The workers’ compensation system exists to provide coverage for injured workers’ medical expenses and disability benefits as they recover from their injuries and cannot work. If you or a loved one recently suffered an injury while working in Los Angeles, you likely qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim. California law requires every employer in every industry to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which comes into play whenever an employee suffers an injury while performing their job duties.
While the workers’ compensation system may seem straightforward, the reality is that many people have significant challenges in securing the compensation and benefits they legally deserve after workplace injuries. If you or a loved one needs assistance with any aspect of your workers’ compensation claim, the best asset to have on your side is a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney. The Mitchell Law Group offers comprehensive and compassionate legal counsel to our clients in the Los Angeles area who require professional legal assistance in securing the workers’ compensation benefits they need after suffering workplace accidents.
You might believe you can handle your workers’ compensation claim on your own, and while the system is designed to be straightforward and intuitive, many people encounter unexpected problems with their workers’ compensation claims. These problems can include delays, unfair denial of benefits, or even unexpected interference from employers. When you encounter these problems, it’s easy to feel distressed and uncertain; these issues can prevent you from securing the compensation and benefits you and your family need after you have sustained an injury at work that requires extensive recovery time.
A Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can provide several valuable services in this challenging situation. First, you can rely on your attorney to help you with your claim. An experienced lawyer can identify any areas of concern present in your claim and increase the chances of a swift approval of benefits from the California Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), the state agency responsible for processing all claims for workers’ compensation benefits.
An experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney can also help their client take further legal action beyond the workers’ compensation system when necessary. For example, if you experienced retaliation from your employer, unfair denial of your claim from the DWC, or if a third party caused your workplace injury and you intend to file a personal injury claim, your attorney can help you address any such issues effectively.
It is understandable for an injured worker to have concerns about the cost of hiring an attorney when they are already struggling with expensive medical bills and lost income while they cannot work. The Mitchell Law Group strives to make legal representation accessible and affordable to those who need it most. We will provide you with transparent details of our billing policy so you can approach your case with confidence, and there will be no surprises when it comes to the final cost of your legal fees.
Before agreeing to any attorney’s representation, it is essential that you carefully review their billing policy. Make sure you fully understand their billing practices, so you can more accurately estimate the overall cost of their legal services.
Virtually everyone working in California faces injury risks every day at work, but some industries are inherently more dangerous than others. For example, the construction industry is statistically one of the most dangerous fields. Each year, the construction industry is responsible for more claims for workers’ compensation benefits than most other industries. Some of the most commonly reported workplace injuries in California include:
These are just a few examples of workplace injuries that can lead to workers’ compensation claims. If you believe your recent experience at work qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits, it is vital to report the issue to your supervisor immediately. You should also consult an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to secure the legal guidance you will likely require for navigating your claim successfully.
On paper, the workers’ compensation claim process is straightforward. It is more complicated and complex in practice, however. For example, as soon as a worker sustains an injury at work, they should notify their supervisor and seek medical treatment immediately. In an emergency, the worker can visit any available doctor. However, if their injury is not life-threatening or they can wait a bit, they should visit a doctor approved by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
The company will provide a list of local doctors who can perform a medical examination and assign the injured worker a disability rating. However, suppose the injured employer must seek emergency care from another doctor. In that case, they will need to visit an approved workers’ compensation doctor to receive their disability rating and proceed with the claim.
The injured worker’s employer is legally obligated by California state law to provide the employee with their claim forms and all necessary materials they need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, the claimant completes all necessary paperwork and submits it to the California DWC for review and approval.
Once the DWC evaluates the claim, they will notify the claimant of their determination. The amount of benefits the claimant receives and the length of time their benefits continue depend on the severity of their injury and the disability rating assigned to them by the workers’ compensation doctor. For example, when a claimant qualifies for temporary disability benefits, they receive about two-thirds of their average weekly wages in disability benefits each week for a maximum of 104 weeks. However, if the employee’s disability rating is high enough to indicate a severe disability, the employee can qualify for permanent disability benefits.
Hiring an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney can make the entire workers’ compensation claim process much more manageable. Injured workers can rely on a workers compensation attorney for assistance in filing your workers’ compensation claim forms and addressing any resistance or illegal interference from your employer. In addition, if a third party causes your workplace injury, your attorney can help you develop the foundation of a personal injury claim against them.
After submitting your claim to the DWC, your attorney can help you address any issues you may encounter with the processing and approval of your claim. For example, if the DWC denies your claim, your attorney can assist you with filing an appeal. In addition, if you disagree with the DWC’s determination regarding your claim, your attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you determine the most viable possible solution to the situation.
Workers’ compensation in California is available to anyone who suffers an injury on the job. Generally, this extends to emotional distress and psychological trauma that develop from work. The employee typically must prove they have worked for their employer for at least six months to prove their emotional distress resulted from work.
