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What Is the Timeline for Receiving My Workers’ Compensation?

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Archive: May 2020

What Is the Timeline for Receiving My Workers’ Compensation?

If you or a loved one sustains an on-the-job injury, you need to be able to count on the workers’ compensation system to help provide coverage of your medical expenses, lost wages, or disability benefits. However, it is important that work injury victims understand the timeline for receiving the coverage they need. The team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo wants to discuss how quickly and for how long you will receive workers’ comp benefits.

The Timeline for Receiving California Workers’ Compensation Benefits

When you have been injured on the job, your employer needs to be notified immediately. That is because, under state law, employers are required to authorize as much as $10,000 worth of appropriate medical treatment within one day of them learning about an employee injury or illness. This is immediate coverage that is available before other benefits kick in. After the initial report, the next step will be to file a claim.

1. File a DWC-1.

When your employer is notified of your injury, they will likely provide you with a DWC-1 Workers’ Compensation Claim form that you need to fill out. This is the form that will officially initiate the workers’ compensation process. After an initial injury, you only have 30 days to notify your employer and file this form. Failure to do so could result in an injured worker not being able to receive any compensation for their on the job injury. We should also note that there is an overall statute of limitations for filing a work injury claim of one year from the date the injury occurs, but the employer must still be notified of the incident within 30 days of it occurring.

2. Wait for an employer’s decision

Your employer must accept, reject, or deny your claim within 14 days of receiving your DWC-1 form. If a claim is delayed, the employer will have up to 90 days to investigate the situation. During a delay period, your medical bills must be paid. However, the employer will not have to provide temporary disability benefits. During this period, you will need to seek temporary disability under the State Disability Insurance (SDI) or other disability benefits to recover lost wages. If a claim is not denied within this 90-day window, the disability payments will be required to begin.

3. Appeal any denial

If your employer does deny your claim, you can begin the appeals process. At this point, you may need to speak to an attorney because an appeal can become comprehensive. This stage typically requires extensive paperwork, evidence collection, witness testimony recordings, and evaluations from third-party doctors. The appeals process for a workers’ compensation claim can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year.

Is an Attorney Necessary for Your Case?

If you or somebody you love has sustained a workplace injury, you should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, are you having trouble receiving the compensation you are entitled to, contact DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo today. Let our Orange County workers comp lawyers investigate the case in order to secure coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, and any necessary disability benefits. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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What Should You Tell Your Workers’ Comp Doctor?

If you have sustained an on-the-job injury, it is absolutely vital that you receive quality medical care to ensure you make a full recovery and can get back to work. Reaching maximum medical improvement requires treatment from a doctor who will take the time to listen to their concerns and understand the scope of their injuries. At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we want to talk about what you should discuss with your workers’ compensation doctor throughout the recovery process.

Communication With Your Workers’ Comp Doctor Is Important

When you first meet with your workers’ compensation doctor, they will gather a complete history of your work injury through various forms that you fill out and in the initial examination. It is important that you tell your workers’ compensation doctor and everyone that works for the doctor all of the facts related to your workplace injury. This includes how the incident happened, the signs and symptoms you noticed in the immediate aftermath, and every part of your body that you believe has sustained an injury. It is important to understand that some work injuries do not become apparent until days or weeks after the incident occurs, and your doctor needs to know about these delayed injuries.

As Your Workers’ Comp Case Progresses

As your workers’ compensation case moves along, your doctor needs to be made aware of any changes in your condition. This includes:

  • Changes in your levels of pain
  • Any side effects from medications or treatment plans
  • Any limitations you are experiencing at home or at work
  • Any problems you are having while performing light work duty
  • Any new symptoms from your injuries
  • Any pain in a different part of your body than previously reported

In order to keep track of all of this, it is recommended that you keep a daily log or diary of your injuries, pain, and symptoms.

How Do I Talk to My Workers’ Compensation Doctor?

Perhaps one of the most important, yet understated aspects of a workers’ compensation case is that you need to show up for all appointments with your doctor. If you fail to show up to an appointment with your workers’ compensation doctor, then your medical records will indicate that you were a “no show,” and this could have drastic consequences on your ability to receive continued benefits.

