California requires practically all employers to provide their workers coverage through a current workers’ compensation insurance policy. Even employers with a single employee need to buy this type of coverage, either through the state’s program or through an approved third-party insurance company. What you might not know is that employers also need to buy insurance that provides at least the state’s minimum coverage amount in terms of employer liability, just as an auto insurance policy that you purchase must provide a minimum.
Currently, employers in California need to purchase a workers’ compensation policy with these minimums for employer liability:
- $100,000 per occurrence
- $100,000 per employee
- $500,000 total policy value
What is Employer Liability?
Workers’ compensation is meant to pay for all necessary medical coverage and provide additional benefits as needed, such as a portion of missing wages, vocational rehabilitation, and other miscellaneous benefits. Why does a workers’ compensation policy even have a minimum, then? Does that mean that you can end up paying for your own medical bills if your employer’s policy hits its cap?
No, the minimum coverage amounts apply to “employer liability” in work-related accidents and injuries. Employer liability and the 100/100/500 minimum come into play if the injured worker has an opportunity to sue their employer for additional damages not provided through workers’ compensation.
For example, a court allows a lawsuit against an employer who acted grossly negligent in safety protocols, leading to an employee’s catastrophic injury. In that lawsuit, the employee is suing for pain and suffering damages, which are not available through workers’ compensation. Those damages will be capped based on the employer liability caps in the workers’ comp policy purchased by the employer.
Are There No Workers’ Comp Caps for Employee Benefits?
In most cases, there is no cap or limit to employee benefits granted through workers’ compensation. Whether your employer buys a minimum insurance policy or spends more on monthly premiums for a better policy, the benefits you deserve as an injured worker are unchanged and cannot be limited or excluded. If you are being told that your benefits are ending because your employer’s policy limit has been reached, then you might be encountering a serious violation of your rights as an injured worker.
If you live in Santa Clarita, Glendale, or anywhere in between and you think your workers’ compensation benefits are being mishandled by your employer or an insurance company, then call (818) 946-0608 and connect with the Law Offices of Wax & Wax. Our workers’ comp attorneys can help you understand the benefits that should be available to you, and how to fight for them if they have been denied, delayed, or undervalued. Contact us today to arrange an initial consultation at no cost to you.