Modesto Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Generally, when you experience an injury, your remedy is a personal injury lawsuit. However, when you get injured at work, your option is typically to file a workers’ compensation claim. While the process is supposed to be easier for claimants because they do not have to establish fault, many people are surprised when their workers’ compensation claims are denied. Just like other insurance companies, workers’ comp insurers want to minimize payouts in order to maximize their profits. They may deny a claim for several reasons or try to suggest the injury is less severe and an employee can return to work earlier. When you experience a workplace injury, contact a Modesto workers’ compensation lawyer for help through the claims process.

California Workers’ Compensation Laws

California law requires workplaces to carry workers’ compensation coverage in most industries. California Labor Code § 3300 defines employers as people, public service corporations, state agencies, county and municipal agencies and corporations, and the legal representatives of deceased employers. The list is extensive and includes almost all employers in the state. The only exceptions are sponsors of bowling teams and people supervising those doing public service, but only while they are acting in those two roles.

All of these employers have to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Failure to do so exposes them to potential civil or criminal penalties. This requirement protects employees by ensuring that employers have the funds to pay damages when they are injured while on the job.

Workers’ comp requirements also protect employers. When employers comply with the insurance rules, they shut down the employee’s ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against them. Our Modesto attorneys can review the applicable workers’ compensation laws with injured employees to help them determine the next steps they should take after getting hurt in a workplace accident.

Who Is Covered Under Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation coverage is a little misleading—the insurance does not cover all workers. Instead, it covers employees. If someone is an independent contractor rather than an employee, they cannot file a workers’ compensation claim. However, if the contractors work for another contractor, they may be able to file a claim against their own employer.

Further complicating the issue is that the workers’ designation does not always determine their classification for workers’ comp purposes. The classification depends on the level of control the employer exercises over the worker’s activities. The higher the degree of control, the more likely they will be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. A workers’ compensation attorney can provide guidance regarding how Modesto courts decide whether someone is an employee or a contractor.

Can an Employee Invalidate Workers’ Comp?

To qualify for workers’ comp, the injured worker does not have to prove fault on behalf of the employer. However, the employer can allege that the worker’s fault contributed to or caused the accident and deny a claim based on those allegations.

Some ways an employee can invalidate their access to workers’ comp benefits include intentionally or recklessly causing one’s own injuries, using drugs or alcohol on site, or getting injured in a fight they initiated. A Modesto attorney can help determine eligibility.

Talk to a Modesto Workers’ Compensation Attorney

When you get injured at work, it only makes sense for your employer to pay for those damages. They may try to limit liability by denying that you are an employee or that you were at work during the accident. The process can be frustrating and overwhelming, but a Modesto workers’ compensation lawyer can help. We can help you file a claim, gather evidence to support your claim, and represent you in any appeals. We can also look for third-party liability in case you have other potential remedies. Schedule a consultation with Valero Law Group to learn more.