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Injured At Work in California?

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Worker's Comp: How To Deal With Work-Related Injuries in California


Not all injured employees would need the services of a lawyer. After all, the workers' compensation scheme is intended to be a simple administrative mechanism for employees to manage. You will usually manage your own claim if it is a simple one that your employer or the insurance provider is not contesting.


Unfortunately, the procedure is not always so straightforward. Many employers will need to hire a California Labor Lawyer or will greatly benefit from doing so.


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An employee who is injured at work could have a claim that is not covered by workers' compensation, in which case an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles may be appropriate. You can normally sue your employer in court for a workplace accident if you were injured due to your employer's deliberate act or if you're a crew member on a vessel or an interstate railroad worker.


System of Workers' Compensation


You are most likely entitled to workers' compensation insurance if you are injured or sick at work. Physical accidents, occupational disabilities, and certain psychological and stress-related disorders are all protected by workers' compensation. As long as the accidents or illnesses are work-related, they can happen anytime.


When it comes to work-related accidents and illnesses, workers' compensation is normally the only option for rehabilitation. This means you won't be able to file a civil case against your boss. Instead, you must file a claim with your state's workers' compensation department. Most employers are expected to contribute to the workers' compensation scheme by providing benefits through the state's fund.


What Kinds of People Are Eligible for Workers' Compensation?


Anyone who is hurt on the job and has workers' compensation coverage can be eligible for benefits. These injuries may occur at work, when on a work-related errand, at a work event, or as a result of repetitive motion or damage caused by your job over time. It may also include serious injuries such as spinal cord injury or head trauma.


Workers' compensation lawsuits are no-fault, which means that it doesn't matter who caused the accident. Workers' compensation insurance does not cover accidents that occur during lunch breaks, on the commute, or if you are intoxicated.


Workers' compensation benefits are unavailable to ship crew members or interstate railroad workers. According to federal law, if these employees are hurt on the job, they must sue their employers rather than receive workers' compensation payments. Most other workers' compensation benefits are determined by whether they are employers or independent contractors.


What's the Difference Between Employees vs. Independent Contractors?


An individual who is not an independent contractor but works for another person or organization is referred to as an employee. So, what's the distinction? There are several variables to consider when deciding the distinction, but in general, an employee is someone who:

  • works under the employer's supervision and control

  • performs the employer's daily company

  • utilizes the resources provided by the employer

  • has a long-term job with the company

  • has taxes deducted from his or her salary by his or her employer

An independent contractor, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. Independent contractors bring their own equipment, pay their own taxes, can be employed for a single work, and aren't actually doing the employer's daily company. Consider one of our prescreened California Lawyers in your California Attorney Search.


What Kinds of Advantages Are Included in Workers' Compensation?


Workers' compensation can aid in various ways after an accident. Employer compensation plans do not only protect salaries, as many people are unaware. The funds will be used to cover a wide range of costs related to workplace accidents.


The majority of states' workers' compensation plans would cover the following benefits:

  • Expenses for medical treatment

Health costs are one of the first items you'll need workers' compensation to compensate for. Specialist appointments, emergency department visits, laboratory tests, hospital stays, surgery, and other procedures fall into this category. Medical devices, such as a wheelchair or crutches, would almost certainly be covered by the policy. In general, worker's compensation ensures that you are not liable for copayments or bills incurred due to a workplace accident.


Except in the case of an emergency, workers' compensation insurance can require you to visit particular doctors and hospitals. Depending on the situation, these practitioners can not be in your normal network.

  • Both Temporary and Permanent Disability

If you are injured on the job and are unable to work, you should be entitled to workers' compensation injury insurance. These disability aid services are divided into two groups: temporary and long-term. When an accident prevents you from doing your job, however, if you plan to recover and return to work at some stage, you might be eligible for temporary disability compensation. Suppose you cannot do part of your job or need to work fewer hours but can still complete certain tasks and work a reduced amount. In that case, you could be eligible for temporary partial disability compensation. Disability payments should cover the gap, ensuring that you do not go without compensation.


