Do you need legal assistance with your workers’ compensation claim in the Long Beach, California area? Contact our experienced attorneys to see how we can help.
When you are on the job, you are entitled to a safe working environment that is free from work-related illness and injury. That is why worker’s compensation was established in the United States. Workers’ compensation laws offer protections to those who were hurt on the job so that they have the funds they need to get by and pay their medical bills while they are unable to work.
If you were hurt at your place of employment or were diagnosed with an illness caused by a harmful working environment, the Long Beach, CA workers’ compensation claims lawyers at Madison Law Group can help you get the funds you need. There are many different laws that could impact the results of your case, so it is very important to have a qualified workers’ compensation attorney to help guide you through the process. Call us today to schedule your free and confidential case review.
Why Do I Need Workers’ Compensation?
If you are injured during the course and scope of performing your job, you have the right to apply for workers’ compensation. Workers’ comp can cover your medical expenses, the cost of physical therapy, and the income you lost while you were unable to work. These benefits are made available to you so that you can recover and return to work.
You can obtain workers’ comp for a variety of reasons. Many people think that workers’ compensation is only for jobs involving a great deal of physical labor, like construction, but workers’ comp claims can also arise from working in retail shops and offices.
Just about anyone can be injured at their place of work, not just manual laborers. For instance, if your job is to stock shelves at a grocery store and you are climbing a ladder while carrying a heavy item when you fall and injure yourself, you may apply for workers’ comp.
No matter what kind of job you have, if you were injured at your place of employment, you need to make sure that your accident is documented immediately. Report the accident to your employer as soon as you can after becoming injured. You cannot successfully apply for workers’ compensation if you have not reported the incident in a timely fashion.
What Are the Advantages of Filing for Workers’ Comp?
Getting injured at work can be highly stressful. Workers’ compensation can take some of that stress away by ensuring you can get the medical treatment you need and still pay your bills while you are dealing with recovery.
Workers’ compensation will typically cover all of your medical expenses. It will also cover physical therapy if needed to get whatever mobility or function back that you may have lost. It also covers lost income so you can pay your living expenses and don’t have to go back to work before you are fully recovered. It will even cover any prescription medications that you may need. In some cases, it will also cover your travel expenses, if you need to travel for an appointment related to your injury and you are unable to drive.
If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to workplace injuries, do not hesitate to contact the Long Beach workers’ compensation attorneys at Madison Law Group right away.
Do I Need to Report My Workplace Accident to My Supervisor?
If you are injured at work, it is essential for you to notify your supervisor as soon as you can. Workplace accidents and injuries should be promptly reported to either your immediate supervisor or your company’s human resources department.
If the injury occurred over time, such as a repetitive strain injury, and there is no one specific date on which it happened, you still need to notify your supervisor that you were injured on the job.
If you were hurt at your place of employment and you have questions regarding reporting the accident to your employer, the Long Beach personal injury attorneys at Madison Law Group are here to answer your questions.
Can My Workers’ Comp Claim be Denied if I Didn’t Report My Injury?
Generally speaking, yes, your employer can and most likely will deny your workers’ compensation claim if you failed to report your accident while you were at work.
If you sustained a workplace injury and have not yet reported it to the appropriate person or department, you need to do so as soon as possible, even if a few days or a week has already gone by. The sooner you report your injury, the easier it is going to be for a lawyer to prove that your injury occurred at work.
Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer for My Workers’ Comp Claim?
Many injured workers benefit from having someone knowledgeable to help them through the claims process as well as with the Workers’ Compensation Board. It is important to have someone with experience protecting your rights and ensuring that you are being treated fairly and getting all the compensation that is available to you. This includes seeing an appropriate specialist if your injury requires one, and ensuring that you get the prescription medications you need if you have been prescribed any.
Our clients experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing that someone is fighting to make sure they get every benefit they are entitled to and the medical treatment they need. So while you are not required by law to hire a lawyer, it is in your best interest to do so.
What Injuries are Covered by California Workers’ Compensation?
Any injury that an employee sustains at their place of business is covered by California workers’ compensation. That includes both physical injuries, such as lacerations and broken bones, and emotional injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. It also includes occupational illnesses, such as hearing loss and cancer.
