Every employee dedicates a piece of their life to their work. When work-related injuries occur in Oceanside, CA, they can be traumatic, and they can seriously injure an employee and complicate their life. This is why large employers in California are required to have some form of workers’ compensation in place to help their employees in case an accident occurs. However, filing a workers’ compensation claim can become complicated if you don’t know how the laws around it work. Luckily, our team at Mitchell Law Corporation is prepared to help you with your Oceanside workers’ compensation claim.
The workers’ compensation process is notoriously complicated. When it comes to filing workers’ compensation claims, it’s crucial that you find an experienced defense lawyer who can properly guide you through your case.
At Mitchell Law Corporation, our team of attorneys shares decades of experience working in personal injury and employment law with our clients. We understand just how challenging an injury can become in your work and home life, which is why we are committed to fighting for the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers have served countless employees across Southern California and are dedicated to representing and protecting your rights throughout your workers’ compensation case. If you were injured while on the job, you need immediate help. Don’t delay asking how our team may be able to represent you in Oceanside. Let our firm help you get fair compensation after a workplace injury.
While there are federal laws in place requiring workers’ compensation for certain employers across the country, each state can implement its own laws regarding workers’ compensation as well. California law requires all employers to offer some form of workers’ compensation, even if there is just one employee. This is because workers’ compensation provides essential assistance, such as financial coverage for medical bills and treatment when an employee is injured on the job.
Workers’ compensation is like a form of insurance designed to benefit both the employee and employer when a worker is injured. It provides an employee with the restitution they need to cover their medical bills and missing work while they heal, and it can help prevent the employee from suing their employer. Generally, those who file for workers’ compensation in California cannot file a lawsuit against their employer for the same issue.
Every employer offers multiple forms of compensation to assist their employees when an injury or illness occurs from their job. Here are the five main forms of workers’ compensation in California.
- Medical Care and Treatment
If an employee is injured while doing their job or is diagnosed with an illness due to their workplace environment, they have the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to cover the costs of their medical bills and treatment. However, in most cases, they are required to go to an approved doctor who is part of the Medical Provider Network. This is a special group of healthcare professionals dedicated to treating injured and sick employees in California. You also can visit your personal physician and may be able to have them provide evidence for your claim if you predesignate them and your employer approves.
- Temporary Disability and Wage Loss Benefits
When an employee is injured or becomes ill enough that they must take time off of work, they are eligible for what is known as temporary disability or wage loss benefits. This form of workers’ compensation was designed to supplement employees who are losing money because they are unable to work on account of their injury or illness. Temporary disability payments are meant to replace the wages lost by an employee while they heal and are around two-thirds of the regular pay an employee would have received before the accident. As the name states, temporary disability is not meant to be permanent and is only provided until an employee is cleared to work again.
- Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent disability benefits are provided in situations where an employee is seriously injured to the point that it permanently affects them and their earning capacity for the rest of their life. This could involve losing a limb, becoming paralyzed, or receiving some form of permanent disability while on the job. There are two forms of permanent disability benefits:
- Permanent partial disability benefits. Permanent partial disability benefits are granted to employees who receive a permanent disability as a result of a workplace accident but are expected to be able to rejoin the workforce in the future. A permanent disability that is considered to be any less than 100% is considered to be a permanent partial disability and qualifies for partial disability benefits. Partial disability benefits are only granted for a set number of weeks and are around two-thirds of the employee’s pre-injury wages.
- Permanent total disability benefits. Permanent total disability is granted to employees who receive a permanent disability while on the job that prevents them from being able to rejoin the workforce permanently. This includes any disability with a rating of 100% and offers the employee compensation for the rest of their life. This kind of compensation comes in the form of a weekly payment that is two-thirds of the employee’s wages before they had their accident.
- Job Displacement Benefits
Job displacement benefits are a type of voucher for employees with partial permanent injuries. They receive it when they return to the workforce and have to take on new jobs as a result of their disability. A Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher can cover important training elements for a disabled employee, including education, vocational training, and equipment and tools for training. An employer is most often required to provide job displacement benefits when a partially disabled employee is ready to return to their workplace, but their employer doesn’t have any positions fit for them due to their injury.
- Death Benefits
While no employer ever wants to lose an employee, they are required to offer some form of death benefits for an employee’s family in the case that something serious does occur. Death benefits are required because, in many cases, the employee who lost their life had a family that depended on them for income. Accidental death benefits can be given to the late employee’s spouse, children, or other listed dependents, depending on the circumstances of the claim.
California has some of the most in-depth employment laws and protections of any state in the country, in addition to having strict workers’ compensation requirements to benefit employees. When you are injured on the job or become ill due to your job, your rights include:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim for the injury or illness
- Having attorney representation after filing a workers’ compensation claim
- Not paying for your medical bills through your own insurance if your employer tries to get you to do so
- Receiving medical treatment and continued care for an injury or illness
- Being evaluated by your personal physician outside of the Medical Provider Network
- Receiving disability compensation if you suffered a permanent injury (whether total or partial)
- Not being harassed, treated poorly, or retaliated against by your employer if you decide to file a claim
- Returning to work when a doctor approves you
- Having your employer make reasonable accommodations on your behalf so that you can perform your job’s duties properly
- Appealing a decision made on your workers’ compensation claim
- Filing a claim against liable third parties outside of your employer
If you were injured on the job or became sick due to your workplace environment, you have the right to file a claim for compensation against your employer. Having a qualified lawyer on your side while filing a claim can help you in a variety of ways.
