Were You Injured at Work From an Accident?
Belmont Accident Lawyers is well-versed in workers’ compensation laws and has been successful in representing clients throughout Southern California, including the city of Long Beach and Los Angeles County. State laws allow injured workers to collect compensation for a work-related injury. However, the laws surrounding personal injury cases are sometimes ambiguous. To confirm you are receiving maximum benefits or to inquire about your work-related accident, contact our workers’ compensation attorneys for a free case assessment.
About Workers’ Compensation Law
Under California law, it is legally mandatory for businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is a requirement so that injured victims are protected from being held financially responsible to pay for high medical expenses, rehabilitation treatment, or future medical care. Instead, these costs are to be covered by the insurance company.
Workers’ compensation benefits also reimburse injured employees for a portion of lost wages while out of work. If a workplace accident is fatal, then death benefits are granted to a family member or the dependents of the deceased.
It is illegal for businesses not to carry workers’ compensation insurance and is punishable by fines of up to $100,000 and imprisonment. Ultimately, if an injury occurred in the workplace, then the employer is responsible to help the employee recover from the work-related injury.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Any form of harm that was suffered in the workplace or while working offsite is typically covered by workers’ compensation insurance. For example, an employee who slips and falls while walking in the office or a delivery driver who is injured in a car accident while making a delivery can both be covered by workers’ comp insurance.
Additionally, an illness that was sustained at work may also qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, the work environment of someone who is exposed to toxic chemicals or other harmful substances is capable of developing a life-altering sickness. Similar to if an injury occurred, workplace illnesses may also be covered by workers’ comp insurance.
Qualifying workers can be treated by physicians, chiropractors, psychologists, and other medical professionals, as long as they are in network. However, workers may also be treated by their primary care doctors, even if they are out of network; the employer just needs to be notified in advance. Necessary treatment will be determined by the approved physician and applied in accordance with the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS), which is based on evidence-based medicine.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Assist Clients in Collecting Benefits
Workers’ comp benefits typically include expenditures for medical costs and income replacement. Benefits are typically paid while the employee is on temporary disability and in specified amounts (usually average weekly earnings). The benefits vary based on specific details for each workers’ compensation case and can be reflected in the following:
- Medical bills and all related medical expenses (medication, mileage to appointments, etc.) needed to heal
- Temporary disability payments to cover a percentage of weekly wages
- Permanent disability payments to cover future medical care
- Compensation for lost future earnings in a permanent disability settlement
- Vocational schooling or training for those who cannot return to the same field of work
Sometimes, workers are not aware of their actual case value. In some workers’ compensation cases, individuals are unable to return to work. This is why it’s vital to collect maximum benefits and ensure that you recoup the full extent of damages.
How Our Long Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help
California’s work comp laws provide employees access to proper medical treatment and financial compensation after undergoing an accident in the workplace. When working with our law firm in Long Beach, CA, clients are protected from insurance companies that may attempt to avoid paying back damages.
Our workers’ compensation lawyers will help you understand the actual value of your case, taking into account treatment for workplace injuries, compensation for lost wages, and how long you can be on temporary disability with no ramifications from your employer.
By carefully accessing your case and handling communications with the insurance company, a workers’ compensation lawyer will improve your chances of being granted maximum benefits. Legal representation also provides the confidence that you are being taken care of by an experienced legal team who truly cares about your well-being.
To prove our commitment to clients, our Long Beach law offices never bill for a workers’ compensation case that does not result in a win. Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer will remove stress and ensure you are being appropriately compensated. Call us today to learn more.
Compensation for a Third-Party Claim
Workplace injuries that were caused by an outside party fall under unique circumstances. These types of accidents qualify for workers’ compensation benefits and also allow injured employees to seek damages from the other party who caused their work injury. By filing a personal injury claim against the third party, victims can be compensated by all involved parties.
A successful third-party claim can be very rewarding, however, claimants will be battling other insurance agencies and their legal teams. Representation from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will ease the strain that can come with filing a third-party claim and improve your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
When to File Workers’ Compensation Claims?
Immediately. Like most legal suits in California, there is a time limit and statute of limitations to meet for workers’ compensation cases, as well. The injury must be reported within 30 days of the actual event in order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.
If a workplace injury or illness gradually developed with time, inform your employer as soon as you begin experiencing symptoms. Then, seek emergency treatment for any work injury or illness that appears to require immediate medical attention.
After being reported, a workers’ compensation claim must be filed within one year of the incident. There is a process to follow when filing. See the proceeding instructions.