When you do see your doctor, be honest with them about your injuries. Most importantly, honesty helps guide good medical treatment. The most important aspect here is your well being. A doctor will be able to do their job correctly when they have honest information from you. Your doctor needs to know that you want to get better.

You can also tell your workers’ comp doctor about any problems you are having with receiving medical treatment denials from the workers’ comp insurance carrier or if you are having trouble receiving wage loss benefits, approval for medical devices, or approval for getting transportation to and from your appointments.

Lastly, make sure your doctor knows about any concerns you have about returning to work. You do not want to re-injure yourself by returning to regular or light duty work that is inappropriate or exceeds what you can do safely.

Will You Need an Attorney?

If you or a loved one have sustained a workplace injury and are experiencing any trouble receiving benefits, contact the team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. We understand that these cases can become incredibly complicated, particularly when dealing with your workers’ comp doctors. We want to ensure that you receive your rightful medical treatment and disability benefits. Let our Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys help with your case today. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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What Types of Benefits Can I Receive From Workers’ Comp?

When someone gets hurt at work, they should be able to count on workers’ compensation to help cover their expenses. However, many people do not know what kind of benefits they can get through the workers’ comp system. At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, our Orange County workers’ compensation lawyers want to review what kind of benefits you are entitled to receive under California law if you sustain an on the job injury.

1. Medical Bills

Arguably the most vital part of workers’ compensation benefits is getting help with medical bills. In California, an injured worker is entitled to receive coverage for all medical treatment related to the work injury. However, the injured worker will be treated by a doctor in a special network called a Medical Network Provider (MPN).

All treatment for a workers’ compensation case will be based on medical treatment guidelines to determine the frequency, duration, and appropriateness. Doctors in the MPN must follow medical treatment guidelines through a process known as Utilization Review (UR). The treating doctor will care for the injured worker until they believe the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement.

2. Temporary Disability Benefits

Temporary disability benefits are designed to pay for lost wages a worker incurs due to their injury. These benefits are a substitute for the wages they would otherwise have earned if they had not been injured, but they are only paid after the insurance carrier agrees that the injury is work-related. These benefits are paid every two weeks after approval, and a worker will receive two-thirds of their average weekly wage (AWW). These benefits are paid for a maximum of 104 weeks within a five-year period from the injury date.

3. Permanent Disability Benefits

If an injured worker has a loss of future earning capacity due to the permanent effects of their injury, they will be paid permanent disability benefits. These benefits are rated on a scale from 0% to 100%. If an injured worker’s disability rating is less than 100%, they will be considered partially disabled, and they will receive weekly benefits for a set period of time.

However, if a worker is 100% disabled, they are entitled to receive weekly payments at the temporary disability rate for the rest of their life.

4. Rehabilitation / Job Displacement

If an injured worker is unable to return to work, they could be entitled to a $6,000 supplemental job displacement voucher. An employer can avoid paying this voucher, but they have to offer the employee a regular, modified, or alternative work schedule, and the work must:

  • Be 85% of the salary of their prior job
  • Be within a reasonable commuting distance of the injured worker’s residence
  • Last at least 12 months

If a worker receives a voucher, it can be used in various ways to help gain new employment, including placement and resume services, licensing and exam fees, tools for training, computer equipment, etc.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If you or somebody you love has been injured at work, you may need to talk to an attorney to ensure you get full compensation. These cases can be complicated, but the team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo is ready to get to work to ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to. When you need an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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Are Delivery Drivers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

More and more, our society is depending on delivery drivers for everything from appliances to groceries. As consumers have shifted their shopping behavior, delivery drivers are running into another problem – more on-the-job injuries. If you are a delivery driver, you may wonder if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. This can be a complicated question to answer and will revolve around whether or not the driver is an employee of a company or an independent contractor.

What Injuries Do Delivery Drivers Sustain?

