Workers Compensation Insurance In California: A Quick Guide

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and it is important to ensure that the life of the injured worker would be financially stable. Thus, workers’ comp insurance is a must for every worker, and by reading this article you will learn more.

About Workers Compensation California

In California, according to law, even if you are to employ one person, he or she is obliged to have compensation insurance. It does not matter whether a worker is a full time or part-time, they are supposed to have such insurance. California Workers Compensation Law states that any bad condition such as injury, harm, disease, or disabling condition caused by the relevant work is supposed to be paid as insurance by an employer.

So, what are California workers’ compensation insurance requirements so that one could benefit? Frankly speaking, in many states the legal procedure is the same, and in California, they are as follows:

  • A person is supposed to be a worker
  • He or she is to have a compensation insurance
  • There is supposed to be some kind of injury or disease caused by the work
  • There is a need to meet deadlines stipulated by the state to report such injury or disease

What Are the Compensation Benefits?

For anyone working in California, it is important to know what comp insurance benefits are. As was said, being a worker is generally an adequate prerequisite to be eligible for the benefits. the basic ones of the workers’ compensation in California are as follows:

  • Expenses for medical care
  • Benefits for the temporary disabling condition
  • Benefit for the permanent disabling condition
  • Benefits for supplemental job displacement
  • Benefits for returning to work
  • Benefits in case of death

What For & How Does It Work?

Why is this insurance needed or better say required? Actually, according to California state law, all employees need comp insurance. Thus, no matter how many hours a particular person works (part-time or full time as was mentioned above), he or she has the right to the insurance payments in the case related physical issues happen. Simply put, any business activities in the region of the state, even if the headquarters can belong to other states, has to have such insurance despite the number of employees (even sole worker).

Who Doesn’t Get Compensation Benefit?

The exception to the rule of insurance is applicable when the worker is self-employed (of course some do not fall under this category given the hazards of some jobs that can entail some health issues which are described in the California Department of Industrial Relations). The other exception is when the particular employed person is an independent contractor. In these two cases, a company or any business can get their comp waiver.

About Compensation Insurance Work

The workers’ compensation insurance California state law provides protection to employees and employers. It is important that nothing be abused or misinterpreted with a biased approach. When scrutinizing workers compensation settlement California law states, it is important to notice that the law tries to guarantee the one injure gets his or her compensation, and at the same time, an employer does not pass through long and exhausting periods that can result in losing the business or expected results.

Legal Sides of The Comp Insurance in California

Workers Compensation Settlements in California

When it comes to an official agreement intended to resolve an issue in California, there are two options for doing it. The first one is a Stipulated Finding and Award: when two sides reach consensus, and the injured side would receive benefits regularly. The amount he or she would receive is based upon the extremity of the injury and how it affects productivity.

The other settlement is known as Compromise and Release. Here, as opposed to the one discussed above, the payment is not done regularly. It is just paid at once (a lump sum). Having such settlement would mean closing a case completely, while the Stipulate Finding and Award settlement leaves the right for the inured one to reopen the case. According to the state of California regarding workers’ compensation, the injured employee and employer can and have the right to reach an agreement before going to court.

How to File A Case?

First of all, in case of injury or related problems, an employee is supposed to inform his or her employer about the issue. It is even better if it is possible of course if an employer is informed before an injured side seeks medical treatment or assistance. It is very important to bear in mind that if the injured side fails to notify about their problem within 30 days, there is a possibility to lose the right to get benefits. Having received needed treatment, it is required to fill out Form 1 (Division of Workers Compensation Form 1).

These workers compensation California forms need to be given to the employer. Then, there is a need to file an Application for Adjudication of Claim, which is supposed to be done in a year (the statute of limitations for filing a claim in California). All the mentioned should be done on time so as not to lose the right to the benefits.

The Average Cost of Comp Insurance

Starting from July 2018, California workers’ compensation rates are $2.13 per $100 payroll (according to the California Department of Insurance). Put simply, the employer pays this sum for every $100 of the wage or salary of the workers. This sum did fluctuate through years, and in 2015 the sum did reach its peak. Then, the sum decreased every six months and reached the present sum.

Penalties for Not Carrying Workers Compensation Insurance

If an employer fails to arrange and pay for the comp insurance, then this is regarded as a criminal offense that is to entail some penalties. According to the Section 3700.5 of California Labor Code, if someone fails to have compensation insurance, then this can be punished (up to one year in prison) or fined (at least $10,000), where the penalties are

  1. An order to halt a business (a quite possible practice in the case of violations of comp insurance presence in the workers)
  2. A possibility of filing a lien against the property of the employer if there is a need to pay benefits to the injured side
  3. In the event that an injured worker didn’t have compensation insurance the moment the accident took place, the employee would be liable to pay $10,000 for every worker (at the moment of the accident), which is done only when the case can be compensated
  4. On the off chance that an injured worker didn’t have comp protection when the accident took place, the employee would be liable to pay $2,000 for every worker (at the moment of the accident), which is done only when the case cannot be compensated.
  5. It is important to keep in mind that according to the laws in California, the maximum penalty an employer would be liable to pay is $100,000

Briefly About Death Benefits

If a side was (at the time of the injury) dependent financially on the worker who died and was a member of that person’s family or closely related, then these people are to claim death benefits. When it comes to the amount of the benefits, there are three options of the payments (based on the number of the dependents) :

  • If the total number of the dependents is just one person, then it would be $250,000
  • If the total number of the dependents is two people, then it would be $290,000
  • If the total number of the dependents is just three or more, then it would be $320,000



Is there a need for compensation insurance just for one employee?

Yes of course. The number of employees does not free an employer from the duty of paying and carrying a worker’s comp insurance.

When is it important to get comp insurance?

As soon as any business or employer hires someone, this insurance is one of the main priorities, and in case of the lack of such insurance (as described above), there are penalties.

Are the rates very expensive in California?

It actually depends on the type of business. In some particular places of work, the rates can be high.

Who is allowed not to have workers compensation insurance in California?

Generally, it is a sole proprietor who is exempt from such insurance. Moreover, for independent contractors, employers are not obliged to do so, either.

What is the maximum and minimum rate paid weekly?

In case of total disability, the maximum would be $1,215 and the minimum of $182 (relevant only in California)

Is there a jail punishment for not having workers’ compensation insurance?

According to the law of California, for such misdemeanors, an employer can be sent to prison (up to one year)


All in all, it is quite important to know the rights of the worker and those who hire the workers. When someone is informed well enough, then it will be good and beneficial for both sides in order to avoid unpleasant situations.