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If you suffered a work injury in Orange County or lost a loved one in a workplace accident, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. We can assist with workers’ compensation claims by negotiating with insurance companies for a maximum settlement. You may also be eligible for greater recovery through a personal injury claim if someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused your injury. Contact an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney for free legal advice today at (714) 783-2205. We provide legal representation to clients all throughout Southern California.
Workers’ compensation is a right for almost all employees. According to California state law, employers are legally bound to provide a safe place to work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes minimum standards for workplace environments across all industries. While some workplaces are naturally more hazardous than others, anyone can sustain an injury on the job. Depending on where you work, you may be facing work hazards like dangerous chemicals and heavy machinery that present a risk of bodily harm. Even office workers can face a lengthy recovery from chronic conditions like carpal tunnel or muscle strains.
If you work in a high-pressure environment, you may be more susceptible to stress and psychological trauma. Suffering an injury on the job is no accident. Workplace injuries happen most often in environments with health and safety hazards, such as slippery floors or unsafe equipment. It is an employer’s legal duty to provide a safe work environment. Failure to do so, resulting in worker injury, is negligence. Thanks to the California workers’ compensation system, you don’t need to prove negligence to obtain compensation. You can qualify for benefits automatically.
Workplace injuries are very common in California and injured workers should know their rights to workers’ compensation. In California, every employer must carry workers’ compensation coverage, even if the company only has one employee. Workers’ compensation offers relief to injured employees by providing immediate medical expense coverage, as well as, weekly benefits until the employee is healthy enough to return to work. The worker’s comp system in California is complex, and an OC personal injury attorney can be a fantastic asset who will help you navigate the claims process.
If you encounter any issues with your workers’ compensation claim or your benefits don’t fully cover your losses after a work injury, your attorney can help you decide your next best options. In some cases, an injured worker may have the option of taking legal action against a negligent employer or supervisor who allowed a dangerous condition to persist in the workplace. In other cases, a third party may be to blame for the injured employee’s damages. For example, a construction worker heading to a job site suffers serious injuries when another driver hits his car. In this case, the injured worker would still qualify for workers’ compensation since his injury occurred within the scope of his job duties, but he could also take legal action against the at-fault driver for additional compensation.
Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance purchased by employers for the coverage of employees in the event of a workplace accident, injury, or illness. Every state has its own version of worker’s compensation laws to protect workers, but in the state of California, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance and benefits include:
Workers in California who have been injured due to negligence may be able to pursue additional compensation through civil court by filing a personal injury case. It is important to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation injury lawyer before you file for workers’ compensation.
If you are seriously injured, your first goal should always be to seek medical assistance. If the injury developed slowly over time, seek medical care as soon as you notice the injury. Ignoring symptoms may make your situation worse, leading to more missed work. The workers’ compensation program is designed to retroactively pay your medical bills, so don’t worry about how you’re going to pay for them. Focus on finding the help you need.
Workers’ compensation claims are split into two general categories: indemnity and medical-only. An indemnity claim occurs when an employee is injured at work and cannot return until he or she heals. A medical-only claim means that the injury is less serious and an employee can receive medical treatment and return immediately thereafter. As soon as you suspect an injury at work, promptly report it to your employer and determine which type of injury it is. The state of California gives you 30 days to report the incident for maximum benefits. A delay in reporting can lead to a delay in benefits, even an outright denial. Sometimes symptoms of an injury can take days to manifest, so report your situation as soon as possible.
While most basic steps are the same from company to company, it is important to understand your company’s policies so you can prepare for the unexpected. Your employee should provide you with a claim form and ask you to fill out the “employee” section. Be as thorough as possible. Once the employer submits the claim to the program, you should have an answer within 14 business days. Even as a part-time or temporary employee, you’re usually still entitled to file a claim. Make sure to keep track of ALL related information. Make copies of incident reports, medical reports, and communication between you and your employer, as well as you and any other 3rd party. By everything, we mean keep the gas receipts associated with your travel to and from treatment centers. You may be able to recoup many of the expenses associated with your injury.
Workers’ compensation claims may be denied for different reasons. Here are a few of the most commonly cited reasons:
In the state of California, you must file an “Application for Adjudication of Claim” to have your situation heard by a judge for further evaluation. If you believe your claim was wrongfully denied, filing this form creates a case with the local Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. You must file the application in your resident county or in the county where you suffered the injury.
After the application has been filed and presented to the appropriate parties, you or your workers’ comp attorney will need to make sure you receive a notice of filing. Keep the assigned case number on hand, as you will need it for any further documentation regarding the case.
The next step to take after receiving notice is to file a “Declaration of Readiness to Proceed.” This declaration is a request for a hearing in front of a judge. You, your attorney (optional, but recommended), and your insurance adjuster will sit down with a judge during this hearing and try to reach a settlement. If no agreeable settlement can be met, the judge will schedule a time for trial with another judge.
According to California Labor Code Section 132a, it is illegal for your employer to punish or fire you for having a job-related injury or filing a compensation claim. It is also illegal for your employer to fire or punish a coworker who is a witness or testifies in your case. Furthermore, if you work for a company with 50 or more employees, the FMLA states that you may take unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks, without losing your job, if you need to recover from a serious medical condition.
Count on us for straightforward legal counsel and the latest information on workplace accidents and workers’ comp claims. Use these FAQs to help get you started with the workers’ compensation process:
File a workers’ comp claim after any type of workplace injury or illness, no matter the circumstances.
You have one year from the date of your work accident to file.
Notify your supervisor of the accident within 30 days. Your employer should help you fill out and file Form DWC 1. Our Orange County workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo are available around the clock to take client calls, give legal advice, and answer questions you may have about OC workers’ compensation and workplace accidents. Our legal team knows how to answer both common and case-specific questions, supported by in-depth knowledge of the law and subject matter.
Employers don’t always follow the letter of the law when it comes to workers’ compensation. They may try to dissuade you from filing a claim, even though it’s illegal for them to do so. Even worse, they may try to replace you while you’re on medical leave. Avoid workers’ compensation difficulties by hiring a law firm with over three decades of experience in practicing worker’s compensation law. We’ll make sure your employers comply with regulations and make your claims process as smooth as possible.
Our work injury attorneys in Orange County can even help you pursue a third-party personal injury claim to account for your pain and suffering. Whether you are in Orange County, Santa Ana, Riverside, or San Bernardino, get started with a free case evaluation. Contact us today at (714) 783-2205 for legal assistance and representation.