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Five Common Workers' Comp Myths

There’s no denying it—workers’ compensation law is complex. If you have been injured on the job, you may be considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, but you might not know where to begin. Some of the information we often hear people say they have heard from friends and family or found online isn’t exactly helpful either. In fact, we’ve been presented with a number of these workers’ compensation myths and misconceptions that leave people confused as to what they can really do. So, to set the record straight, here are five of the most common workers’ compensation myths we hear and the truth about each of them.

1. Only Large Businesses Need Workers’ Comp Insurance

This is far from the truth. In most states, employers with just a few workers are still required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. In California, businesses with any employees on their payroll are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Roofing companies, even those who don’t have any paid employees, are required to purchase coverage. So, no matter how small the company, they need to carry this coverage—or face legal consequences.

2. Part-Time Employees Don’t Count as Employees

Employee status is not considered when counting towards workers’ compensation requirements, so full-time, part-time, internship, freelance, seasonal, and other workers are all considered employees provided they are on a company’s payroll. If your employer is trying to claim you are not entitled to benefits because of your status, they are wrong, and you should call a Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

3. Family Members Don’t Count as Employees

Some small businesses are sole proprietorships, but often enlist the help of a spouse or child to get some bonus work done and increase productivity. What they don’t understand is that doing so may mandate the requirement to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. Be careful when enlisting the help of a spouse or other family member—while it might be nice to have them help you catch up when you’re behind, you may wind up costing yourself a lot in the long run.

4. Out-of-State Employees Don’t Need to Be Covered by an In-State Employer

Where someone works has no bearing on whether they are exempted from the workers’ compensation requirement. If you work in Alabama for a company that’s based here in California, you are required to be covered under California law. The geographic area where you reside and perform your work doesn’t make a difference.

5. Workers Who Receive 1099 Forms Are Not Employees

This is a common workaround companies use to try to absolve their workers’ compensation responsibility—claiming an employee is an “independent contractor” as opposed to an actual employee. The IRS has a 20-point test about this, and any contractors who fail this test are considered employees, thus making workers’ compensation insurance required.

If you have been injured at work, contact Smolich and Smolich today to request a free case evaluation and get help obtaining your benefits!