If you sustained a job-related injury or illness that left you with a disability, OnderLaw might be able to help you pursue the benefits you deserve. We know how much a disabling condition can disrupt your life. If you can’t return to work, you can’t earn your regular income. You should not have to suffer changes in your life that were caused by an accident that occurred while you were doing your job. You need the financial support to supplement your lost wages and pay for your medical treatment, and we know how to accomplish that for you.

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides medical care, wage replacement, and other benefits to workers injured on the job. California law requires all employers to carry coverage for their employees. You can file a claim with their insurance company and seek the maximum available payments so you can heal your injury and move forward with your life.

At OnderLaw, our Long Beach personal injury attorneys know the economic burden you face. You might worry about how you’re going to afford your bills when you can’t go back to work. It’s a stressful and overwhelming situation for anyone to find themselves in. You can depend on our team to work toward a favorable outcome in your case and help you get back on your feet.

Call us for a free consultation to learn more about our legal services.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is an insurance program for injured workers. All employers must purchase and maintain insurance coverage for their employees. If you suffer an injury or illness while performing your job duties, you can apply for various benefits.

These benefits are meant to pay for all the necessary medical care you need to recover from your work injury and replace a portion of your lost income if you can’t return to work or earn the same pay as before the accident.

Benefits for surviving spouses, children, and other dependents are also available if you lost a loved one in a workplace accident. If you relied on your relative for financial support, you could recover some of the lost wages you will suffer due to their death. You could also recover compensation for any costs related to their burial.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

Only eligible employees can collect workers’ compensation benefits. That means you must meet these requirements:

  • Injury or illness suffered while performing your work-related duties
  • Covered by workers’ compensation insurance from your employer
  • You did not contribute to your injury or illness. For example, intentionally self-inflicted injury or an accident arising out of intoxication are not covered.
  • The employment was a proximate cause of the injury, whether or not there was negligence

Common injuries and illnesses that qualify for workers’ compensation are:

  • Broken bones
  • Mesothelioma
  • Loss of limb
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Sprained muscle
  • Vision or hearing loss
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Burns
  • Psychological injury, such as PTSD
  • Dislocated joints
  • Lung disease
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Electrocution

Injuries that occur while you’re off the clock, such as on lunch break, are not eligible for coverage. Additionally, if you attend an event organized by your employer, such as a kickball game, and get hurt while participating, that won’t be a covered injury, except in specific circumstances.

What Types of Benefits Are Available?

There are five types of workers’ compensation benefits for injured and sick workers.

Medical Care

Medical care benefits will pay for reasonably necessary treatment to heal or relieve the effects of the work-related injury or illness. The insurance company must pay all doctors directly for these expenses. You should not receive any bills from your medical providers if the treatment you receive is related to a workplace accident.

Temporary Disability Benefits

If you lose any wages because your injury prevents you from performing the regular tasks of your job, you could collect temporary disability benefits. The payments you would receive are two-thirds of the gross wages you lost due to the injury or illness.

Coverage begins if you stay at the hospital overnight or your medical provider determines that you can’t do your job for longer than three days. Benefits end if:

  • Your doctor releases you to return to work;
  • Your physician believes your condition has improved as much as possible; or
  • You return to your job.

Permanent Disability Benefits

If you suffer a disabling injury or illness that causes ongoing issues, you could collect permanent disability benefits, even if you return to your job. This means that you haven’t recovered and likely won’t, even with further treatment.

Your payment amounts will depend on these factors:

  • The date you suffered an injury;
  • The wages you earned before the accident; and
  • The impairment rating determined by your physician

An impairment rating is a percentage your doctor assigns indicating how much the injury or illness affects your ability to work.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

You can collect supplemental job displacement benefits if:

  • You suffer a permanent partial disability;
  • You don’t return to your job within 60 days of your temporary partial disability payments ending; and
  • Your employer doesn’t offer alternative or modified job duties within 30 days of losing your temporary partial disability coverage.

The insurance company will provide a non-transferable voucher that you can use to pay for skill enhancement, educational retraining, or both at a state-accredited or state-approved school. Coverage includes tuition, books, fees, and other expenses necessary for training. The amount of the voucher will depend on the severity of your permanent disability.

Death Benefits

If your loved one died from a job-related illness or injury, you could collect death benefits. Only eligible spouses, children, and other dependent family members will receive coverage. Payments are at the same rate as total temporary disability benefits. Compensation for burial expenses is also available.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

If you get hurt at your job, there are steps you should take immediately. What you decide to do after a workplace accident could impact the outcome of your claim. You’ll need to protect your rights to benefits by proving you sustained an injury or illness at work.

The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Go to a hospital or your doctor after leaving your workplace for a complete evaluation of your injury. If you wait days or weeks, it could negatively impact your case. Insurance companies can use that information to deny your claim or offer minimal benefits because it indicates evidence that your injury doesn’t exist or isn’t serious.

Your initial physician might recommend that you follow up for various types of treatment. It’s critical that you attend all of your appointments until you recover or your doctor determines you won’t heal any further and provides an impairment rating.

You must also report the injury to your employer. You must inform them of what happened within 30 days of the accident. If you don’t, you might not be able to recover benefits. They should provide you with a form you will need to complete and return to begin the claims process.

It’s also a good idea to hire a Long Beach workers’ compensation attorney. OnderLaw can relieve your burden by handling every legal aspect of your case so you can focus on healing.

Workplace Injury Statistics

In 2019, the three main causes of occupational injuries were:

  • Overexertion, bodily reaction – 275,590
  • Falls, slips, trips – 244,000
  • Contact with equipment/objects – 229, 410

These factors contributed to 84% of injuries requiring employees to take time off work to heal.

During that same year, there were 5,333 fatal workplace injuries. The most common causes were:

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

The occupations with the highest number of fatal incidents per 10,000 full-time workers in 2019 were nursing assistants, with 370 incidents, heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers, with 360 incidents, and laborers and freight, stock, and materials movers, with 350 incidents.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

OnderLaw has recovered over $3 billion in settlements for accident victims. Our successful track record has earned us recognition from multiple legal organizations, including Super Lawyers, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and The National Trial Lawyers. We also received an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a prestigious distinction only given to the top law firms in the country.

When you hire one of our Long Beach workers’ compensation attorneys, you will have an experienced and aggressive legal team in your corner. Insurance claims are more complicated than you may think. Unrepresented claimants often end up with minimal benefits or denied claims. If you don’t know your rights, you might not realize the maximum payments you deserve and accept any amount of money you are offered.

OnderLaw won’t allow the insurance company to take advantage of you. We will be by your side throughout the entire process, so you know your rights. Our goal is to recover the necessary benefits to afford your medical care and supplement any lost income due to your injury or illness. We know you’re counting on us to achieve the best possible result and will tirelessly work to meet your needs.

How OnderLaw Could Help

The Long Beach workers’ compensation attorneys of OnderLaw are ready to fight for you. We provide one-on-one attention and personalized services to every client. You will be our priority from start to finish of your case. Whether your injury is minor or severe, we will put forth the same effort to reach your goals.

Contact OnderLaw for a free consultation if you suffered a work-related injury or illness.