Out of State Injuries and Business

Our society is becoming increasingly more mobile.  It is not uncommon for people to make several cross country relocation moves during their lifetime, whereas in the past, people tended to stick close to the place they were raised.  As our families become more mobile, so, too, do our businesses.  It is very common to conduct business over the internet with people who live all over the country or even all over the world.  This facility of movement and tendency to conduct business across state lines can provide complications, however, when an employee is injured during the course and scope of employment.

With some limited exceptions, the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board will have jurisdiction over any injuries that occur within the state of California.  This is true even if the worker is employed in another state; as long as the injury occurs within California, then the WCAB will have jurisdiction over the claim.

There are also some limited instances where the WCAB may exercise jurisdiction over an injury that occurs in another state where there is “sufficient interest.”  Pursuant to Labor Code 5305 and 3600.5, the two situations during which the WCAB may exercise jurisdiction for injuries that occur out of state are when 1) the contract for hire was done in California, or 2) the out of state employee is regularly employed in California.  If an employee can demonstrate that he or she qualifies under either of those provisions, then he or she is entitled to compensation under California workers’ compensation laws.

Under Labor Code 5305, an employee may apply for workers’ compensation benefits in California even when the injury was sustained in another state as long as the contract for hire was done in California.  Although the statute also states that the employee must be a resident of California, this provision has been ruled unconstitutional by the California Supreme Court.  In workers’ compensation cases, the contract for hire will have been made in California where the acceptance of the employment contract physically occurs.

The labor code also allows the WCAB to have jurisdiction over out of state injuries where the employee is regularly employed in California.  Even if the employee was hired in another state, the employee may still apply for protection under the California system.

We have extensive experience with all types of workers’ compensation litigation, including complex interstate issues.  Contact us today to talk about your business’s rights and responsibilities

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