How Long Do I Have to Be Employed to Get Workers' Comp?

Eligibility for workers' compensation claims.

The first few hours, days, and weeks at a new job come with a learning curve. You’re still being trained on how to safely operate machinery, use special tools, and navigate your environment. The new-job jitters can shake the confidence of even the most skilled employee, sometimes leading to a workplace accident. Concerns about making a good first impression aside, how long do you have to work for a company to be eligible for workers’ comp?  

Workers’ compensation eligibility for new employees

When you received your benefits packet on your first day of work, you probably noticed that certain perks – like health insurance and vacation days – don’t begin until you’ve been employed for a certain length of time. Fortunately, because workers’ compensation is regulated by the state, this grace period doesn’t apply.

Your workers’ compensation eligibility kicks in the moment you clock in on your first day. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been at your new job for three hours or three weeks when you get hurt. Your injuries will be covered by workers’ compensation and you’ll receive medical and wage loss benefits immediately. This being said, not everyone qualifies for workers’ compensation. Keep reading to find out if you’re covered.

Who qualifies for workers’ compensation?

To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must be classified as an employee. An employee is someone who works for another person or company – which is different than being an independent contractor. In general, an employee is a worker who:

  • Usually only works for one employer
  • Typically works at the employer’s place of business
  • Works under the direction of the employer
  • Performs tasks in a manner the employer has requested
  • Receives special training from the employer to enhance job performance
  • Is covered by federal and state minimum wage and overtime rules

Independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation. These are workers who:

  • Provide their services to more than one company
  • Set their own hours
  • Work from their own homes or offices
  • Typically work independently
  • Accomplish tasks without input from an employer
  • Take on any expenses related to the job

In addition to employment status, your injury must be related to your job to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. A dislocated shoulder from playing softball with your kids won’t qualify, but a broken bone due to a slip and fall accident on your construction site will.

I’ve verified my workers’ compensation eligibility. How long do I have to file a claim?

You don’t have to work for your company for a specific amount of time to collect workers’ compensation benefits, but you do need to act quickly. In California, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim is 30 days from the date you were injured or became aware of your injury. With such a small window of time to notify your employer and begin the claims process, you can’t afford to hesitate. Plus, the sooner you file your workers’ comp claim, the faster you can begin receiving benefits and start the recovery process.

Did you suffer an injury at your new job? We can help

Whether it’s your first week of work or you’ve been at your new job for months, suffering a workplace injury is a disappointing way to begin the next phase of your career. However, accidents happen no matter how long you’ve been in your field. The good news is that eligible employees are covered by workers’ compensation starting their first day on the job. At the Law Office of Gerald Brody & Associates, we’ve been helping injured employees collect the benefits they deserve for decades. Give us a call at (619) 528-9800 to see how we can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries.