If you suffered an injury or illness while performing your job-related duties, call the California personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw right now. You might be entitled to benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. We could represent you in your initial claim or help appeal a denied claim.

The process for pursuing workers’ compensation benefits can be time-consuming and stressful. You already have a painful injury you’re trying to recover from and don’t want the additional burden of handling a claim. At OnderLaw , we take the responsibility off of our client’s shoulders and complete every step of the process on their behalf. You can depend on us to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and communicate with the insurance company.

Call OnderLaw today for a free consultation with one of our California worker’s compensation lawyers to learn more about our services and how we can help you after a workplace accident.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance provides various benefits to employees that get hurt on the job. California statute 3700 requires employers to pay for their worker’s medical care and other losses due to a job-related injury or illness.

Coverage should go into effect on the date of the accident. As long as the injury occurred while you were performing the responsibilities of your job, you should receive the available benefits listed in the policy. You won’t have to pay out of pocket for your incurred costs if your injury meets specific requirements.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

An injured worker or the surviving spouse, child, or dependent of a deceased employee can pursue workers’ compensation benefits. The job-related injury must meet the criteria below to qualify for coverage:

  • The injury did not result from an altercation started by the employee.
  • The employer and employee were subject to the provisions of the Workers’ Compensation Division when the accident occurred.
  • The employee didn’t intentionally injure themselves.
  • The employee acted within the course of their employment at the time of the injury.
  • The employee didn’t deliberately and willfully cause their own death.
  • The injury did not result in a conviction for committing a felony or crime punishable under California Penal Code Section 17.
  • The employment proximately caused the injury whether negligence existed or not.
  • The injury didn’t occur while the worker was participating in a social, recreational, or athletic activity that didn’t involve job-related duties.
  • Intoxication by alcohol or the unlawful use of a controlled substance did not contribute to the injury.

An experienced attorney can review the circumstances of your work-related injury to determine whether you’re eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

What Type of Benefits Are Available?

You could apply for various benefits depending on the severity of your injury and other factors.

Medical care is available immediately to anyone suffering from a job-related illness or injury. Even if you suffered minimal harm in a workplace accident, you would still qualify for coverage. The insurance company should pay for all reasonable treatment you need to relieve or cure your condition.

You have to pay out of pocket for your medical expenses if your employer belongs to a healthcare organization or medical provider network, and you choose to treat with a doctor not approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The only exception to this rule is if you predesignated a physician or medical group before the accident.

You must submit your request in writing to your employer to predesignate a doctor. Include the name of the medical provider or facility you would like to visit for any on-the-job injury or illness. If they approve your request, the insurance company should cover those appointments.

Temporary disability benefits replace part of an employee’s wages while treating a workplace injury. Coverage will start if you require hospitalization for the injury overnight or your physician notifies you that you can’t perform your usual job longer than three days.

The payments you receive will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage before the incident. State law prohibits anyone from collecting benefits over the allowed maximum weekly amount.

Average weekly wages can be calculated on the basis of:

  • Wages
  • Tips
  • Commissions
  • Overtime
  • Food
  • Lodging
  • Bonuses

Permanent disability benefits cover injuries resulting in a lasting disability. Your physician will review your condition to determine whether you have a permanent disability and provide an impairment rating. This rating is a percentage indicating how much an injury affects a person’s abilities to work.

Benefits might not cover all of the income you lose. The payment amount depends on a range of factors, such as:

  • The impairment rating assigned by your doctor
  • Your age
  • The type of occupation you have
  • If the injury happened on or after April 19, 2004, but before January 1, 2013, loss of future earning capacity will also be a factor in determining the payment

Supplemental job displacement benefits are available under two circumstances:

  • For an injury suffered between January 1, 2004, and December 31, 2012, not resulting in a permanent partial disability – The employee has not returned to their job within sixty days from the date temporary disability benefits ended, and their employer did not offer alternative or modified work within thirty days of temporary disability coverage ending.
  • For an injury suffered on or after January 1, 2013 – The employer did not offer suitable modified, regular, or alternative work within 60 days of the medical evaluation report or claims administrator indicating the injury caused a permanent partial disability.

These benefits are available as a voucher to pay for training at a public school in California or any provider included in the list of eligible training providers. The voucher can also cover expenses, such as:

  • Testing fees
  • Licensing or certification fees
  • State-approved or accredited school tuition and other costs
  • Computer equipment
  • Tools needed for training courses
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • A vocational counselor or licensed placement agency services

Death benefits are available for a surviving spouse, child, or dependent if the worker’s death resulted from a job-related illness or injury. Coverage includes reasonable burial expenses up to $5,000 if the injury happened before January 1, 2013, or up to $10,000 for injuries on or after January 1, 2013.

You can also receive payments at the total temporary total disability rate. They must be at least $224 per week. The duration of these payments will depend on how many dependents are collecting benefits. For example, if there is more than one minor child, coverage will end when the youngest minor turns 18.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

State law requires injured workers to report workplace accidents within thirty days. You could lose your right to benefits if you don’t notify your employer of the injury during this timeframe.

Go to your predesignated medical provider or someone approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation immediately after the accident. The doctor might recommend follow-up care or ongoing treatment. Listen to their orders and continue treating your injuries until your physicians release you from their care.

Hire a California workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. OnderLaw can begin to work on your case while you’re recovering.

The documents associated with your treatment can be excellent evidence to prove that the injury or illness happened at work. Keep a copy of every record and bill and forward them to us. We have the resources to obtain the available evidence necessary to show you deserve benefits. However, the documentation you collect could ensure we provide the insurance company with complete records.

Workplace Injury Statistics

In 2019, the rate of recordable cases involving nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses was 3 per 100 full-time employees. There were 3,496,700 total recordable cases of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,333 fatal work injuries in 2019. The total number of fatal occupational injuries by exposure or event include:

  • Falls, slips, and trips – 880
  • Contact with equipment or object – 732
  • Transportation incidents – 2,122
  • Fires and explosions – 99
  • Violence and other injuries by animals or persons – 841
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments – 642

The occupational groups with the highest number of fatal injuries in 2019 were transportation and material moving, construction and extraction, and service.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

It’s nearly impossible to reach a favorable outcome in a worker’s compensation case if you don’t hire a lawyer. Most people don’t understand the legal process or state laws. Insurance companies can take advantage of unrepresented workers and deny the claim or underpay benefits.

The California workers’ compensation lawyers of OnderLaw can be your advocate and protect your rights. We will aggressively seek the maximum available benefits to cover your treatment and lost wages.

How OnderLaw Could Help

OnderLaw has represented clients like you since 2002. Our award-winning firm isn’t afraid to battle against the insurance company to secure the money owed to injured workers. You will be our top priority while we’re working on your claim. You can expect personalized attention and services until the end.

If you were injured or developed a medical condition in a work-related accident, call OnderLaw today for a free consultation. Our California workers’ compensation lawyers are available 24/7 to discuss your case and advise you about the available legal options to pursue the benefits you need to recover and get your life back on track.