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What is the Process for Filing an Injury Claim in CA?

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Archive: Jun 2020

What is the Process for Filing an Injury Claim in CA?

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury due to the negligence of another person, you may be able to recover compensation from the alleged at-fault party. However, the personal injury claim process can seem excruciatingly complex and intimidating. Here, we want to review some of the relevant information you need to know before filing a claim, as well as information about the entire injury claim process.

What Is the Personal Injury “Claim?”

When you hear someone mention a personal injury claim, this can mean various things depending on the situation at hand. Sometimes, a person may say that a claim is only their attempt to get an insurance carrier to cover their expenses. Other people will be referring to a personal injury lawsuit that they filed against an at-fault party to recover compensation for their losses.

  1. The insurance claim. Most personal injury cases are handled through insurance carriers. In general, the insurance carrier of the at-fault party will be responsible for covering the losses to an injury victim.
  2. Demand letter. If the insurance carrier or at-fault party denies providing fair compensation for a victim’s losses, then the victim or their attorney needs to send a demand letter to the insurance carrier outlining their total expenses and requested compensation. The demand letter should include evidence of injuries and losses. The demand letter will begin the negotiation process in earnest.
  3. Filing the complaint. If the insurance carrier or the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement after receiving the demand letter, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit. In general, victims have a two-year time limit to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party.
  4. Discovery. The discovery process of a personal injury case can be extensive. This is the period in which both sides will work to obtain all evidence related to the case. Attorneys for both sides will have the chance to request information from the other, questions will be asked of both sides, and depositions will be taken.
  5. Trial. Throughout the entire discovery process, attorneys for both sides will still be engaged in negotiations to resolve the matter before it goes to trial. However, if a settlement is not reached, the case will go to trial to be heard before a jury.

How Long Will the Personal Injury Claims Process Take?

There is no easy way to pinpoint the exact amount of time a personal injury claim will take to be resolved. Cases that are handled through insurance carriers will be resolved more quickly, possibly within a few months. However, if a personal injury lawsuit is necessary, then the case could take a year or more to reach a conclusion. Every personal injury case is different, and various factors will affect the timeline and outcome.

Personal injury victims who are successful with their claim could receive coverage of their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering damages, and more. If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligence of another person or sustained a work injury, the Orange County personal injury lawyers at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo can help you. We have extensive experience helping clients get through the injury claim process, and you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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What are the Rights of Restaurant Workers?

Restaurant workers are an incredibly important part of our society. Those who work in restaurants come from all walks of life, and they work in an often stressful and demanding environment. However, restaurant workers should never be subjected to inhumane conditions. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to mistreat and take advantage of their employees. The state of California protects the rights of restaurant workers.

Restaurant Worker Rights

Every worker in California has rights that are protected and enforced by the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). This agency is tasked with investigating and resolving any Labor Code violations. This can include issues arising pertaining to:

  • Wage discrepancies
  • Hourly wage issues
  • Working conditions
  • Discrimination in the workplace
  • And more

It is important to point out that California protects the rights of all workers, whether they are U.S. citizens, documented foreign workers, or undocumented workers. Some of the most important rights that the DLSE ensures include:

  • Minimum wage. Restaurant workers must be paid no less than the legal minimum wage in their jurisdiction. Minimum wage will be measured by time, commission, piece rate, or other calculation method. In most circumstances, wages must be paid at least twice a month.
  • Rest period. Every restaurant worker is afforded a net-10 minute rest break for every four hours they work. If a worker does not receive their rest period, then the employer is required to give them an additional hour of pay at their regular rate.
  • Meal period. Restaurant employees who work more than five hours are entitled to a 30-minute meal break in which they will be relieved of all work duties. If an employee does not receive their meal break, then the employer is required to give them an additional hour of pay at their regular rate.
  • Proper equipment for the job. Every restaurant employee should be provided with appropriate uniforms, tools, and supplies necessary to complete their job duties. For workers required to use their own vehicle for work-related duties, employers are required to reimburse all related expenses.
  • Workers’ compensation. Employers In California must provide restaurant employees with workers’ compensation coverage in the event they sustain an injury on the job. This coverage shall provide compensation for an injured employee’s medical bills and lost wages if they are unable to work.
  • Retaliation. The DLSE investigates instances of retaliation against restaurant employees who make complaints about poor workplace conditions or other illegal activity on the part of their employer.

California Laws for Tipped Employees

Many restaurant employees rely on tips. As a bartender, server, or any other tipped employee, tips may end up providing the employee with more than their actual hourly wages paid by employers. In the state of California, employers are not allowed to claim tips that are left for their restaurant workers. Employers are not allowed to count tips as part of their minimum wage requirements.

