As this blog has mentioned in the past, California's workers' compensation system is a broad "no fault" system, meaning that an employee who gets hurt on the job does not have to prove his or her employer was responsible for the injury or illness. Indeed, the employee may share some of the blame for the workplace injury and still have full access to workers' compensation benefits.
However, as is the case in other states, there are some exceptions to the general rule that everyone who gets hurt on the job is entitled to workers' compensation. In California, many of these exceptions relate to what type of work the employee was doing and what the status of the relationship between the employee and business was.
By way of example, people who are admittedly volunteers at a particular place of business, including a not-for-profit, may not be able to claim workers' compensation after an accident while they are on the job. On the flip side, volunteers may be allowed to sue their sponsors for negligence in order to get compensation for their injuries. Less common exceptions also might apply to a given case.
On the other hand, California does not make any broad exceptions for those who are not legally in the employ of a business, including undocumented workers. Moreover, California's laws tend to extend workers' compensation benefits even to those personnel an employer calls "independent contractors," as the law does not allow employers to avoid paying benefits simply by the way they label their workers.
Finally, it is important for any Stockton resident to recognize that, even if they do not fall within a legal exception, they still most prove that their injury was indeed work-related before they can collect benefits. This is a complicated matter in some cases which might require the help of an experienced California workers' compensation attorney.