Regardless of the type of work you do, most jobs come with an inherent risk of injury. Whether you are a construction worker, a laborer operating heavy machinery, a factory employee lifting heavy weights, a warehouse worker operating forklifts or a management analyst with a desk job, there is always the danger of job-related injuries and illnesses. Workers’ compensation is designed to provide benefits and care for workers who have been injured on the job. Over the decades, workers’ compensation laws have expanded to include not just injuries suffered on the job, but also illnesses caused by conditions at the workplace.
If you have suffered a workplace injury and have questions about benefits, returning to work or even concerns about retaliation by your employer, the experienced workers’ compensation lawyers at the ODG Law Group can help you better understand your legal rights and options. We will fight hard to protect your rights and help you secure the treatment and benefits you need to recover, heal and move forward. Call us at 818-230-2428 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Help?
Workers’ compensation provides a number of benefits for injured workers including reimbursement of medical expenses, recovery of lost wages and compensation for temporary and permanent disabilities. Depending on the nature and circumstances of your case, workers may also be able to receive vocational retraining to return to the workforce. When a worker is fatally injured on the job or dies due to an occupational illness, dependents or immediate family members such as a spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc. may be eligible to receive monetary benefits as well. Workers’ compensation covers some, but not all, stress-related (psychological) injuries caused by your job.
Knowing Your Rights as an Employee
It is crucial for employees to be aware of their rights when it comes to applying for workers’ compensation. Some of those rights are as follows:
- Employers must provide medical care if you are injured on the job, regardless of whether you miss time from work.
- You may be eligible to receive benefits even if you are a temporary or part-time worker.
- You may be covered by workers’ compensation as an employee even if you are called an “independent contractor.”
- You do not have to be a legal resident of the United States to receive most workers’ compensation benefits. You may be eligible even if you are an undocumented worker.
- You can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for your job-related injury.
- It is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you or terminate your employment for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers
Some of the benefits covered by workers’ compensation include:
- Medical care: This is paid by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance to help you recover from an injury or illness caused by work. This covers expenses such as doctor visits, diagnostics, medicines, equipment, travel, physical therapy and other treatment costs.
- Disability benefits: This includes payments for wages that are lost because your injury prevented you from temporarily doing your usual job. You may also get paid if you do not recover completely and if your doctor determines that the injury caused a permanent loss of physical and/or mental function.
- Job displacement benefits: This is a voucher that helps pay for retraining or skill enhancement if you are eligible to receive permanent disability benefits. This is used when your employer doesn’t offer you work or you don’t return to work for your employer.
- Death benefits: If a worker is killed on the job, his or her spouse, children or other dependents may be able to receive payments through workers’ compensation.
What Steps Should You Take?
Workplace injuries can be extremely traumatic, both physically and emotionally. However, there are a number of steps workers would be well advised to take in the aftermath of an injury in order to protect their rights. First, it is important that you report the injury to your supervisor and make it clear to him or her that the injury was caused by work or occurred on the job. If your injury or illness developed gradually, report it as soon as you learn that it was caused by your job. California law requires workers to report injuries or illnesses within 30 days.
Make sure your supervisor prepares an accident report. If your supervisor won’t do that, then, you should write a letter stating the facts of your injury and give a copy of the letter to your supervisor. The report or letter should have important details including the date, time and location of the incident, who was present at the time and the type of injury that was caused by the incident. Be sure to keep a copy of this report for your records.
Get medical treatment if necessary. If it is an emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away. Your employer must make sure you have access to emergency treatment. You may have to go to a doctor who is approved by your employer’s insurer. Make sure you follow the doctor’s directions. Filing a workers compensation claim in a timely manner is a good idea. Immediately contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who will help ensure your rights are protected every step of the way and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries and losses.
How We Can Help You
California workers’ compensation laws are complex and your employer or their insurer may try not to provide you with the benefits to which you are entitled. We have years of experience fighting for the rights of workers and their families. We serve as vocal and effective advocates for our clients throughout the process. We take care of all the paperwork and monitor the process so you can focus on your health and recovery. We provide quality, compassionate legal representation.
At Oktanyan Der-Grigorian Law Group, Inc., we understand the daunting challenges injured workers and their families face in the aftermath of a workplace injury. We will explain your options, represent your best interests and help you secure the compensation you need and rightfully deserve. Call us at 818-230-2428 to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.