If you suffer an injury or illness on the job, your employer is required by California law to pay for workers’ compensation benefits, without regard to negligence. That is, as long as you’re able to prove the injury or illness was work-related.
What qualifies as a work-related injury for workers' compensation?
Usually, workers’ compensation covers any physical injury, illness, or psychological or stress-related trauma that happens as a result of performing your job duties. The incident can happen anywhere at any time, so long as it’s work-related. This may seem straightforward, but some injuries and illnesses fall into a gray area that can make seeking workers’ compensation benefits pretty tricky.
At Gerald Brody & Associates, we fight for the rights of injured workers and professionals every single day. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have extensive experience helping employees collect the benefits they’re entitled to, including those with complicated cases.
What is and what isn’t covered by workers’ compensation?
Lunch break injuries may be covered by workers' compensation
If an injury occurs on your lunch break in the company’s cafeteria or on other company grounds, it may be considered work-related. Similarly, if you’ve taken a client out to lunch and become injured at the restaurant, the incident may be covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you twisted your ankle walking into the fast food joint down the street, chances are you won’t be eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
Injuries during a corporate event are covered by workers' compensation
Many times, employers will sponsor holiday parties, picnics and other outings to boost company morale. If you sustain an injury or illness at a company event, it’s likely covered by workers’ compensation. For example, let’s say you’re playing baseball on your company’s league, a fly ball hits you in the head, and you suffer a concussion. This unfortunate injury is probably covered by workers’ compensation.
Preexisting conditions made worse while working may be covered by workers' compensation
Under California law, a preexisting condition that is worsened during the course of employment may be covered by workers’ compensation, even if the original injury did not occur at work. For example, if an employee has arthritis in his or her knee, and then falls on that knee on the job and is unable to continue to work, the injury is covered by workers’ compensation.
Work travel may qualify for workers' compensation
There are several instances when travel-related injuries may qualify for workers’ compensation. If you’re on a business trip or you’re a traveling salesperson with no fixed worksite and you become hurt on the road, your injury will likely be covered by workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, if you are injured during your commute to or from work, your injury probably won’t be covered.
Stress and psychiatric trauma may be covered by workers' compensation
If you have a diagnosed mental illness that causes disability or the need for medical treatment, it may be covered by workers’ compensation. However, a psychiatric trauma is not compensable unless you have worked for your employer for at least six months. This requirement does not apply if the trauma was caused by a sudden and extraordinary incident, such as witnessing the death of another employee.
Gerald Brody & Associates in San Diego can review your workers' compensation case
If your injury or illness aligns with any of the situations above, call us at Gerald Brody & Associates. At your free, initial consultation, we’ll review your case and tell you whether or not you qualify for workers’ compensation. If you do, we’ll do everything we possibly can to get you the benefits you deserve.