Injuring yourself at work is the last thing you think will happen. And although your employer may have provided a safe working environment, accidents happen even under the best of circumstances.

If you’ve been injured at work in Irvine and wish to file a workers’ compensation claim, you should consider speaking to the Irvine personal injury attorneys at OnderLaw first. We have experience helping residents of Irvine and others across the nation get the compensation they need to move on after a workplace accident, and we can use that experience to help you and your family. Call today for a free consultation. We will review your case and discuss your options with you, all at no cost. Call OnderLaw today.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

Workers’ Compensation (WC) Insurance is a state requirement for almost all employers in California. This insurance provides benefits to workers that suffer injury or illness while on the job and benefits to families of workers that were killed while working. Covered mishaps can include workplace accident injuries, repetitive stress injuries, and any work-related illness or disease. There are different types and amounts of benefits that will vary with the severity of the injury or illness.

WC insurance is mandated by the state of California but is administered by private insurance companies. Under most circumstances, a worker must release their employer from all liability for the injury in order to receive WC benefits. A worker need not prove fault or negligence to collect benefits, only that their injury occurred while they were performing their job-related tasks at the time of injury.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

Almost anyone working directly for an employer in California qualifies for WC benefits, with some exceptions, including:

  • Independent contractors
  • Employees working for aid or sustenance
  • Employees working for less than $100
  • Volunteers
  • Those employed by family members
  • Sole proprietorships

An example would be a construction worker that trips on a cluttered floor at a job site or an industrial worker that contracts an illness from breathing in harmful chemicals over time.  Both of these would likely be covered under WC.

What Types of Benefits Are Available?

The available benefits depend on the severity of the injury or illness. Some available benefits include the following:

  • Medical benefits. WC insurance covers medical treatment that is required to cure or treat the injury. This can apply to hospital bills, medication, rehabilitation, or therapy related to the injury or illness. If you wish to be treated by a specific physician, you must predesignate this choice with your employer before you are injured.
  • Permanent disability benefits. These are benefits paid to workers that cannot completely recover from their workplace injury. Permanent disability benefits can be paid out even if you return to work after your injury. They are limited, and the amount you may receive is determined by several factors, such as the date of your injury, your overall level of impairment, your age, and your occupation.
  • Temporary disability benefits. These are benefits paid to injured workers that are temporarily prevented from completing their normal duties due to work-related injury or illness. The amount is normally two-thirds of your pre-tax average weekly wage, though this can vary, and benefits are paid out if you’re unable to work for three or more days or you are hospitalized for a work-related injury or illness.
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits. These benefits are non-transferable vouchers paid to workers that are unable to return to work after their temporary disability benefits end and their employer is unable to provide modified or alternative work to match their disability. The voucher can be used for retraining, skill enhancement, education, equipment, tools, licensing, certification, or vocational counseling. The amount can be from $4,000 to $10,000, and vouchers expire after two years from the date of issue.
  • Death benefits. These are benefits paid to the family and dependents of a worker who has died on the job. They can be used to cover funeral or burial expenses, and the amount is determined by the number of total or partial dependents.
  • Return to Work Supplement Program. This is a one-time payment of $5,000 paid to workers that have received a supplemental job displacement voucher. This benefit can be used to supplement lost income.
  • Compensable consequences. Workers can also receive compensation for future income losses attributed to a previous workplace injury or illness. For example, if an industrial worker loses their sense of smell after inhaling toxic fumes while on the job and later suffers a burn injury because they couldn’t smell leaking natural gas, they may be able to claim benefits under compensable consequences.
  • Life pension benefits. These are a form of permanent disability benefits paid out to injured workers who have exhausted their PD benefits.

Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury

If you’re injured at work, it’s important to act quickly to start the WC process and protect your rights. Here are some helpful steps to follow after a workplace injury:

  1. Get medical help immediately. Even if you don’t think your injury is severe enough to warrant treatment, get a full evaluation done by your doctor. This step is essential to get the WC claims process started. Make sure to get a copy of any records showing the extent of the injury and recommended treatment.
  2. Notify your employer of the injury. Let your employer know that you’ve been injured on the job with a written and dated letter. If you have a workplace-related illness, advise your employer as soon as you learn that the illness may have been caused by working. You must notify your employer within 30 days of learning of the injury or illness, or you may lose eligibility for WC benefits.
  3. Start the claims process. Apply for benefits with the California Department of Industrial Relations. Your employer is required to provide a claim form within one business day of learning about your injury or illness. Complete the employee section of the form and return it to your employer.
  4. Retain legal counsel. Speak to a qualified attorney with experience in workers’ compensation claims to see that you get the full benefit amount that you’re owed for your injury.

Workplace Injury Statistics

Here are some statistics and data regarding workplace injuries and illnesses in California and elsewhere:

  • Laborers and freight workers had the most work-related injuries and illnesses in the nation in 2019.
  • The top two causes of workplace injury in California in 2020 were the Covid pandemic and lifting heavy objects.
  • There were over 30,000 first reports of injury related to repetitive motion in the workplace in California in 2020.
  • There were over 152,000 workplace-related strain or tear injuries reported in California in 2020.
  • The single largest cause of workplace-related deaths nationwide is transportation accidents and vehicle crashes.

Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A qualified attorney is necessary when filing a WC claim to ensure that you’re getting all the benefits and compensation you’re owed.

The workers’ compensation insurance system in California is convoluted and difficult for a layperson to understand. It’s full of hidden obstacles and bureaucratic stumbling blocks that can trip up an inexperienced or unwary claimant. Although WC insurance is mandated by state law, it is still administered by private insurance companies that seek to protect their bottom line and avoid paying out claims.

Although there are resources available to help you understand how WC benefits work, unless you hire an attorney to assist you, insurance companies will almost always have the upper hand. Even if you complete all the necessary forms and follow all the required steps, the insurance company can still deny your claim if they don’t believe it has merit. Your attorney from OnderLaw will act as your advocate during the entire claims process. We will handle all the necessary paperwork and answer any questions from the insurance company, allowing you the time you need to recover from your injury.

Your attorney can assist you with resolving any disputes regarding your choice of physician, the treatment you receive, or any out-of-pocket expenses relating to your illness or injury. We will also be available to you at any time should you have any questions or need support of any kind.

How OnderLaw Can Help

We have experience helping Irvine residents with claims of all types, from workers’ compensation claims to personal injury lawsuits against corporate giants like Johnson and Johnson. We handle cases of any size, big or small, and we have the experience and knowledge to make the claims process easier and simpler for you and your family.

In addition to our legal counsel, you’ll receive top-tier service at OnderLaw . We believe all our clients deserve respect, compassion, and empathy during what must be a very difficult ordeal, and we pride ourselves on providing a level of service that you won’t find anywhere else.

Our unique combination of skill, experience, and service has yielded fantastic results, to the tune of over $3.5 billion recovered in settlements and awards for our clients. Head to our Testimonials page to learn more.

Call Today for a Free Consultation

Don’t let a workplace injury or illness determine the course of your future. Call OnderLaw today for a free, no-obligation consultation, and let us review your case and discuss your options. The consultation is absolutely free, so don’t delay any longer. Let us help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve so you can heal and get back to your life. Call today.