How to File Workers’ Compensation Claims
Your employer is responsible for providing you with a claim form within one day of being notified of the accident. If for any reason the form is not provided, you can download it from the Department of Industrial Relations site here. Even if an employer was negligent and did not provide all necessary materials and information, failing to submit the claim form may result in a loss of benefit eligibility.
You are only required to complete the specified employee section and then return the form back to your employer. Also, be sure to keep a copy for your records. Your employer will then submit the claim to the insurance companies to review, which can take up to 14 days.
While waiting for the status of the claim to be accepted or denied, you can proceed with medical treatment. Immediate medical help is important, as it indicates that an injury was sustained and you are attempting to treat it to prevent further injury.
This is a general overview of how to file a workers’ compensation claim. For detailed instructions, contact our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. A team member from our Long Beach offices will be available to assist you at any time of the day.
Work-Related Injuries That Are Covered by Workers' Comp Insurance
The majority of injuries that occurred in the workplace and job-related illnesses are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Common injuries and illnesses can range from bone breaks to back injuries to respiratory infections. Repetitive motion syndrome is also covered; this is when a workplace injury develops from exerting repetitive movements and strains a particular part of the body. A common example of a repetitive strain is carpal tunnel syndrome.
In some instances, a workers’ comp case may appear to qualify for worker’s compensation but due to certain circumstances, it actually does not. Cases that are denied are often due to an employee violating company policies, like being intoxicated, under the influence of illegal drugs, committing a crime, fighting, and self-infliction.
All injuries and ailments must be work-related in order to qualify for benefits. However, accidents do not need to occur in the workplace to qualify. Injuries that were sustained while traveling for work or when driving is a job requirement, victims’ injuries are typically covered. Unfortunately, many accidents are legitimate workers’ compensation accidents, but employees are sometimes denied the full extent of benefits.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Belmont Accident Lawyers will delve into the details of your workers’ comp case and conduct personal investigations to prove the legitimacy of your claim. By gathering all necessary evidence and medical reports, we will give you the financial compensation that you are rightfully entitled to.
FAQ About Workers' Compensation Laws in Long Beach
An experienced Long Beach workers’ compensation lawyer will assist you file a claim and negotiate with insurers so that you receive the full extent of benefits that you are entitled to. For questions regarding your case, please contact our Long Beach law firm.
How Do I File a Workers’ Comp Claim?
In order to begin receiving benefits, injured employees must file a workers’ comp claim within one year of the accident. The process consists of the following steps:
- Notify the employer as soon as possible, and ensure it is no later than 30 days of the incident. This is not the same as “filing a workers’ comp claim,” but it initiates the process.
- Seek medical treatment right away. Employers are to provide employees with a list of doctors that they can go to for treatment. For emergencies, injured employees can go to any physician or the emergency room.
- Complete a DWC-1 Claim Form provided by the employer. Be descriptive as possible, and give the completed form back to the employer.
- Consult with a qualified Long Beach workers’ compensation attorney to manage your case. Legal representation will be pivotal in recovering maximum benefits.
- File an application for adjudication if a case needs to be reconsidered. This action only needs to be taken if you are appealing an initial decision regarding work comp benefits.
Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?
Firing an employee, discrimination, or any other act of employer retaliation is illegal, and it is unlawful for employers to retaliate against an employee for filing a work comp claim. However, an employer can fire an injured employee who is unable to return to work. Regardless, in that scenario, that employee would then be entitled to disability benefits and potential job displacement benefits.
Can I Choose My Own Doctor to Treat Me?
Injured workers have the legal right to be treated by preferred primary physicians. By pre-designating a doctor, workers are given the option to be treated by the same doctor who typically provides care treatment. However, employers must be informed in advance for medical costs to be covered by insurance. The treating physician will be responsible for the following.
- Determining the type of medical care and if seeing a specialist is needed
- How much time should be taken off work, if any, to recover
- When the employee may return to work, with or without restrictions
- If future treatment for injuries will be needed
- The level of disability (temporary disability or permanent disability)
What If My Company Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
It is illegal not to have workers’ compensation insurance in California. Therefore, an injured worker can collect benefits directly from the employer or file a lawsuit against the company. Depending on the circumstances, the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF) may provide workers’ compensation benefits. Certain steps must be taken before being awarded benefits by the UEBTF. Our experienced workers’ compensation attorney will assist in pursuing this type of claim.
Contact Belmont Accident Lawyers to Schedule Your Free Consultation
Anyone who is injured at work should not have to deal with the complexities of determining whether or not they qualify for benefits, nor should they have to face the recovery process alone. Our workers’ compensation attorneys possess over 20 years of experience and have been successful in recovering compensation for our clients. If you were injured while working, schedule a free initial consultation with our firm today.