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Possible workplace injuries mean employers must carry insurance

The state has cited an employer of a truck driver who was killed fighting wildfires. The California employer was found not to be carrying required workers' compensation insurance for any of its employees. The man was injured when his truck rolled over and later died of his workplace injuries

Although several people died, the man was the only firefighter to die during the fires in North Bay. State law requires firms that hire contractors that supply heavy equipment to carry workers' comp insurance. The firm that had hired the deceased man was registered as an owner-operator, meaning that every worker has an ownership stake in the business or is a relative. 

The owner-operator claim led to an investigation by the California Department of Industrial Relations and the state Labor Commissioner's Office. The authorities found that there were eight employees in the company and that they were not carrying required insurance. A $12,000 fine was issued, and the company was ordered to stop using employees. The crash is still being investigated, and it is possible that the truck has known maintenance issues. 

Sadly, this type of incident is not an isolated one in California. Individuals injured or killed from workplace injuries while fighting fires in the region have not always had the support of workers' compensation insurance. A worker is entitled to this type of support. Any person injured on the job may want to check with his or her employer about coverage, and he or she may also wish to consult a lawyer for assistance when making important insurance claims. 

Source: kqed.org, "State Cites Employer of Truck Driver Killed Helping Battle North Bay Wildfires", Ted Goldberg, Nov. 14, 2017

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