There is no doubt that sustaining a severe injury on your job can suddenly throw your life into chaos and turmoil. And in just a few seconds, a California workplace injury may occur while you are routinely going about your typical workday. As a result, you are suddenly worried about your financial situation and providing for your family.
You may hear or encounter some confusing terms while navigating workers’ compensation in California when you get hurt or become sick because of your job.
It is worth noting that for work injuries, such as a back injury, triggered by accident, like a forklift accident, to be duly compensable under the California worker’s comp system, the accident has to arise out of employment (AOE) and take place in the course of employment (COE).
If these terms seem confusing, a California workers’ compensation attorney, such as James E. Latimer can easily guide you through this, explaining any jargon or technical terms that come up. However, you should have some knowledge and understanding of common terms and phrases as you prepare to file a worker’s compensation claim in California. Note that this is particularly true when these terms can affect your eligibility to receive California workers’ comp benefits.
Meaning of COE and AOE in California’s Worker’s Compensation
You should know that arising out of employment (AOE) pertains to the specific nature of the risk or danger you faced at the time of your accident. Did you know that an injury isn’t compensable unless you can relate it to an employment risk? On the other hand, course of employment (COE) concerns place, time, and activity.
So, keep in mind that to receive California workers’ compensation benefits, such as medical treatments, vocational rehabilitation, disability benefits, and death benefits, you have to show that an illness or injury arises out of your employment and also occurs in the course of your employment.
You will be pleased to know that by effectively demonstrating AOE and COE, you can legally claim an injury for almost any type of accident that occurs in your workplace. As an injured employee, you don’t need to prove your California employer did something wrong.
Keep in mind that within certain restrictions, your employer can’t blame your injury on you in order to avoid a California workers’ comp claim.
Arising out of Employment
If you would like to receive your worker’s compensation benefits, you have to prove that your injury resulted from your work-related activities. Did you know that the workers’ comp system in California approaches AOE from a specific risk and causation perspective?
This means that if your job exposes you to a higher risk of injury or harm than an average person, then being employed in this job may be causally associated with the work injury in question.
An excellent example is construction workers. These workers are usually exposed to heavy machinery and powerful tools in their jobs. Note that this can put them at a considerably higher risk for various injuries and accidents because of malfunctioning equipment compared to the general public.
This is why if a construction worker in California suffers a crushed limb because of a forklift accident, this injury would likely be deemed to have arisen out of their employment. However, it is worth noting that the causation is associated with the specific risks and dangers of working on a construction site.
During the Course of Employment
Apart from AOE, an injury must occur during the ordinary course of employment. When you are performing your job duties at your workplace during work hours, you are clearly within the course of your employment.
However, note that course of employment tends to become less clear when you aren’t performing your job duties, or are away from your employer’s premises. To show that you sustained a work injury during the course of employment, you have to meet three conditions:
Your injury occurred while you were working
Your injury occurred at any location that is related to your work activities
You sustained the injury while you were performing duties for the benefit of or on behalf of your employer
We can demonstrate COE with the above example of the same construction worker that sustained a limb injury because of a forklift accident. Keep in mind that for the worker to receive workers’ comp benefits in California, he must have sustained the injury while on the clock. Also, note that he must have sustained the injury on the construction site that he was officially assigned to, and the injury must have occurred while he was completing any work-related task.
However, you should know that even if you meet all of these three conditions, there are a few instances in which a court may deny your worker’s compensation claim.
Work-related Injuries- Exceptions
Note that even if you are at work, there might not be a valid workplace injury in some cases. Your work injury claim in California may be denied in these cases:
You are injured in a state of intoxication
You intentionally injure yourself
You deliberately cause your death
You get injured by starting a scuffle or fight
You are injured while committing a crime or felony
You sustain an injury during a recreational and voluntary work event
You sustain an injury on your lunch break
Most Injuries at Work are Usually Valid Workplace Injuries
You will be happy to know that the workers’ compensation system in California favors the injured employee. If you have an injury that’s even remotely associated with your work, you should consider filing a worker’s compensation claim to get the benefits you deserve.
If you prove your work injury, you are usually entitled to temporary disability, medical treatment, and permanent disability. Note that these benefits will help you seek the best medical treatment while providing financial support to your family during recovery.
Call a California Worker’s Compensation Attorney
At the Law Offices of James E. Latimer, our competent and experienced workers’ comp attorneys have decades of combined experience defending injured employees in California. For dedicated, sound and effective representation in a California workers’ compensation case, get in touch with workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of James E. Latimer. Get in touch with our office right now to schedule a consultation at 510-444-6555.