Work Comp Attorney Forklift Injury
San Bernardino Forklift Injury Attorney
Countless businesses in the San Bernardino area and throughout the state rely on forklifts and their operators to keep their enterprises functioning efficiently. Forklifts are simple yet effective and generally reliable, but only when properly maintained and handled by experienced operators. Unfortunately, forklift injuries can and do happen for a variety of causes, and it is crucial for anyone injured in a forklift accident to know their legal options for recovering.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Counsel for Forklift Injuries
The California workers’ compensation system is a robust safety net that provides peace of mind and economic security to injured workers. Virtually every employer in the state must have workers’ compensation insurance, and this insurance comes into play whenever a worker suffers an injury while performing their job duties. For example, forklifts are heavy machines that can inflict severe traumatic injuries. As a result, workers injured in forklift accidents may face expensive medical treatment costs and further economic strain if they are unable to work due to their injuries.
Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can provide the experienced and responsive legal counsel you need for a workers’ compensation claim. A San Bernardino forklift injury attorney is the ideal resource to consult if you are unsure how to recover from a recent work-related forklift injury, and our team has successfully assisted many past clients with their workers’ compensation claims over the years of our firm’s operation. In addition, if you or a loved one is struggling in the aftermath of a forklift injury suffered while working, we can help you understand your rights and options for recovering from the incident.
Understanding the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
Each state enforces unique workers’ compensation laws, and California’s are relatively strict in terms of employers’ obligations to their injured workers. When any type of workplace injury happens, the injured worker should notify their supervisor of the incident immediately and request the materials needed to file a workers’ compensation claim. This process is similar to filing any other type of insurance claim. However, the claimant faces the additional complication of their employer’s involvement in the claim filing process.
Most San Bernardino employers fulfill their legal obligations to their injured workers, helping them understand the claim filing process and providing them with the information and forms necessary for filing their claims. Once an employer becomes aware of a workplace injury, they are legally required to document the incident in a formal report to which the injured worker may refer later. In addition, the employer’s insurance carrier will provide a list of local physicians the injured worker can visit for a disability evaluation, and this preliminary medical examination is a necessary step in most workers’ compensation cases.
If you were hurt while working and intend to file a workers’ compensation claim, you must undergo a medical evaluation from a physician approved by your employer’s insurance carrier. You can see any doctor in an emergency, but once your condition is stable, you will likely need to visit a workers’ compensation physician for your formal evaluation. This doctor’s job is to measure your level of disability and the degree of functional capacity you retain after an injury. They will assign you a disability rating, and this rating informs the level of compensation you can expect for your injury.
Determination of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Like any other insurance carrier, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company has the right and the responsibility to investigate your claim to ensure its legitimacy before any benefits can be paid. After undergoing your medical evaluation, your San Bernardino forklift injury attorney can guide you through the claim filing process, helping you to meet all the procedural requirements necessary for your case while addressing any issues that may arise between you and the insurance carrier.
State law requires a workers’ compensation insurance policy to provide a certain level of coverage based on the nature of the covered business and the risks of injury that their employees face on a regular basis. Most claimants qualify for two types of compensation: medical expense coverage and ongoing disability benefits. After filing their claim to the insurance carrier, the carrier will review the details of the claim and, after finalizing their investigation, deliver a determination of benefits.
The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will carefully evaluate your claim and verify that it is legitimate, and once it is approved, they will deliver a determination of the benefits you qualify to receive. Your San Bernardino forklift injury attorney will assist you in reviewing the terms of your employer’s policy to ensure the determination of benefits is suitable for the scope of your damages. When it comes to medical expense coverage, injured workers can usually expect their employer’s insurance to cover the cost of all medical care they require to fully heal from their injury and manage symptoms during recovery. Ongoing disability benefits, however, are more complex, and many factors can influence the amount the claimant receives and for how long.
Ongoing Disability Benefits for San Bernardino Workers’ Compensation Claims
Most ongoing disability benefits awarded through the workers’ compensation claim process continue on a temporary basis. The claimant can continue receiving benefits until they are able to return to work, but the maximum amount of time most claimants can continue receiving these benefits is 104 weeks. It’s possible to have these benefits spread out over a five-year period, if necessary. Some claimants who suffered extreme catastrophic injuries could have the limit waived and continue receiving disability benefits for much longer, but most insurance companies will attempt to settle such cases with large lump sum “clincher” offers.
When a forklift injury victim qualifies for ongoing temporary disability benefits, they can usually expect to receive about two-thirds of their average weekly wage in weekly benefits payments. For example, if the claimant usually earns about $1,200 per week at their job, they should receive roughly $800 in weekly disability benefits. However, once the claimant is medically able to resume their job duties, benefits cease.
It is possible for a forklift injury victim to qualify for partial disability benefits if they retain enough functional capacity to continue working but cannot earn as much income due to their injury. When a claimant qualifies for partial disability benefits, this can offset their difference in income, but they will face strict reporting requirements to maintain their eligibility. For example, they must provide regular medical updates on their recovery to the insurance company and report the income they are able to earn. Failure to meet these requirements could lead to early termination of their benefits or an accusation of workers’ compensation fraud in extreme cases.
Understanding Employer Retaliation
Unfortunately, not all employers in San Bernardino comply with their legal obligations to their injured workers. An employer pays an insurance premium to maintain their workers’ compensation coverage, and the amount they pay to the insurance company depends on the level of risk the insurance company perceives based on the nature of their operations. Essentially, any employer whose business operations imply a high degree of risk of employee injury is likely to pay much more in workers’ compensation insurance premiums than an employer managing a relatively low-risk work environment.
