Many people build their careers over decades of hard work, networking, and well-timed opportunities. No matter your industry or position, your job likely plays a central role in your current lifestyle. Without the income from your workplace, it’s unlikely that you would be able to afford the essentials that your family needs to survive, not to mention build up savings, give, or contribute to retirement.
Your job, however, is meant to support your life, not jeopardize your safety. Unfortunately, sometimes jobs can do both. Every year, hundreds of people are injured on the job in a variety of different industries and roles. Fortunately, the California worker’s compensation system is fairly robust. This system acts as a safety net for workers who are injured on the job and can be the difference between a fast recovery and lifelong suffering.
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to know that you are not alone. With the help of a worker’s compensation attorney, you can make sure that your accident injury is properly cared for and you can return to work promptly and with restored health.
When it comes to worker’s compensation claims in Los Angeles, no area firm is better equipped to help you than our team at Barry Law Group. For nearly 40 years, our firm has been representing the people of Los Angeles, CA, in their worker’s compensation claims and cases. We believe that worker’s compensation benefits should be easily accessible to all, and we work diligently to make this a reality for the citizens of the Los Angeles area.
We are passionate about what we do because we see what a strong impact it can have. We are unrelenting in the courtroom when it comes to our client’s rights. You can depend on us to protect your health, safety, and livelihood during our time as your legal representation. Our firm has been open for so many years because we care deeply about our clients and do everything in our power to achieve success in every case.
Worker’s compensation is a type of insurance that companies can have to protect their employees. The companies pay a monthly fee, and in return, the worker’s compensation insurance will pay if a worker gets hurt on the job. The employee does not have to prove that their employer was responsible for the injury. In return, workers cannot sue their employers in most worker’s compensation situations.
This system is intended to protect both employees and employers. Employees have the benefit of assured compensation if they get hurt, while employers do not need to worry about being sued or paying large medical bills if something happens.
Though this is not the case in all states, California requires all workplaces with one or more employees to provide worker’s compensation. This means that if you own and run your own company without any other coworkers or staff, you still need to provide worker’s compensation insurance for yourself.
Though all companies are required to have worker’s compensation insurance, sometimes claims get denied by the insurance company. When this happens, it can leave workers feeling confused and helpless about what to do next. Worker’s compensation lawyers can help you to appeal the denial and can help you to show up in court if necessary. Though the state makes the process seem straightforward, the worker’s compensation insurance company can easily make it more difficult than it has to be. Having a lawyer on your team helps you to protect your rights and get the money that you need.
The reality is that medical bills and recovery costs are out of most people’s budgets. Without worker’s compensation insurance, you will be left to cover the costs of the accident on your own. This means paying medical bills that you likely cannot afford. With a situation this important, having a workers comp lawyer is an asset to your case.
Finally, there may be other options for further compensation. Though you cannot press charges against your employer, you may be able to hold others accountable for their involvement. Having an attorney on your side helps you to determine if you are eligible for such action and if so, we can help you to begin the process.
Many people mistakenly believe that worker’s compensation only applies if your employer was at fault for the accident. This is not the case. In fact, worker’s compensation should not require that you prove that your employer was at fault at all. Instead, worker’s compensation should cover any injuries that you acquire at any time while working.
The caveat to this is that you must be within the scope of your job activities to warrant worker’s compensation, and you must not have brought the injury on yourself. The former of these requirements means that you do not need to have been doing your job directly at the time of the accident, but you must have been doing something that is reasonably expected. For example, if you slip and fall while walking to the restroom, you will likely get worker’s compensation because going using the restroom is within the range of normal job duties. However, if you were rollerblading down the hallway during lunch, you are outside of normal work-sanctioned activities and may not get compensation.
The second part of the caveat encompasses negligent behavior. You will not be awarded worker’s compensation if you brought the injury on yourself through negligence. This encompasses situations such as:
These kinds of activities may make you ineligible for worker’s compensation coverage.
Worker’s compensation injuries vary widely because jobs vary widely. However, there are some job-related injuries that commonly warrant worker’s compensation. They include:
Most injuries that you obtain at work are eligible for worker’s compensation. This is especially true if they’re injuries that will prevent you from doing your job or will require ongoing care and treatment.
Many people do not realize they may be able to take further legal action when they are hurt at work. Though this is not the case in all situations, victims of workplace accidents are often entitled to more than just worker’s compensation. Though you cannot sue your employer if they give you worker’s compensation, you can take legal action against involved third parties.
For example, let’s say that a soda vendor makes a delivery. They stack the boxes of soda higher than is appropriate in the storeroom. As you walk by, the stack falls and hits you, causing you to fall and break your arm. You would first receive worker’s compensation from your workplace. However, you may also be able to file a personal injury case against the soda vendor for their careless actions. Their negligence ultimately caused your injury, and they can be held responsible.
