An on-the-job injury can have a serious impact on all aspects of your life. Medical bills and time off work are expensive, not just financially, but they also cost you your peace of mind.
When you have a family to support, it’s even worse.
Nearly every job carries some level of injury risk. It can be due to a job that:
- Is high risk for accidents like construction work
- Is a work environment that exposes you to hazardous substances or chemicals
- Requires repetitive motion such as assembly line or office work and can lead to repetitive stress injuries
Worker’s Compensation is designed to help lessen the effects of an on-the-job injury, allowing you to continue feeding your family and paying your bills while you heal. Getting the most out of your worker’s comp benefits ensures that you are in the best possible position to take care of your responsibilities and put food on the table while you are out of work.
The worker’s compensation claims process is complex. It isn’t always easy to get the benefits that you deserve and need from your employer’s worker’s comp insurance. There are a lot of twists and turns that typically accompany the process. It is easy to get tripped up and miss out on your full compensation or worse, receive an unfair or unwarranted denial of your claim.
An experienced workers comp lawyer can change all that.
If you have been injured on the job in southern California, there are certain steps you need to take to ensure the best possible of your claim.
- Tell your supervisor that you have a work-related injury or illness. Your supervisor needs to be notified of the incident right away. If it is something that developed over time, then you need to report it as soon as it is confirmed, or you believe it was caused by your job.
- File a formal report with your employer. You need to document the incident by filing a formal report with your employer. Be as detailed and honest as possible.
- Get medical treatment right away. If you are seriously injured or if it is an emergency, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately. If emergency treatment is not necessary, get first aid on the job site and follow up with your doctor. At the hospital and doctor’s office make sure to inform the staff that your visit is due to a work-related injury or illness. This is a very important step. Your employer may also provide additional instructions for you.
- Get a California work injury attorney to handle your case. Don’t try to handle your worker’s comp case on your own. Find a Van Nuys worker’s compensation attorney with a solid reputation and exceptional experience to handle your case.
- Document everything. Document everything regarding your case. This includes emails, reports, receipts, and doctor’s referrals. You should also document telephone calls and conversations that you have with your doctors, employer, supervisor, and even co-workers about your case (you should not discuss your case with co-workers, but if they were also involved in the incident some discussion may come up). Make sure you note the date and time and write a summary of the conversation. Keep it for your records and share it with your attorney.
Once you have filed your claim, your employer is legally obligated to provide you with medical care.
There are a couple of important deadlines for filing a workers comp claim in California:
- 1 day – An injury at work must be reported to a supervisor or HR within 1 day of the date it occurred.
- 1 year – A person filing a workers’ compensation claim has 1 year from the date of the incident to do so.
California workers comp laws recognize two different types of work-related injuries. Each of these has different timeframes:
- Specific injury – Caused by a single incident or exposure that results in the person requiring medical attention or they are disabled.
- Cumulative trauma injury – Caused by repetitive traumatic activities that build up over time and can be physical or mental trauma. This type of injury may not have a clear date of injury, or it may be difficult to determine. When this occurs, the deadline is established by beginning with:
- The date the person missed work the first time because of the illness or injury, or
- The date the person’s doctor told them that their injury was work-related.
A worker who was unable to file a claim because their injury resulted in a coma, their injuries required lengthy or prolonged treatment due to their severity, or they had to be quarantined due to a contagious illness may be exempt from the legal time limits.
There are four basic benefits that injured workers in California can claim through worker’s compensation:
- Medical Treatment – Worker’s compensation automatically covers medical treatment for work-related injuries. The only exception is if the claim is denied outright. Otherwise, it is a standard benefit for all California workers comp claims.
- Temporary Disability Benefits – Disability benefits are not a standard part of a workers comp claim but may be added depending on certain factors of the case. If temporary disability benefits are approved the claimant will receive two-thirds of their gross salary until their doctor releases them and they are medically cleared to return to work. Temporary disability benefit payments last for two years, beginning on the date the incident occurred.
- Permanent Disability Benefits – Similar to temporary disability benefits, permanent disability is also a benefit that is not standard but may be added to a person’s workers comp case depending on certain factors. One of the primary criteria for receiving this benefit is a doctor’s analysis assigning a percentage of permanent loss of the person’s work potential due to a work-related injury. The compensation is based on that percentage of disability.
- Rehabilitation – This benefit can be attached to a disability benefit. The disabled worker gets a voucher that correlates to their disability level. This allows them to enter a program that trains them in new skills to make them employable at their current disability level.
There are several reasons that a California workers comp claim may be denied:
- The person failed to seek medical treatment
- There is insufficient medical evidence to show the nature and severity of the injury or
- illness as well as the likelihood that it occurred on the job
- Missed medical appointments
- Waiting too long to report the incident
- The employer disputes the claim
- The injury did not occur during work
- The claimant was doing activities that were not work-related
- The claimant was negligent
- The claimant did not adhere to the property safety protocols
If you have a Van Nuys worker’s comp claim or have been injured at work and are considering filing one, you need someone in your corner who has the experience and knowledge to get the compensation you deserve.
You have enough to worry about, managing your worker’s comp claim should not be one of them. Let us take care of it while you focus on your health and putting your life back together.
Southern California Workers’ Compensation Law Firm, Hussain & Gutierrez, is ready to go to work for you. With more than three decades of courtroom experience, we will make sure that you get the personal care and attention that you deserve.
Walk-ins are always welcome and the initial consultation is always free. From the moment you walk through our door, you will see our dedication and commitment to serving our clients to ensure the best possible outcome.
From the beginning, we will make sure you understand every step of the process. We will return your phone calls promptly and answer your questions honestly and thoroughly.
Have you been injured on the job? Get the compensation that you deserve. You need a Van Nuys Workers Compensation Attorney who will work aggressively on your case to make sure you get the compensation that is owed you. Contact the injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez today. Let us work for you.