Can Home Health Aides Collect Workers Compensation?
Like any employee in California, home health aides are entitled to collect workers’ compensation if they are injured on the job. These benefits can include medical expenses, lost wages, and disability payments. In order to collect workers’ compensation, the home health aide must file a claim with their employer and provide documentation of the injury or illness. The employer will then work with their insurance company to approve (or deny) and pay out the claim.
However, home health aides face many unique challenges when it comes to collecting workers compensation. While home health aides have among the highest work-related injury rates, working away from a central business location and/or working for a private individual rather than a company, can present some obstacles.
California Home Health Aides Statistics
Home health aides are the largest occupation in the healthcare industry, making up about 40 percent of the entire healthcare workforce in the United States.
As of 2021, there were approximately 2.5 million home health aides employed in the United States. The demand for home health aides is expected to grow significantly in the coming years due to the aging population and increased need for in-home care.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of home health aides is projected to grow by 11 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing number of elderly people in the population will continue to drive demand for home health aides.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for home health care as more people are choosing to receive care at home to reduce their risk of infection and avoid hospitalization.
Home Health Aides in California
California is the most populous state in the US and has the highest number of home health aides. It is also expected to have the highest job growth for home health aides in the US.
As of 2021, there were approximately 191,000 home health aides employed in California. California has one of the largest populations in the United States and also one of the highest proportions of older residents, making it a state with a large demand for home health aides.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of home health aides in California is projected to grow by 15 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. The increasing number of elderly people in the population will continue to drive demand for home health aides in California.
Most Common Home Health Aide Work Related Injuries
Home health aides often perform physically demanding tasks and may be at risk for certain types of injuries. Some of the most common work-related injuries among home health aides include:
Musculoskeletal injuries: These are injuries that affect the muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Home health aides may experience back pain, strains, and sprains from lifting and transferring patients, as well as repetitive motion injuries from performing tasks such as bathing and dressing patients.
Slips, trips, and falls: Home health aides may be at risk for falls while working in patients’ homes, especially if the patient’s home is not well-maintained.
Overexertion: Home health aides may experience overexertion from performing tasks that require a lot of physical effort, such as lifting and moving patients.
Exposure to disease: Home health aides may be at risk for exposure to infectious diseases while working in patients’ homes.
Emotional and psychological stress: Home health aides may experience emotional and psychological stress from working with patients who are ill or dying.
Workers Compensation for Home Health Aides Working for Companies
If a home health aide who is employed by a company or agency is injured at work, they should report the injury to the employer as soon as possible. Make sure to do this in writing, using the company’s formal report form.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible and have your healthcare provider diagnose, treat, and document your condition. You typically cannot collect workers’ compensation if you treat your own injuries at home.
[If necessary, report the injury to the patient or the patient’s family, to make sure that the patient’s safety, healthcare needs, and well-being are not compromised.]
Consult with an experienced workers compensation attorney to understand the specific requirements, documentation, medical records, and ‘paperwork’ that is required to prove your claim and collect the maximum benefits for which you qualify.
Have your attorney file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer or their insurance carrier, as soon as possible. This will require documentation of your diagnosis, treatment, related medical expenses, lost wages – and “proof” that your injury is related to your job, such as accident report or witnesses.
Keep records of all your medical treatments, expenses, and lost wages. Follow the medical advice and treatment prescribed by your doctor. And follow the legal advice and steps outlined by your workers’ compensation attorney.
Workers Compensation for Home Health Aides Working for Private Individuals
In California, private individuals who employ home health aides are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. (This is not always the case in other states. For example, in Texas it is not mandatory for private individuals to have workers’ compensation insurance for home health aides.)
It’s very important for home health aides employed by private individuals to check and make sure that their employer has workers compensation insurance for home health aides – so that they are covered in case of an injury.
If a private individual in California hires a home health aide and they do not have workers’ compensation insurance, they may be in violation of state law. If an employer is found to be in violation of this law, they may face penalties such as fines or penalties from the state’s workers’ compensation board.
More importantly, if a home health aide is injured on the job and the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, the aide may be unable to receive benefits through the workers’ compensation system. In these cases, an uninsured employer may be held liable for the employee’s medical expenses and lost wages. But often times they simply do not have the money to pay the judgment.
Workers Compensation for Independent Contractor Home Health Aides
In California most employers and most private individuals are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance for home health aides. But never assume your employer has workers’ compensation insurance. Always check!
However, if you are a home healthcare worker who finds themselves in a situation where they are ‘independent contractors’ who are not covered by workers comp insurance, you may want to consider purchasing your own insurance for injuries, which can help cover medical expenses and lost income.
It’s important to check the laws of the state where you are working, and to review the terms of your contract with your employer to determine your eligibility and coverage for workers’ compensation. If you’re uncertain about your status, it’s best to consult with a workers’ attorney who is well-versed in your state’s workers’ compensation laws and can help you determine your status and the benefits for which you are eligible.
Home Health Aide’s Workers Compensation Attorneys
Home health aides give so much to others. Yet, sadly, they are often taken for granted in spite of how tirelessly they work to care for others. And tragically, home health aides are injured on the job much more frequently than most people realize.
If you are a home health aide who has been injured or made ill on the job, you owe it to yourself to discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation attorneys who is experienced in fighting for the rights of home health aides. An experienced home health aide’s workers compensation attorney can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ compensation attorneys is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our experienced and caring Long beach attorneys will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ compensation benefits for which you qualify.
Home Health Aide Workers Compensation Attorneys: 800-964-8047