Filing a personal injury case can be especially helpful if you have an extensive injury. Though worker’s compensation will cover some of your expenses, it will not totally make up for the lost work. If you are sufficiently injured, you may have to change careers or retrain for a different job. You should be compensated for this. Personal injury can also compensate you for pain and suffering and help you to recoup lost income for the time you spent recovering.
Not all worker’s compensation cases are eligible to file a personal injury claim. However, when you work with an experienced attorney, you can be sure that you will file one if you are eligible. An attorney can also help you to determine how much your personal injury case might be worth and how to approach your argument.
One of the primary functions of worker’s compensation is to cover medical expenses associated with the injury. This includes:
Worker’s compensation covers a lot more than many people realize. Even if you have not received your compensation yet, it is important to keep all receipts and records of your medical treatment. This way, you can be properly compensated for all treatment you receive, even if you receive the money after the fact.
Unfortunately, some workplace injuries result in long-term or permanent damage. In these situations, you may also be eligible for disability payments. These payments can supplement your worker’s compensation and can help you to recover some of the income you lose while you are recovering.
There are two major types of disability payments: temporary and permanent. It is important to know the difference if you wish to exercise your rights as a worker.
Temporary disability payments are meant to partially replace a worker’s income while they are recovering from a workplace injury. Usually, these payments are approximately 75% of a worker’s weekly income. Though this may not allow you to continue your normal lifestyle, it is meant to help keep your family on top of bills, rent or mortgage, and other payments until you can return to work or find a new job. Temporary disability payments can last for up to 104 weeks or two years. Please note that you may only collect up to 104 weeks of temporary disability payments every five years.
In some cases, workers are eligible for 240 weeks of temporary disability payments. In order to be eligible, you must suffer from:
Your worker’s compensation attorney will be able to help you determine whether or not you are eligible for 104 weeks or 240 weeks of temporary disability payments. However, in most cases, workers do not need nearly this much time to recover.
Despite the name of this program, permanent disability payments do not last forever. Individuals are eligible for these payments if they will not be able to return to work or if their abilities are permanently altered because of their accident. The amount of these payments depends on the injury, the age of the injured, the job, the worker’s history, and more. These payments can last anywhere from 4 months to 14 years.
These payments take into account the fact that some people may be able to return to work in a different role or industry, depending on their age and abilities. However, others will be unable to do so. If an individual is 22 years old, they will likely be able to learn a new skill or trade with their altered ability. However, someone close to retirement who has worked in one industry for their entire life cannot be reasonably expected to learn a new trade before they retire. This is why the permanent disability system is so varied in its approach.
Unfortunately, some workers do not survive their workplace injuries. In severe cases, workers die from a workplace accident, and their family is left without a loved one and a source of income. Though no amount of money can bring a loved one back, death benefits can help a family to pay their bills and adjust to their new reality after a loved one passes away. This facet of worker’s compensation helps families to pay for funeral and burial expenses and compensates for part of the income they lost because their deceased loved one can no longer work. Though this is usually not a significant emotional balm, it can be a financial relief for families facing the sudden loss of a loved one via a workplace accident or injury.
Each attorney and law firm charge differently for their services. This means that it is important to discuss finances with a worker’s compensation attorney before you begin to work with them. In most cases, a judge will authorize the attorney to take a predetermined percentage of the settlement. This percentage will reflect the complexity and severity of the case and usually ranges from 10%-15% of your settlement.
Worker’s compensation will largely depend upon your income and the type of company for whom you work. Generally, worker’s compensation ranges from $194 to $1,299 per week. For many families, this is not sufficient income to pay all bills and cover expenses completely, which is why a personal injury case may be extremely helpful for you after a workplace injury. The settlement from a personal injury case can bridge the gap between your worker’s compensation payments and your normal income.
Looking at the worker’s compensation settlement as a whole rather than weekly payments, settlements are often between $2,000 and $20,000 in their entirety. This is sometimes broken into weekly payments, so victims do not necessarily get the money all at one time. This also does not take disability payments into account. Temporary and permanent disability can make a significant difference in the amount of money you receive to support you after your accident.
A California worker’s compensation case generally settles within 30 days. A judge usually just needs to approve the amount and the victim can get their money. However, sometimes cases are more complicated. In some instances, the litigation takes longer and the victim does not see their payment for a few months. If this is the case for you, be sure to retain all medical records and receipts pertaining to your injury.
California requires that all employers, regardless of the number of employees, must have worker’s compensation insurance. If your employer does not have worker’s compensation insurance, it is considered a criminal offense. This may be one of the only situations involving worker’s compensation when you are permitted to bring your employer to court to get what you are rightfully owed.
For over 40 years, our team at Barry Law Group has been helping workers with their compensation claims. If you have been injured at work, we have the resources, experience, and capabilities to make sure you get all of the support to which you are entitled. No matter what your situation, we can help you to get your finances back on track after a workplace accident.
For more information on our firm, our services, or how we can help you, please contact Barry Law Group online today.
Barry Law Group is comprised of attorneys and longtime staff members who are committed to the success of your legal matter. The firm understands that for most litigation is uncharted worrisome and often terrifying.