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Can I Apply for Workers’ Comp if I Have a High-Risk Occupation?

  • Published: June 19, 2023

There are many high-risk professions, and workers who take on these challenging positions can face a significant risk of suffering serious injuries or death if an accident occurs. As a high-risk worker, you may wonder whether the line of work you are in can prevent you from getting the help you need through a workers’ compensation claim following an accident.

Workers’ compensation benefits often provide a lifeline to individuals injured at work who amass significant medical expenses and may be unable to work for some period of time after an injury. Fortunately, regardless of their line of work, most employees are eligible under California law to file a workers’ compensation claim with the insurance company for benefits. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your rights and go over the specific aspects of your case to determine your eligibility to file a claim and what benefits you may qualify for after sustaining an injury.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover?

Injuries on the job happen far too often, and when you work in a hazardous line of work such as construction, mining, manufacturing, or another dangerous occupation, you have a higher likelihood of becoming involved in an accident resulting in injury. In California, all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for any company that employs at least one employee. The type of work you do does not impact whether you can file a workers’ compensation claim.

Benefits available through a workers’ compensation claim may include:

  • Compensation of medical expenses for treatment and care of injuries
  • Temporary disability benefits to cover loss of income for injuries resulting in your inability to work in the short term
  • Permanent disability benefits that cover serious injuries leading to permanent conditions and limitations preventing a return to full and normal work duties
  • Retraining opportunities when an injured worker is unable to continue in their previous line of work

Workers’ compensation benefits give workers who sustain injuries impacting their health and affecting their ability to work a source of money to cover vital medical expenses and support through coverage of a portion of their lost income.

Most Common Type of Injuries Sustained in High-Risk Work Accidents

There is no particular type of injury you must sustain or a threshold of medical expenses you must meet to qualify for compensation for your medical expenses and other work injury-related losses. Any injury can result in the need for medical care and can affect whether you can continue to work in the short term, thus giving you the right to file a claim for benefits with a worker comp insurer. However, the type of injury you incur in a workplace accident, the severity of the injury, and how the injury affects your ability to function all play a part in determining the benefits you can receive in a workers’ compensation claim. 

Injuries that commonly arise from workplace accidents can include:

  • Overuse, overexertion, or straining injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones or fractures
  • Burns
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Developing a disease or chronic condition

A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you determine the amount of benefits you may be eligible for in your particular case.

Is Any Category of Workers Excluded From the Right to File a Worker Comp Claim?

As a high-risk employee, you are not excluded from workers’ compensation coverage; however, you may wonder if there is any class or category of workers that are. Although the type of work you are involved in is not a basis for the exclusion of benefits, the role of an individual within a company or for the business can influence whether they have a right to file a claim.

For example, typically, a self-employed individual or those in the highest positions within a business, such as the CEO and partners, may not qualify for benefits depending on the coverage selected by the company. The most common situation of a worker who is unable to file a workers’ comp claim is one classified as an independent contractor or volunteer rather than an employee. In these instances, however, the injured individual may still have a basis to pursue compensation on the basis of negligence, depending on the facts surrounding the accident.

Is Applying for Workers’ Compensation Benefits Your Only Option Following an Injury in a High-Risk Job?

The primary path to seeking money to cover medical costs and some income losses following a work accident is most often through a workers’ compensation insurance claim. However, situations leading up to a workplace injury may give an individual the right to pursue remaining losses and compensation through a third-party claim or lawsuit. Although workers’ compensation insurance shields an employer from a lawsuit, even in cases where negligence leads to your injury, there are times when a third party or their representative’s actions cause your injuries and subsequent damages. When this occurs, you may have grounds to take legal action against any third party responsible in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.

Although you cannot pursue compensation for the same losses through both avenues, a legal case against a third party may open up additional rights to compensation if the accident occurs due to negligence. In a negligence matter, a victim can pursue the entirety of their income losses as well as other damages such as pain and suffering and reduced quality of life.

The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Kcns Law Group Can Prepare a Claim for Benefits for an Injured Worker

You should not have to worry about whether you can file a claim for benefits when you are a high-risk worker. The reality is that your hazardous occupation is stressful enough. If you suffer an injury while at work in a high-risk job, you have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits just as any other worker suffering injuries in a workplace accident.

It is not easy to know what to do in the aftermath of a workplace injury, but hiring a workers’ compensation attorney from the outset of your case can help ensure you take the right steps to set yourself up for the best possible outcome. A workers’ compensation lawyer at KCNS Law Group can help you after a workplace injury to prepare a claim and fight for your rights against the insurance company for fair benefit payments to help you move forward. After a work accident, contact us at (818) 937-9255 or through our contact form to review your case.

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