If you suffered a job-related injury or illness, you might be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance company. The Santa Clarita personal injury lawyers of OnderLaw could help you file a claim and pursue the maximum payments you’re owed to compensate for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other expenses.

Workplace accidents can prevent you from earning your usual income or keep you from your job entirely. When you sustain an injury while performing your work-related duties, you likely need medical care to heal. You should not be forced to pay out of pocket for these costs. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should provide the benefits you need to pay your medical bills and replace a portion of your lost income.

At OnderLaw, our Santa Clarita workers’ compensation attorneys have represented clients like you since 2002. We can take on the responsibility of your case and handle each step of the process on your behalf. You won’t face the burden of taking on the insurance company yourself. We will aggressively seek the maximum benefits available so you can recover and get your life back on track.

For a free consultation to discuss your legal options and learn more about what we can do for you, call us today.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

California workers’ compensation laws require every employer to provide workers’ compensation coverage, even if they only have one employee. This is a form of insurance that pays for various benefits when an injury or illness happens on the job. Even if you sustain a minor injury, you can qualify for coverage as long as the incident occurred at work.

Benefits are also available for surviving family members of a deceased employee. Death benefits could pay for burial costs and a portion of the wages your loved one would have earned if they were still alive. If you were financially dependent on them, you should receive payments over a specific timeframe based on your eligibility.

Who Qualifies for WC Benefits?

You must meet certain workers’ compensation law requirements to receive benefits for a work-related injury or illness. They include:

  • You suffered an injury while performing your job duties
  • Your employment proximately caused the injury regardless of whether someone’s negligence contributed
  • Your work-related condition qualifies for coverage under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance
  • You weren’t injured while voluntarily participating in a recreational activity, such as a company-sponsored sport, that didn’t involve any job-related tasks
  • Your injury didn’t result from self-inflicted harm or intoxication
  • The injury wasn’t due to an altercation you started
  • You were not convicted of committing a felony or another crime at the time of the incident

An experienced Santa Clarita workers’ compensation attorney can review the circumstances of your medical condition to determine whether you’re eligible for benefits. Call OnderLaw immediately following the workplace accident to get started on your case.

What Type of Benefits Are Available?

Medical care is available to any worker suffering from an on-the-job illness or injury. The insurance carrier should pay for the reasonable treatment you need to relieve or cure your condition. The doctors and facilities are not allowed to bill you for services rendered as long as you’re receiving this coverage through your employer’s insurer.

The doctor you treat with must be someone approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation if your employer belongs to a health care organization or medical provider network. However, you could see someone of your choice if you predesignated them before the accident occurred. That means you submitted a written request to your employer before the job-related injury or illness stating who you would want as your physician or medical group.

Two types of disability benefits are available through workers’ compensation insurance: temporary and permanent.

Temporary disability benefits cover a portion of your lost income. Coverage starts if you need to be hospitalized overnight or your doctor informs you that you can’t perform your usual work for at least three days.

You will receive payments every two weeks from the insurer. They are two-thirds of the average weekly wage you earned before suffering an injury at work. State law sets a maximum weekly amount that you cannot surpass while receiving these benefits. Coverage isn’t only for lost wages. Your average weekly wage calculation can also include commission, bonuses, food, tips, lodging, and overtime.

If you suffer a lasting disability due to a job-related illness or injury, you could collect permanent disability benefits. Even if you can return to work, your condition might limit your physical or mental abilities. Payments begin when your physician determines you reached maximum medical improvement. That means your condition has stabilized and isn’t likely to change regardless of whether you continue treatment.