Delivery drivers can sustain a wide array of injuries while they are at work. They often work in incredibly unpredictable situations and hazardous weather conditions. They also regularly work long shifts. Some of the most common causes of injuries that delivery drivers incur include:

  • Vehicle accidents. Delivery drivers spend much of their time behind the wheel of a vehicle, so it is not surprising that many of their injuries occur in vehicle accidents, often caused by other drivers’ negligence.
  • Overexertion. Delivery drivers are often required to lift heavy loads by themselves, which can lead to serious muscle, tendon, and ligament damage. Overexertion can also cause slipped discs or other back, neck, and shoulder injuries.
  • Repetitive motions. Delivery drivers regularly perform the same motions over and over again throughout the day when they are loading and unloading packages, operating a vehicle, opening and closing doors, etc. Over time, these repetitive motions can lead to severe stress injuries.
  • Slip and fall incidents. Delivery drivers often must walk over surfaces that are not safe, including those wet from rainwater, stairs that are defective, or other hazards on someone else’s property.
  • Animal bites. California is the leading state in the nation for dog bite injuries. Unfortunately, delivery drivers encounter hostile dogs on a regular basis. Drivers can also be severely harmed due to insect stings.

Are These Injuries Covered by Workers’ Comp?

In California, most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If a delivery driver is an employee, they will be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits regardless of who caused the incident leading to their injury. This will include coverage of their medical expenses, coverage of most of their wages, disability benefits, and death benefits to their loved ones if they die as a result of the accident.

However, if a driver is an independent contractor, as many delivery drivers in California are, then they will not have workers’ comp benefits provided by an employer. Right now, California is undergoing major changes with enforcing whether or not an employer is allowed to classify an employee as an independent contractor. Employers often do so to get away with paying certain benefits. Under Assembly Bill 5, which became law in 2020, it is now more difficult for employers to misclassify workers.

Do You Need an Attorney?

If you are a delivery driver and have been injured on the job, you may need to seek legal assistance in order to secure compensation. With new laws in California, you need to be sure what your employment classification is when you are trying to gain coverage of your medical expenses and lost wages caused by an injury. Let the team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo look at your case today and determine the best steps moving forward. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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What Are The Health Risks Of Working Long Hours?

Work injuries happen all the time and in numerous ways. When most people think of the causes of on the job injuries, they think of slips and falls, tool mishaps, or even repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. However, the risks of working long hours are tremendous, and both employees and employers need to know why this is dangerous. The team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo is here to discuss why employers should rethink long work shifts.

Are There Risks to Working Long Hours?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), working long hours, along with extended and irregular shifts, can lead to fatigue as well as physical and mental stress for an employee.

While many workers have the benefit of enjoying weekends off, as well as rest and relaxation during vacations, some workers put in so many hours that it becomes a hazard to their health. There are various ways in which workers can sustain injuries or illnesses due to long working hours.

Fatigued Workers Make Mistakes

When a worker operates for long periods of time, it is inevitable that they will become fatigued. Tired workers are not generally going to be safe workers. They can make mistakes. According to OSHA, worker fatigue increases incidents of traumatic workplace injuries. Research indicates that working 12 or more hours per day is associated with a 37% increased risk of injuries. This can include an increased risk of workplace vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, tool mishaps, etc. Not only is this dangerous for a worker, but a fatigued employee becomes a danger to their coworkers as well.

Internal Health Illnesses

OSHA data indicates that fatigued workers have a higher risk of severe internal illnesses as well. This includes:

  • Heart disease
  • Stomach and digestive problems
  • Reproductive problems
  • Various types of cancers
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Worsening of existing chronic diseases such as diabetes and epilepsy

Much of this is caused by the way that stress impacts the internal workings of our bodies. Working long hours also leads to an inability of workers to maintain proper diets or get needed rest and exercise.

Mental Health Issues

Working long hours takes a toll on a person’s mental health. Those who continuously work long or irregular shifts have been found to have increased instances of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and more. Studies have indicated that long work hours can affect people who have existing mental health illnesses as well as those who have no previous mental health illness histories, indicating that working long hours may be a cause of these issues.

Will You Need an Attorney for This Case?

If you or somebody you care about have been injured at work and you believe the injury was caused by working long hours, seek legal assistance today. At the law firm of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo, we understand that long work shifts create hazards for workers. We want to investigate your case and work to ensure you receive coverage of your medical bills, lost wages, and any disability benefits you are entitled to. Regardless of whether or not your injuries are traumatic in nature or internal illnesses, we want to ensure you are properly compensated. Let our Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys help you today. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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