6518 Greenleaf Avenue Suite 28
Whittier, CA 90601


Worker’s Compensation

Although it is possible for the knowledgeable employee to attain fair worker’s compensation, the current laws are in place to protect the employer’s insurance company, not to benefit the worker. As a result, many injured workers feel they do not receive fair or adequate recompense for the damages they received while on the job. It is vital that anyone seeking worker’s compensation take the time to educate themselves about their compensation rights.

What is Worker’s Compensation?

Worker’s compensation is when the employer’s insurance company pays an employee that was injured on the job any missed wages and covers any incurred medical expenses. In return, the employee agrees not to sue his place of work for pain and suffering or for negligence leading to his injury.
Worker’s compensation can also take the form of life insurance that is paid to dependents of a worker killed on the job. On-the-job injuries are legally referred to as “industrial injuries” or “compensable injury”. “Industrial” simply means place of work in this sense, and is not restricted to injuries received in a industrial or factory setting.

Do You Qualify for Worker’s Compensation?

Is Your Employer Covered by Worker’s Compensation?

Laws vary by state, but most employers are required to purchase worker’s compensation. Usually, worker’s compensation requirements depend on the type of business, how many employees it has, and what type of work they are doing.

Are You an Employee?

Independent contractors are not considered employees and are not eligible for worker’s compensation benefits. Usually volunteers are not eligible, either, although this varies by state.

Is Your Injury or Illness Work-Related?

The injury or illness must have happened while on the clock or performing duties associated with your job. Complications can arise in certain situations where the injury didn’t happen at work but is somehow connected to the job: for example, an accident while commuting in the company car.

What Benefits are Covered?

Medical Care

A worker’s compensation claimant is entitled to coverage for all medical expenses related to his injury, including mileage to and from any medical appointments. Also included in medical expenses are hospital fees, surgery fees, and medication. In some cases, compensation can cover counseling, pain therapy, and acupuncture. However, it may be more difficult to secure compensation for experimental or otherwise investigative treatments.


Disability is paid to make up lost wages to an employee who is unable to work due to an injury. These payments are based on the employee’s salary (often equaling two-thirds), are not taxable, and may have a cap that limits the amount of time an employee can collect disability. Disability payments are split into four types:

  1. Temporary total disability: An employee is unable to work for a certain amount of time, but the injury is such that the employee can eventually return to full-time work
  2. Temporary partial disability: An employee is unable to do part of their job for a certain amount of time, but the injury is such that the employee can eventually resume all duties.
  3. Permanent total disability: An employee may not be totally medically incapacitated, but is injured in such a way that they will never be able to return to their job.
  4. Permanent total disability: An employee is injured in such a way that they can never resume all duties of their job.


The main purpose of the death benefit is to provide monetary support to family members who were financially dependent on the deceased, although funeral and burial expenses are often covered as well. Receiving death benefits may be complicated if the deceased and his partner were not legally married, or when the family includes stepchildren. Parents, as long as they were financially dependent on the deceased, can qualify for benefits. This includes adoptive parents, in-laws, and foster parents, as well as biological parents.

What is Compensation Fraud?

Considered a felony, compensation fraud is when someone knowingly files a false claim for benefits, or when a company takes action to prevent payment of benefits. Fines range from $150,000.00 or the amount of the fraud, whichever is greater. The most common types of employee fraud are:

  1. Remote injury: The worker injures himself outside of work but claims on-site injury.
  2. Inflating injury: The worker receives a minor injury but exaggerates the severity of the injury.
  3. Faking injury: The worker claims an injury that never took place.
  4. Old injury: The worker claims a previous injury as a new injury.
  5. Lingering: The worker continues disability even though his injury has healed.

The most common types of employer fraud include:

  1. Underreporting payroll: The employer claims the worker’s wages as less than they actually are, in order to pay out smaller amounts of disability.
  2. Inflating experience: The employer claims the worker as more experienced than they are, leading to a lower insurance rate as the worker is viewed as less of a risk.
  3. Evasion: The employer fails to obtain compensation coverage, and tells the workers that they have coverage when they do not.

In order to be fairly compensated for a workplace injury or illness, it is important for employees to be aware of their rights, and to be willing to stand up for those rights. In all cases, if you are unsure of whether you qualify for benefits, it’s best to seek the advice of a qualified attorney.

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Law Offices of Steven Ibarra
6518 Greenleaf Avenue Suite 28
Whittier, CA 90601

Phone: 562-735-0828
Fax: 714-582-0948
Email: sibarra@ibarralaw.com

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