Tip pooling is allowed in the state of California, and this happens when an employer requires restaurant workers to combine all of their tips to then be distributed amongst everybody in the pool. However, employers who require tip pooling must follow certain guidelines established by law.

If you have any questions related to the rights of restaurant workers in California, contact the Orange County workers’ comp lawyers at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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How to Deal with an Insurance Adjuster After an Accident

Anytime somebody is involved in an accident, this will lead to an incredible amount of stress in their life. One of the most stressful aspects of the aftermath of an accident is dealing with insurance carriers. If you or somebody you love has been injured due to the negligence of another person, you need to know that the insurance adjusters who will be calling you are not your friend. While they may seem very compassionate, their job is to reduce the total amount of money they pay you in a settlement. It is important to know how to deal with insurance adjusters after you have sustained an injury.

The Adjuster Is Loyal to the Insurance Carrier, Not You

The single most important thing for you to understand before the insurance adjuster calls you is that they do not work for you. They are not your friend, regardless of how friendly or compassionate they seem. Please understand that the insurance adjuster for the at-fault party is loyal to their employer and their goal is to ensure that they pay as little as possible for your claim.

1. Be wary of initial settlement offers

You can be sure that the insurance carrier for the at-fault party will present an early settlement offer that may seem enticing. This is especially true if the insurance carrier thinks at the evidence of the case works against them. While it may be tempting to take this early settlement offer, you need to know that most initial settlement offers are far below what you should actually be receiving for your claim. Now is the time to negotiate for much more.

2. Do not agree to give a recorded statement

An insurance claims adjuster may tell you that you have to give a recorded statement or sign over your medical records in order for your claim to be processed. This is certainly not the truth, and you should not agree to give any recorded statements. Insurance claims adjusters want recorded statements so that they can use them against you in your claim. They are trained to ask questions that might trip you up and make you say contradictory statements about how your injuries occurred or the severity of your injuries.

3. You do have time to think

Insurance claims adjusters will often try to make you believe that you have to submit your claim as soon as possible. However, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in California is two years from the date the injury occurs. While it may not take two years for you to make a decision about whether or not to file my personal injury lawsuit, you certainly do not after move quickly and accept a settlement offer that does not cover your total costs.

4. Speak to an attorney

You can be sure that the last thing an insurance adjuster wants you to do is to speak to an attorney. However, a personal injury attorney will have extensive legal knowledge and resources available to thoroughly investigate your claim.

If you have any questions about your rights after somebody else causes you harm, contact the team and DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. Our Orange County personal injury attorneys will ensure that you are treated fairly when aggressive insurance carriers get involved. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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How Surveillance Impacts a Workers’ Comp Claim

The last thing anybody expects to happen when they go to work is that they will be injured. However, workplace injuries and illnesses are not uncommon. Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that there have been approximately 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries or illnesses in each of the last two years of data available. If you are injured on the job in California, you may find that surveillance footage could help bolster your workers’ compensation claim.

How Could Surveillance Footage Help a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Surveillance footage can be incredibly beneficial for any workers’ compensation claim that has been delayed or denied because an employer or insurance carrier doubts the validity of the claim. This footage can be used to provide definitive proof that an injury occurred at work and in the manner explained in the incident report. Video surveillance can also be used to show unsafe or poor working conditions that could have contributed to the incident.

It is hard to deny the truth behind a story when it can be viewed by all parties involved, particularly when the video footage has a timestamp verifying when and where the recording took place. There are various types of surveillance footage that may be used in a workers’ compensation case. This includes:

  • Security camera footage from the workplace
  • Cell phone cameras that may have recorded the incident
  • Private investigator cameras (more on this below)

Could Surveillance Footage Hurt a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Just as surveillance footage of an on the job injury can help bolster a worker’s case, this footage could also be used by an employer or insurance carrier to deny a claim. If the footage available shows that an injury clearly did not occur in the manner the employee describes, or if the footage shows that the employee was engaged in grossly negligent behavior, was intoxicated, or horse playing, then a workers’ compensation claim could be denied.

We need to note that it is possible that insurance carriers or state workers’ compensation investigators will surveil a person who has claimed a workplace injury. The employer or insurance carrier may hire private investigators if they suspect fraud. If you are captured on footage performing daily activities in public that show that you are not seriously injured as claimed, this could result in a complete denial of workers’ compensation coverage.

How Can an Injured Employee Obtain Surveillance Footage?