When an employer has multiple employees file workplace injury claims in a relatively short time, their insurance company may increase their premiums. This, unfortunately, encourages some employers to interfere with their employees’ claims, ranging from attempts to discourage them from filing claims to direct illegal retaliation. The term “retaliation” applies to any undue negative action taken against an employee in response to a legally protected action. Retaliation could manifest subtly as an employer making a hostile work environment for the employee, or it could be more overt in the form of wrongful termination.
If you believe your employer has engaged in any form of retaliation against you in response to your legitimate claim for damages, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced San Bernardino forklift injury attorney as soon as possible. They can not only help you ensure you are able to file your workers’ compensation claim but also provide valuable legal guidance for determining the best method of addressing the retaliation you experienced.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Forklift Accident Injury
California’s workers’ compensation laws aim to provide legal protection to both employees and their employers when workplace injuries occur. This form of insurance provides legal protection for covered employers, essentially preventing injured employees from filing civil suits against them in response to injuries suffered during the course of their work. However, there are exceptions to this, and it is possible for an injured worker to have grounds for legal action against their employer or a third party in response to a forklift injury at work.
If the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law, this will leave them vulnerable to a civil suit from an injured worker as well as penalties from the state. Alternatively, if a specific individual intentionally harmed the victim, they would be liable for any damages not covered by the victim’s workers’ compensation claim.
Forklift injuries can be incredibly painful and cause a host of long-term or permanent effects, some of which can interfere with the victim’s ability to work and live independently. Therefore, the purpose of any personal injury claim is to secure compensation for the plaintiff that makes them as “whole” as possible after their injury.
Damages and Compensation in Forklift Accidents Cases
An experienced San Bernardino forklift injury attorney is the best asset to have on your side if you believe you have grounds to file a personal injury claim, either in lieu of or alongside your workers’ compensation claim. To succeed with any personal injury claim, the plaintiff must identify the party or parties they believe to be responsible for causing their injury and provide clear evidence of the full scope of their damages. Under the state’s personal injury laws, the plaintiff in a personal injury case is allowed to seek compensation for:
- Medical expenses. When the plaintiff qualifies for workers’ compensation, their claim may cover all their medical treatment costs. However, in the event their employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance or their medical expenses exceed available coverage in any way, the defendant is liable for all medical treatment costs the plaintiff incurs due to their actions. This includes both immediate and ongoing health care expenses until the victim reaches maximum medical improvement from their injuries.
- Lost income. Workers’ compensation may cover a portion of the claimant’s missing income after their forklift injury, but if workers’ compensation is not an option for them, they can include these losses as economic damages in a personal injury claim. If they do qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, these benefits may only cover a portion of their lost wages and only for a limited time. Their personal injury case could effectively cover the remainder.
- Lost future income. Even when an injured worker qualifies to receive the maximum level of disability benefits from their employer’s insurance policy, they could be left unable to return to work in the future due to the severity of their injury. Workers’ compensation benefits will eventually end, and this could leave them in a very difficult financial situation in the future. If you qualify to file a personal injury claim alongside your workers’ compensation claim, your attorney could help you secure compensation for the future income you are no longer able to earn.
- Pain and suffering. California law allows the victim of any personal injury to hold the defendant accountable for the physical pain and psychological trauma inflicted by their actions. This type of compensation is not available in a workers’ compensation claim, so if the victim has grounds to file a civil suit of any kind, this could tremendously enhance their overall recovery.
The right attorney is an important asset if you believe you have grounds to pursue legal action against the specific party responsible for your forklift injury. These accidents can result in broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, crushing injuries, and internal organ damage, any of which has the potential to cause long-term or permanent harm to the victim.
If you find yourself in this situation, Kampf, Schiavone & Associates can provide the compassionate legal counsel you need to navigate your legal proceedings as efficiently as possible. Our team has years of experience helping injured workers recover as fully as state law allows after they have suffered serious injuries at work. Our firm can provide the robust and responsive legal counsel you need to approach a third-party personal injury claim or civil suit against an employer with peace of mind.
What to Expect From Your San Bernardino Forklift Injury Attorney
It is always advisable to file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible after any injury at work. While state law provides a relatively generous time limit in which to file your claim, it is always best to start the process as soon as possible, as any delay in filing your claim will cast doubt on your claim’s legitimacy. In addition, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier might assume that since you did not file your claim right away, your injury is not as severe as you claimed.
After seeking medical treatment and notifying your employer of your injury, you should seek legal counsel you can trust as soon as possible. Then, when you have a San Bernardino forklift injury attorney working on your case, you are far better prepared to meet the legal challenges ahead of you with the greatest chances of success.
Your attorney can help you with every aspect of the claim filing process, from dealing with any resistance you encounter from your employer to resolving any disputes that arise with their insurance carrier. Once you receive your determination of benefits, your attorney can review it and your employer’s policy to verify that it provides a suitable level of compensation for your injuries. Your San Bernardino forklift injury attorney will also be a crucial asset if you have grounds for further legal recourse outside of the workers’ compensation system.
When you choose Kampf, Schiavone & Associates to represent you after a forklift injury, you will have a dedicated legal advocate ready to address your questions and concerns at any time during your recovery efforts. Our firm believes in client-focused legal counsel, meaning we will take time to get to know you and the details of your situation to ensure we address your unique needs and concerns. Our goal in every workplace injury case we accept is to help our clients understand the legal processes ahead of them and to approach them with confidence. In addition, we will do everything we can to maximize the compensation you obtain for your forklift injury.
Time is a crucial concern if you want to maximize the results of all the recovery efforts you attempt after a workplace injury of any kind. The sooner you speak with an experienced San Bernardino forklift injury attorney, the better your chances of success with all the recovery efforts you must attempt after your injury. Contact us today and schedule a case evaluation with a San Bernardino forklift injury attorney you can trust with your case.