Were you injured at work? Do you need assistance applying for workers’ compensation benefits or appealing a denied claim? If so, contact the Moreno Valley personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw today. We could help you pursue the maximum benefits you deserve to cover your lost income and medical treatment. State law requires employers to provide their workers with coverage for any on-the-job injury or illness.

Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can be an overwhelming and stressful process. When you’re already dealing with an injury, the last thing you want to do is fill out paperwork, locate evidence, and communicate with the insurance company. OnderLaw can take on those responsibilities so you can focus solely on your recovery.

If you want to learn more about the services we provide and how we can help you after a work-related injury, call us now for a free consultation with one of our Moreno Valley workers’ compensation lawyers.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage available to workers suffering from an injury or illness that happened while performing job-related duties. State law requires employers to provide benefits to replace a portion of the employee’s lost wages and pay for all necessary medical care.

Coverage should begin on the day you get hurt or sick. Even if you sustained a minor injury, you deserve benefit payments. You should not be forced to pay out of pocket for any of the costs associated with your medical condition. As long as it happened at work, you can apply for these benefits.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

Anyone injured on the job is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re a surviving family member who lost someone in a job-related accident, some coverage would also be available to you.

Your work-related injury must meet specific criteria to receive these payments. They are:

  • The injury did not result from a felony or another crime you were convicted of committing
  • Your employment proximately caused the injury, even if negligence did not exist at the time of the incident
  • You and your employer were subject to the provisions of workers’ compensation coverage at the time of the injury
  • The injury wasn’t due to an altercation you started with another person
  • The employee did not deliberately cause their own death
  • You did not intentionally harm yourself
  • You were in the course of your employment when the injury occurred
  • You did not cause your injury while unlawfully using a controlled substance or intoxicated by alcohol
  • The injury didn’t result from voluntarily participating in an activity not requiring performing job-related duties, such as a social function or recreational sport

Surviving family members can also collect benefits if their loved one dies from a work-related illness or injury. You must apply for benefits within one year of your relative’s death. Only a surviving spouse, child, or dependent can collect these payments.

What Type of Benefits Are Available?

Four main benefits are available for injured and sick workers: medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, and supplemental job displacement.

Medical Care

Medical care benefits are meant to help employees recover from illnesses and injuries suffered on the job. You must attend appointments with a physician or medical group approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation if your employer belongs to a health care organization or medical provider network.

The only exception to this rule is if you predesignated your doctor. That means you submitted a written request to your employer before the workplace accident occurred to inform them of the health care professional or facility you would like to treat with after a job-related injury.

Your employer’s insurer must pay your doctors directly for all reasonable treatment necessary to relieve or cure the injury. They will only cover appointments related to the workplace accident. You will have to pay for any treatment for injuries you didn’t suffer while performing your job yourself.

Temporary Disability Benefits

If your injury prevents you from earning your usual wages, you could collect temporary disability benefits. Income does not just include your average weekly wage. It can also be calculated on the basis of:

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

Coverage should start if your doctor notifies you that you can’t do your usual job for longer than three days or require overnight hospitalization for the injury.

Benefit payments are two-thirds of the average weekly wage you made before suffering a work-related injury. However, you cannot receive more than the maximum weekly rate set by state law. These limits change each year, so checking with your lawyer of looking at the Division of Workers’ Compensation website for current rates is crucial.

Permanent Disability Benefits

If your injury results in a lasting disability, you might be eligible for permanent disability benefits. Your treating doctor will determine whether you have a permanent disability. This means you have reached maximum medical improvement, and further treatment isn’t likely to improve your condition.

Benefit payments might not cover your total lost wages. The amount you receive will depend on multiple factors, including:

  • Your age
  • The impairment level your doctor assigned to your injury, meaning the extent that the injury affects your ability to work
  • The date the workplace accident occurred
  • Your occupation
  • Loss of future earning capacity for injuries suffered on or after April 19, 2004, but before January 1, 2013

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

Supplemental job displacement benefits are available for injured workers looking for employment. Whether you want to return to your previous employer or switch career paths, you can use a voucher to pay for the necessary expenses.

The voucher can cover costs, such as:

  • Tuition, books, and other fees to attend a state-approved or accredited school
  • Tools necessary to complete a training program
  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Computer equipment costs
  • Licensing and certification fees

Death Benefits

If your loved one suffered a fatal illness or injury on the job, you could receive death benefits. However, only a surviving spouse, child, or dependent is eligible to obtain this coverage.

Payments are equivalent to the rate of total temporary disability the deceased would have received if they were still alive. The duration of payments will depend on how many dependents want to collect these benefits. For example, if there is more than one minor child, they will receive payments until the youngest one turns 18.

You could also collect up to $5,000 for burial expenses if the workplace accident occurred before January 1, 2013, or $10,000 for injuries on or after January 1, 2013.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

You must report the injury or illness suffered on the job to your employer within 30 days if you want workers’ compensation benefits. Go to the hospital or your predesignated doctor immediately after leaving the accident scene. If they recommend follow-up care or ongoing treatment, listen to their instructions.

Maintain all documents related to the workplace accident. That might include hospital bills, prescriptions, radiology reports, and physical therapy notes. If you receive letters from the insurance company, keep a copy of those as well. Medical evidence is crucial to prove you suffered a job-related injury requiring treatment to heal.

It would also be a good idea to hire a Moreno Valley workers’ compensation lawyer from OnderLaw. Cases like this are complex to handle alone. Without a legal team on your side advocating for your rights, you could end up without the money you need to pay your doctor bills and replace part of your lost income.

Workplace Injury Statistics

Workplace accidents can happen to anyone in any job industry. Whether you operate a commercial truck, work in an office, or perform labor-intensive tasks on a construction site, an injury or illness could upend your entire life.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 3,496,700 recordable nonfatal illness and injuries cases in 2019. A total of 1,878,000 cases involved job-related restrictions, time off from work, or transfers. In the private industry, the most common types of workplace accidents were:

  • Falls, slips, trips – 244,000 nonfatal injuries
  • Contact with equipment or object – 229,410 nonfatal injuries
  • Transportation incidents – 49,430 injuries
  • Explosions and fires – 1,700 injuries
  • Overexertion and bodily reaction – 275,590 injuries
  • Violence and other injuries by a person or animal – 44,480 injuries

There were also 5,333 fatal occupational injuries in 2019. This is a two percent increase from the previous year and represents the highest number of annual deaths since 2007.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

At OnderLaw, our Moreno Valley workers’ compensation lawyers will fight for your rights. We care about our clients and want you to receive the maximum benefits you deserve. If you don’t have an experienced team in your corner, the insurance company might take advantage of you and deny your claim.

How OnderLaw Could Help

If you sustained a work-related illness or injury or lost someone you love in an on-the-job accident, contact OnderLaw to discuss the circumstances. We can review your case and determine the available legal options. Our team will help you seek the benefits you need to afford your expenses. You should not be left with any bills to pay if your actions didn’t contribute to the incident.

Call OnderLaw right now for your free consultation, and let us help you get on the road to recovery.