If your disability stops or limits you from doing your work, or the entirety of your job, forever, you will be considered permanently disabled. If you can do some but not all of your work, permanent disability can be able to make up the difference between your pre-accident and post-accident hours. If you cannot function, disability can cover the bulk of your earnings.


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In certain situations, disability benefits are equivalent to about 75% of the earnings. Disability benefits are usually not taxable, which can seem inconvenient at first. As a result, your net disability benefit is equal to your pre-accident wages than it appears. Disability benefits are generally allowed in California for up to 52 weeks or one year.

  • Benefits in the event of death

Workers' compensation death insurance will help if an employee dies due to a workplace accident. These benefits will assist with covering the expenses of an unnecessary funeral. They don't stop there, though. You could be entitled to compensation if you were financially dependent on someone who died in a work-related accident.


So that the loss of income does not devastate the family, workers' compensation is required to pay a percentage of the deceased's earnings to spouses and dependents. You have one year in California to apply for these incentives. These payments will continue until you remarry as a partner. When you reach the age of 18, your payments as a dependent will come to an end.


Regrettably, the post-death payment scheme is not as simple as it seems. In certain situations, such as stepchildren, unmarried spouses, and where the beneficiaries are other family members such as parents or siblings, the workers' compensation insurer might try to avoid paying.


Benefits Limitations


State laws can restrict the number of benefits to which you are entitled. Each state has its own set of rules for compensating victims of accidents. Some states have a list that assigns a monetary value to various types of injuries. Other states require compensation to be determined using a scale or classification system for accidents or disabilities.


Whatever the scheme, speaking with a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to discuss the legal options is a smart idea.


What Happens If My Injury Occurs Outside of My Employer's Property?


The accident does not have to happen on the employer's property. You are entitled to workers' compensation insurance if you are injured while working. Many forms of work-related activities occur outside of your employer's office or warehouse, including:

  • deliveries

  • meetings

  • work-related training

Travel to and from business meetings and work-related schooling are all considered part of one's job. Depending on the nature of the incident, an injury sustained at a company picnic or sporting event may be protected by workers' compensation.


Workplace Injuries That Aren't Covered By Workers' Compensation


Workers' compensation does not usually compensate for injuries sustained when driving to and from your daily place of employment. In addition, not all injuries sustained while on business would be protected by workers' compensation. For example, if you get hurt while sightseeing or doing other non-business-related things on a business trip, your damage is unlikely to be compensated.


What Happens If Workers' Compensation doesn't cover the Employer?


Workers' compensation insurance or self-insurance is required for all employees. You will normally take either or more of the following steps if your employer does not have insurance and is not self-insured:

  1. You have the right to sue your boss (another exception to the rule that you cannot sue your employer for a work-related injury)

  2. You will file a workers' compensation claim with the special fund for uninsured workers' compensation claims in your state (if your state has such a fund)

  3. If you are injured at work, and the employer does not have workers' compensation benefits, you can immediately contact a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer.


What is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Workers' Compensation Claim?


The most significant distinction between a personal injury and a workers' compensation lawsuit is that a personal injury claim is founded on fault, while a workers' compensation case is not. To recover damages for a car accident, a slip, and fall, or some other form of a personal injury lawsuit, the other party must be liable, which means that the other party must have done something wrong.

  • Cases of Personal Injury

  1. Consider a standard slip-and-fall case to better appreciate the idea of blame in a personal injury lawsuit. Simply because you slipped and fell on someone else's land does not mean the owner (or anyone else) was careless. Accidents do happen when no one is to blame.

  2. You and your counsel must show that the other party negligently handled the property to recover damages for falling on their property. To put it another way, you must prove that the other party committed a mistake. In the same way, if you're in a car crash, you can only sue the other driver for damages if the other driver was at fault.

  • Worker's Compensation Cases

  1. With a few exceptions, any person injured on the job is entitled to workers' compensation insurance in a workers' compensation situation. Compensation for workers has nothing to do with blame. To be eligible for workers' compensation payments, you do not need to show that your boss or coworkers did anything wrong. You are also entitled to workers' compensation insurance even though you were incompetent and your negligence caused your injury.