If you have been injured at work, but your employer or insurance carrier has disputed your claim, you will want to obtain all evidence necessary to prove your case. It is unlikely that your employer is going to voluntarily hand over surveillance footage (though they may) if it helps prove your case. It is strongly recommended that you work with a skilled Orange County workers’ comp lawyer with extensive experience handling these cases. An attorney is your advocate, and they will understand exactly how to obtain surveillance footage before it can be deleted.

If you have any questions about your work injury, contact the team at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. We have a thorough understanding of California workers’ compensation laws, and we are ready to get to work on your case. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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Does Workers’ Comp Count the Drive to and From Work?

When most people think of workplace injuries, they think of injuries that occur due to slip and falls, tool mishaps, lacerations, and other incidents that happen at a job site. However, motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of workplace injuries.

But what about the drive to and from work? Are employees entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they get into an accident during their commute?

The answer to these questions can be complicated, and whether or not a worker is entitled to compensation depends on various factors related to the particular situation.

Will Workers’ Compensation Cover a Vehicle Accident Injury?

The first question that many people ask is whether or not California workers’ compensation will cover car accident injuries at all. The answer is, yes, if a worker sustains a car accident injury, they may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, in order for a California worker to be eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, their injury has to have occurred while they were performing duties defined within the scope of their employment. In some cases, an employee is required to operate a motor vehicle. If they get into an accident and are injured while working, they should be entitled to coverage.

Will a Commute To and From Work Be Covered?

In general, the answer as to whether or not workers’ compensation benefits are available for an injury that occurs during a worker’s commute is no, they will not be covered. An employee’s commute is generally not considered part of their workplace duties. However, there are some instances in which a worker may receive coverage in these instances. This could include:

  • If the worker is on duty during their commute. This often occurs with police officers who are provided take-home cars and may or may not actually report to an office at the beginning of their duty shift.
  • If the worker is in a company car during their commute. This will vary based on the policy of the employer. Sometimes employer-owned cars are designated for personal use after work hours, and a commute will not be considered on-duty time.
  • If an employee is asked to conduct work-related activities during their commute to or from work. For example, if a supervisor calls and asks an employee to run some errands on the way into their job are on the way home, this will likely now be considered work time. If an accident occurs while the employee is performing these work duties, they should be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries they sustain.

What Can an Injured Worker Do?

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury during your commute to or from work, you may wonder if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. You may need to speak to a skilled Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer about your case to ensure that you are being treated fairly. At DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo today, we have extensive experience handling every type of work injury case. We pledge to investigate your case in order to secure the compensation you need. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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Can I Get Workers’ Comp for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Workplace injuries and illnesses are not uncommon, but the good news is that workers in California are entitled to medical coverage and lost wages for injuries they sustained on the job. However, not all workplace injuries are the same. While some injuries and illnesses are obvious, and it is clear that they happened at work, others are harder to see because they develop over longer periods of time. Injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are considered repetitive motion injuries. We want you to know that, in most cases, those who develop carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of workplace conditions should be able to recover workers’ compensation coverage.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Most people have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but they may not understand that the carpal tunnel is actually an area on the underside of the wrist. This “tunnel” contains the median nerve along with other tendons that allow your hands and wrists to function properly. Compression of this area can lead to serious long-term complications. CTS is not an immediate injury. Often, the signs and symptoms of CTS do not appear for years:

  • Chronic pain in the wrists and hands
  • Tingling sensation in the wrists and hands
  • Weakness in the wrists and hands
  • Numbness in lower arms or hands

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), thousands of people miss work each year due to complications related to carpal tunnel syndrome, and approximately one out of every 20 adults in this country has CTS.

You Can Receive Workers’ Compensation for CTS

Many workplace activities can cause carpal tunnel syndrome to develop. This includes those who spend most of their day typing, filing physical documents, stocking shelves, or making other repetitive motions with their wrists and hands. Those who are required to grip objects or use vibrating or oscillating tools are also prone to developing CTS.

Workers’ compensation is available for employees in California who develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to the on-the-job activities. The total amount of compensation that a person receives will depend on various factors related to their particular case. Sometimes, CTS can be treated with rest and a short time away from work activities. More serious carpal tunnel syndrome cases require surgery to repair the compression. This could lead to significant time away from work for the injured employee and result in a larger amount of workers’ compensation benefits being paid out.

Unfortunately, workers’ compensation claims for repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are more likely to be delayed or denied. This is because, as was mentioned above, these injuries take longer periods of time to develop than most acute traumatic workplace injuries. That makes the cause of the CTS harder to pinpoint on workplace activities. However, that should not mean that a worker is denied their rightful benefits.

If you have any questions about whether or not your carpal tunnel syndrome will be covered by workers’ compensation, the Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo are ready to help. We have extensive experience helping clients obtain benefits after sustaining repetitive motion injuries. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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