Every year, millions of people are injured at their workplace. Sometimes the problem is a safety issue, where proper precautions are not taken by employers, and the employees suffer injuries. Other work injuries occur during the normal course of work duties because the job itself is hazardous. Workers in the transportation industry, construction and other jobs that involve dangerous materials or locations are most prone to becoming injured on the job.
If you are injured at work or while you are performing work-related duties, you should be covered by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance policy. In California, employers are liable for injury expenses, income loss and other costs that stem from workplace injuries suffered by their employees. There are some situations that will cause an employer to try to deny coverage, but with help from an experienced California Work Injury Lawyer, your chances of getting an approval are enhanced.
California Work Injury Lawyer
To obtain work injury benefits promptly, it is helpful to work with an experienced California Work Injury Lawyer right away. They will guide you through the process and explain the program to you, so you understand what to expect and what is not covered. You may also need legal representation by this attorney to obtain additional payments from your employer for expenses that are not included in the general Workers’ Compensation program, such as claims for your pain and suffering. If your initial claim was denied, this attorney can put in an appeal or appear at a hearing on your behalf to help you gain approval.
California Work Injury Laws
Employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for their employees. Your Workers’ Compensation benefits are supposed to be sufficient to provide adequate medical treatment for recovery from your work-related injuries or illnesses. They also provide part of the wages you lose because you are off work due to your injuries. All these benefits are designed to help you get better so you can return to work again. Unfortunately, damages for your pain and suffering are not included, nor are any punitive payments part of this benefit program. To obtain payment for those important financial matters, you need legal assistance from an experienced California Work Injury Lawyer.
Personal Injury Accidents – Work Injuries
Any time you are injured in an accident at work, it is important to discuss this with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney. Even if you are approved for Workers’ Compensation benefits, there will be other uncovered expenses and losses that may only be recovered if you take legal action. An attorney can often get a positive response with a letter to your employer, or their insurance company. If the case proceeds, they will represent your best interests during negotiation meetings, mediation, arbitration, or in courtroom litigation. By contacting your attorney immediately, you have a head start on the whole process, and therefore are most likely to obtain benefits faster.
Work Related Injuries
Workers in all occupations may become injured during the course of their job duties. Some occupations are far more prone to endangering employees. People who work in skilled trades, the construction industry and transportation have many more accidents than workers who stay in the office. Even in the workplace an employee can be injured. Slip and fall accidents happen everywhere, people get injured when items fall down from heights and hit them, and other employees or disgruntled ex-employees can commit deliberate acts of violence, harming or even killing other workers in an office or at a remote location.
Typical work injuries include the following examples:
- Head, neck or spine injury – from falling objects or when the worker falls from a ladder or high structure like scaffolding. Falling from heights can result in broken bones or paralysis.
- Slip & Fall – tripping and falling over loose mats, rugs or other floor coverings can result in bruises, broken or fractured bones, sprains, skeletal damage and other bodily harm. These accidents happen indoors or outside; weather conditions can also present hazards like icy walkways or parking lots.
- Vehicle Accidents – driving for the company exposes workers to road hazards and collisions. People can also be hit in the company parking lot accidentally by other drivers.
- Transportation Accidents – this includes all driving-related accidents, as well as accidents that happen during loading or unloading vehicles, delivering goods to clients and more.
- Hidden Illness – workers who are exposed to various chemicals or other hazardous substances may discover in later years that they have a debilitating illness, like mesothelioma.
Other costs you may incur due to work injuries include:
- Lost Income – when you cannot work, even Workers’ Compensation only pays a portion of your regular income. Income losses can be very financially stressful and lack of cash can result in not being able to pay your mortgage, car payments or other responsibilities.
- Disability – you may be temporarily or permanently disabled, causing you great financial stress and expenses, in addition to mental and emotional suffering.
- Rehabilitation & Retraining – if you are severely injured, it may take considerable time to recover, and you may also never be unable to return to your former job due to disability.
- Survivor Costs – if you are killed in a work-related accident, your survivors will suffer losses they may claim, including funeral and burial costs, lost companionship, lost income and more.
Filing Claims for California Work Injuries
As soon as your employer learns about your injury, they have one day to provide you with a claim form to file for benefits. If they do not, you need to get one from your attorney or online and submit it promptly to your employer. If you have to mail the form to them, be sure to use certified mail with return receipt, so you get dated proof of mailing and received dates. If you fail to make a claim within 30 days of your injury, you could lose the opportunity to be granted benefits. You should hear back about the decision within 14 to 90 days. If you do not, bring this to your attorney’s attention for action.
- What to Do First – Tell a supervisor about the accident and how it happened. Get medical treatment or first aid. Tell the medical personnel the injury is work-related. If your problem is an illness you just discovered, also report that. Be sure to notify your employer in writing of the accident or illness discovery.
- Insurance Companies – These organizations are reluctant to pay out, and always seek to minimize any benefits they must provide. The government Workers’ Compensation benefit program is no different. If you do not make your claim in exactly the right manner, within their time limits, you will be denied. At that point, your next step should be to seek professional legal advice and representation from an experienced Personal Injury attorney.
Being injured at work or while on the job can wreak havoc on your life and your future. Be sure that you obtain all possible financial benefits through Workers’ Compensation or other insurance your employer carries. Get the legal advice and representation you need promptly, so you can begin your recovery as soon as possible, without undue financial stress. Start with a free consultation from your experienced California Work Injury Lawyer.