Natural disasters are on everyone's mind. It's understandable, given the devastation in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, the earthquake in Mexico, and the preparations for Hurricane Irma, which has already killed twenty-three people in the Caribbean. Working during a natural disaster is hazardous, but for some professions, it is necessary. Though California is unlikely to ever be hit by a hurricane, we get our share of natural phenomena, from earthquakes to wildfires. If you are a worker in California who is injured on the job by a natural disaster, you are eligible for Workers' Compensation.
Additionally, Californian heroes, such as firefighters (including our friends at Oakland Fire), aid workers, and healthcare professionals often travel to the sites of natural disasters to help. These workers are covered by California Workers' Compensation if they are injured carrying out their duties, even if the injury occurs out-of-state.
In California, and many other states, Workers' Compensation does not just apply to injuries you sustain during an ordinary work day. Events such as shootings and fires, if you are on the clock when they occur, also qualify as Workers' Compensation injuries. A well-known recent example of Workers' Compensation injuries under extreme circumstances is the San Bernardino shooting. After a terrorist attack was carried out at their office, the victims of the San Bernardino shooting had to rely on Workers' Compensation for their treatment, both for physical injuries and psychological trauma. Despite the high-profile nature of the attack, the injured workers have still been dealing with the typical struggles associate with California Workers' Compensation, such as denied treatments and delays.
The California Workers' Compensation system is complicated, but one thing about it is simple: if you get hurt at work, you are covered. That means whether you are injured by a forklift or a hurricane, you can receive Workers' Compensation benefits.