Damages for Pain and Suffering


The most significant difference in damages between a personal injury claim and a workers' compensation case is that you are not entitled to benefits for pain and suffering in a workers' compensation case. In a personal injury case, you have the right to be compensated for all of your losses. Among the types of losses are lost wages, lost earning ability, medical costs, potential medical expenses, permanent disability, pain and suffering, and lack of enjoyment of life (also known as hedonic damages).


However, you will only claim weekly pay, lifelong disability insurance, medical costs, and career training in a workers' compensation situation. You cannot be compensated for pain and suffering in a workers' compensation situation. This is because workers' compensation is essentially a trade-off between employers and employees.


Until workers' compensation regulations were enforced at the turn of the century, the only recourse for injured workers was to sue their employers for negligence. The employee received nothing if the employer was not liable or if the employee did not sue or make a lawsuit against the employer.


Normally, you are unable to sue your employer or coworkers.


Workers' compensation legislation guaranteed that all injured employees received weekly benefits and that their medical expenses were covered. In exchange, injured employees lost their right to sue their employers and coworkers for negligence and their right to seek pain and suffering damages.


There are, however, exceptions to this law. For example, if an employer's deliberate act caused the injury, you will normally still file a complaint to seek pain and suffering damages.


Is it even possible for employees to sue their employers legally?


Crewmembers of boats and interstate railroad staff are two small groups of employees who are not covered by workers' compensation laws. You are not entitled to workers' compensation insurance if you are a crewmember of any kind of boat, from a cruise ship to a two-person commercial fishing boat. Instead, if you are injured on the job, a federal statute known as the Jones Act allows you to sue your employer for damages, including pain and suffering. If you are a member of a vessel's crew and are injured while on the job, you can contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles.


The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) allows railroad employees on interstate to sue their employer for damages if they are injured on the job. Interstate railroad employees are those who work for a railroad that serves several states. FELA does not always cover commuter rail employees. If you work on a railroad and are hurt on the job, you can speak with a Los Angeles Employment Lawyer for more details.


Types of Workers Compensation Accidents


Accidents that include workers' compensation range from traumatic brain injuries to those that develop gradually, such as cancer. When it comes to COVID or caring for someone with this harmful virus, medical professionals face a new type of worker's compensation problem.


If you believe you have been injured on the job, it is helpful to know the different forms of occupational accidents and what they involve.


Back and Lifting Injuries


Lifting heavy items at work can cause back spasms, sprains, herniated discs, and spinal injuries, to name a few. Lifting injuries may be traumatic in some situations. Repeated movements in others may result in injury. Some people are harmed without even knowing it. It may be due to lifting at work if you don't feel any unexpected pain or suffer an accident right away but later suffer. It's possible that you'll be entitled to remuneration.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common injury that is covered by workers' compensation. This condition can affect staff in various fields and cause serious problems for those suffering from it. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms include:

  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and hands

  • Weakness of the hand

  • Inability to grip or hold objects

  • Hands, fingers, and forearm numbness

With repeated motion and time, these symptoms sometimes begin slowly and gradually worsen. Most staff are at risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome because their hands and wrists are used excessively. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be caused by a variety of work practices, including:

  • Typing

  • Work on a production line

  • Painting

  • Embroidery

Basically, any work that requires you to make repetitive movements with your hands and arms is dangerous. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is fortunately known as a work-related injury. In several cases, filing a lawsuit citing the harm your work has caused your health will result in adequate compensation.


Falls and Slips


The most common form of occupational injury is a fall, which accounts for one of every four workers' compensation claims. These slips or falls can occur as a result of a variety of dangerous circumstances, including:

  • Wet ground warning signals are either missing or ineffective

  • Spills were overlooked

  • The floor that is uneven, cracked, or poorly maintained

  • Stairs that are broken or dangerous

  • Insufficient lighting

  • Cords and wires may be tripping hazards.

Although falls are more common in some professions, such as truck drivers, tree landscapers, and construction workers, these accidents can occur in any line of work and at any time of the year.


