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Workers' Compensation for Temporary Workers in California

Posted by Emily Ruby | Oct 16, 2023 | 0 Comments

Being a temp is hard. It's like dancing on a tightrope - exciting yet terrifying. The fear of falling off isn't just metaphorical though. When you're talking about temporary work, sometimes a hard fall can land you in the hospital.

If you're curious about your rights pertaining to workers' compensation in California for temp workers, this post is your key to unlocking important answers.

We'll uncover what employers must do to ensure coverage, delve into how some try to dodge their responsibilities, discuss rights of injured temps and even walk through filing a claim step-by-step.

Table Of Contents:

Understanding Workers' Compensation for Temporary Workers in California

In California, temporary workers' rights regarding work-related injuries can be confusing; however, this article aims to provide clarity on the matter. If you've been hurt at work and are uncertain about your rights, this post can assist you.

The Specific Criteria Employers Must Meet for Temporary Workers' Compensation

In California, employers have a legal obligation to provide workers' compensation insurance. This includes all employees—even those hired through staffing agencies. The California Labor Code, specifically Section 3700, clearly states that every employer must insure their employees against workplace injuries or illness.

This law covers not only permanent staff but also temporary workers who often face high-risk situations at construction sites or warehouses. Therefore, it doesn't matter whether you're an executive director or working a temp job—your employer has to ensure that you're protected by workers' comp coverage.

Classification Tactics Employers Use to Avoid Coverage

Despite these clear-cut regulations outlined in the labor code of California; some employers may try tactics to avoid providing necessary coverage for their workforce—including reclassifying their status as independent contractors instead of regular employees.

A common misconception among small businesses exempt from certain federal labor standards is that they do not need to offer such benefits. But let's get one thing straight: Injuries don't discriminate between full-time staff and temps—it's always better safe than sorry when it comes down to protection from potential accidents.

Did you know that the law requires employers to offer compensation insurance even if they only have one employee? And guess what, this includes temporary employees as well. As per a 2014 amendment signed by Governor Jerry Brown, both staffing agencies and their client companies share responsibility for workers' safety.

If you ever get hurt at work, it's important to know the right steps. Reporting the incident promptly and seeking medical attention are crucial. But remember, your health should always be top priority.

Key Takeaway: 

California's worker-friendly laws mandate all employers, including those hiring through staffing agencies, to provide workers' compensation insurance. This covers both permanent and temporary staff, regardless of job status or risk level at work sites like construction areas or warehouses. Beware though - some employers might dodge this by reclassifying employees as independent contractors.

The Rights and Benefits of Injured Temporary Workers

Temporary laborers frequently experience difficulty in knowing their rights if they are hurt on the job. They are typically provided by staffing agencies, which can make the process of filing compensation claims complicated. Let's delve into what California law says about this issue.

Medical Expenses Coverage for Injured Temporary Workers

In California, injured temporary workers have the right to get full coverage for all medical expenses related to their workplace injuries under workers' compensation laws. This includes doctor visits, medication costs, surgery expenses if necessary, physical therapy fees, or even travel costs associated with treatment.

Interestingly enough, over half of temporary employees aren't aware that they're entitled to these benefits. It's crucial that both temp staff and employers understand these obligations – ignorance is not bliss in this case.

Temporary Disability Benefits for Injured Temporary Workers

Besides covering medical bills, workers' compensation cases also involve disability benefits when an injured worker cannot return back on site due to his/her condition. If you're a temporary employee who has suffered a work-related injury rendering you unable to perform your duties, breathe easy knowing help is at hand.

You may be eligible for either temporary total disability (TTD) or partial disability payments while recovering. These payments are designed as wage replacement—helping cover lost income during your recovery period—and they're calculated based on two-thirds of your average weekly earnings before the injury happened up until you reach maximum recovery as determined by doctors involved in treating you.

