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2024 How Does Workers’ Comp Work in California?

Diefer Law Group
How Does Workers Comp Work in California?

California has a reputation for many different things: its beautiful coastline, the diversity of its residents, and the well-known, thriving tech hubs. Another unique aspect of California is the state’s specific regulations that extend protective measures further past federal regulations. One area where the state does this is with workers’ compensation. If you are either an employee or employer in California, understanding how the system is continuing to work in 2024 is extremely important.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a form of company insurance that allows any employees who become injured on the job to receive financial relief as they recover. In return for these benefits, an employee typically surrenders their rights to sue the employer for damages after the incident. This is intended to help both parties move on in the post-injury phase, without prolonged legal battles that can continue for years.

If you are an employer in California, you are mandated to secure this insurance for your employees. This is not optional, and you will still face significant penalties in 2024 if you are caught without it. If an employee becomes injured under your watch, and you do not have workers’ compensation insurance, you may be forced to pay for their medical treatment and missed time from work out of your own profits.

One interesting feature of the workers’ compensation system is that it is classified as a “no-fault” program. This means that an employee is able to reap these benefits without having to explicitly prove that the employer was at fault for causing the injuries. If there is evidence that an employer was negligent, the employee can still receive the benefits and may explore alternative methods for holding the negligent party accountable.

New Updates for 2024

Since July 2024, there have been significant changes to the workers’ compensation laws in California. Certain contractors are now required to maintain their own workers’ comp insurance, even if they operate independently. This includes concrete (C-8), HVAC (C-20), asbestos removal (C-22), and tree service (D-49) specialists. 

This mandate comes from Governor Gavin Newsom’s endorsed Senate Bill 216, which has the goal of expanding workers’ compensation insurance by 2026 to all licensed contractors. This group historically has not been covered by the program, forcing employees to fund their own medical treatment and miss out on pay during the recovery period.

What Is the 2024 Comp Rate in California?

The premium rates constantly fluctuate year after year based on the insurance provider, sector, and specific role. In 2024, California’s insurance commissioner stated that the current workers’ comp premium stands at $1.45 per $100 in payroll. 

However, this is just the average rate and could be different within your own context. For example, a construction site salesperson is being recommended by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California to stand at a pure premium rate of $1.54 per $100 of payroll. 

Employers do have the flexibility to reduce their workers’ compensation costs by implementing various safety measures and training for their employees. This is an attempt to reward an employer for making their workplace more safe and less likely to use their workers’ compensation insurance.  

FAQs

Q: How Is California Workers’ Compensation Calculated?

A: There are three different factors that will determine a workers’ compensation premium. These would be:

  1. The classification rate for what type of work is being performed
  2. How much the company spends on payroll
  3. What the inherent risks of the specific work being performed are  

The risk calculation is called a company’s experience modification rate, which is set by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California. The premium calculation is completed by multiplying the payroll amount for each classification by the classification rate. After being modified by the experience modification rate, a company can see its final premium amount.

Q: How Can a Company Reduce the Likelihood of Workers’ Compensation Claims?

A: The first step is to ensure that you are regularly educating employees on different safe work practices. This cannot be done once and considered sufficient. You will want to ensure that employees are forced to take these types of training regularly throughout the year, in addition to offering them immediately to any new employees. Have someone monitor the training sessions to keep employees focused on the material and prevent any distractions that could cause them injury later. 

It’s also really important to foster a culture of open communication. You want employees to feel comfortable reporting any hazards or if they witness another employee acting out of line.  

Q: Are All Employees Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in California?

A: Yes, nearly all employees in California are covered under workers’ compensation. This includes full-time, part-time, and even temporary employees. California also includes undocumented immigrants in this program, ensuring that they have an income as well while recovering from work-related injuries. 

While there are some exceptions that are still to be addressed by California law, it’s imperative that every employer classifies their workers appropriately. Any misclassifications that are discovered can put the company in jeopardy of being held liable and facing steep penalties. 

Q: How Soon After an Injury Should a Claim Be Filed?

A: An employee should notify their employer within 30 days of noticing the work-related injury. Typically, injured employees need immediate medical care This naturally brings everyone’s attention to the incident, which ends up being filed right away. However, employees sometimes think that an injury might not be related to something at work but discover weeks later, during their job, that a specific job requirement is contributing to their pain. 

Once the employee has filed their claim, the employer has one business day to provide a workers’ compensation claim form. Any delays in this process could further complicate matters and may require legal intervention to resolve. A Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Orange County, CA, can help an injured employee navigate this process in a timely fashion.

Contact Diefer Law Group, P.C., for a Consultation Today

If you have any questions about what has changed with California’s workers’ compensation program in 2024, or are facing new injuries related to your time at work, contact the attorneys at Diefer Law Group, P.C., today.  We pride ourselves on staying updated with the ever-changing employment laws of California. Our firm would love to be your trusted resource to ensure that you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

Abel Fernandez

Abel Fernandez

Attorney Abel Fernandez believes in the aggressive representation of injured workers. Workers’ compensation law is a very difficult and frustrating area of the law. Employees routinely have medical treatment and benefits delayed or denied by insurance companies. Mr. Fernandez fights for the rights of the injured worker to get medical treatment and the maximum amount of benefits possible. We have experience fighting the insurance company and adjusters, and we are committed to obtaining the best outcome possible for our clients.


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