Workers’ Compensation: Overview
Despite your job’s description, nobody is spared in getting injured from or at work. Whether you work at fast-food chains, construction sites, retail stores, hospitals, law firms, warehouses, or even small offices, even with the right personal protective equipment to keep you from harm, accidents still happen. According to the data presented by the National Safety Council, the following types of injuries have shown the highest average cost to companies from 2016-2017: motor vehicle, fire and burn, and slip and fall injuries. Moreover, being injured from your workplace could mean facing severe consequences from medical bills and lost wages to losing the chance of getting back to work.
Workers’ Compensation is an insurance program that every employer and company in California must carry. This ensures that benefits are available to injured workers and employees if an accident occurs in your workplace. This benefit will be available to any injured worker who has experienced an injury on the job, whether it is your fault or not.
The common misconception with workers’ comp benefits is that it is only eligible for severe injuries from a physically demanding job. Contrary to what is most believed, accidents resulting from any injury at all is covered under workers’ compensation. Injuries can happen in any business or company, no matter the nature of work.
Thus, if you are suffering from a work-related injury, it is best to hire ODG Law Group and have the right workers’ compensation lawyer fight your fight for you and with you. Since your holistic well-being is our top priority, we have included the necessary information you need to know about workers’ compensation and how we can help you achieve it.
What Is Workers’ Compensation And How Does It Work?
In simple terms, workers’ compensation refers to the process of receiving proper benefits, medical care, and compensation due to a work-related injury. There are many laws under the workers’ compensation system that ensure that every injured employee in California will be given workers’ comp benefits despite a determination of fault. What this means it that, even if you are hurt on the job because of your own doing, you can still be eligible for benefits depending on the circumstances surrounding your injury.
At ODG Law Group, our lawyers will help ensure that you receive the benefits and compensation needed to help you fully recover from your work-related injury. The kind of compensation depends on the severity of the injury and the nature of the employee’s work.
What Are The Most Common Workers’ Compensation Injuries?
Every workplace can be a source of unforeseen events, accidents, and injuries. Although some employees and injured workers walk away from accidents with bruises or tiny scraps, other accidents can be far more severe or fatal in some circumstances.
Here are the most common severe injuries that can take place at work:
Although most burn injuries are from home fire accidents, work-related burn injuries also hold a large proportion of the yearly data. Burn injuries are one of the worst severe injuries that a person can sustain as it quickly spreads all over the body, and it could reach the in-depth part of the skin and could lead to internal organs being affected. Moreover, burn injuries lead to permanent scarring that could significantly affect a person’s physical appearance.
A brain injury often happens when there is a sudden impact to your head directly. This could lead to brain swelling, bleeding, or even permanent brain damage. The severity of a brain injury could be mild to severe, depending on the impact and the patient’s condition. However, it is vital to remember how brain injuries could have a lasting effect on the patient and the families involved. Brain injuries could be challenging to diagnose, especially when these are closed head injuries. Moreover, brain injury symptoms are often noticeable weeks or months after the accident. Thus, hiring a reputable law firm to help you with workers’ compensation is definitely a must.
Overexertion happens when a person accidentally strains a muscle or joint by overextending in lifting, pushing, pulling, or turning an object or item. In most cases, injuries like this happen at construction sites, factories, hospitals or medical institutes where physical effort while performing the job is required. However, injuries like this happen even while doing the most mundane job, like lifting the file folder and failing to estimate how heavy it is. This example is still overexertion; and even this type of injury would entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits.
Spinal Cord Injuries
If any of the following parts: neck, back, connective tissues, muscles, and nerve cells are injured, it is often referred to as spinal cord injuries. Knowing the importance and function of our spinal cord, having it injured in one way or another could be life-threatening, or it could lead to paralysis or permanent disability. Spinal trauma complications could require 24/7 medical attention, as accomplishing simple tasks could become impossible. Workers’ compensation lawyers work hand-in-hand with you to provide the necessary treatment, benefits, and support needed in these types of claims.
Neck and Back Injuries
According to the data presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, neck and back injuries are among the most common reasons employers miss work and call out sick. Neck and back injuries may seem ordinary, yet persistent pain could lead to unproductivity due to the inability to focus on and perform work-related tasks.
