Workers’ compensation offers a significant amount of protection for both employees and employers in California. Employees are protected from financial ruin in the case of an accident, while employers are protected from expensive lawsuits and settlements. The system has a wide range of programs, meaning that most people who are injured at work can receive the help they need to support their family while they recover.
Although the workers’ compensation system supports most employees after an emergency, it’s important to be able to prove a few different points before you can begin to collect your money. This can be confusing, especially when the situation seems straightforward to you or your employer disagrees with your version of events.
Fortunately, with high-powered legal help from Kampf, Schiavone & Associates on your side, you can easily navigate the workers’ compensation system and heal both your body and your bank account in no time.
Points of Proof
To be eligible for workers’ compensation, you must prove certain criteria. This shows your employer’s insurance company that they are liable for the costs. To meet these criteria, you must prove:
- You were at work when you got the injury
- You were acting within the realm of your job when you were injured
- You were, in fact, injured
In some circumstances, these are very easy to prove, and in others, it can be surprisingly difficult.
Medical records are often sufficient for the third point, but the other two can require you to collect evidence. Luckily, this is only applicable if your employer requests it—many reputable employers want to help you make ends meet and get back on the job and will not require lots of hard evidence to approve a workers’ compensation claim. Contact an attorney immediately if you believe your employer is denying you access to relevant evidence to stall or end your workers’ compensation claim.
One of the best ways to prove the points listed above is through video surveillance. Many workplaces have CCTV, which can be used to see exactly what happened to cause the injury. Your workplace can pull this footage if they need additional proof of what happened.
In some cases, video surveillance isn’t available, either because there aren’t surveillance cameras in the area or your employer can’t or won’t access them. In these situations, photos can help to prove your point. It’s a good idea to take several photos of any workplace injuries and the surrounding area as soon as an accident occurs. Snap a picture of any objects or equipment involved in the incident; there’s no such thing as too many photos for these cases.
Medical reports are effective for both proving that you’ve been hurt and determining how the injury occurred. This can help corroborate your account if there’s any doubt about what happened. Be sure you make copies of any documentation that you provide to your employer, along with any notes or prescriptions from your medical provider.
Your account of what happened will be carefully considered. However, it can help to have additional witnesses confirm the situation to your employer and their insurance company. Take note of anyone who’s nearby at the time of your accident and seek them out if there’s any issue confirming that you are eligible for workers’ compensation. If you have your phone on you, ask if they would be comfortable making their statement on video so that you can keep it handily stored with your photographic evidence. A second account can really help when there’s no video surveillance.
In some situations, your workplace time clock can provide additional information. Verifying you were clocked in at the time of the accident makes it more difficult to deny that the injury happened at work. Though this information alone is not sufficient to create a case, it can help a great deal when there’s a conflict relating to the timeline of events.
Workers’ Compensation and Protocol
One of the key aspects of proving your workers’ compensation case is showing that you were following protocol when the injury occurred. This means that forworkers’ compensation to be awarded, you must have been doing your job and following workplace rules.
Some workplaces like to use this as a loophole to avoid workers’ compensation cases. Many times, they’ll try to claim that the worker was clocked out or not doing their job “correctly” when they got hurt. They may cite a minute detail from the employee handbook or attempt to otherwise claim that you were acting inappropriately and therefore ineligible for workers’ compensation.
A major tool that employers use in disproving workers’ compensation cases is drug testing. Most employers require a negative drug test to distribute workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, many people lose their benefits this way. This means that you can lose your workers’ compensation because of using recreational marijuana outside of work hours, for example, even though you weren’t on drugs when the incident occurred.
Drug testing is a flawed system, but workplaces frequently use it against their employees with great success. This results in innocent employees facing financial responsibility for their own medical bills and lost wages. The results can be devastating.
Hiring an Apple Valley Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Some people believe that they can navigate this process without an attorney. Though this certainly sounds appealing to people facing budget limitations, it’s never a good idea. Situations arise where your employer may take advantage of your position or give you false information. In yet other scenarios, you may have a difficult time actually getting the payments that you were awarded. In a limited number of situations, you can press charges, including personal injury charges concurrent to your workers’ compensation case, against responsible third parties like coworkers or equipment manufacturers. Filingsuch suits successfully requires legal help.
An attorney can help you to navigate this complicated system and ensure that you have guidance while you file your claim. Remember, you will still be healing as this situation progresses, and stressing over its outcome only impedes your progress and makes recovery more difficult. With an attorney, you can feel confident that you have all the information and resources you need, and that someone is watching out for important deadlines and other details on your behalf.
Contact Our Team for Workers’ Comp Questions
Our team at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates is ready to help you with your workers’ compensation case. We understand the pressures of these cases becausewe’ve dedicated over 40 years to representing employees. We believe that employers must be responsible when a worker is injured under their care. This is why we do everything we can to make sure you receive your workers’ compensation settlement in the maximum possible amount and that you’re doing all you can to leverage any other legal tools applicable to your situation.
For more information on what Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can do for you, contact us.