If you sustained a job-related injury or illness, contact the Orange County personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw immediately. You might be entitled to benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, and we could help you pursue the maximum payments you deserve.

Most people feel safe at work, but there could be hazards that result in an accident. Any injury suffered while performing the duties of your job should qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. Whether you were delivering products to someone’s house or performing construction at an office building, you deserve benefits for medical care and other losses if you were hurt.

You can depend on our Orange County workers’ compensation lawyers to protect your rights and be your advocate during this difficult time in your life. Call us for a free consultation and learn about the available legal options for seeking benefits from your employer.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage available to injured workers. California law requires all employers to provide coverage for their employees in case of an occupational injury or illness.

It doesn’t matter whether you were in an office, on a construction site, or operating a motor vehicle – as an employee, you are entitled to workers’ compensation insurance if you were injured while doing your job. If you were clocked out for lunch and fell down the stairs, you would not qualify for coverage.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

Any employee who is doing their job and suffers an injury that requires medical treatment qualifies for workers’ compensation medical benefits.

If you can’t earn the same income you made before the workplace accident, you can apply for workers’ compensation lost wage benefits. Even if you return to work, you might still be entitled to partial disability benefits as long as your impaired physical or mental capacity prevents you from earning your usual wages.

For example, if your condition requires you to take a different position within the company that pays less than your last position, or you can only work part-time instead of full-time, you could collect the payments you need for your medical bills and for a portion of your lost income.

Various injuries could limit a person’s functional capacity at work. You might have limited mobility in your leg from falling down the stairs or respiratory problems from inhaling toxic chemicals. Any injury or illness caused at work that leads to a loss of income qualifies you for WC benefits.

Examples include:

  • Cancer
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Loss of hearing or vision
  • Burns
  • Repetitive motion injury
  • Pulled or strained muscle
  • Torn ligament
  • Internal injuries
  • Psychological damage
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Sprained ankle
  • Loss of limb
  • Paralysis
  • Mental illness
  • Overexertion injuries

This isn’t the complete list of conditions covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Immediately after the accident, you should request a copy of your employer’s policy so you can determine if you have a qualifying injury or illness.

What Type of Benefits Are Available?

Injured workers are eligible for medical coverage. If you were hurt on the job, the insurance company must pay for all reasonable medical treatment meant to manage or relieve your injury or illness. Any appointments you attend for unrelated medical problems will be your financial responsibility.

If your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company has a medical provider network or health care organization, you must treat with one of those doctors approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. That means if you choose to see your own doctor, you will likely pay out of pocket for those expenses.

The only exception that would allow you to see a medical provider of your choice would be if you predesignated a medical group or personal physician before the workplace accident.

Temporary disability benefits are available if you lose income while you’re out of work or your injury or illness prevents you from performing your usual job. Coverage begins if you require overnight hospitalization or your doctor informs you that you can’t complete your work-related tasks for more than three days.

The payment you receive will be two-thirds of the gross wages you can’t earn while you’re trying to recover. The insurance company provides these benefits every two weeks and cannot exceed the maximum weekly limits set by state law.

Benefits typically end if your doctor releases you back to your job, you return to work at total functioning capacity, or you reach maximum medical improvement. “Maximum medical improvement” means your doctor has determined that your injury improved as much as it possibly can.

Permanent disability benefits are for illnesses and injuries that cause lasting disabilities and may affect a worker’s ability to earn a living. Even if you can return to your job, you might still qualify for benefits as long as you have a permanent disability.

Coverage is limited, and you might not be entitled to benefits that compensate for your total lost wages. The amount of your payment will depend on the impairment rating your doctor provided and the date the injury occurred.

An impairment rating is a percentage between zero and 100 that indicates how much an injury or illness affects someone’s body as a whole.

Supplemental job displacement benefits are meant to assist an injured worker in learning new skills or finding a different job more suitable to their abilities. Coverage is only available if the employer doesn’t offer regular, alternative, or modified work to you within sixty days from the date an insurance claims administrator or medical provider indicates that you suffered a permanent partial disability.

Benefits are provided as a non-transferable voucher totaling $6,000. You can use it at any public school in California or a provider on the Eligible Training Provider List. You can also use the voucher to pay for equipment or tools necessary for the training program, licensing or certification fees, and other expenses.

Mileage benefits are also available if you have to drive to your doctor’s appointments to treat your injury or illness. Coverage includes all reasonable expenses for transportation, including parking, bridge tolls, and mileage.

If your loved one died in a workplace accident, you could collect death benefits at the same rate as the total temporary disability rate. Only a surviving spouse, child, or another dependent can pursue a claim.

You can also receive up to $5,000 for reasonable burial costs if the injury occurred before January 1, 2013, or up to $10,000 for injuries on or after January 1, 2013.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

If you suffered a job-related injury, report it to your employer immediately. You only have 30 days to notify them of what happened, or you won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits.

Seek treatment after leaving the accident scene. A doctor will need to evaluate your injury or illness and recommend a treatment plan for you to follow. It’s critical that you attend your appointments regularly and don’t make a habit of skipping any or allowing too much time to pass in between them. The insurance company could use that as evidence that your injury doesn’t exist or isn’t as serious as you claimed.

You should also hire an Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer. You will need someone with experience handling workers’ compensation claims to help you apply for benefits, gather all the necessary evidence, and pursue the maximum available benefits.

Workplace Injury Statistics

In 2019, employers in the private industry reported a total of 2.8 million nonfatal illnesses and injuries. That’s equivalent to an incident rate of 2.8 cases per 100 full-time employees. Statistics show that 33.2 percent of cases resulting in time off from work were from ten different occupations in the private industry. They were:

  • Nursing assistants
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
  • Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand
  • Light truck drivers
  • Construction laborers
  • Maintenance and repair workers, general
  • Stockers and order fillers
  • Janitors and cleaners, except housekeeping cleaners and maids
  • Registered nurses
  • Retail salespersons

The top three most common workplace injuries in 2019 were:

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

During the same year, there were 5,333 fatal occupational injuries. That means someone died while performing their job duties every 99 minutes. Since the previous year, fatalities for workers 55 years and older increased by eight percent. Occupational deaths also increased for employees in the private construction industry, resulting in 1,061 deaths.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

A serious injury or disease can upend your life and affect your job, family, and responsibilities. If you can’t afford your medical bills, daily living costs, and other expenses, you worry about how that will impact your finances. You could end up with massive debt and experience significant financial strain as you’re trying to recover from your injury. Workplace accidents cause stress, and the thought of handling an insurance claim can be overwhelming.

Only a knowledgeable and dedicated Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer can relieve your burden and take on the responsibility of your case. You can focus entirely on healing your injury and getting back to work while we handle all legal matters relating to the accident. You won’t have to complete any paperwork, communicate with the insurance company, or gather evidence to submit for your claim. OnderLaw will take care of everything.

How OnderLaw Could Help

If you sustained a work-related injury or lost a loved one in an occupational accident, do not hesitate to contact OnderLaw . We can develop an effective strategy to meet your needs and reach a favorable outcome. We work hard to protect our client’s rights and recover the benefits they deserve.

Call us today for your free consultation.