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First of all, an employment relationship must exist at the time of injury for an injured worker to obtain benefits (including disability payments and medical care) under the Workers’ Compensation Act.  Furthermore, the liability for benefits arises when the injury sustained arises out of an during the course of employment,

Assuming the existence of both a person, company or entity deemed an employer under the law, as well as an injured worker deemed an employee under the law, an injury during the course and scope of an employment relationship will result in an entitlement to benefits.  However, certain types of workers are specifically included or excluded from the workers’ compensation law -this includes “independent contractors” which will likely be the subject of a future article.

This current article will identify some specifically included classes of employees.  Although the list below is not all inclusive, it is interesting to know that you, a family member, friend or acquaintance may, at some point, fall into one of these categories and be deemed an employee entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Here is a partial (and hopefully interesting list):

Students – Sometimes students will be considered employees of their school.  For example, a student could work in a school cafeteria, library or lab for wages, or a student might receive on-the-job training as a part of the schools’ curriculum.

Jurors – Are considered employees of the county they serve – typically within, or near, the confines of the courthouse.  They are not within the scope of employment when going to or from the courthouse.

Picketing Union Members – May be deemed employees if the union exercises a certain degree of control over the picketing.

Convicted Criminals – Who are not incarcerated and who perform community service activities rather than paying a fine. The same would be true of an injured inmate doing fire suppression training during incarceration in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Performing a “Tryout” – An individual performing a tryout is typically considered to be rendering service for the benefit of the employer and entitled to workers compensation benefits if injured, even though there is no contract of hire.

Injuries After Being Terminated or Laid Off – Injuries which follow layoff or termination which are incidental to the employment or which may be reasonably contemplated by the employment would be covered.

For example, if an employee sustains an injury while leaving the premises after being terminated would typically be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.  This would typically not apply, however, if they were injured off of the premises.

An employee returning to the premises engaged in an activity contemplated by the employment would be covered.  For example, returning to the premises to pick up tools, a final check, or return keys or equipment at the direction of the employer would invoke coverage.

Illegal Immigrant, Resident or Non-Resident Aliens -Are entitled to the majority, but not all workers’ compensation benefits.  In fact, illegal immigrants are not precluded from obtaining workers’ compensation benefits even under circumstances where they use a fraudulent social security or green card to obtain employment.

Minors – are considered covered employees regardless of whether they are legally or illegally employed when they are injured while performing services for the benefit of an employer.

This list is not ready all inclusive.  We have just provided a few interesting employment scenarios that would invoke the privileges and benefits of the California workers’ compensation system.

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