Help You Gather Evidence and File a Claim
At Mitchell Law Corporation, our team of attorneys has extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation and personal injury law. This allows us to guide Oceanside employees through the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim while we help them better understand how the laws around their case will work. In addition to helping you learn more about workers’ compensation, our qualified lawyers can also work to assist you in gathering evidence to back up your claim. When filing, you’ll need to provide strong evidence that an injury or illness occurred that impacted your life in some way.
Negotiate Your Settlement
Hiring an experienced defense lawyer can make a massive difference in the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim. In most cases, your employer has a lawyer who is in charge of handling all compensation claims and is more than experienced with fighting to pay as little as possible. By hiring one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers, you can trust that we’ll use our knowledge of the law and negotiation skills to fight for the settlement you deserve. As an employee who has dedicated their time, hard work, and life to their job, it’s imperative that you receive compensation for the injury or illness you sustained.
Represent Your Interests and Your Rights
Going up against your employer and their lawyer can be daunting, especially if your employer is known for fighting claims. By working with one of our team members at Mitchell Law Corporation, you can have some peace of mind that your interests will be represented throughout the negotiation. If your case ends up going through litigation, our attorneys are prepared to protect you and your rights throughout the proceedings and fight for the most ideal outcome for your situation.
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim is relatively simple but can take a long time, depending on whether your claim is accepted. Generally, an employee should follow these steps when trying to file a claim for their workplace injury or illness.
- Report the Injury or Illness
Your first step should always be reporting your injury or illness to your employer after it occurs. Reporting is different than filing an actual claim and serves as a notice to your employer that you sustained an injury or received an illness due to your job.
- File a Claim With Your Employer
After the initial accident has taken place and you are in a position to do so, you must formally file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer. You’ll have to fill out a form that states the details of your accident and your injury. You will then send it to your employer for them to finish.
- File Application for Adjunction of Claim (If Needed)
If your employer decides to deny or dispute your claim, you can file what is known as an application for adjunction of a claim. This begins an appeals process where your case will be reopened with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. If you want to appeal your claim, you must make sure you file your application within one year after the date of your injury.
The circumstances of a workplace injury can vary with every accident. Some of the most common workplace accidents, injuries, and illnesses that occur include:
- Injuries due to unsafe work conditions. Every employee has the right to a safe work environment. When an employee is injured or becomes sick due to an unsafe workspace, they have the right to file a claim against their employer for violating this right and for the injury they sustained. An unsafe work environment can look like slippery and messy spaces that are difficult to navigate, an unfinished part of a building that causes illness, fire or safety hazards that employees weren’t warned about, and more.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries, also called repetitive motion injuries, are a type of injury sustained when an individual moves certain muscles, tendons, or joints consistently and ultimately causes them strain. These kinds of injuries most commonly occur from overuse and can cause extreme pain and discomfort to an employee who performs repetitive actions for their job. Common repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, trigger finger, and shin splints.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are serious injuries that can permanently impact an individual for the rest of their life. They can cause pain, confusion, and sometimes even mental disabilities. Traumatic brain injuries often occur as a result of a hard hit, whether a person falls, something falls on them, or they were involved in a car accident. If you received a traumatic brain injury while on the job, do not wait to file a workers’ compensation claim.
- Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries are another common workplace injury that can severely harm or even paralyze an individual who receives one. Like your brain, your spinal cord is fragile and is imperative to your brain and body function. When you receive an injury to your spinal cord, both your cognitive and motor function can suffer. Because spinal cord injuries can often take a while to heal and require careful treatment, they are a common cause of workers’ compensation claims.
- Occupational illnesses. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), an occupational illness is any condition, disorder, or illness resulting from exposure in an employee’s work environment. Unlike physical injuries, occupational illnesses are considered to be “non-instantaneous” and occur over time. There is a wide range of occupational illnesses that an employee can contract depending on their work environment, including:
- Chemical poisoning or exposure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory disease
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Mental health and stress disorders (such as PTSD)
- Hearing loss
Workers’ compensation insurance encompasses various accidents and physical injuries that could occur while an employee is working. While not all minor physical injuries may be eligible for workers’ compensation, employees who sustain serious injuries at their place of work may qualify for compensation. Some common injuries that may qualify for workers’ compensation include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Serious eye injuries
- Brain injuries
- Injuries from traumatic accidents
- Jaw or dental injuries
Being involved in a workplace accident can be traumatizing, especially if it leaves you unable to work. At Mitchell Law Corporation, we understand just how intimidating suffering a workplace injury can be, and we believe you deserve to be compensated for your struggles. That’s why we are devoted to protecting and representing the rights of employees from around the state. If you were injured while on the job or were diagnosed with an occupational illness due to your workplace conditions, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to try and make up for the financial losses you’ve experienced.
For assistance filing a workers’ compensation claim in Oceanside or to learn more about how our team of attorneys may be able to assist you, contact Mitchell Law Corporation today. We can help you with every phase of the process.