employer workers compensation costIf you are currently pursuing a claim for workers compensation benefits due to a work-related injury, then you may be wondering how much your case will cost your employer.  Of course, every case is different and thus will impact your employer financially in different ways.  The workers’ compensation system in California is a “no-fault system,” which means that all work-related injuries can be pursued under the California Workers Compensation Act regardless of who was directly at fault for the injury.  In exchange for this benefit for the injured worker, the employer does not have to face a civil lawsuit regarding the injury, as the exclusive remedy for the injured worker lies within the Workers Compensation Act alone.

It is always a good idea to speak with a workers compensation attorney if you have questions about your workers compensation claim.  The attorneys at Kneisler & Schondel have years of experience successfully handling workers’ compensation cases.  Contact the law office of Kneisler & Schondel today for a free consultation regarding your potential workers’ compensation case.

California Workers Compensation Insurance Requirements

Under California Labor Code Section 3700, every employer in the State of California must provide workers compensation benefits to their employees.  This requirement is in effect even for companies with a small number of employees—if a company has even just one employee (or more), it must provide these benefits.  California Labor Code Section 3351 provides specific information as to what qualifies someone as an employee and therefore entitles them to workers’ compensation benefits.

Every employer in California is required to purchase workers compensation insurance either through the State Compensation Insurance Fund or through a licensed insurance company.  An employer may also choose to become self-insured for workers’ compensation.

Self-insuring for Workers Compensation

In order for an employer to become self-insured for purposes of workers compensation insurance, the employer must obtain state approval.  In addition to state approval, the employer must have a net worth of at least five million dollars, a net income of $500,000 per year, and must also meet the requirement of posting a security deposit.  Generally, only large companies are able to qualify to become self-insured, but in more recent years, small companies have worked together and pooled resources to become self-insured under “group” self-insurance.  When a company is self-insured, the employer may choose to administer its own workers’ compensation claims, or it may choose to create a contract with a third-party administrator to handle the workers compensation claims.

How Much Does Workers Compensation Cost My Employer?

There is no fixed workers compensation premium rate in California.  Like other forms of insurance, the cost of workers’ compensation insurance premiums varies for many different reasons.  While the Workers Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau provides recommended premium rates and insurance carriers are required to file their rates with the California Department of Insurance, rates often vary between carriers.  Employers are able to shop around and choose an insurance company that best meets their needs.  Some of the factors that go into determining the cost of premiums include the company’s history of work accidents, type of industry, amount of payroll, and other underwriting adjustments, such as healthcare organizations or special groups or dividend programs.

Does My Employer Pay for My Medical Care for My Workers Compensation Case?

If you have an accepted workers compensation claim, your employer will be responsible for your medical care (as long as it is reasonable and related to your work injury).  However, your employer will not be paying these bills directly, the bills will be paid through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.

Therefore, while they are liable for your medical bills (though there are certain exceptions and caps that may apply), your employer is not required to pay these bills directly, rather they will be processed through their insurance company if they hold workers’ compensation insurance, or they will be paid directly if the company is self-insured.  In addition, employers cannot require their employees to help pay for workers’ compensation insurance premiums in any way.  It is considered a necessary cost of doing business.

What If My Employer Does Not Have Workers Compensation Insurance?

If your employer does not have workers compensation insurance, they are subject to criminal penalties and civil fines.  You may be able to pursue your claim through the Uninsured Employer’s Benefit Trust Fund (UEBTF) in order to obtain compensation for your injuries.  The Fund will aggressively pursue reimbursement of expenses from the employer lacking the required workers’ compensation insurance. Contact your local workers compensation lawyer today at (707) 542-5132 or fill out our online contact form to see how we can help you.