Imagine that you fired or laid off an employee. A few months later, you receive notice that the former employee has filed a workers’ compensation claim. Can they really do that? The short answer is ‘yes’—and it happens far more often than most people realize. At the same time, not all claims filed after termination are compensable. A defense can be raised under California law.

Indeed, pursuant to California Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10), employers can effectively defend many post-termination workers’ compensation claims. That being said, there are some notable exceptions that employees can use to seek coverage. Here, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers explain the most important things to know about post-termination defense under Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10).

The General Rule: Employees are Not Entitled to Post-Termination Workers’ Compensation Benefits

In California, employers must provide no-fault workers’ compensation coverage to their employees. If an employee is hurt on the job, they can recover benefits without proving that the employer was at fault for the accident. Once an employee is separated from their job, they are no longer covered by workers’ compensation insurance.

In our state, most post-termination workers’ compensation claims are governed by Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10). The statute holds that there is a general rule that “no compensation shall be paid” after an employee is notified that they are being fired, laid off, or otherwise removed from their position. However, Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10) also includes for specified exceptions.

Four Key Exceptions Under California Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10)

When an employee files a post-termination workers’ compensation claim, they will likely try to rely on one of the exceptions in Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10). To effectively defend these claims, employers and claims administrators should understand the exceptions. Here is what you need to know:

  • Employer had Pre-Termination Notice: If the employer knew about the injury before termination, then it does not matter if the claim was filed after the termination date. The employee can still pursue benefits.
  • Pre-Termination Medical Records Suggest Injury: In some cases, employees may not have been fully aware of the extent of their injuries until a later date. If comprehensive medical records prove a pre-termination onset, an employee may bring a claim.
  • Work Injury Post-Termination Notice, But Pre-Effective Termination Date: A termination notice may be given before it becomes effective. Employees can still file a claim for injuries that occur post-notice by pre-effect.
  • It is a Cumulative Trauma Claim and the Technical Onset Date is Early: Post-termination defense and cumulative trauma claims can be a complicated matter. In California, the technical “onset” date for cumulative trauma could potentially extend back before the termination date.

Call Our Fresno, CA Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorneys for Help

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers are committed to delivering successful results for our clients. If you have any questions or concerns about post-termination defense under Labor Code Section 3600(a)(10), we are more than happy to help. Get in touch with us today for your confidential initial consultation. From our law office locations in Fresno, Sacramento, and Bakersfield, our workers’ compensation defense team represents clients throughout all of Central California.