You might also be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits. You would receive a voucher to use for school, training, and other expenses necessary for gainful employment. Examples include:

  • Computer equipment
  • Tools required for a training course
  • Licensing and certification fees
  • Testing fees
  • Tuition, books, and additional fees at an accredited or state-approved school
  • Licensed placement agency service or vocational counselor
  • Reimbursement of miscellaneous expenses

If you have to travel to a hospital, doctor’s office, or pharmacy, workers’ compensation insurance can reimburse you for costs, such as:

  • Parking
  • Mileage
  • Bridge tolls

If you lost your loved one from a job-related illness or injury, you could pursue death benefits. Only a surviving spouse, child, or another dependent is eligible for coverage. Payments are equal to the deceased employee’s temporary disability rate. You can also receive up to $5,000 or $10,000 for burial expenses.

Steps to Take if You’ve Been Injured at Work

On-the-job accidents are always unexpected. You don’t go to work each day thinking that you’ll suffer a severe fall or encounter toxic materials that lead to an injury or disease. When you’re in pain and unable to earn a living, it becomes a significant source of stress. You suddenly wonder how you’re going to afford your medical bills and daily living expenses.

You should take some steps immediately after a workplace accident to protect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits. First, you need to go to your predesignated provider or one approved by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. If they recommend follow-up care, it’s critical to attend all necessary appointments to treat your injury.

Insurance companies place their interests over the interests of claimants. If they can find a valid reason to deny your claim or provide lower payments than you need, they will. Skipping doctor’s appointments or waiting weeks before your initial medical evaluation is enough for the insurer to claim your injury isn’t serious or doesn’t exist.

You must inform your employer of the job-related injury or illness within 30 days. They should give you a claim form to complete and return to them within one day of the reported incident. If you wait longer than 30 days to tell them about the accident, you could lose your right to benefits.

Maintain any documents associated with the injury. That can include hospital bills, imaging reports, rehabilitation records, prescriptions, and surgical notes. Evidence is crucial in a workers’ compensation claim. The insurer wants proof that you were hurt in a workplace accident and required treatment. If you don’t have enough evidence to support your claim, you could end up without the benefit payments you need.

Hire a lawyer immediately after the incident. Taking on the insurance company alone could negatively impact your case. OnderLaw can handle everything on your behalf so you can focus on recovering. You won’t have to worry about paperwork, deadlines, or communicating with the insurance company. We will take on the responsibility and work hard to try to meet your needs.

Workplace Injury Statistics

Most people assume they’re safe at work. Unfortunately, injuries can happen anywhere. Even if you’re not performing physically demanding tasks, you could still get hurt. For example, employees in data entry sit at a computer all day. The responsibilities are significantly different than someone working on a construction site. However, the data entry specialist could suffer carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis requiring medical care to heal. That can affect their ability to perform their job at full-functioning capacity.

In 2019, the rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses in all job industries was 3 per 100,000 full-time employees. There were 888,220 recordable cases involving days away from work. The types of nonfatal injuries included:

  • Cuts, lacerations, and punctures – 89,730
  • Sprains, strains, and tears – 295,180
  • Fractures – 85,710
  • Chemical burns and corrosions – 4,040
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome – 4,180
  • Multiple traumatic injuries – 23,210
  • Bruises and contusions – 80,640
  • Amputations – 6,020
  • Thermal burns – 14,890
  • Pain or soreness – 157,440
  • Tendonitis – 1,420

Why Do I Need a Lawyer?

Many injured workers think they can file a claim without assistance from a lawyer. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize the amount of work that goes into applying for workers’ compensation benefits. If you face unexpected obstacles and don’t know how to overcome them, you could end up with a denied claim.

OnderLaw is familiar with workers’ compensation laws. We know the ins and outs of the procedure and how to tackle the most complex cases. You should not be forced to take on the insurance company alone. We will create an effective strategy and obtain all available evidence to prove you deserve benefits for your injury.

How OnderLaw Could Help

If you sustained an injury or developed a medical condition at your job, do not hesitate to contact OnderLaw. We will fight by your side for the maximum benefits you deserve. You can depend on our legal team to be your advocate during this traumatic time in your life and help you get on the road to recovery. Call for a free consultation with one of our dedicated Santa Clarita workers’ compensation attorneys.