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Your job can be hazardous to your health
Every year more than 400,000 Californians are injured on the job. These work injuries can take many forms, including repetitive stress injuries (such as carpal tunnel or injuries resulting from repeated lifting or twisting), slips and falls, vehicle accidents, lung and breathing problems, and other injuries resulting from exposure to toxic substances.
The injury may be relatively minor, but it can be disabling — or even deadly. In 2019, more than 400 Californians lost their lives to a workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation is your first line of defense
Under California labor law, almost all employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance at a level that’s appropriate to the risks their employees face. This is basically a no-fault system, under which workers who have been hurt can file a claim and be relatively assured that they will receive some money for a work injury.
Special COVID-19 provisions
On September 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1159, which makes it easier for workers who are sick with COVID-19 to claim that the infection is an occupational injury and that they are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Sick employees may be able to stay home with benefits to reduce the spread of the virus to others at work and in the community.
For any Covid-19 work-related questions you might have, it’s best to discuss your situation with an experienced California labor attorney, as the law regarding Covid-19 work claims can be a bit complicated.
What workers’ compensation pays for
California workers’ compensation benefits may include:
- Medical bills: if you have medical bills, they will be reimbursed to help you recover from your work-related injuries. However, your choice of doctors might be limited.
- Temporary disability benefits: if your injury prevents you from performing your job normally and you lose wages because of this, you may receive temporary disability benefits. These payments are usually available only after you miss several days of work and often total about two-thirds of your normal wages.
- Permanent disability benefits: if you don’t completely recover from your injuries, you might receive permanent disability benefits based on the nature and extent of your impairment or injury.
- Death benefits: if you die from a work-related injury or illness, your spouse or children may receive death benefits.
Problems with workers compensation
The system is not perfect. Employees who file a workers’ compensation claim give up their right to file a work injury lawsuit that can yield far greater damages. It is also not foolproof.
- It is easy to miss a deadline and lose your right to payment;
- You may not be able to choose your own doctor, but instead may have to see the insurance company’s doctor;
- If you think the doctor is biased or has missed something, the assessment is hard to contest;
- You may face repeated requests for records or examinations;
- Your employer may contest your claim, perhaps in an effort to keep its insurance premiums from going up;
- Your employer may have simply failed to carry insurance, or may claim that you are not covered by the policy because you are an independent contractor;
- There is the unfortunate, but real, risk that your employer may retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Don’t give up! With the help of a workers’ compensation lawyer, there are still things you can do.
Lawyers for Justice, PC’s work injury attorneys can help you with an appeal or file a California work injury lawsuit.
Simple paperwork errors may be the easiest to remedy. The second step might be to file an appeal that focuses on the medical evaluation or the circumstances of an injury. Not every employer or insurer is prepared for this kind of push back. Beyond that, a work injury lawsuit may be the right choice.
Your case is important to the work injury lawyers at Lawyers for Justice, PC. We put your interests first.
Contact Lawyers for Justice, PC Today for a Free Consultation
If you’ve experienced an injury at work, contact Lawyers for Justice, PC, and we’ll determine if your employer violated any federal or state laws. To get started, call (818) 647-9323 and receive a free consultation, today!