Workers’ compensation is a California law that requires employers to maintain insurance (or to be self-insured) so that certain benefits can be provided to employees who are injured on the job. Employers or their insurance companies must provide those benefits whether or not the injury was the employer’s fault.
Most work-related injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. Medical expenses to treat physical injuries are almost always covered. Employees who miss more than three days of work due to a physical injury are almost always entitled to receive temporary disability benefits, while employees who do not fully recover from a work-related physical injury are almost always entitled to recover permanent disability benefits.
Emotional injuries caused by job-related stress may also be covered. Psychiatric injuries are likely to be covered if work (excluding personnel decisions) is the predominant cause of the injury. Those benefits are usually available after the employee has worked for six months, but an employee who was employed for less than six months may be entitled to benefits for stress-related psychiatric injuries that were caused by a sudden and extraordinary event at work.
San Diego employers and their insurance companies often resist providing workers’ compensation benefits. They may claim that the injury did not occur at work or that the employee is faking the injury. They may claim that the employee’s disability is less serious than the employee’s doctor believes it to be. Whenever a San Diego employer resists providing the full workers’ compensation benefits that the law requires, the San Diego workers compensation lawyers at ODG Law Group can help employees fight for their rights.
San Diego Workers’ Rights
Aerospace, marine technology, and biotech are among the leading San Diego industries. High tech workers play a strong role in the San Diego economy, but all employees are covered by workers’ compensation. Whether an employee works in construction or in a sedate laboratory, the worker is entitled to benefits after suffering a work-related injury.
Tourists and San Diego County employees crowd the freeways every day. Some drive as part of their job duties while others are traveling to vacation destinations. Places like SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, and the USS Midway Museum attract thousands of visitors, but crowded roads lead to traffic accidents. When employees are injured in collisions while they are delivering packages for an employer, making sales calls, or running employment-related errands, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
Employees who work in retail sales often experience injuries while lifting heavy merchandise at their employers’ premises. Fashion Valley, Seaport Village, and Horton Plaza are among the many San Diego malls where employees might be injured.
Injuries from falls after slipping or tripping also occur at retail stores, as well as restaurants and nightclubs. Shops and restaurants serve visitors to the Cabrillo National Monument, the Point Loma lighthouses, and Birch Aquarium. Food servers at pizza joints and taquerias in Mission Beach, bartenders in the trendy Gaslamp Quarter, and waiters at the upscale restaurants in La Jolla/Bird Rock or the Asian restaurants in Clairemont/Kearny Mesa are all at risk of slipping on spilled food and drinks.
Even museum workers face the possibility of injury as they erect displays. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the Museum of Man, and the Star of India are among the many popular museums that employ San Diego workers.
Workers Compensation Benefits
There are three primary benefits available to San Diego employees who are injured in job-related accidents.
· Medical expenses. San Diego employers have an obligation to pay reasonable medical bills incurred to treat on-the-job injuries. In some cases, they can require employees to be treated by the physician provided the workers’ compensation insurance company, although some employees can predesignate a physician of their own. Employees should seek the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney if their employer refuses to pay their healthcare bills.
· Temporary disability. After an employee misses three days of work because of a job-related injury, the employee can collect temporary disability benefits. Those benefits replace a portion of the employee’s wages. They are generally set at 75% of the employee’s gross pay, up to a maximum set by law, but no payroll taxes are deducted from those payments. Smaller benefits may be available to employees who are able to work part time while they recovery. Employers sometimes refuse to pay temporary disability benefits by claiming that the employee is not injured or that the injury is not job-related. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help San Diego employees who are not receiving the temporary disability benefits to which they are entitled.
· Permanent disability. An employee who fails to make a complete recovery from a work-related injury is entitled to permanent disability benefits. Those benefits are available even if the employee is able to return to work or to do some other kind of work. The amount of the benefits depends upon the extent of the worker’s impairment. Since that calculation can be complicated, employers and their insurance companies routinely contend that injured employees should receive a smaller award of benefits that they deserve. A workers’ compensation law firm can help San Diego employees recover the full extent of the permanent disability benefits that the law allows.
Other benefits available under California law, when applicable, include death benefits and supplemental job displacement benefits.
How Our San Diego Workers Compensation Lawyers Can Help
The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Oktanyan Der-Grigorian Law Group represent injured workers in San Diego and other Southern California communities. We fight for the right of every injured worker to receive the full benefits allowed by California law.
The experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at ODG Law Group understand how to fight against workers’ compensation insurance companies that spread myths about the “epidemic” of fraudulent workers’ compensation claims. We know that work-related injuries are real, that they are common, and that have a devastating impact on the lives of employees. We also know that employers and their insurers try to save money by denying the legitimacy of workers’ comp claims.
Fighting to collect benefits for injured workers is what we do. The dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys at ODG Law Group believe that every worker who is injured on the job should receive full compensation. When employers and their insurance companies refuse to pay San Diego employees the benefits that California law requires, ODG Law Group is here to help.