Neck and back injuries may also be experienced due to another person’s negligence at work or while doing a job-related activity. These injuries are usually the result of any vehicular, work, and construction accidents.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere. The most common examples are slips due to wet surfaces, trips due to uneven surfaces, or falls due to unforeseen height. It can happen to anyone, yet the results could range from simple bruises and sprains to a traumatic brain injury. Any part of your body could also be affected due to the impact. Suppose an object accidentally falls or struck the employee and they happen to experience any of these three with mild to severe effects. In that case, the employee is still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Vehicular Accident Injuries
Truck drivers, delivery drivers or service drivers usually experience traffic accidents while performing their job. Unexpected circumstances commonly happen on the road; thus, even when the driver is doing his best to deliver packages safely, car accidents may still occur. Workers’ compensation can be granted to those injured while doing their job-related tasks, no matter the location.
Machinery Accident Injuries
Machinery accident injuries happen as a result of misuse or faulty machinery that leads to severe injuries. These type of accidents are most common in construction sites, manufacturing sites or warehouses; however, this can also happen in office buildings with problems regarding copy machines and shredders as an example. Moreover, machinery accident injuries can happen in restaurants or fast-food chains if anyone accidentally burns or scalds. Electrocution, where electric shock enters the body, can also be one of the severe causes of machinery accident injuries. The damage and injury sustained depends on the amount of voltage and the length of time the body has experienced. It could disrupt one’s heartbeat or cause severe visible burns.
A wrongful death caused by a work-related accident is devastating. The workers’ compensation lawyers of ODG Law Group ensure the family of a lost loved one receives workers’ compensation death benefits. ODG Law Group works well with the family with sincere compassion and competence while respecting the grievances felt by losing a loved one.
Workers’ compensation benefits cover a variety of injuries that happen in the workplace. The injuries may or may not be included on the list above. As long as you have been injured while you are performing job-related tasks, no matter what the severity is, you can be eligible for benefits. If you are having difficulty applying for workers’ compensation benefits, the lawyers of ODG Law Group would be honored to help you with the legal process.
What Are The Primary Responsibilities Of A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
A workers’ compensation lawyer’s responsibility is to represent the injured worker and advocate on their behalf to successfully obtain the deserved workers’ compensation benefits. ODG Law Group lawyers ensure to perform the following tasks in full commitment:
- Coordinate medical treatment and care for injured workers
- Obtain all the medical evidence and records needed to support the claim
- Ensure depositions of the injured worker, medical experts, and other parties involved
- Perform legal workers’ compensation research
- Draft all legal documents required
- File for and attend all hearings and trials before a judge
Aside from these legal functions, the workers’ compensation lawyers of ODG Law Group also provide emotional support for every injured worker and employee. Having a compassionate lawyer and team besides you is what every client needs during the most challenging time of their lives.
What Are The Workers’ Compensation Benefits That An Injured Employee Receives?
If you are an employee who recently experienced injuries due to a work-related accident, you may receive any of the following workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Bills Payment.When you receive medical treatment at a medical practitioner’s office or at the emergency room, those medical bills can be paid for through workers’ compensation. Treatment in the form of office visits, surgeries, physical therapy, diagnostic studies including MRIs and scans, medication management, etc. are just a few examples of medical care costs covered through workers’ compensation.
- Wage Loss and Temporary Total Disability Benefits. If your injury requires some time away and off from work, then you can be entitled to wage loss at approximately two-thirds of your gross pay. This benefit is possible through temporary disability benefits.
- Permanent Disability Payment. If the work-related injury resulted in permanent disability, the employee will be entitled to compensation.
- Death. If you lost a loved one because of a work-related injury, the family and dependents could receive death benefits. The benefits may also include funeral expenses.
Most importantly, California law protects injured workers and the jobs of injured employees. Depending on the outcome of treatment and medical care, an employee may return to work once the recovery is completed, provided the employee can perform the expected job responsibilities of the employer.
What are Temporary Disability Benefits?
Temporary disability benefits serve as income replacement once an injured person is under a doctor’s order to stop working or given work restrictions that an employer cannot accommodate. The benefits could be two-thirds of your total salary with the specific amount still in subject depending on essential factors. The pay is completely tax-free; thus, it is more likely similar to take-home pay after taxes are deducted.
The injured employee is entitled to these benefits as long as a doctor believes they are unable to perform the essential functions of their job or the employer cannot accommodate specific work restrictions given by the doctor. Generally, temporary disability benefits are only eligible for up to 104 weeks. Injured employees do not often reach this limit as they tend to recover even before the limit is due.
What are Permanent Disability Benefits?
