Federal Workers Compensation Attorney
What Is Workers Compensation?
Workers compensation is a type of insurance that offers employees various benefits if they get injured or sustain an illness due to their occupation. Based on their injury or illness, an employee may be entitled to receive medical care and/or financial compensation courtesy of this insurance.
Most states require employers to provide workers compensation. For example, in California, businesses must carry workers compensation even if they only have one employee. Business owners who neglect this responsibility may face fines and jail time. They must also cover all the expenses their employee has incurred.
It is also important to note that businesses must take on the sole responsibility of paying for workers compensation. They cannot push the financial obligation of securing workers compensation to their employees. In most cases, insurers must pay out a workers compensation claim regardless of who is at fault for the injury or illness.
The amount of compensation an employee is eligible to receive will not change based on the percentage of blame they share for what happened. The compensation will also not increase even if the employer shares the bulk of the blame. Insurers may only escape making a payout if a worker was injured while intoxicated from drug use or alcohol consumption. They may also not be obligated to pay if the worker was injured while attempting to harm someone or cause self-harm.
Work with a federal workers compensation attorney if you want to claim a payout in your case.
What Is the OWCP and What Is an OWCP Lawyer?
The OWCP, otherwise known as the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, is a part of the United States Department of Labor. Its main role involves administering and managing the Coal Mine Workers Compensation Program, the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, the Federal Employees Compensation Program, and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Program.
If one of these programs covers your occupation, you will likely need to coordinate with the OWCP if you receive injuries on the job. As you can imagine, securing your benefits from a government agency is not the easiest thing to do. Depending on how severe your injury or illness is, you may not have the physical capability to immediately start the process of claiming your rightful compensation.
That is a good reason to hire an OWCP lawyer. With your San Diego workers comp lawyer on the job, you can focus more on your recovery and let them handle the process. Seek one out following your accident at work so you can receive your compensation as soon as possible.
I’ve Been Injured in the Workplace. What Do I Do?
Workers compensation protects employees. However, you still must do things right on your end if you want the coverage to work as intended. Detailed below are the steps you must take if you were injured at work and wish to file for workers compensation.
- Receive Medical Attention – A bad fall at your workplace can cause broken bones and other serious injuries.
Head to the doctor as soon as you start feeling pain or discomfort. Do not wait for the pain or discomfort to dissipate and get the care you need.
- Notify Your Employer about Your Injury or Illness – After receiving emergency care for your injury, you must report what happened to your employer. Reporting immediately shows that you took your injury seriously from the start. That may help with your pursuit of compensation. Also, California requires workers to report their injuries within 30 days of when they initially sustained them. Failing to do that could cause you to miss out on compensation. If your health issue was a gradually developing illness, you could report it to your employer before you seek medical care.
- Hire a Federal Workers Compensation Lawyer – By this point, it should already be clear that you will need to file for workers compensation. However, before proceeding any further Workman comp lawyers can make securing compensation significantly easier for claimants. Their assistance will be essential as you go through this process.
- File Your Workers Compensation Claim – It is now time for you to file your claim. Fill out the appropriate fields in the claim form and make sure you get a copy of it before sending it to your employer.
- Obtain and Keep Essential Records – This last step will be an ongoing thing until you receive your payout. Hang on to all of the documents relevant to your claim and keep them safely stored somewhere. Try to obtain all the records you can because you never know which ones you will eventually need.
What Are My Rights if I am a Federal Worker Injured at Work?
Federal workers are entitled to certain rights if they sustain an injury or an illness due to their job. Those rights are detailed below.
The Right to Receive Medical Care
An injured federal worker is entitled to receive medical care for their injuries. They are also entitled to receive compensation for the transportation expenses that stem from them obtaining the care they need. As a federal worker, you can also choose a qualified physician or hospital to treat you. If you intend to change physicians, the OWCP must approve that first.
The Right to Temporary Total Disability Compensation
If your injury is bad enough that you cannot work for a while, you can file for continuation pay. You will be eligible to receive your regular pay for up to 45 days. After those 45 days, you can use your sick or annual leave if you still cannot physically work. At that point, the OWCP will also be in charge of providing compensation.
