What is Workers’ Compensation?
The San Diego workers compensation attorneys, and work injury lawyers at our San Diego workers compensation law firm are often asked “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.
Who is Entitled to Workers’ Comp Benefits in San Diego?
If you were injured on the job in San Diego and you weren’t engaged in misconduct such alcohol consumption or intoxication from drug use, you are entitled to benefits. At the same time, your employer can challenge your or your workman comp lawyers’ claim if you were involved in misconduct at the time the accident happened and/or you or your workers comp lawyer are unable to prove the injury occurred on the job.
Worker’s Compensation was designed to protect employees financially when they are injured at work so that they can get medical treatment for their injuries and don’t get stuck with medical bills that they can’t pay. In spite of these good intentions, the reality often leaves a lot to be desired.
In many cases, the initial claims are denied and the injured employee must go through a lengthy appeal process before they even have their claim approved. The San Diego workers compensation lawyers at our work comp law firm have years of experience helping individuals through every phase of the process.
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 San Diego Workers Compensation Attorney – 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 Exactly Does a Workers Compensation Attorney Do?
You may wonder if hiring a workers compensation attorney in San Diego 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 Employer’s Insurer
Successfully securing a workers compensation payout courtesy of a private employer’s insurer can be difficult. Not only that but they will use every trick in the book to devalue your settlement and pay you as little as possible. 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 your claim was evaluated incorrectly.
If there are any errors in the evaluation process, your denied workers compensation claim lawyer will bring them to light and build your appeal on them.
What Benefits Am I Entitled To?
California Workers’ Comp provides for medical care, temporary disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits, permanent disability benefits, and death benefits.
How are Work Comp Benefits Paid In California?
California will replace 2/3 of your regular wages as Workers’ Comp benefits. There is a specific formula that is used to calculate the exact amount of your payment. Payments are usually provided weekly. If you have a permanent disability as a result of the injury or if you are suing over the loss of a loved one to a work-related injury, you may be able to have your benefit delivered in a lump sum.
Can I Sue My Employer?
Workers’ Compensation insurance is supposed to protect employees from being hurt and having no source of income and protect the employer from being sued. However, there are some exceptions if the injury resulted because of your employer’s extreme negligence.
Is Filing For Workers’ Comp in California The Same As Suing My Employer?
Workers’ Compensation is a type of insurance that employers in California are required to carry. When you file a claim and receive benefits, they will come from the insurance company. The only thing the employer pays is his insurance premiums.
Can I be Fired For Filing a Workmans Comp Claim?
Technically, no. It is illegal to fire an employee for filing a Workmans Compensation claim. However, California is an “at will” state, which gives an employer the right to let an employee go with or without a reason, at any time. Some employers will impose duties on the employee that are so much of a burden, they quit. When this happens, you should talk to a San Diego Workers’ Compensation attorney to see if your rights have been infringed on.
Who Will Pay My Medical Expenses?
Your employer’s insurance company is responsible for paying for your immediate and long-term medical care for your injuries. The only time this condition doesn’t apply is when a full settlement agreement is reached by you or yo workman comp lawyers resulting in the medical expenses being closed. Most of the time, the case remains open unless the employee or his legal representative requests for it to be closed.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor?
In California, you can designate a doctor for your treatment as long as your employer offers group health coverage. The doctor you select must be your long-term primary care physician and you must have designated them prior to receiving your injury. If you do not have a doctor designated, you or your workers compensation lawyer will usually have to find one through the employer’s medical provider network.
If your injury requires emergency care or your claim has been denied, you will not be held to this process. Your employer is also required to notify you of your rights and give you information about the MPN. If it doesn’t have an MPN, they will probably have the right to choose the doctor you will see for the 30 days following your injury.
It is a good idea to see a San Diego workers’ compensation attorney to learn the process for changing your doctor. It is important to feel comfortable with the doctor who will make important decisions about your case. They will be the professional who decides whether you should be placed on work restrictions or if you have permanent disabilities.
What happens in a California Workers’ Compensation hearing?
Your San Diego County workman comp lawyers will help you prepare for the hearing so you will not have any surprises. Your trial will be tried by a judge who will hear both sides of the argument. One problem that many individuals have is that the trial does not end on the same day it is started and it will then be carried over to another day months away. The slow judicial process has caused a lot of injured employees to have to wait for medical treatment and their benefits.
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 workers compensation claim.
What Can I Do If I Can’t Afford To Pay A San Diego Workmans Compensation Attorney?
Some individuals go ahead and handle their own Workers’ Compensation case because they think they don’t need an attorney or they can’t afford one. Some attorneys will not charge any fees upfront and they don’t make you pay anything unless you receive benefits. Since an attorney may be your best bet of receiving benefits, it is much more affordable to file a claim than to try and handle your case alone.
You have rights under California’s workers’ compensation laws that you need to understand. Contact us with any questions that you don’t see here or that you don’t understand. We are experienced San Diego workers’ compensation attorneys who are dedicated to helping you get the best outcome for your Workers’ Compensation claim.
Contact The House Of Workers Compensation Today
Some of the locations our San Diego workers compensation attorneys 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.