Palm Desert Workers' Compensation Attorney
The workers’ compensation laws of California aim to ensure that any injured worker has access to medical expense coverage and disability benefits when they are unable to work. Every employer in California is legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage, and injured employees need to report their workplace injuries as soon as possible after they occur. Once an injured employee makes their report, they can begin the claim process.
Legal Counsel for Palm Desert Workers’ Compensation Claims
While the workers’ compensation system may appear simple at first, the reality is that many injured workers in Palm Desert and throughout California encounter unexpected difficulties with their claims. Some claimants face unfair denials, while others are offered lowball claim settlements that do not adequately suit their situations. If you or a family member recently sustained a work-related injury, hiring an experienced Palm Desert workers’ compensation attorney to assist you with your claim can significantly improve your experience with the workers’ compensation claim process.
Kampf, Schiavone & Associates offers comprehensive legal representation to injured workers in the Palm Desert, CA, area. Our team has successfully guided many past clients through the claim process, helping them address the unique legal complications their cases raised and assisting them in securing fair settlements for their claims. We can apply this experience to your case and help reduce the uncertainty that often follows an injury at work.
Why Should I Hire a Palm Desert Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
While it is not technically required to hire legal counsel for a workers’ compensation claim, doing so can vastly improve the quality of your experience with the claim process and ensure a more favorable result. In addition, the right attorney can assist you in filing your claim forms correctly and help you address unique facets of your case that you may have overlooked or mishandled on your own.
Instead of attempting to manage your medical needs and your workers’ compensation claim all at once on your own, have an experienced legal team manage your case proceedings while you focus on recovery and managing your household. Your Palm Desert workers’ compensation attorney will help you make informed decisions about the direction of your case and identify potential avenues of further legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim process that may enhance your total recovery.
Ultimately, you are more likely to succeed with your workers’ compensation claim when you have an experienced Palm Desert workers’ compensation lawyer helping you and more likely to maximize the total compensation you receive for your injury. The attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates have the resources and experience necessary to handle the most challenging workers’ compensation claims in Palm Desert.
Most Common Types of Workplace Injuries That Qualify for Benefits
In California, every employer must have workers’ compensation insurance, and virtually everyone working in California faces risks of injury at work. If you are unsure whether your recent workplace injury qualifies for compensation, it’s essential to consider how the injury occurred. If you caused the injury yourself due to a mistake or unexpected problem, you likely have the right to pursue your claim. On the other hand, if the injury resulted from horseplay or egregious negligence, or if you caused your own injury because you were working under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be barred from filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Most injuries will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as they occur during a time when the victim is performing their job duties. For example, some of the most commonly reported workplace injuries in Palm Desert, CA, include:
- Soft tissue injuries, including damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries happen in a variety of ways. While they are often treatable, and many victims heal from soft tissue injuries completely, others may require surgical correction and cause long-lasting symptoms that interfere with the victim’s ability to work. Chronic pain, loss of flexibility, and weakness of the affected area are common long-term effects of soft tissue injuries.
- Traumatic brain injuries. Head injuries can have devastating consequences, including lifelong disability and loss of the ability to live independently in severe cases. Even a seemingly slight brain injury such as a concussion can cause many adverse symptoms, and most brain injuries are challenging to treat.
- Bone fractures. Slip and fall incidents and crushing injuries can easily result in traumatic bone fractures. Some breaks will heal completely with time, rest, and appropriate care immediately after the injury occurs. Others will pose long-term complications, potentially causing chronic pain, loss of mobility, reduced range of motion, and nerve damage.
- Acquired illnesses. If your job requires you to work in hazardous environments, handle potentially harmful substances, or you must work with toxic chemicals as part of your job duties, you could potentially develop an illness over time due to consistent exposure to these health risks. If you acquired any medical condition from work, such as respiratory complications, cancer, or brain damage from exposure to harmful chemicals, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical expenses and lost income following your diagnosis.
- Repetitive motion injuries. Many people must perform the same physical tasks repeatedly for work. For example, folding boxes, picking produce, typing, and using assembly-line machinery can all require repetitive motions every day, and over time the repetitive stress can result in injuries. Rotator cuff deterioration, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other degenerative musculoskeletal conditions are common effects of repetitive stress from work and qualify for coverage under California’s workers’ compensation laws.