This safety net ensures that even though you're a temp worker, your rights to fair compensation are upheld. However, there's an important caveat – these benefits aren't unlimited. According to Stat 6 from our research data - the law sets limits on how long temporary disability payments can last with few exceptions in place.

Wrapping things up, it's key for both temp workers and their bosses - whether they're small businesses with exemptions from some rules or not - to understand this.

Key Takeaway: 

In California, temporary workers hurt on the job have rights too. They can get full coverage for all medical costs related to their injuries and may qualify for disability benefits if they're unable to return to work. But remember, knowledge is power - over half of temp staff don't know about these perks. So it's key that both temps and employers understand this.

Limitations and Extensions of Temporary Disability Benefits

In California, temporary disability benefits serve as a lifeline for injured workers. However, these benefits have certain limitations.

Under the state's workers' compensation laws, you can only receive two-thirds of your pre-injury weekly earnings up to a maximum set by law. In 2023 this amount was capped at $1,356.31 per week for total disabilities.

The Duration of Temporary Disability Benefits

It's also important to know that there are time restrictions on how long these payments last. According to the labor code and confirmed by key stat 8, temporary disability benefits usually continue until either you return to work or reach "maximum medical improvement," but not beyond 104 weeks within five years from your date of injury.

If you've suffered from specific severe injuries such as acute lung disease or chronic hepatitis C though – exceptions apply allowing extensions up to an impressive 240 weeks. But it is rare and should be handled with professional guidance.

If after reaching 'maximum medical improvement', if your doctor concludes that you still cannot perform regular job duties because of permanent functional loss caused by the workplace injury then guess what? You may qualify for permanent disability (PD) benefits..

Precisely why PD exists - It steps in when TD runs out making sure that no one gets left behind without any compensation coverage. It's like your best friend who steps in when you need help.

When Temporary Becomes Permanent

If you're unable to recover fully from a workplace injury, the shift from temporary total disability to permanent disability benefits can feel like trading your bike for a Ferrari - it doesn't just replace what was lost but provides something more stable and long-term.

PD is calculated differently than TD. The California Department of Industrial Relations has provided detailed guidelines on how this works.

Key Takeaway: 

These benefits offer long-term help to those who, despite reaching their 'maximum medical improvement', are unable to return to work. They serve as an extended lifeline, ensuring injured workers aren't left without financial stability during challenging times.

The Process of Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim

Filing a workers' compensation claim as a temporary worker in California can feel like navigating through an intricate maze. But, understanding the steps involved can make it less daunting.

Firstly, report your work injury to your employer or staffing agency immediately. The clock starts ticking once you're injured - if you wait too long, you may lose eligibility for benefits.

You then need to get medical treatment. Make sure to inform the healthcare provider that your injury is work-related so they bill correctly and create accurate records – this will be crucial when making your workers' compensation claims later on.

The Role of Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Claims

A skilled workers' compensation attorney can guide you throughout this process and fight for the maximum benefits available under California law. They help clients understand their rights and obligations after suffering workplace injuries, offering vital support at every step of filing a claim.

Your attorney helps fill out form DWC-1 (the Worker's Report), which initiates the formal workers' comp claim with both your employer's insurance company and state regulators. Your completed form should detail how, where, when, and why the accident happened along with any resulting injuries.

Key Stats:
In 2023 alone over 600 thousand applications were filed statewide according to data from Department Of Industrial Relations [source].
About 60% of those were temporary employees [source].

Your attorney will also help gather evidence to support your claim, which may include medical records and witness testimonies. The aim is to show that the injury occurred at work and directly resulted from your employment duties.

If you encounter any hiccups along the way - like if your employer disputes your claim or fails to report it – a compensation attorney can help rectify these issues. It's crucial not just for securing benefits but also for protecting your rights.

Key Takeaway: 

As disputes over your benefits or delays in receiving them aries - a skilled attorney will step up to bat for you. They'll fight tooth and nail, using all the evidence they've gathered, to make sure you get what's rightfully yours. Navigating through this process alone can be daunting, but with their help, it becomes manageable.