Why is My Employer Telling Me What Doctor to See?
Many injured employees feel that the company-appointed doctor does not have their best interests in mind. It is important to remember that, according to California law, your employer does have the option of sending you to any physician they choose. There are, however, additional options open to you throughout the workers’ comp process. These options include attempting to get a referral to another physician or specialist depending on the nature of your injury.
If you are experiencing problems with your current healthcare provider, either because they are not taking your injuries seriously or your employer is not taking your physician’s work restrictions seriously, it is important for you to know that you have rights under the law. If you have any questions or concerns about the care you are receiving from a company doctor, please contact one of the Long Beach Workers’ Compensation claims lawyers at Madison Law Group.
What Happens if My Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
It is an unfortunate reality that valid claims are sometimes unfairly denied by an employer or by an insurance company. In fact, this happens more often than anyone would like to think. If you filed a workers’ comp claim and it was denied by your employer or the insurance company, there are a few things you need to do.
It is extremely important for you to document as much as you can about the injury, including the date it happened if applicable, and everything you remember about the incident. If you were in fact injured on the job, your claim should be covered by law under the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
You should strongly consider reaching out to an experienced lawyer to help you make sure that your claim is ultimately approved. Your chances of securing a favorable outcome for your injuries is much higher when you have legal counsel guiding you and representing you in all communications with your employer and the insurance company that should be paying your medical claims and benefits.
What if My Employer Won’t Report My Workplace Injury?
Unfortunately, this does happen and it is one of the reasons why it is so important that you make sure your accident and injuries are properly documented. If you were injured at work, you need to notify your employer right away. Pursuant to California law, your employer is then responsible for filing your claim. If your employer is refusing to file your claim, you can almost certainly expect them to claim that you never filled out an accident report and you never told them about your injury. If you have proper documentation of the accident and subsequent injuries, it will be much more difficult for your employer to deny that what you say is true. In the event you need to move forward with legal action, documenting your entire experience will prove to be valuable evidence in any claim you make.
If you were injured on the job and your employer refuses to report your injury, contact a qualified Long Beach workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to find out the best way to move forward for your unique situation.
What is Employer Immunity?
Under most circumstances, California’s workers’ comp laws preclude workers from filing a lawsuit against their employers for injuries that occur on the job. Workers’ comp laws set forth employer immunity due to the fact that employers are obligated to provide injured workers with compensation benefits no matter who was at fault instead of requiring workers to show that their employer committed negligence.
That being said, employer immunity does come with a few exceptions. Some common examples of scenarios in which you might be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer are:
- Your injuries were the result of a willful assault by your employer or one that was sanctioned by your employer or another worker.
- Your injuries worsened over time or were exacerbated because of your employer’s fraudulent or wrongful concealment of your injuries and their relation to your job.
- Your injuries were caused by dual capacity. This is when the injury or death of a worker is the result of a defective product that was manufactured by their employer. In these cases, the company is both the employer and the manufacturer of a defective product that caused personal injury. In this scenario, the injured victim is regarded as a consumer rather than a worker, giving them the right to bring a lawsuit against their employer.
- Your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance even though they are legally required to do so.
Can I Be Terminated for Filing a Valid Workers’ Comp Claim?
Many workers are understandably concerned about retaliation by their employer for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Most of the time, workers’ comp claims go smoothly. A worker gets hurt, files a claim, seeks medical treatment, and the claim is settled. The worker is able to recover and go back to work for the company and carry on with their life.
Unfortunately, sometimes employers make bad choices and chose to retaliate against a worker who has filed a legitimate claim. California law is very clear on this point by stating that retaliation is not allowed in any shape or form. Employers are wholly prohibited from retaliating against a worker for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
If you are worried that you will experience retaliation for filing a workers’ comp claim or you have already experienced retaliation, we encourage you to reach out to the Long Beach workers’ compensation lawyers at Madison Law Group as soon as possible so we can answer any questions that you may have and help guide you on your next steps.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Comp If I Work From Home?
In short, the answer to this question is yes, you could be. Even if you regularly work from home, your claim is eligible to be covered if your injury was work-related. If you sustained a work-related injury, whether you were hurt on the job site or your injury took place at home, it is essential that you work with an experienced attorney who can answer all of your questions and help you with your claim.
