Did you suffer an injury, illness, or disabling condition while performing work duties for a San Francisco employer? If so, you have the legal right to file a claim under California’s workers’ compensation law to get the benefits you deserve for your work-related condition.

State law requires all California employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, to post a notice confirming the coverage at your workplace, and provide you with a phone number to call in the event you are hurt. If your claim is approved, you could receive benefits for medical care and possibly additional benefits, depending on your injury or condition.

San Francisco workplace injuries or disabling conditions occur in every type of work setting. While state figures are lower than the national rate, California workplace fatalities increased in 2018, demonstrating a need for California employers to take workplace safety more seriously.

The San Francisco personal injury attorneys of  OnderLaw believe our hardworking San Francisco residents have a right to expect a safe work environment where they can perform the job they were hired to do. While some professions, such as firefighting, carry obvious risks, employees in everyday work settings suffer injuries from falling shelves and filing cabinets, wet floors, loose carpeting, improper or inadequate training, and other workplace hazards.

While you don’t need an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim in San Francisco, your employer will be represented by their insurance company, and they may try to deny your claim. Arrange a free consultation by calling us today so we can review your workers’ compensation case and help you move it through the complex claims process.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

California’s workers’ compensation is an insurance program that all California employers with at least one employee who is not a corporate officer or director must carry to provide benefits to employees injured or suffering an illness while performing work-related duties. It’s a “no-fault” system, which means that you do not have to claim or prove that your employer or anyone else was negligent, just that your condition is job-related.

Workers’ compensation insurance is designed to help you get the medical treatment you need to be able to return to work. You may be entitled to temporary disability payments if your recovery prevents you from working at your job or permanent benefits if your injury prevents you from returning to work at all.

If you are able to work but can’t do the work you previously did, you may be eligible for benefits that help pay for you to be trained for another job.

Unlike some other types of insurance, like health insurance, California employers cannot require employees to help pay for workers’ compensation insurance to receive benefits if they suffer a work-related injury or illness. By law, it is to be 100% paid for by your San Francisco employer.

To increase your chances of filing a successful San Francisco workers’ compensation claim, you should contact a qualified San Francisco workers’ compensation attorney to review the facts of your situation and determine your full eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.

Who Qualifies for San Francisco Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Any San Francisco employee qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits under California law if you were injured because of your occupation. If your employer is headquartered out of state but has employees in San Francisco, they still must provide workers’ compensation insurance that meets California guidelines.

Note that the law applies even if you are a part-time employee or an undocumented worker. If you are an independent contractor, your employer may argue that you are not eligible under California law. However, the law presumes that all workers are employees until or unless your employer is able to prove otherwise.

If any of these employment statuses apply to you, you should contact an experienced San Francisco workers’ compensation attorney to fight for benefits on your behalf.

Even though California workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect California employees, employers and their insurance companies often try to limit how much they pay because it costs them money. The experienced San Francisco workers’ compensation attorneys at OnderLaw have witnessed every available workers’ compensation insurance company tactic to try to deny or limit a claim for benefits, and we know how to fight back.

What Type of Benefits Are Available?

The basic benefits available to you under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance include:

  • Medical. Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance pays all of your medical bills for care deemed necessary to help you recover from your work-related injury or illness, including reasonable travel costs to receive medical care.
  • Temporary Disability Benefits. This benefit provides for any wages you lose as a result of being temporarily unable to work while you recover.
  • Permanent Disability Benefits. If your doctor believes you will not fully recover and your physical or mental condition permanently prevents you from returning to work, you may be eligible for permanent disability payments.
  • Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit. This is not a payment but a voucher to retrain you for another job or to enhance your existing skills. You may be eligible for this benefit if you are considered permanently disabled, or you can’t go back to your old job. For injuries occurring after 2013, you may also be eligible for a one-time cash payment.
  • Death Benefits. Payments to family members or dependents of a San Francisco employee who lost their life due to a work-related injury or illness.

San Francisco employees find they sometimes develop problems later as a result of their work-related injury. One example is an act of medical malpractice by a doctor treating your original injuries. These are called compensable consequences, and you may be entitled to receive additional benefits for them, as well.

To ensure you get all of the compensation you deserve for your work-related illness or injury, call the qualified San Francisco workers’ compensation attorney at OnderLaw for your free consultation.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

The first thing you need to do if you’re injured or suffer a condition while working is to report it to your employer. The exception to this is if you need emergency care. In this case, call 9-1-1 or get to a San Francisco emergency medical facility, but let the medical team there know that you suffered this injury at work.

Some conditions are not obvious or don’t show up immediately. Ringing in the ears and PTSD are two examples. If you experience conditions later and believe them to be work-related, let your employer know as soon as possible. You could lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits if you wait longer than 30 days to report your work-related condition to your employer or supervisor.

You should get a claim form called the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form from your employer to fill out and file for your benefits. Your employer has one day after learning about your injury or illness to give you this form. If you don’t receive it, don’t delay, as this could delay your benefits. You can request one from the California Department of Industrial Relations. Ask for the DWC 1.

When you fill out your form, be as descriptive about the events that caused your work-related condition as possible. Once you fill it out and sign it, your employer has to fill out their section, so return it to them. Once they sign it, it goes to the insurance company’s claims administrator.

It’s wise to keep a copy of the form after you fill it out and before you give it to your employer, so you have an exact record of what you have written. Make another copy after your employer fills out their portion and signs it and before you file it with the claims administrator.

The claims administrator then must let you know within a reasonable timeframe whether they accept or deny your claim. In most cases, you should hear something within 90 days. Be sure to continue getting medical treatment during the claims filing and application process, keeping all of your medical records and receipts in a secure location.

If your claim is denied, you must file an appeal within a certain timeframe. This is where an experienced San Francisco workers’ compensation claims attorney can help. At OnderLaw, we know how to effectively appeal workers’ compensation denials and find contradictions in the insurance companies’ assessments. Once we take your case, we are relentless in our pursuit of equitable and fair workers’ compensation benefits for your work-related condition.

Why You Should Hire OnderLaw for Your San Francisco Workers’ Compensation Case

According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, California recorded just over 483 non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses in 2019, with the overwhelming majority of these occurring in private (non-government) employment. While numbers in manufacturing and construction trades were high, so were those in the service industries, particularly transportation and even in retail.

At OnderLaw, we believe that employers should do everything possible to provide a safe working environment and adequate training to their employees. We have earned national recognition for our client results. Those awards don’t mean as much to us, however, as getting our injured San Francisco workers the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve to go on with their lives.

We understand that our clients put their trust in us, and we promise to work hard to earn that trust. Give us a call today for a free consultation.