Permanent disability benefits are given to injured employees who are unable to recover fully from work-related accidents. The employee is considered to be permanent and stationary, which means that the injured worker has plateaued in healing and recovery. The treating doctor is the only one who has the right to declare the condition of the injured employee. It is vital to note that permanent disabilities do not always hinder the employee from working. Employees who have permanent disabilities can still return to work and receive permanent disability benefits simultaneously.
What does a P&S report mean? How does it work?
The P&S report is given once your doctor determines that your injury is permanent and stationary (P&S). The doctor has to describe the lasting effects of the injury, the limitation of work that causes the impairment and the extent of whether or not the employee can resume work. Moreover, the P&S report also states the possible need for future treatment and medication with a clear explanation of how much the injury is related to work.
The doctor will then pass the P&S report to the workers’ compensation adjuster and the employee will get a copy as well. In cases where you disagree with a P&S report, you can choose to challenge the report with the guidance of your workers’ compensation lawyer. ODG Law Group ensures to pick the best medical physician possible to provide a necessary evaluation to support your claim.
What is the process of Permanent Disability Benefits Computation?
A disability rating will be given based on the P&S report. The disability rating is based on the following factors: age, occupation, the severity of the disability and the possible decrease in income capacity. The rating is given as a percentage, with 100% representing a total, permanent disability. Most disability ratings fall between 5% to 30%.
In most cases, the claim adjusters and the workers’ compensation lawyers often disagree with the rating result. Once the rating is finalized, the permanent disability benefits will then be determined once the California Department of Industrial Relations provides a schedule. The benefits are often paid over time; however, a settlement can occur in providing a single lump-sum payment.
Are there other benefits available for Permanent Disability?
The family can receive death benefits in cases where the injured worker passes away due to a job-related accident. Moreover, employees who can no longer work and are not offered a job by their former employer can receive a job retraining voucher. This allows the injured worker to retrain and learn a new skill and purchase equipment and tools for a new line of work. c
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help?
Most employees who have been injured due to a job-related accident usually prefer to file the claim independently. However, requesting a workers’ compensation claim can be too stressful, especially when you don’t know where to start or how to even request a claim form or ask for medical treatment.
Therefore, it is best to ask for help from a reputable law firm that can guide you through the entire legal process. ODG Law Group ensures to place you and your needs first to achieve the recovery and results you deserve by performing the following diligently and sincerely:
- Explain the in-depth workers’ compensation process and the benefits which you are entitled to;
- Assist with filling out your workers’ compensation claim form to initiate your claim for benefits;
- Teach and guide every step of the way, especially when you start to receive an overwhelming amount of paperwork and mail from the insurance carrier and adjuster;
- Contest medical reports and physicians to ensure you receive the maximum compensation benefits you truly deserve;
- Fight every step of the way in pursuing permanent disability benefits for you; and
- Appeal and litigate denied claims and denied treatment requests.
When Facing Retaliation, What Are The Necessary Steps To Take?
When injured workers get hurt on the job, there are many injured employees that are fearful of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits because of an employers’ possible retaliation. However, it is essential to note that any form of retaliation from the employer regarding the workers’ compensation claims is illegal.
As an injured employee, you are protected from threats, discrimination, demotion, termination, or unfavorable treatment. If something like this happened to you or happens to you during your workers’ compensation case, you can ask for help and assistance from the workers’ compensation lawyers of ODG Law Group. We would be honored to consult with you and give you a clear explanation regarding your rights as an employee who is facing discrimination or retaliation as an injured worker.
Is It Possible To Get Fired While On Workers’ Compensation?
You technically should not be fired due to your workers’ compensation case or while on leave due to your work related injury. However, terminations do occur. Should that happen to you, you have rights and should consult with a workers’ compensation and/or employment law attorney to fully understand them. To ensure that you understand your rights fully and keep your rights protected simultaneously, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer from ODG Law Group on your side is all that you need.
What Is The Process Of Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The first thing you need to do is report any job-related injury to your employer as soon as possible. This action ensures that you will be given a claim form one day after you reported the injury. Once you have completed the form, please return it to your employer to start the process. As soon as the process for your workers’ compensation claim starts, a workers’ compensation claim adjuster will then be assigned to handle your case.
The workers’ compensation process is a complicated one and you do not have to go through it alone. The workers’ compensation lawyers of ODG Law Group will assist you every step of the way and not only help with initiating the process but guide you with each step thereafter.
If you are worried about your injury and unsure of what to do next, feel free to contact ODG Law Group to help you every step of the way. Contact us at (818) 975-3080.