When you sustain an injury at work, you should report the incident to your immediate supervisor and seek medical attention as soon as possible. You must follow specific rulesregarding the medical treatment you require for an injury sustained at work. You can see any available doctor in an emergency, but you must see a workers’ compensation doctor as soon as possible for a formal medical review.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier must provide you with a list of approved local physicians you can visit for this review. The workers’ compensation doctor will examine you, determine the severity of your injuries, and identify potential long-term complications you are likely to experience. Then, they will assign you a disability rating, and this rating will have a strong bearing on your claim’s outcome.
What Does a Workers’ Compensation Claim Require?
Once you notify your employer of your injury, they should provide you with the materials you will need to file your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The claim form is long and detailed, and you must complete it accurately and honestly. Your Palm Desert workers’ compensation attorney can assist you with completing your claim form and gathering any supporting documents you need to send to the insurance company along with your claim form.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is similar to any other insurance claim process. Once the insurer receives your claim, they will assign a claim adjuster to investigate it to ensure it is legitimate. After your claim is approved, the insurer will review your employer’s insurance coverage and consider your disability rating to determine the level of benefits you are entitled to receive.
An injured worker can typically expect the insurance carrier to cover the cost of all the medical treatment they require to heal from their injury and manage their symptoms. However, it’s important to note that most workers’ compensation insurance carriers are relatively flexible regarding the treatments an injured worker can elect to undergo, but the claimant needs to stick to approved treatments covered by their employer’s insurance policy.
Beyond medical expenses, workers’ compensation will also provide disability benefits to the injured worker. These benefits can be paid on a permanent or temporary basis. Permanent disability benefits are only awarded when an injured worker cannot return to work due to the severity of their injury, and many insurance carriers will attempt to resolve such claims with lump-sum settlement offers. In most cases, injured workers qualify for temporary disability benefits. These benefits can be paid at a rate of up to two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wages and may continue for up to 104 weeks.
Can I Keep Working While I Receive Palm Springs Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Some injured workers who file workers’ compensation claims will qualify for partial disability benefits. This benefit determination is likely when a claimant’s injury does not necessarily prevent them from working, but it does inhibit their ability to earn as much income as they did before the injury. If you qualify for partial disability benefits, you can continue to work while receiving your workers’ compensation benefits. However, you must be careful to only accept work that you can easily manage with your condition. You must also report all your earnings if you are working while receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are caught performing work that you claimed to be unable to do due to your injury, or if you fail to report your earnings while receiving workers’ compensation benefits, you could face a charge of workers’ compensation fraud and criminal prosecution. Therefore, it’s good to consult your employer to determine alternative work you can easily manage. In addition, your Palm Desert workers’ compensation lawyer can offer guidance on the best way to maximize your earnings legitimately while maintaining your eligibility to collect benefits.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury?
California’s workers’ compensation laws exist to protect workers and their employers when workplace injuries occur. Therefore, you typically cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer in response to a workplace injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by California law, you would have the right to file a personal injury claim regarding the injury you suffered. Similarly, if your employer or a co-worker intentionally inflicted your injury, or if the injury occurred due to egregious negligence or intentional misconduct of any kind in the workplace, you would also likely have grounds for a civil action.
Third-party personal injury claims are also possibilities when workers sustain injuries at work due to the actions of parties outside of their workplace. For example, if you were injured at work due to the actions of a vendor employee, a subcontractor, a customer in your workplace, or any other third party, you would be able to file a workers’ compensation claim because the injury occurred while you were working. However, you could also hold the third party who caused your injury accountable with a personal injury claim.
Workers’ compensation can cover your medical expenses and provide some relief from your lost income while you cannot work. However, a third-party personal injury claim can potentially enhance your total recovery and allow you to collect damages that aren’t typically available through workers’ compensation. For example, you would have the right to claim compensation for the lost income that workers’ compensation doesn’t provide. You would also have the right to seek compensation for property damage caused by the third party’s actions and your pain and suffering. If you sustained an acute injury with a high probability of causing permanent adverse effects due to the actions of the third party, the pain and suffering compensation you secure could be substantial.
Our Law Firm Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help
Time is a critical factor after any workplace injury. If you suffered a severe injury at work, you should start the workers’ compensation claim process as soon as possible for the best chance of success with your claim. The attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates have years of experience helping Palm Desert clients with complex workers’ compensation claims and related personal injury cases. Whatever your situation entails, you can expect personalized and compassionate legal counsel through every phase of your proceedings when you choose our firm to represent you. If you are struggling in the aftermath of a workplace injury and are ready to discuss your legal options with a reliable Palm Desert workers’ compensation attorney, contact Kampf, Schiavone & Associates today and schedule your consultation with our firm.