I want to file a workers’ comp claim in California, but when I reported my injury to my supervisor, he just shrugged it off. The company I work for is tiny; there are only five employees. I’m not even sure if my employer has workers’ comp insurance coverage. Is there a way to find out?
In California, all employers with at least one employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance. So, even though your employer is small, it is still legally required to carry workers’ comp insurance.
Your employer can fulfill its obligations either by purchasing insurance through a licensed insurer or by becoming self-insured. In general, only large employers with a certain minimum in annual earnings are eligible to become self-insured. Because your employer is small, it probably wouldn’t meet these requirements. If your employer has insurance, it’s likely through a licensed third party insurer.
There are a couple of different ways to find out which insurance company provides coverage to your employer. By law, every California employer must post a notice with the name of its workers’ comp insurance company. The notice must be posted somewhere where employees can easily see it. Check your break room or changing room to see if the notice is posted in there. Or, if your employer doesn’t have a room designated for employees, check near your time clock or ask your supervisor. If you can’t find the workplace poster, you can also search for your employer’s insurance company online through the California Workers’ Compensation Coverage website.
If it turns out that your employer doesn’t have workers’ comp insurance, you can file a lawsuit against your employer in court. Or, you can file a claim with the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF), which is designed to compensate injured workers when their employers fail to secure the required insurance. For more information on filing with the UEBTF, go to the California Department of Industrial Relations website.