Scaffolding Accidents


Approximately 2.3 million people, or 65 percent of all construction staff, work on scaffolding high above the field. Jobs such as painters and window washers are included in this category, in addition to builders and craftsmen. Pedestrians on the ground below the construction site are at risk in some situations, especially in major cities.


The following are only a few of the most famous scaffolding mishaps.


Electrocution.


Electrocution is a risk that staff must be aware of as there are wires located above the scaffolding. If the wires aren't properly secured, a worker may be electrocuted. Since the worker can pass out from the electrocution and fall from the scaffolding, this form of accident may also result in a fall.


Falling objects.


There is always a risk of objects dropping or being lowered from above while working on scaffolding. Objects falling onto the scaffolding and causing it to collapse are common occurrences. Staff on the platform can be exposed to infrared rays if the scaffolding collapses. Construction waste and debris are common on job sites and are one of the most common items that fall and injure workers.


The structure of the building collapses.


Scaffolding that is not properly installed and supported can collapse, resulting in injuries. Scaffolding construction necessitates much caution and experience, as a collapse almost always results in workers falling and getting injured. Even though scaffolds are usually very solid, they have weight limits, and failure to adhere to them may result in a collapse. When building scaffolding, workers must follow OSHA guidelines.


Falls.


Scaffolding must be fitted with fall safety features since it is a platform that elevates workers above the ground floor to work on tall structures. Guardrails are one of the options for preventing staff from dropping from a scaffold.


Measures to Prevent Scaffolding Accidents that Should Be Taken


There are federal, state, and local laws in place that any employer should adhere to in order to avoid scaffolding incidents that endanger their employees and passers-by. On work sites with scaffolding, workers should always take the following precautions:

  • Barricading the region directly under the scaffolding

  • Being mindful of the weight restrictions that the scaffolding imposes and adhering to those limits by not putting too many people or too much machinery on the scaffolding.

  • Using a fall-arrest device to keep staff safe

  • Using scaffolding with guardrails to keep staff safe from dropping.

  • Using a canopy net to capture anything that may fall off the scaffolding and cover any staff or passers-by who may be on the ground below the scaffolding.


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In most scaffolding injury situations, accidents are caused by a lack of proper guardrails. Contractors sometimes believe they are protected if they simply install guardrails on a few of the work platform's sides, but this can be a fatal mistake. Employees work on scaffolding structures necessitates covering both sides of the platform to have the best working atmosphere possible.


What Do You Do If you're in a Scaffolding Accident?


If you are involved in a scaffolding crash, you can seek medical help right away. After you've had the appropriate care, go over the accident scene and collect any evidence you can. Photographs of the equipment and the accident scene can be extremely useful in taking legal action in your case. You must notify the property owner and the building company of the accident and then obtain the advice of an experienced Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles.


Every day, construction workers face a variety of hazards on the job site. It is important to use the right equipment to ensure that it is mounted properly in a safe location in order to avoid accidents. It can be dangerous for staff and others in the area if the people who construct scaffolding aren't well qualified in proper installation techniques.


The construction industry is dangerous, as it often involves working at great heights on scaffolding. Accidents on this sort of worksite can be avoided with the right precautions. On the other hand, contractors and developers often disregard laws and regulations to complete jobs faster. When you hire a Los Angeles Labor Lawyer, they will help you figure out who is to blame for the accident and get you the money you deserve for your injuries.


Heavy Equipment Accidents


If another employee is negligent or ill-trained to drive machinery in the workplace, it may result in machinery or heavy equipment accident. However, the majority of machinery accidents are caused by either a malfunctioning machine or a lack of maintenance. Your employer is required by law to provide you with clean and inspected equipment in any of these cases. If they don't, and you suffer as a result, you deserve to be reasonably paid.


Burns


Depending on the type of work environment, burns may occur for a variety of reasons. Most burn accidents on the job are caused by an open flame, electrical fires, or the misuse of flammable materials. Chemical burns, which occur when you are exposed to high concentrations of caustic chemicals, are another common cause of occupational injuries. These chemicals may be as popular as cleaning supplies.


Hazardous chemicals or concentrations, on the other hand, should always be clearly labeled. Employees must also be properly educated and warned. If none of these things occurred, but you were exposed to chemicals that caused a burn, you might be eligible for workers' compensation.