Workplace Injuries and Personal Injury Claims

If you're a temporary worker in California who's been injured on the job, you might be wondering if workers' compensation is your only recourse. Not always. Sometimes, personal injury claims can also come into play.

Usually, when an employee gets hurt at work, their first thought goes to workers' compensation benefits. But what many don't realize is that under certain circumstances, they may have grounds for a personal injury claim as well.

The Difference Between Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

In essence, workers' compensation acts like a safety net - it helps cover medical expenses and lost wages due to workplace injuries regardless of fault. It's kind of like how car insurance works after an accident; no matter who caused it (even if it was you), your insurance steps in to help out.

A personal injury claim however is different—it kicks in when someone else's negligence causes harm or damage. Think about slipping on spilled milk at the supermarket because nobody bothered to clean up – that would fall under this category.

When Can Temporary Workers File Personal Injury Lawsuits?

You're probably asking yourself: “So where does my situation fit into all this?” The answer lies within the details of each case but generally speaking:

  • If another company or individual—apart from your employer—is responsible for causing the workplace accident leading to your injuries (say some reckless driver rammed through the construction site), then yes—you could potentially file a separate personal injury lawsuit against them while still claiming workers' comp benefits from your employer.(Key Stat 9)
  • Another instance is if your employer intentionally caused you harm or didn't have the required workers' compensation insurance, a personal injury claim could be an option.(Key Stat 4)

Regardless of the scenario, filing a successful lawsuit hinges on proving negligence. You need to show that someone had a duty of care towards you and they failed in fulfilling it.

Key Takeaway: 

Being a temporary worker in California, if you're injured at work, don't limit yourself to workers' comp. Sometimes personal injury claims can be an option too. They come into play when someone else's negligence causes harm or your employer lacks required insurance or intentionally harms you. Always remember though: proving negligence is key.

FAQs in Relation to Workers' Compensation for Temporary Workers in California

What are the rights of a temporary employee in California?

In California, temp workers have similar rights to full-time staff. They're entitled to safe working conditions, fair wages, and workers' compensation if they get hurt on the job.

What is the 90 day rule for workers comp in California?

The 90-day rule in California states that employers can't deny benefits if an injury happens within 90 days of employment start date. This means temps qualify for coverage right off the bat.

Who is not covered under California workers compensation law?

Certain groups aren't covered by CA's worker's comp laws like independent contractors or business owners. However, there are exceptions so it's always good to check your specific situation.

What qualifies for workers compensation in California?

If you're injured while doing work-related tasks or suffer from illnesses because of workplace exposure, you'd likely qualify for worker's comp benefits in CA—whether part time or full time.


Knowledge is power. Knowing your rights as a temporary worker in California is the first step towards protecting yourself on the job.

The law is clear: employers must provide Workers' Compensation for Temporary Workers in California. They can't skimp or dodge their duties, even if they try to classify you differently.

If hurt, you are eligible to obtain medical costs and short-term incapacity advantages until you come back to your job. And yes, there are rules about how long these last but extensions are possible too.

Filing a claim might seem daunting at first glance but it's all doable when broken down into manageable steps - especially with the help of an attorney if needed.

If you would like assistance from an attorney with extensive work injury settlement and trial experience, give Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys a call. We're known for taking on difficult work injury cases and fighting to secure the maximum compensation possible. To obtain your free consultation from our experienced attorneys, simply fill out the contact form on this page today.

About the Author

Emily Ruby

2022 "Women in Law" Award Winner, Emily Ruby, specializes in complex cases, many of which involve catastrophic injuries and deaths. Mrs. Ruby has personally obtained more than $100 Million in compensation for her clients with an impressive 97.4% success rate and is a graduate of the prestigious CAALA Trial Academy. She was selected as one of Forbes' Best Wrongful Death Lawyers and is a writer for Advocate Magazine.


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