Everyone working in every industry in California faces the risk of injury at work, even in seemingly safe work environments. Whenever any worker sustains injuries while performing their job duties, they have the same rights under the state’s work injury laws. The California workers’ compensation system aims to provide a financial safety net to those who suffer serious injuries at work. Unfortunately, not every worker has an easy time securing the workers’ compensation benefits they need after these injuries occur.
The Mitchell Law Corporation provides comprehensive legal representation to injured workers in the Chula Vista area and surrounding communities of California. The state enforces some of the most robust workers’ compensation statutes in the country. As a result, almost every worker in California is covered by their employers’ workers’ compensation policies. However, there are numerous challenges an injured worker can face as they attempt to navigate the workers’ compensation claim process.
If you or a family member is struggling to recover from a work-related injury, do not make your situation more challenging by attempting to handle everything on your own. Navigating a complex workers’ compensation claim process while simultaneously managing your medical needs would be incredibly challenging. Even if the victim managed to file their claim on their own, they could unintentionally settle for less than they deserve.
It is also possible to have grounds for more extensive legal recourse than just a workers’ compensation claim, depending on how your work injury happened. To gain a firmer understanding of the full breadth of the recovery options you have in this situation, it is vital to reach out to a Chula Vista work injury attorney as soon as possible.
Workplace injuries are more common in some industries than others. For example, the construction industry is one of the most dangerous for anyone to work in because of the number of serious accidents and missed days of work due to injury reported each year. However, it is important to remember that not all workers’ compensation cases revolve around acutely traumatic incidents, and even apparently safe workplaces can impose serious risks.
The team at the Mitchell Law Corporation can provide client-focused legal counsel no matter how your work injury occurred. A few of the most commonly reported work injuries in Chula Vista that generate workers’ compensation claims include:
These are just a few examples of the types of work injuries reported in California each year, and the state also considers mental health conditions resulting from prolonged stress as compensable work-related injuries. The first step in securing the benefits you deserve after a workplace injury is proving that the injury resulted from your work environment.
California law requires almost every employer in the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Some employers pay heavy premiums to maintain their coverage, depending on the level of risk facing their employees and the likelihood of workplace injuries occurring. For example, a construction company is likely to pay far more to maintain its workers’ compensation insurance policy than an employer managing an office building due to the difference in perceived risk between the two work environments.
When a work injury occurs, the victim should report it to their supervisor immediately. State law requires the supervisor to create a formal incident report. This will be vital for the injured worker later as they pursue compensation through the workers’ compensation claim process. The employer must provide the injured worker with the materials needed to file their claim. Additionally, employers may not interfere with workers’ compensation claims in any way, nor may they take adverse actions against their employees for filing such claims in good faith.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation is similar to filing any other type of insurance claim, and it is best to have a Chula Vista work injury attorney assist you with this process. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will review the claim, potentially asking for additional supporting documentation and answers to specific questions as they evaluate the claim. Most injured workers will need to submit to medical evaluations by doctors approved by the insurance carrier.
When you must undergo such a medical exam, the doctor will assess your condition and assign you a disability rating. This is a measure of the severity of your injury and the level of functional capacity you retain after the injury. This rating will determine the scope of the benefits you will receive and how long those payments will continue.
Most injured workers who qualify for workers’ compensation in Chula Vista can expect two forms of benefits once their claims are approved. Their employer’s insurance carrier will cover the cost of any medical care they need to recover as fully as possible from their injury. Some injured workers will need specific treatments, and most insurance carriers are relatively flexible in terms of the scope of treatments they are willing to cover. Generally, the insurance carrier covers the cost of immediate emergency care as well as ongoing medical expenses for rehabilitation, physical therapy, and managing symptoms until the victim reaches maximum medical improvement.
The claimant will also receive ongoing disability benefits that reflect their inability to work because of their injury. Most claimants can receive these benefits for up to 104 weeks. However, this may be extended in certain situations, according to the terms of the policies in question. It is possible for benefits to be awarded in “total” or “partial” designations as well. An injured worker qualifies for total disability benefits when they cannot work at all because of their injury. Partial disability benefits apply when a claimant can still work but cannot earn as much income.
Total disability benefits are typically paid at a rate of two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wages for the year prior to the injury. For example, if they usually earned about $1,200 per week, they could receive around $800 in weekly disability benefits until they are able to return to work. When it comes to partial disability benefits, these benefits can offset a difference in earning capacity after a work injury. The claimant must provide the insurance company with regular updates on their recovery and report their earnings. The partial disability benefits they receive can effectively make up the difference in their earning power until they can fully resume their previous work duties.
The workers’ compensation laws of California typically do not allow injured workers to file civil claims against their employers in response to their workplace injuries. However, if an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, as required by state law, they are fully liable for any damages an employee suffers on the job. Similarly, the employer could also face civil liability and criminal penalties if they somehow intentionally caused the injury or if they failed or refused to follow an applicable workplace safety regulation involving the injury.
It is also common for third parties to cause work injuries. For example, if you suffered an injury at work due to the actions of any party outside your workplace, you would still qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim if the injury happened while you were working. However, you would also have the right to file a third-party personal injury claim against the party who caused your injury and further enhance your recovery.
A workers’ compensation claim can potentially cover all the medical expenses you incur after your injury as well as a significant portion of your lost earnings. However, you can recover the remainder of your lost income through your personal injury claim. Additionally, you have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering, which is typically not an option through workers’ compensation. California law only limits pain and suffering compensation in medical malpractice claims. Once you establish the at-fault party’s liability for your work injury, there is no cap on the amount of compensation that you can seek.
The overall recovery process you face after a work injury in Chula Vista may seem overwhelming. Having an experienced attorney on your side can provide reassurance during this trying time. Your attorney can help you file your claim with the insurance carrier, ensure you receive an appropriate determination of benefits, and address any conflicts that could arise between you and your employer. You may have more options for recovering than you initially realize, so it is always best to find legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible after a work injury of any kind.
Many people who suffer work injuries in the Chula Vista area are left desperate and uncertain about the future due to the intense financial stress these incidents can generate. It is easy to feel lost and isolated after suffering a work-related injury. Hiring the right attorney can clarify your legal options for recovering and guide you through the proceedings you face.
The Mitchell Law Corporation excels at representing injured workers in Chula Vista. We have successfully guided many past clients through very complex legal proceedings in response to their workplace injuries. Whatever your situation may entail, you can rely on our firm to provide ongoing support through every stage of the workers’ compensation claim process. We can resolve any disputes that arise between you, your employer, and their insurance carrier. We can also help you determine if you have grounds for further legal recourse.
Whether you anticipate a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury claim, or both in response to your recent work injury, we can help. If you are ready to learn how a Chula Vista work injury attorney can help you recover as fully as state law allows,contact the Mitchell Law Corporation today and schedule a consultation with our team.