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Do I Need Workers’ Comp Insurance for Myself in California? 2024

If you are a business owner in the state, it is important to know your legal requirements when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance. Most employers are required to have this insurance, but if you run a single-person operation you may wonder, do I need workers’ comp insurance for myself in California? It is vital to know how the law applies to your operation so you do not incur legal penalties.

Coverage Requirements for Workers’ Compensation Insurance

State law requires almost every employer in every industry to have workers’ compensation insurance if they have at least one employee. However, there are special rules that apply to sole proprietorships or partners. If a sole proprietor is the only party performing labor for a company, workers’ compensation insurance is not required. In fact, this type of insurance may be less advantageous than personal healthcare and accident insurance for some sole proprietors.

A similar rule applies when partners are the only ones performing labor for their partnership. If you are unsure whether you qualify as a sole proprietor or you need to have workers’ compensation insurance, it is vital to consult an attorney to ensure you are not penalized for failing to secure required insurance coverage. They can help determine what type of insurance coverage you require, if any, so you are not faced with fines and other penalties.

When an employer has at least one employee, they are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Some types of workers are exempt, such as domestic care workers and independent contractors. Unfortunately, some employers intentionally misclassify their employees to avoid paying for workers’ compensation insurance for them. If you believe you have been misclassified intentionally, it is vital to consult a workers’ compensation attorney as quickly as possible.

Employer Requirements for Injured Workers’ Claims

When an employer has workers’ compensation insurance and an injured worker reports a work-related injury, the employer is required to facilitate their claim for benefits. An employer may not fire an employee who requests to file a workers’ compensation claim; this is a legally protected action, and firing the employee could lead to a retaliation lawsuit.

Once an employee reports an injury, the employer must provide them with the form needed to file a workers’ compensation claim. The employer is also required to fill out a formal incident report and notify their insurance carrier and the state Division of Workers’ Compensation of the injury. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to fines and other serious penalties.

Recovery Options if You Are Hurt at Work

If you are a sole proprietor or a partner and are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance, you may suffer an injury at work and need to use your own personal healthcare insurance to cover your medical expenses. Other forms of insurance exist that can potentially offset the lost productivity you experience due to your inability to work, but it is ultimately up to the individual to determine what type of insurance they need to feel secure.

When a specific party has caused your injury and filing a workers’ compensation claim is not an option, you may have grounds to file a personal injury suit against the party who caused your injury. This could enable you to not only recover compensation for your medical expenses, but also the lost income you incur due to your inability to work. The state’s personal injury laws also enable a plaintiff to seek pain and suffering compensation.


Q: Do I Need Workers’ Comp Insurance for Myself?

A: Technically, no, you do not need workers’ comp insurance for yourself if you meet the definition of a sole proprietor. If you are the only person performing labor for your business, then you are not required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance that only covers yourself. Other forms of insurance coverage may be more cost-effective and advantageous for a sole proprietorship.

Q: What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?

A: In California, workers’ compensation insurance can cover medical expenses and lost income resulting from any type of workplace injury. As long as the injury occurred while the victim was performing work-related duties and their employer has appropriate coverage, the victim can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if their injury prevents them from working for an extended period of time.

Q: Who Is Exempt From Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

A: Certain types of workers are exempt from workers’ compensation insurance in the state. Independent contractors, some agricultural workers, domestic care workers, and freelancers are generally exempt from workers’ compensation insurance. However, employers must classify their workers accurately and may not intentionally misclassify them as exempt to avoid paying for workers’ compensation coverage.

Q: What Happens if an Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

A: If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and they are required to be covered by state law, the employer can face fines and other penalties, including imprisonment. Additionally, the employer will face civil liability for their injured worker’s damages. Workers’ compensation insurance protects employers from this liability when they have appropriate coverage, providing benefits to injured workers without the need for civil suits.

Q: Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A: You should hire a workers’ comp lawyer to help you with your workers’ compensation claim in the state because you are significantly more likely to succeed with your claim if you have legal counsel you trust on your side. Your attorney can help you file the claim, resolve any problems you encounter, and explore additional avenues of recovery that you may have overlooked on your own. They can also streamline these proceedings to help you secure your benefits faster.

The Canlas Law Group can help you understand the workers’ compensation claim filing process and ensure your employer handles the claim in good faith. If you have questions about your requirements as an employer or business owner, it is important to consult a trustworthy attorney as quickly as possible. Contact us today to learn more about the legal services we can provide concerning workers’ compensation insurance.

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