Yucaipa Workers' Compensation Lawyer
No matter what you do for a living or how much you enjoy it, your job is meant to bring in money for yourself and your family. The exchange of money for labor is one of the most basic concepts in our society, and it allows the free market to exist.
If you get injured, your ability to earn money for your family diminishes. This can have a drastic effect on a family’s economic status and well-being. Because of this, there are laws and regulations that workplaces must follow to legally employ workers. If they fail to follow these rules and someone gets hurt, they need to pay for the consequences.
Workers’ compensation is a program in which employers care for employees who have been injured on the job. Most any injury that occurs on a business’s premises is a failing on the part of the company, and they must pay the price for it. Unfortunately, these cases aren’t always simple. Your workplace and their insurance company may try to get out of paying for an accident, especially if doing so would have a significant negative effect on their budget and bottom line.
If you’ve been injured at work, it’s important to hire an attorney. Without one, you may miss out on key financial support and medical care.
Kampf, Schiavone & Associates: Your San Bernardino Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Our team at Kampf, Schiavone & Associates works diligently to protect workers in the San Bernardino area. With several decades of experience, we can help you to ensure that you get the correct settlement from your workers’ compensation claim. Though you cannot sue your employer, we can make sure that they are following all the proper protocols and that you receive the support that you need.
As personal injury attorneys, we may also be able to help you sue a third party. In some situations, it is possible to press charges against someone who hurt you outside of the workers’ compensation system. We can help you do this and ensure that you are well taken care of after your injury.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Accident Claim?
As mentioned, workplaces have a legal obligation to keep their employees safe. They have to make every effort to provide workers with a healthy and safe working environment. Unfortunately, even the best safety measures don’t always work.
Workers’ compensation is a system that supports employees who are hurt on the job. Through this program, you can recover from a workplace injury without losing out on essential income. You can also avoid paying for your own medical bills.
Your employer legally must have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance pays for damages in the event that they occur. This protects them from being sued and protects you in case of an accident.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Every workers’compensation case is different. Some are straightforward, while others are more involved and complicated. Even the simplest cases can run into issues throughout the process.
Having an attorney to help you ensures that the process moves correctly and legally. You will likely face deadlines and paperwork that you’ve never encountered before. It can be confusing to navigate this information alone, especially while healing from an injury.
California law states that you only need to prove that an accident was work-relatedto get compensation. Some workplaces and insurance companies will go to great lengths to find loopholes in your situation. If they believe that there is a chance that the injury occurred outside of work, you may end up with nothing at all.
Finally, you may be eligible for support beyond your workers’ compensation. Government programs are available in many workers’ compensation cases to make the healing process easier. They can also help to ensure that you can support yourself going forward. Without an attorney, it’s easy to miss out on these opportunities.
Potential Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Your unique situation will dictate what kind of compensation you will get. More severe injuries may result in more support programs.
Medical Bills and Costs
One of the largest parts of a workers’ compensation payment is medical bills. You should not have to pay for your medical bills after a workplace accident. Your employer is responsible for ensuring that your care is covered. This includes a significant amount of expenses, including:
- Doctor’s appointments
- Hospital visits
- Specialist visits
- Wheelchairs and mobility devices
Your workers’ compensation payments should ensure that you can receive proper medical care without having to cover the bill out of your own pocket.
Temporary disability benefits are available for individuals who cannot work due to their injuries but who will likely be able to work again in the future. Injuries like broken bones, concussions, and similar conditions are often eligible for disability payments. These benefits can last up to 104 weeks or about two years.
Disability payments exist for the purpose of compensating for lost income. Most families cannot survive without an income. If you’re injured at work and can’t earn money, you put your family in a precarious situation. With disability programs, your family doesn’t have to worry about what to do while you’re recovering.
It’s important to note that these payments are usually not your entire salary. Rather, disability pays a majority percent of your normal income to keep you on your feet.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Unfortunately, some workplace accidents result in an individual being unable to return to their jobs or compete in the job market. This means that the accident has taken away their ability to earn an income. Permanent disability benefits last up to 14 years and are meant to make up for the fact that the employee is unable to work. Again, they aren’t usually the entirety of your salary. However, it does allow you to have an income without working.
Life pension payments are reserved for individuals who have been very severely disabled by their incident. If they are considered between 70% and 99% disabled, they may be able to receive these extra payments. They supplement disability benefits and get the amount of compensation closer to what you were making at work.
