Being injured at work is never easy. Employers are required to provide safe working environments for their employees, but if your employer hasn’t kept up their end of the bargain, or if you were the victim of an unpreventable accident, you have options available for getting help.

Have you or someone you love been injured at work in Santa Ana? Did this injury cause you financial loss or result in missed time on the job? If so, you should speak to the Santa Ana personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw about filing a workers’ compensation claim. We have decades of experience helping injured workers get the assistance they’re due after a workplace injury, and we can do the same for you. Call today to request a free consultation, and let us review your case to ensure you’re getting the compensation you deserve. Don’t let the stress of a workplace injury affect your life. Call OnderLaw today.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ Compensation insurance is a legal requirement for all employers in the state of California. It provides benefits for employees that are hurt on the job or benefits to families of workers that are killed while working. Workers’ compensation (WC) benefits vary depending on the type and severity of accident or injury, but in general, almost any employee that suffers injury while on the job is eligible for benefits. WC benefits do not require proving negligence, only that the injury took place while the injured person was performing their job duties. In most cases, if an employee accepts WC benefits, they must release their employer from any further liability.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

If you’re injured while on the job, chances are you’re eligible for WC benefits, with some exceptions. WC insurance covers physical injuries, job-related disease or illness, some mental health conditions, and repetitive stress injuries. Employers are required by law to carry WC insurance, but the insurance is administered by private companies.

People not usually covered by WC policies include those working in exchange for aid or sustenance, those employed by family members, volunteers, those working for wages less than $100, and independent contractors.

What Types of Benefits are Available?

There are many categories and types of WC benefits, such as:

  • Medical benefits. Your employer is required to pay for medical care that is needed to cure or relieve the effects of an injury. By California law, it’s illegal for physicians to charge you for any injury that may be work-related.
  • Temporary disability benefits. These are payments made to injured workers when they can’t return to work immediately. They replace ⅔ of any gross income you receive from work, including wages, tips, commissions, bonuses, food, lodging, and overtime. The amount is determined by your pre-tax average weekly wage before the injury.
  • Permanent disability benefits. These are benefits paid to people that suffer an injury that permanently affects their ability to work, even if they can return to work. The amount of benefits is set by law and determined by your age, the date of the injury, your impairment level, and your occupation before the injury.
  • Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits. These are benefits paid to people that can’t return to work in the same capacity as before they were injured. They come in the form of vouchers that can be used for training, tools, education, vocational counseling, certifications, licensing, and skill enhancement. The amount varies between $4,000 and $10,000 depending on the date the accident occurred and the severity of the injury.
  • Return to Work Supplement Program. This benefit is a one-time payment of up to $5,000 for those who have already received Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits. This payment is intended to help bridge the difference between the benefit amount and the previous wage amount.
  • Death benefits. These are benefits paid to the family of a worker who died while on the job. The amount depends on the number of people dependent on the deceased worker. These benefits can cover expenses like funeral or burial costs.
  • Compensable consequences. Benefits can also be paid to workers who suffer injuries as a result of their workplace injury. For instance, if you suffer a workplace injury that causes nerve damage to your hand and you later burn your hand because you couldn’t feel the pain, you may be able to claim benefits for compensable consequences.
  • Life pension. Life pension benefits are paid to recipients of Permanent Disability Benefits whose disability rating is 70 percent or more.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

If you suffer a workplace injury, it’s imperative that you act quickly to protect yourself. Here are some steps to take immediately following a workplace accident:

  1. Seek medical attention. The first step in the process is a full evaluation by a medical professional, even if you don’t think you’ve been injured or the injury isn’t severe. This is key to starting the process of claiming WC benefits. Make sure to get a copy of any reports made.
  2. Notify your employer in writing. Let your employer or manager know in writing about the injury and that you intend to seek WC benefits. Make sure and keep a dated copy of the notification for your records.
  3. Apply for benefits. Your employer is required to provide you with a WC claim form within one business day of you reporting your injury. Make sure and fill out this form carefully and return it to your employer after signing it. You are required to submit your claim form within 30 days of the date of injury, or you risk being disqualified for benefits.
  4. Get legal help. Even if your employer takes responsibility and assists with the claims process, it’s important to speak to an attorney with experience in WC benefits to make sure you’re getting the full amount you’re owed.

Workplace Injury Statistics

Here are some statistics on injuries at work in California:

  • There were almost 120,000 work-related nonfatal injuries or illnesses in California in 2019.
  • The industry with the highest instance of work injury was transportation, utility, and trade.
  • The age group with the highest rate of workplace injury in 2019 was 25-34.
  • Hispanic and Latino workers had the highest reported number of work-related injuries in 2019 in California.
  • Nationwide, more women died of exposure to harmful substances while on the job in 2019 than men.

Why Do I Need an Attorney for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

The WC benefits application process is complex and filled with obstacles. An attorney is necessary to help you understand exactly what benefits you’re eligible for and what level of benefits you may receive. Although WC insurance is mandated by California law, it’s still provided by private insurance companies, and they will still work to protect their bottom line by denying claims whenever possible. A good attorney can ensure that your claim is supported by ample evidence and proper documentation.

We can do more than guide you through the process. We will take on the work for you. A workplace injury can be a devastating experience, especially if you’re the primary wage-earner in your family. Trying to recover from your injuries while simultaneously justifying your need for help to an insurance adjuster can easily become overwhelming. You may also be dealing with an inaccurate diagnosis or with mistakes in your application for benefits that can slow the entire process. Your attorney will make sure your claim forms are correct before they’re ever submitted and handle any and all tasks associated with your claim. We will give you the time you need to fully recover your physical and mental health.

An attorney is vital if your application for benefits is denied. We can help you continue to move forward by filing a lawsuit against the responsible party and letting a judge or jury decide the outcome instead of the insurance company.

Why Hire OnderLaw to Represent Me?

We’ve been helping residents of Santa Ana and all of California to get the positive outcomes they deserve since 2002. We have a wealth of experience from which to draw to assist our clients with claims of all types, from slip and fall claims to construction site accidents with multi-million dollar awards. We will assist with WC claims of any kind, regardless of size.

Our team of dedicated, tenacious legal professionals will work tirelessly to get you the benefits you deserve after a workplace injury. We understand the strain this kind of injury can place on you and your family because we’ve helped thousands of other clients with the same struggles. We’ll be there for you when you need us, providing support and compassion as well as top-tier legal counsel.

We give back to the communities that have helped us grow with donations of time and money to charitable causes and organizations such as MADD, the Lupus Foundation of America, and Toys for Tots.

We don’t want finances to be a barrier for our prospective clients, which is why we work on contingency. We will review your case, sign on to represent you, build your WC claim, even file a lawsuit if necessary, all with no up-front costs. We take a percentage of any settlement or award you receive. If we aren’t successful in getting you compensation, we don’t get paid.

Call Today for a Free Consultation

You only have thirty days from the date of injury to file your WC claim form, so don’t delay any longer. Call the attorneys at OnderLaw today. We will review your case and advise you of your options, regardless of whether you choose us to represent you, all for free. Call today.