The Right to Compensation for Loss of Earning Capacity
Some injuries may be bad enough to remove your ability to work permanently. In that case, you and your attorney should seek compensation for loss of earning capacity. The amount of compensation provided after you lose your earning capacity will vary based on the nature of your injury. Work closely with your attorney to determine the compensation you are eligible to receive.
The Right to Death Benefits
If a federal worker dies from their injuries, their spouse and/or children are eligible to receive death benefits. The death benefits will constitute a certain percentage of the decedent’s pay. The surviving spouse will stop receiving the benefits if they pass away or remarry. The decedent’s burial expenses will also be covered by workers compensation.
The Right to Appeal
After reviewing your workers compensation claim, the OWCP may deny it for reasons you find unfair or incorrect. In that case, you and your attorney should start working on your appeal.
What Do I Do if My Federal Workers Comp Claim Is Denied?
There are three ways to appeal a denied workers compensation claim. Let’s talk more about those appeal options in this section of the article.
Ask the OWCP District Office in Your Area to Reconsider the Decision – Your first appeal option involves going to the OWCP district office covering your area. Once you get in touch with them, you can ask them to reconsider the initial decision. This option is available if new pieces of evidence have emerged following the OWCP’s initial decision.
Request a Hearing with an OWCP Representative – If your request to reconsider the OWCP’s decision was also denied, you can try to resolve the matter through a hearing. Request a hearing with an OWCP representative and make your case that way. Make sure you are working with an OWCP lawyer to present the most compelling case possible.
Appeal to the Employee’s Compensation Appeals Board – Federal workers have one last option if the hearing still fails to yield their desired results. The last option involves appealing to the Employee’s Compensation Appeals Board. The Employee’s Compensation Appeals Board can overturn the OWCP’s decision, so you can still receive your payout by going down this route.
What Exactly Does a Federal Workers Compensation Attorney Do?
You may wonder if hiring a federal workers compensation attorney is truly necessary. If you are still on the fence about hiring one, you can learn more about their services before making your final decision.
Deal Directly with the OWCP
Successfully securing a workers compensation payout courtesy of a private employer’s insurer can be difficult. That ordeal may become even harder if you are trying to get compensation from an agency such as the OWCP. Things tend to get complicated whenever the government is involved. If you want to make the process as easy as possible, hire an attorney to help you out.
Help You File on Time
Remember that there are strict deadlines you need to follow for reporting, filing, and even appealing your claim. Missing those deadlines probably means you will not receive compensation for your injury or illness. Therefore, it is good to have a workers compensation attorney so they can keep you on track.
Your Attorney Can Dissect Your Denial
Was your original workers compensation claim denied? The denial may catch you off guard because you genuinely believe you did everything right.
Do not be discouraged because it is possible that you made no mistake while filing. Instead, it may be the OWCP that evaluated your claim incorrectly.
If there are any errors with the OWCP’s decision, your denied workers compensation claim lawyer will bring them to light and build your appeal on them.
How Much Do Workers Comp Lawyers Charge in California?
In California, you pay workers comp lawyers on a contingency fee basis. That means you will only pay your lawyer if you win your case. Your lawyer’s pay will be on a percentage of your settlement, your permanent disability award, or your loved one’s death benefits. The judge will be the one to decide what percentage of the financial award you must pay to your lawyer. Typically, the range goes from 9 to 12%, but it can reach 15% in complicated cases.
The initial consultation with a workers compensation lawyer is free. They are legally obligated to offer that service for free to all injured workers. At our workers compensation law firm, we are always ready to help injured, or ill workers secure the compensation they deserve. Get in touch with us today if you need help filing your federal workers compensation claim.
San Diego Federal Workers Compensation Law Firm
Some of the locations our San Diego federal workplace injury lawyers serve include: Chula Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Coronado, Escondido, El Cajon, Poway, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Marcos, La Mesa, Vista, National City, Julian, Santee, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, Solana Beach, Fallbrook, Bonita, Lakeside and more.