Severe Work-Related Injuries
San Bernardino Work Injury Attorney
Whenever someone suffers a work injury in San Bernardino, California’s workers’ compensation laws come into effect, and they can potentially secure substantial compensation for their damages. However, some injuries leave lasting damage, and a severe injury can permanently impact the victim’s life in several ways. If you or a family member recently suffered any type of catastrophic work injury in San Bernardino, a work injury attorney is an invaluable source of guidance and support when it comes to recovering compensation for your damages.
Experienced Legal Counsel for Severe Work-Related Injury Claims in San Bernardino, CA
The attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates have years of professional experience handling all types of personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims for clients in San Bernardino and surrounding communities. Our firm knows how damaging and traumatic any severe work injury can be and that you likely have many questions when it comes to recovering from the incident you experienced. Your recovery is likely to require a workers’ compensation claim, but you may also have grounds for additional legal recourse depending on how the accident happened.
Common Causes of Severe Work-Related Injuries in San Bernardino
Thousands of people suffer injuries at work each year, but an injury qualifies as catastrophic when it results in permanent disability. A few of the most commonly cited causes of catastrophic work-related injuries in San Bernardino each year include:
- These incidents occur instantly, often with little to no warning. Explosion incidents are possible from various causes in many different workplaces. They can result in broken bones, severe burns, injuries from concussive force, and death.
- Vehicle accidents. Some types of work require the use of specialized vehicles, and many people are required to drive as part of their primary work duties. Vehicle accidents may occur because of distracted driving, speeding, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Vehicle accidents can easily result in many catastrophic injuries, including severely broken bones, traumatic brain damage, and more.
- Heavy equipment injuries. Many people who work in construction and manufacturing must use inherently dangerous equipment to complete their job duties. Some of these devices are capable of inflicting tremendous physical harm if they are used incorrectly or malfunction. It’s possible for liability for this type of accident to fall to the manufacturer if the product was defective and caused the victim’s injury.
- Injuries and illness from toxic exposure. Some people must work with or near toxic substances, some of which are capable of causing extreme medical harm. For example, some people have developed cancer due to the substances they were required to use for work, and accidents involving chemical spills can potentially cause acute adverse medical reactions.
- Throughout the United States, falls account for most of the workplace injuries reported each year. Any fall has the potential to result in broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more. The height of the fall and the location of impact are the main determining factors when it comes to the severity of the victim’s injuries. It’s possible for a fall to result in permanent paralysis and other long-term medical conditions that can make it difficult or impossible for the victim to return to work in the future.
These are just a few examples of how catastrophic injuries might occur at work. If you or a loved one experienced any type of life-changing injury resulting in permanent disabilities, it is vital to know what you can expect in terms of workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in San Bernardino
The workers’ compensation system exists to provide an important lifeline to injured workers. Employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to pay for injured employees’ medical expenses and provide ongoing disability benefits if they cannot work during recovery. In exchange, employers are legally protected from civil lawsuits from those injured workers. If you suffer any work injury in San Bernardino, you likely have the ability to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer.
Your employer must document your injury in a formal incident report and provide you with the forms and other materials needed to file your claim. As part of the insurance company’s review process, the claimant will need to see an approved workers’ compensation physician for a disability rating. This is a numerical indicator of the severity of their injury and the scope of long-term complications it is likely to cause. If an employee suffers a traumatic accident, they can see any doctor for emergency care, but they will need to undergo a medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation doctor once they are safely able to do so.
Your workers’ compensation claim will be similar to filing any other insurance claim, with the additional difficulty of your employer’s role in the claim. Should your employer interfere with your claim in any way or illegally retaliate against you, a San Bernardino work injury attorney can help determine your optimal methods of addressing such issues. You could have grounds for a retaliation suit, and your employer could face serious legal penalties for any retaliatory actions against a workers’ compensation claim made in good faith.
Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Once you complete the claim filing process, your employer’s insurance company will review your claim and deliver their determination of benefits. Almost every claimant can expect their employer’s insurance carrier to cover the medical treatment they will need to fully recover from their injury. This includes immediate healthcare expenses as well as the cost of future rehabilitative care they need to reach maximum medical improvement from their injury.
Most claimants will receive disability benefits for the time they are unable to work. Partial disability benefits may be awarded if the claimant can still manage light duty or lower-paying work after their injury, but if not, they can qualify for total disability benefits. These benefits are usually two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage, paid each week for up to 104 weeks. However, if a worker suffered a catastrophic injury, they may qualify for more extensive benefits.
Insurance carriers will typically try to avoid permanent disability benefits payments as much as possible. Some may offer large lump sums of compensation as clincher offers, hoping to avoid long-term payment plans. Qualifying for permanent disability benefits in San Bernardino is difficult but not impossible if you have the right attorney representing you. This process will likely require extensive medical review from more than one doctor and an assessment of the claimant’s age, work history, and earnings prior to the accident.
Filing a Personal Injury Suit for a Catastrophic Work Injury
Although workers’ compensation laws typically prevent injured employees from suing their employers for their workplace injuries, there are a few exceptions to this rule. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, they are fully liable for any damages you incur from a workplace injury. They will also face legal penalties for failing to meet California’s legal requirements for workers’ compensation insurance.
If a third party outside of your work caused your injury, you can proceed with filing your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, but you may also file a separate third-party personal injury suit against them. Like any other personal injury claim, you will need to prove the exact cause of your damages and identify the defendant responsible for causing them. You must prove that your damages resulted solely from their actions and not some other cause.
A successful third-party claim can potentially yield compensation for damages that are not available through workers’ compensation insurance. For example, while you may be able to secure disability benefits equal to a portion of your lost income and lost earning capacity, a third-party personal injury claim could yield compensation for the remainder of your lost income. Additionally, you also can seek pain and suffering compensation from the defendant, and this is not available through workers’ compensation insurance. If you suffered any permanent damage from their actions, they may owe you more in pain and suffering compensation than the total of your economic damages.
Find Legal Counsel You Can Trust Today
Time is a crucial consideration for anyone in the aftermath of a catastrophic work injury. It is easy to feel frustrated and uncertain in this situation, and seeking legal counsel you can trust is invaluable when you need help securing compensation for your damages. The attorneys at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates have years of experience handling all types of work injury claims, including those pertaining to catastrophic injuries. We can apply this experience to help you recover as much compensation as possible.
The sooner you connect with our firm after a workplace injury, the more time we have to build the strongest possible case on your behalf. You face several procedural deadlines when it comes to filing your workers’ compensation claim, and if you have grounds for a personal injury action, you have the greatest chance of success when you do not delay in filing your suit. Whatever your case entails, you can trust Kampf, Schiavone & Associates to provide compassionate and responsive legal counsel through all stages of your recovery efforts. If you are ready to learn how our team can assist you with your recovery, contact us today and schedule a consultation with a San Bernardino work injury attorney.