For example, if someone who works remotely on a computer day in and day out develops a condition such as carpal tunnel syndrome due to typing a lot, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim to get the medical treatment they need.
Common Mistakes Made When Filing a Long Beach Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are some mistakes that could cost you the approval of your workers’ compensation claim. Making a mistake could be the difference between a smooth recovery and a rocky one that brings financial fallout with it. Being aware of what these mistakes are can help you avoid them. Some of the most common mistakes that injured workers make when they file a California workers’ comp claim include:
- Failure to report their on-the-job injury to their employer. In California, your accident must be reported to your employer no more than 30 days after it occurred or as soon as you are aware or reasonably should have been aware that you developed a work-related illness. Failing to report your injury in a timely manner could cost you your right to file.
- Filing your workers’ comp paperwork after the deadline has expired. Again, you have 30 days from the day of your injury to do so.
- Not seeing a doctor immediately after your workplace accident. If you put it off for too long, you could lose your right to benefits.
- Ignoring your physician’s plan for treating your work-related injury. You should always stick closely to your doctor’s instructions.
- Posting about your claim on social media platforms. The details of your accident and your claim should always be kept confidential. Any statement you make, including on social media, could be used against you by the insurance company.
- Not working with a skilled Long Beach workers’ comp attorney. Workers’ compensation cases can be very complex. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side will help you avoid making any mistakes that might endanger your chances of receiving full and fair financial compensation for your claim.
What is the Difference Between a Civil Lawsuit and Workers’ Compensation?
When a worker is injured on the job, they typically receive compensation through the state’s workers’ compensation system, which is different from filing a claim in civil court. When an injured employee files a workers’ compensation claim, they can collect financial compensation for their medical bills and a percentage of their lost income.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning that injured employees are entitled to compensation no matter who was liable for their accident, as long as it happened while on the job. In exchange for guaranteed benefits, workers give away their right to file a lawsuit against their employers. The law in California requires employers to carry workers’ comp insurance to make sure all workers will be covered in the event of injury.
If you were injured so badly that it reduced your earning capacity, the benefits you collect from workers’ comp are going to be much less than the benefits you could collect by bringing a personal injury suit against a negligent third party. That is why when there is a third party involved that could potentially be held liable, it is likely in your best interests to file a personal injury lawsuit. A Long Beach workers’ compensation claims lawyer can help you determine whether this is an option in your particular case.
As a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit, you will have to show that the defendant’s negligence was the cause for your accident, injuries, and other damages. If you are able to do so, you may also be able to collect additional financial compensation for ongoing medical treatments, long-term medical care, lost or diminished earning capacity, pain, suffering, loss of consortium, and punitive damages.
In terms of their overall worth, a civil lawsuit is far more valuable than a workers’ compensation claim. If you were hurt on the job, it is important for you to meet with an experienced Long Beach work injury attorney to discuss the possibility of a civil lawsuit along with your workers’ compensation benefits.
How Much Will a Long Beach Work Injury Lawyer Charge Me to Review My Case?
At Madison Law Group, our reputable Long Beach work injury lawyers offer a free consultation to workers who were injured on the job. The attorney will review your potential case and give you a general idea of what it will take for you to see it resolved in your favor.
It is in your best interests to prepare for this consultation by gathering any relevant documents and writing down any specific questions or concerns you have regarding your case. Collect any medical records you have available, any notes you may have taken pertaining to the accident, and all other documentation that you think might be relevant to your case.
Our work injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning that your lawyer will collect an agreed-upon percentage of the total compensation they are able to secure for your case. You will not be asked to pay an hourly rate for services nor will you be expected to pay anything if the attorney cannot resolve your case favorably.
If your case is a third-party lawsuit, your attorney will still collect a portion of the total compensation they win on your behalf. You will never be asked to pay any out-of-pocket fees unless your case is adjudicated and you are compensated for your damages.
Common California Workplace Accidents
Any workplace can have a litany of opportunities for worker injuries. Loose cables running across an office floor could cause someone to trip and fall and break an arm. Defective scaffolding at a construction site could collapse, resulting in a fall. Manufacturing plant employees might unknowingly be working with materials that contain asbestos, causing them to develop lung cancer several years later. There is no limit to the kinds of on-the-job injuries that an employee can sustain.
