When you go to work, the last thing you expect is to end up in the hospital or needing other types of medical treatment. However, private employers across the United States reported about 2.8 million nonfatal job-related injuries and illnesses in a recent year, illustrating how common workplace accidents can be.
If you sustain an on-the-job injury or illness, it can require costly medical care and potentially keep you out of work for a period of time – or even permanently. The law protects workers in Downey and throughout California by requiring employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage, though getting the benefits you deserve can be challenging.
If you are dealing with a work-related medical condition, do not wait to contact a Downey workers’ compensation attorney for assistance.
Common Work-Related Injuries
Some industries are riskier than others, but accidents and injuries can occur in almost every type of work environment. While construction workers face a greater chance of being involved in accidents, even office workers can slip and fall or develop carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive typing.
Some common workplace injuries and illnesses that stem from a variety of circumstances include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Back injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Amputations or crush injuries
- Burns and electrical injuries
- Vision or hearing loss
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Illness from toxic exposure
If you suffer a work-related injury or receive a diagnosis of an illness stemming from your job, it is critical that you get the medical treatment you need. Always report the matter to your employer right away and get checked out in the emergency room. Having a timely diagnosis and starting treatment is important for your future workers’ compensation claim.
Once your physical condition is stable, reach out to a Downey workers’ compensation lawyer regarding the claim process and benefits you deserve.
Overview of Workers’ Compensation in California
California has workers’ compensation laws in place that are overseen by the Division of Workers’ Compensation. This is a no-fault system that involves the following:
- Employers must carry workers’ compensation coverage, which should provide benefits for workplace injuries and illnesses regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
- Employees are entitled to receive benefits following work-related conditions, and they give up their right to file a lawsuit against their employers for negligence in exchange for these no-fault benefits.
- Employees might be able to file a lawsuit against a third-party unrelated to their employers if the third-party’s negligence caused the accident and injuries.
While workers’ compensation is intended to be relatively straightforward, many people run into challenges when it comes to receiving the benefits they deserve. It can be wise to seek legal representation from a Downey workers’ compensation attorney to ensure the claim process goes smoothly.
What Benefits Can You Seek in Downey?
Workers’ compensation provides two major types of benefits – medical treatment and wage replacement if you cannot work. First, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer should cover the costs for all of the medical care you need related to your work-related injury or illness. This includes:
- Emergency treatment
- Doctor and specialist appointments
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Medical equipment
- Home health care
You should not have to be responsible for any medical bills due to a workplace injury.
Many injuries prevent employees from working while they recover – whether the recovery requires rest or the effects of the injury keep an employee from performing their jobs. This can cause you to lose a significant amount of income, and workers’ compensation should provide disability payments that replace a percentage of lost wages. These can include:
- Temporary partial disability
- Temporary total disability
- Permanent partial disability
- Permanent total disability
These benefits are important to make sure your family has the necessary financial support while your injury or illness keeps you out of work.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation benefits are not automatic following an injury. Instead, you must take steps to make sure a claim is properly filed. You must complete a form and submit it to your employer – either by certified mail or in person if you are able to do so. Keep track of the date your employer received the form (which is why certified mail is recommended).
Once your employer receives the form, they should complete their part of it and submit the claim to their insurance company. The insurance company will then review the claim and decide which benefits you should receive. While some people receive the necessary benefits with little issue or delay, others might have a completely different experience, as there might be obstacles to receiving the benefits you need and deserve.
Potential Issues with Your Claim
Workers’ compensation insurers are for-profit entities, and the way they make money is by collecting employers’ premiums each month and minimizing the amount they pay out on claims. This means that they will closely scrutinize every aspect of your claim in order to find a reason to deny it or at least pay you as little as possible. Some of the issues the insurance company may raise include:
- Incomplete or inaccurate paperwork
- Questioning the severity of your injury and asking you to see their doctor for an evaluation
- Arguing that your injury or illness is not work-related
- Characterizing your injury or illness as a pre-existing condition
Fortunately, by working with an attorney from the start, you can ensure that your claim goes as smoothly as possible. Your lawyer will respond to any question the insurance company may have and may even file an appeal in the event that your claim is denied.
Speak with a Downey Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
There are many things that can go wrong during the workers’ compensation claim process, and we know how important it is that you begin receiving benefits as soon as possible. It is also critical that you receive the full amount you qualify for – for as long as you need medical treatment or time off work. The best way to protect your rights and financial stability is to consult with a Downey personal injury lawyer right away.
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Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.