Did you suffer an injury or illness at work while performing your job? If so, you might be entitled to benefits to cover your lost income and medical care. The Oakland personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw have been representing injured workers since 2002 and know how to help you recover the money you need to get on with your life.

Regardless of where you work, you probably feel relatively safe. Unfortunately, you could be involved in a catastrophic accident that leaves you injured. Whether you work in an office environment, at a construction site, or in a warehouse, you could sustain severe injuries or an illness that requires ongoing medical treatment.

The Oakland workers’ compensation attorneys of OnderLaw understand the stress you feel. If you can’t return to your job, you might not have the financial means to afford your medical bills and other expenses. Those unpaid bills can lead to significant economic strain and put you in debt. You should not be forced to pay out of pocket for the costs you incurred from the accident that happened while you were doing your job.

OnderLaw is ready to take on your case and pursue the maximum available benefits so you can heal and get back to life as usual. Call us for a free consultation to learn about your legal options after a workplace accident.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is available to employees in California through their employer. All business owners must purchase and maintain this type of insurance to cover a worker’s lost wages and medical treatment if there’s a job-related injury or illness.

You can only collect benefit payments if you suffered your injury while performing the duties of your job. Examples include delivering consumer goods to a person’s home, operating a forklift on a construction site, or walking across the office to make copies of a document. If you were on your lunch break or at a company-sponsored event, you would likely not be entitled to benefits.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

Any employee covered by their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance could seek benefits for their losses. Whether you are off work for a time because of your injury, get treatment and come right back to work, or if you are unable to return to your usual and customary line of work, your work injury will make you eligible for some type of benefits.

Injuries that could qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Electrocution
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Loss of limb
  • Sprained ankle
  • Dislocated joints
  • Psychological trauma
  • Hearing or vision loss
  • Torn ligament
  • Pulled muscles

Even if you are a part-time employee, when you are injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

What Benefits Are Available?

When you get hurt at work, you could file a claim for various benefits. The main types are below.

Medical Care

Your employer should provide medical care coverage so you can recover from your injury. This insurance benefit pays for all necessary and reasonable treatment related to the accident. If you see your doctor for reasons other than your job-related injury, you will have to pay for that treatment yourself. Covered expenses can include:

  • Hospital stays
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Prescription medication
  • Office visits
  • Emergency room visits
  • Imaging tests
  • Travel costs to drive to and from the doctor

You can only attend appointments with physicians within a healthcare organization agreed to by the insurance carrier and approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. That means you’ll only receive coverage for those treatments if the doctor you visit is a part of that organization. You could choose to see an unapproved medical provider, but you will likely be required to pay out of pocket.

Temporary Disability Benefits

You can apply for temporary disability benefits if you can’t perform your job duties because of your injury. You would collect payments that are two-thirds of your average gross wages before the accident.

If you stay overnight in a hospital or your doctor determines that your injury prevents you from working for more than three days, you should start receiving benefits. Temporary disability coverage ends if:

  • Your physician releases you back to work;
  • You return to your job; or
  • Your doctor determines your illness or injury improved as much as possible.

Permanent Disability benefits

Permanent disability benefits cover injuries and illnesses that result in ongoing medical problems. Even if you start working again, you could continue to collect payments. However, you might not be able to recover your total lost income. The payments you receive will depend on multiple factors, such as:

  • The wages you made before suffering a disabling injury;
  • The date of the accident; and
  • The impairment rating your doctor provided.

An impairment rating is stated as a percentage that indicates how much an injury or illness affects a person’s functioning.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

Supplemental job displacement benefits offer compensation for educational retraining and skill enhancement so you can return to the workforce. You could receive vouchers that pay for books, tuition, fees, and other costs related to training for a new job.

You’re eligible for these benefits if:

  • You suffered a permanent partial disability;
  • Your employer doesn’t offer modified duties or an alternative position within 30 days of the date you stopped collecting temporary disability benefits; and
  • You can’t return to work within 60 days of your temporary disability coverage ending.

Mileage Benefits

You could also seek reimbursement for the expenses you incurred while traveling to and from your doctors to treat your injury or illness. Costs might include mileage, parking, gas, and tolls. The payments you receive will depend on the date of travel.

Death Benefits

Death benefits are available if your loved one died from an on-the-job illness or injury. A surviving spouse, children, and other dependents are the only eligible family members that can collect payments. You will receive payments at the same rate as temporary disability benefits. You could also recover compensation for burial expenses.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

If you develop a disease or get hurt at your job, you must take immediate legal action. You have to report the injury to your employer within 30 days if you want to collect benefits. Once you leave the accident scene, go to a hospital for an evaluation of your injuries. If the doctor recommends follow-up treatment, follow their orders.

You should also hire an Oakland workers’ compensation attorney. OnderLaw can handle all legal aspects of your case while you’re recovering from your injury. We can investigate the accident, gather evidence, and pursue the benefits you’re owed from the insurance company.

Workplace Injury Statistics

Many non-fatal injuries occurred in 2019, requiring taking time away from work. The total number by job industry were:

  • Natural resources and mining – 6,830
  • Private industry – 119,460
  • Total goods-producing – 29,440
  • Manufacturing – 10,640
  • Construction – 11,960
  • Trade, transportation, and utilities – 36,700

In 2019, 5,333 workers died while performing their job-related duties. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration cited multiple violations resulting in injuries and deaths. They were:

  • Fall protection in construction
  • Hazard communication in general industries
  • Respiratory protection in general industries
  • Scaffolding requirements in construction
  • Ladders in construction
  • Control of hazardous energy in general industries
  • Powered industrial trucks in general industries
  • Training requirements for fall protection
  • Face and eye protection
  • Machinery and machine guarding

In California, the most common causes of fatal workplace injuries in 2019 were:

  • Slips, trips, and falls – 88 fatalities
  • Contact with objects and equipment – 55 fatalities
  • Violence – 94 fatalities
  • Exposure to harmful substances or environments – 66 fatalities
  • Transportation incidents – 141 fatalities

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

A disabling injury can affect every part of your life. You can’t afford medical care, pay your daily living expenses, or care for your family if you can’t function at work. If you want to seek the benefit payments you need to cover these losses, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. We will be your advocate during this challenging time and fight for the maximum benefits necessary to pay for the expenses you incurred.

We know the importance of reaching a favorable outcome in your case. Our Oakland workers’ compensation attorneys will develop the right strategy to meet your needs. We have experience filing insurance claims and handling denied claims. Even though workers’ compensation is a requirement for all employers to carry, we could file a lawsuit against them if they don’t provide coverage and their actions contributed to the accident. We could also help you pursue a case against a third party that caused your injury.

How OnderLaw Could Help

At OnderLaw, we have the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge to handle even the most complex workers’ compensation cases. We put forth the same amount of effort whether a client’s injury is minor or severe. You can depend on us to be there for you every step of the way until the end of the process. You will be our top priority and receive the personalized attention you deserve.

If you suffered injuries at work, contact us for your free consultation today.