There are, however, some kinds of accidents that occur more often than others. Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the most common causes of job site injuries are as follows:
In 2015, transportation accidents were responsible for 26%, or 2,054 out of a total of 4,836 total workplace fatalities. Nearly 50% of these fatalities involved large trucks. The vehicle most frequently involved in non-roadway fatalities was a tractor, responsible for 73 deaths. Thousands more accidents involved non-fatal injuries.
Trips, Slips, and Falls
In that same year, there were 800 workplace fatalities related to slips, falls, and trips. Falls and slips can be caused by greasy or wet floors, open holes, uneven stairs, improperly installed handrails, or a lack of proper safety gear when working from a height.
Struck by Equipment or Objects
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reported that, in 2015, being struck by an object was the second leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for 722, or 9.6%, of all construction site deaths in 2015.
Violence Committed by Animals or People
2015 also saw 703 deaths related to occupational violence. Incidents included attacks with and without weapons while workers were performing job-related duties. Violent attacks typically involve colleagues. Animal attacks usually happen when employees are working at an outside job site.
Exposure to Toxic Materials
Exposure to harmful chemicals and other hazardous materials resulted in 424 worker fatalities in 2015. Not only can exposure to toxic chemicals cause immediate death or injury, but it can also lead to an occupational illness that causes death after prolonged exposure, such as in cases of mesothelioma in railroad workers.
Explosions and Fires
Accidents involving explosions and fires were responsible for 121 workplace deaths in 2015. The workers most at risk for these kinds of incidents are those in the oil and gas industries. Volatile gases and vapors from equipment, trucks, and wells can catch fire, leaving workers disfigured, injured, or dead.
Keep in mind that these numbers only take fatal accidents into account. They do not include any serious job-related illnesses or workplace injuries. Several thousand American workers sustain injuries ranging from trivial to catastrophic every year while performing their regular duties.
After any kind of workplace accident, you should immediately seek the counsel of a qualified personal injury lawyer. There could be a colleague, employer, driver, product manufacturer, or another third party who is liable for your accident and injuries or your family member’s death. If that is the case, a civil suit could be the best path toward the financial compensation you deserve. Talk to our Long Beach, CA workers’ compensation lawyers at (213) 652-6534.
California Employer Responsibilities
Every employer is responsible for the health and safety of their employees. Organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration set federal safety standards for workplaces in the United States. The accepted workplace standards of care are different in different industries, but the goal is always the same: to prevent deaths, illnesses, and injuries in the workplace.
Employers are required to make a genuine effort to ensure safe working conditions. This includes properly training their employees on matters of safety, providing functional safety gear, setting emergency protocols and hazardous material clean-up procedures, and other things that impact the well-being of their workforce.
In California, if an employer fails to maintain a safe working environment and that failure leads to the death or injury of an employee, then the manager, company, or employer will be considered negligent. The injured victim or their surviving relatives will be eligible to bring a claim against the person or persons responsible for the death. The employer is not always the defendant in a workplace injury case. A faulty product manufacturer or another third party could be liable for the injury. Seeking counsel from our Long Beach personal injury lawyers will ensure that all liable defendants are named in your case.
Call Our Long Beach Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
Our clients are our number one priority. We believe that injured workers deserve a workers’ compensation attorney who will give them their full support and attention. We know how challenging this time is for you, and we want to make it go as smoothly as possible.
Call us today to schedule your free consultation. We can answer any questions you may have and make sure that you fully understand your rights under California law. With Madison Law Group as your legal advocate, you can rest assured that you have skilled attorneys who have the best interests of you and your family in mind.
If you were seriously injured at your place of employment or have been diagnosed with a work-related illness, please reach out to our Long Beach, CA personal injury attorneys for a free case review. We will thoroughly evaluate the circumstances leading up to your accident, review your medical history, and work hard to get you full and fair financial compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other damages you may be entitled to.
Our goal is to help our injured clients and their family members receive the maximum amount of financial compensation available in your specific situation. We want each and every client to recover the full amount for their lost income, medical bills, and other losses. Let Madison Law Group advocate for you.