All employers in the state of California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, even if they just have one employee. California employers must pay for workers’ compensation benefits if their employees become ill or are injured due to work.
The California workers’ compensation system provides workers with some basic benefits for job-related illnesses or injuries. These benefits include payment of medical care, temporary disability benefits (paid while an injured worker is unable to work), and permanent disability benefits. In some cases, workers’ compensation insurance may be required to pay job displacement benefits, a return-to-work supplement, or death benefits.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in California
If you are wondering whether you have a workers’ compensation claim or are interested in pursuing workers’ compensation benefits, a California workers’ compensation attorney can help. The lawyers at Kneisler and Schondel have many years of experience assisting clients in the state of California with their claims for workers’ compensation.
Our legal team can help you fight for the benefits you deserve for your work injury. Give our office a call today to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney and get started with filing your claim.
California Workers’ Compensation Exceptions
While all employers—in general—must carry workers’ compensation insurance, there are a few different types of exceptions. These exceptions typically depend on how the business is structured as a legal entity.
Sole Proprietorships and Workers’ Compensation
The first exception is for sole proprietorships. A sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business run by one person, the owner. If you are a sole proprietorship, you are generally exempt from carrying workers’ compensation insurance.
If you were required to carry workers’ compensation coverage—you would just be covering yourself. For this reason, California excludes sole proprietorships from the insurance coverage requirement.
However, there is one exception to this rule, and that is if you are the sole proprietor of a roofing business—you are still required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you are still unsure whether you need workers’ compensation coverage, a workers’ compensation attorney can help you.
Independent Contractors and Workers’ Compensation
A business that uses the services of independent contractors does not need to have these independent contractors covered under a workers’ compensation policy. Independent contractors are not considered employees under the California Workers’ Compensation Act.
Although businesses do not need coverage for independent contractors—there have been many instances where companies misclassify employees as independent contractors. If you were hired as an independent contractor and later suffered a work-related injury, talking to a workers’ compensation attorney might be worthwhile. An attorney can help determine if you qualify as an employee, entitling you to benefits under the Act.
Public and Quasi-Public Corporations
Generally, executive officers and directors of public and quasi-public corporations are automatically covered under the company’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. However, executive officers and directors can be excluded from the policy under certain circumstances. To be excluded from the policy, someone in one of these positions must fall into one of the two categories below:
- They are the owner of at least 10% of the company’s stock; or
- They are covered by a health insurance policy, own at least 1% of the company’s stock, and a close family member (such as a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, or sibling) also owns at least 10% of the company’s stock.
If an executive officer or director of the corporation meets one of these qualifications, then they must also complete and sign a written waiver, waiving their rights to be covered under the workers’ compensation policy.
Professional Corporations and Workers’ Compensation
A professional corporation is one organized by at least one individual with a professional license to provide professional services. Examples of professional corporations include those organized by lawyers and doctors to practice law or medicine.
When it comes to workers’ compensation coverage, the owner of a professional corporation can opt out and be excluded from the corporation’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage if a health insurance plan already covers them. In addition, the owner will also need to fill out and sign a waiver to opt out of the coverage.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage and Exceptions in California
In addition to the exceptions listed above, there may also be others that could apply under specific circumstances. If you are a California worker wondering if you are eligible for benefits under the Workers Compensation Act, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you move forward.