Faulty Equipment


Your employer must provide you with clean and up-to-date materials to use on the job. You are at risk of injury if you are given obsolete or dangerous products. All equipment should be tested and maintained regularly. No matter how small, out-of-date equipment can cause injury. All equipment, from meat processors to conveyor belts, poses a risk if it is not properly maintained. Accidents caused by neglected or defective machinery often occur, providing a good argument for the worker to collect workers' compensation.


Amputations


If you were a victim of a workplace accident that resulted in an amputation, you should be compensated for your hospital costs, missed income, and disability. Some of these benefits could be contingent on whether the amputation has stopped you from working. Most occupational accidents that result in amputation qualify for additional benefits. You can also obtain an amount of money corresponding to the body part that has been amputated, in addition to standard reparations.


Other Things to Think About Before Filing a Worker's Compensation Claim


It's important to note a few things about filing workers' compensation claims when determining whether you're eligible for compensation:

  1. Workers' compensation lawsuits are no-fault, which means you might be liable for redress even though you think the accident was caused by something you did.

  2. For an accident to qualify for workers' compensation, you may not have to be physically present at work. You will still be liable if you are injured while on a work errand, working remotely, or attending a work-sponsored function.

  3. Worker's compensation cases are complex, and employers can do whatever they can to stop paying or underpaying. Employ a competent Los Angeles Employment Lawyer to defend the case and ensure that the claim is filed on time and correctly.


When Do You Hire an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles?


When your situation becomes more complicated, you can consult with a California Employment Attorney. Here are some examples of cases that necessitate the assistance of a California Labor Lawyer:

  • Your employer refuses to fund your insurance or does not pay them on time.

Employers and workers' compensation providers routinely deny legitimate claims, assured that few workers would appeal. Regrettably, they are often right. Hiring a California Employment Law Attorney costs you little upfront, and it ensures that you earn the highest possible payout or payment for your injuries.

  • The settlement offer from your employer does not cover any of your missed earnings or medical expenses.

If you're unsure if a settlement offer is fair, don't depend on the workers' compensation judge to decide. While a judge must approve all workers' compensation agreements, most judges would sign off on any deal as long as it is not too unjust. Call a California Employment Attorney if you are serious about getting the best settlement possible.

  • Your medical conditions prohibit you from returning to your previous career, limiting what you can do at work or preventing you from working at all.

If you've missed income due to a permanent injury, whether partial or absolute, you might be eligible for weekly compensation (or a single lump sum) to compensate you. Insurance firms know how costly these cases can be, and they'll always go to any length to avoid getting you what you're owed. A skilled Employment Law Attorney is critical in cases involving permanent injuries or illnesses.

  • You collect Social Security disability payments or plan to apply for them.

Your workers' compensation insurance could substantially reduce your Social Security disability income if your settlement isn't arranged properly. A skilled California Employment Attorney will know how to formulate the settlement agreement to minimize or eliminate the offset.

  • Your employer takes retaliation against you because you filed a workers' compensation lawsuit.

If your employer has terminated you, demoted you, shortened your hours, reduced your wages, or discriminated against you in some other way because you filed a workers' compensation claim, contact a California Employment Attorney right away to protect your legal rights.

  • You became hurt due to the acts of a third party or the employer's serious misconduct.

Workers' compensation was created to avoid civil litigation stemming from workplace injuries. However, you might be able to sue outside of workers' comp under such circumstances:

  1. when someone other than your employer contributes to your injuries (such as a negligent driver who hit you while you were driving for work)

  2. your employer may not have workers' comp insurance

  3. your employer knowingly caused your injury

  4. An Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles will clarify how the law relates to your specific case


What Your California Employment Attorney Should Do for You

A skilled California Employment Law Attorney will know how to collect the facts required to support your case, negotiate efficiently with the insurance firm, and write a mediation agreement to prevent unanticipated repercussions, in addition to making sure you file all of the correct paperwork and meet the deadlines. If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, an Employment Law Attorney will help you prepare for the hearing or trial and represent you.


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