Workers’ compensation typically provides coverage for medical treatment an employee requires for a workplace injury and disability benefits while they are unable to return to work. Typically, an employee cannot seek compensation for physical pain and emotional distress through workers’ compensation unless they meet particular criteria. However, suppose the employee has grounds for legal action outside the workers’ compensation system. In that case, a personal injury claim can yield substantially more compensation than they would receive from workers’ compensation.
California’s workers’ compensation laws generally shield employers from lawsuits from injured employees. If you were injured at work, you could file a workers’ compensation claim, but you cannot file a suit against your employer for civil damages. The only exceptions to this would be if an employer caused your injury intentionally, if the employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, or if your employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, such as firing you or cutting your hours.
If a third party caused your injury, you could file a personal injury claim against them. For example, if you are operating a vehicle for work and another driver hits your vehicle because they were distracted by their cell phone, speeding, or under the influence of alcohol, you would likely have grounds for a civil claim against them. This personal injury claim could allow you to secure the lost income that workers’ compensation does not provide, compensation for any property losses you incurred, and compensation for your pain and suffering.
Depending on how your injury occurred, you may also qualify for additional compensation. For example, suppose the party responsible for your injury was engaged in an illegal activity or caused your injury intentionally. In that case, the judge overseeing your case could award you punitive damages to further punish the at-fault party’s behavior. It is also possible for an employer to owe restitution to an injured employee if a workplace injury resulted from the employer’s failure to adhere to industry regulations, correct a known safety issue, or otherwise fail to provide the employee with a safe working environment.
It is important to note that while there is a relatively low standard of proof required for qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers must be prepared for a more challenging legal battle if you file a personal injury claim. It’s possible to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits even if you caused your injury yourself. Proving the fault of another party is not a prerequisite for workers’ compensation benefits in California. However, if you file a personal injury claim related to your workplace injury, you must prove the party responsible for your injury caused it because of negligence or intentional misconduct.
Proving fault in a workers personal injury claim requires establishing the defendant’s duty of care in the situation in question and providing evidence that shows they violated this duty of care. Next, the plaintiff must provide a complete and accurate list of all the damages directly resulting from the defendant’s negligence. While it may be possible to secure workers’ compensation benefits relatively quickly after your injury occurs, succeeding with a personal injury claim is likely to take significantly longer.
Every California employer must carry workers’ compensation, and they must handle employees’ requests for claim materials in good faith. Unfortunately, not every employer follows these requirements. Some go so far as to interfere directly with employees’ claims, attempt to convince employees not to file claims, or even retaliate against employees.
Workers’ compensation insurance is just like any other insurance coverage. The insurance provider extends coverage to a policyholder, and the policyholder pays regular premiums to maintain their coverage. The cost of coverage depends on the policyholder’s risk level. If an employer has multiple employees file workers’ compensation claims within a short time, their insurance carrier may increase their premium rates as the policyholder’s perceived risk level increases. When employers worry about their insurance premiums increasing, this can, unfortunately, encourage them to retaliate against employees who file legitimate workers’ compensation claims.
Retaliation can include firing an employee, demoting them, docking pay or hours, or making the employee’s workplace inhospitable. Many cases of retaliation lead to more serious legal proceedings. For example, suppose you try to file a workers’ compensation claim, and your employer fires you or otherwise retaliates against you. In that case, you should speak with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
Working with an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney provides several tangible benefits as you work toward recovering from your workplace injury. First, you can rely on your attorney to guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process. They can also help you address any resistance from your employer. In most cases, simply having an attorney on your side ready to help with your claim is enough to discourage an employer from attempting to interfere with a legitimate claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Your attorney can guide you through each step in the claim process. Once the DWC receives your claim, you can rely on your legal team to address any delays or other issues that might arise with processing your claim. A reasonable attorney is also invaluable if you intend to take further legal action beyond the workers’ compensation system. For example, suppose you have grounds for a personal injury claim. In that case, your attorney can help you gather the materials and evidence you will need for both your workers’ compensation claim and your personal injury claim.
The Mitchell Law Group offers extensive experience in California workers’ compensation law. Every member of our team has years of practical experience guiding clients through workers’ compensation claims and related civil claims. We understand the stress and uncertainty that a workplace injury can cause for victims and their families. You may be concerned about a disability that will prevent you from working and earning income for your household. The stress of managing a workers’ compensation claim on your own can be tremendously challenging.
Our team can offer comprehensive and compassionate legal guidance when you need it most. We will take the time necessary to learn as much as we can about you, your workplace, and your injury to provide meticulous legal representation through every phase of your case. Our goal is to maximize the compensation you receive from the California workers’ compensation system, and if you have grounds for further legal action beyond workers’ comp, we can assist you in exploring these options as well. If you are ready to discuss your case with an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney, contact the Mitchell Law Group and schedule your consultation with our team.