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Workers' Compensation: California

Workers' Compensation requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Author: Kevin Hess, Fisher Phillips


  • All California employers are required to post a specific notice in the workplace pertaining to workers' compensation rights and responsibilities. See Notice Requirements.
  • All employers with one or more employees must provide for the availability of workers' compensation benefits to their employees. See Covered Employers.
  • Employers must post a written notice containing information about employees' rights, in a convenient location frequented by employees during work hours. See Covered Employers.
  • With few exceptions, anyone under oral or written appointment, contract for hire, or apprenticeship, working on a full or part-time basis, is considered an employee under the workers' compensation statutes. See Covered Employees.
  • A compensable injury is one that occurs while the employee is involved in some activity directly related to his or her employment. This includes injuries incurred while on business trips, as long as the employee is engaged in employment duties. See Compensable Injury.
  • Employers are not liable under California statutes for certain types of injuries, such as those incurred going to and coming from work, injuries sustained during lunch break, or while participating in off-duty work-related or work-sponsored events, unless required by the employer. See Employer Defenses.
  • Benefits are paid for compensable injuries, occupational illnesses, or death, in several forms, including medical treatment, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits to the spouse or next of kin. See Benefits.
  • California law specifies procedures by which a claim must be administered. These procedures specify a statute of limitations, required investigations, and denial of claims. See General Workers' Compensation Claims Procedure.
  • Claimants may accept settlement for a work-related injury. Common settlements include Compromise and Release and Stipulations for Award. See Settlement.
  • Employers may not discharge or discriminate against any employee who files a workers' compensation claim. See Retaliation and Interference.