury, the worker may lose their eligibility. Additionally, in the rare situation in which there is evidence that someone hurt themselves intentionally, they may not be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
The average worker who gets hurt due to a momentary distraction or a simple mistake on the job will still be eligible for benefits even though they might be to blame for the situation. Those who are familiar with the rules for workers’ compensation benefits in California may have an easier time navigating the red tape involved in the benefits application process.
Realizing that personal fault doesn’t automatically make someone ineligible for benefits could make a major difference for someone who has been hurt on the job and is worried about paying their bills. Seeking legal guidance can provide additional clarity and support.