In some scenarios, a worker is hurt so severely or in a specific manner that prevents them from working in their field. In these situations, workers’ compensation needs to pay for the individual to be retrained in a new field. This is to ensure that they can continue to participate in the workforce, despite their new disability status. This vocational retraining is not part of all workers’ compensation packages. Some people are able to return to their old position or field. This is only for those who are unable to continue working.
For example, let’s say that a worker breaks their arm and suffers permanent motion restriction. However, they’ve worked loading trucks for the past 20 years and aren’t trained to do anything else. Obviously, they’ll need to find a new line of work, as they can’t lift things without both arms. In this situation, workers’ compensation should cover vocational retraining so they can learn another trade.
Some of the most disastrous and tragic workplace accidents end in an employee’s death. This leaves their family to suddenly plan a funeral that they weren’t prepared for. What’s more, they no longer have their loved one’s income.
Death benefits are a part of workers’ compensation that supports a deceased employee’s family. If the employee died because of a workplace accident, the compensation should cover funeral expenses. Depending on the situation, they may also cover some lost income and other payments.
The above benefits do not all apply to every workers’compensation situation. This is why every person’s benefits will be different.
Proving Your Workplace Injury In Yucaip, CA
Because California is a no-fault state when it comes to workers’ compensation, you do not have to prove who was at fault for your accident. In fact, tripping over your own feet can qualify you for workers’ compensation under the right circumstances. You do not have to show your employer that they are at fault for your injury. This is extremely beneficial and generally works in employees’ favors.
However, you do have to prove that the injury was related to work. Your employer does not owe you workers’ compensation if you were not doing your job or were breaking company rules and regulations when you got hurt. Activities such as roughhousing or acting out would preclude you from collecting workers’ compensation if you get hurt.
One major area where some workplaces exploit this concept is the usage of drugs and alcohol. Almost every workplace forbids employees from being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the job. If the employee is under the influence, the employer does not have to pay workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, drug testing often picks up information from days or weeks prior. Therefore, smoking recreational marijuana at home could give them “proof” that you were high on the job, even if you weren’t.
Hiring an attorney is the best way to combat these types of tactics. We can help you argue your point and ensure that situations are not taken out of context. In addition, there are other ways you can work to prove your injury was work-related. You can:
- Collect video or CCTV footage from the accident
- Ask co-workers’ for eyewitness accounts
- Take photos of injuries
- Take photos of any machinery or equipment that was involved
- Save medical records and documents
Doing these things can help your case and ensure that you have the best possible chance to earn a workers’ compensation settlement.
Outside of the workers’ compensation system, you may be eligible for other programs. Social security disability benefits and state disability benefits may also come into play, depending on your situation. It’s possible to use these benefits along with your workers’ compensation payments to create more comprehensive support for your family. Workers’ compensation benefits have their weak spots, and government programs can help to supplement the difference.
It’s important to understand that the state programs take more time to come through. There are specific vetting processes that you must go through, and the application can be confusing and complicated. What’s more, there is often a string of deadlines that you must meet to be considered. If you have never navigated this system before, as most people haven’t, you may have a hard time doing it on your own.
Our attorneys are here to help you determine if other benefits may be right for you. If they are, we can give you advice on the application process and help you handle appeals and disputes that may arise. With our help, this complicated system becomes a bit more approachable, and you can get closer to receiving the support you need and deserve.
Doctors and Networks
When you’re injured at work, your employer has a workers’ compensation insurance policy that helps to cover their costs. Just like any insurance plan, there may be specific doctors and clinics that are part of their plan’s network. You may be restricted to their network for your care and may not be able to see the doctor of your choosing.
Though this may be inconvenient, it’s important to learn about your company’s policy from your human resources representative. Before you seek care, be sure that you seek out a hospital in your company’s network. This saves a lot of heartache down the line and can prevent you from having to pay for the bills yourself. Ultimately, it’s best to simply remember that workers’ compensation is an insurance plan like any other, and there will be restrictions.
If you’re facing a workers’ compensation situation in San Bernardino County, it’s essential to have the right legal team on your side. Our attorneys are here to help you navigate your claim and ensure that you get the financial support that you rightfully deserve. We’ve helped hundreds of people do the same and would be honored to serve you during this time.
For more information on how we can help, contact us online today.