The workers’ compensation system exists to provide financial relief to injured workers while protecting employers from civil liability for their injured workers’ damages. If you have been hurt while working, a California workers’ comp lawyer is the ideal resource to consult. They can help you navigate the workers’ compensation claim filing case and potentially help resolve your claim much faster than you might expect.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Whenever you suffer an injury while working, or if you develop an illness that you are certain arose from your working conditions, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. This is a specific type of insurance claim that will require your employer’s involvement, and as long as they uphold their responsibilities, it should be a relatively simple issue to resolve.
Once an employer becomes aware of a work-related injury, they are required to create an incident report and provide the employee with the materials they need to file their claim. If the employer does not fulfill these responsibilities or takes any direct adverse action against the employee, they can face legal penalties, including fines and liability for the employee’s civil damages.
If your employer handles your situation in good faith, they will provide you with the forms needed to file your claim. As part of this claim filing process, you will likely need to undergo a medical evaluation, and the workers’ compensation physician you see will assign you a disability rating that reflects the severity of your injury. This rating will also influence the amount you receive in benefits.
What to Expect From Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
The workers’ compensation claim process is a type of insurance claim process, and every insurer has the right and the responsibility to investigate a claim to ensure it is legitimate. While most handle claim investigations in good faith, others do not, and it is possible for an injured worker to encounter many different problems in their interactions with a workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
If everything goes smoothly and both your employer and their insurance company uphold their legal responsibilities with respect to your claim, it should only take a few weeks for you to receive a settlement offer from the insurance carrier. Having an experienced attorney on your side can significantly increase your claim’s timeline; the insurance company will be less inclined to attempt any bad-faith handling of your case if they notice that you have legal representation.
Ultimately, some injured workers invariably encounter problems that lengthen the time it takes for them to recover their workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, workers’ compensation claims are contested to a level that requires litigation, and this could take several months to even more than a year to resolve.
The right attorney can not only streamline the claim filing process, but they can also help mitigate the impact of any disputes you encounter after filing your claim, and you are more likely to maximize your total compensation with their help as well. You could also have grounds for civil action outside of the workers’ compensation claim filing process in certain situations, and an attorney’s help can be essential for success in these legal efforts.
Q: How Is a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Calculated?
A: Once a workers’ compensation claim is approved, the claimant can typically expect two types of compensation. First, the insurance company will pay for all the medical care they require for their injury. This includes ongoing rehabilitation for a severe injury. Second, they will receive disability benefits, and the amount they receive each week will depend on their previous earning level and the extent of the injury’s effects on their ability to work.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a Workers’ Comp Settlement?
A: Ideally, the entire workers’ compensation claim process should only take a few weeks from the initial filing of your claim until you receive your settlement offer. Having an experienced attorney’s help can dramatically reduce the time it takes to settle your claim. If you encounter any issues with your employer and/or their insurance carrier, your attorney can resolve these problems and ensure your claim is handled in good faith.
Q: Can I Sue My Employer?
A: Workers’ compensation insurance generally insulates an employer from civil liability for an injured worker’s damages, but only if they have appropriate insurance coverage. You may not be able to file a civil suit against an employer unless they do not have insurance as required by state law or unless they caused your injury directly, such as by compelling you to perform duties outside your usual job responsibilities that had virtual certainty to cause harm.
Q: What Is a Third-Party Claim?
A: While you will only have grounds to pursue a civil suit against your employer under very specific conditions, it is possible to have grounds for a civil suit against a third party outside of your work if they directly caused your work-related injury. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer can review the details of your injury and determine whether any third parties bear fault for your damages.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire a California Workers’ Comp Lawyer?
A: Every attorney has a different billing policy, and it’s vital to verify your chosen attorney’s billing policy before agreeing to their representation. Some attorneys take workers’ compensation cases on contingency, meaning the client pays a percentage of their final settlement as their fee, and only if they win their case. Other attorneys charge by the hour, so the longer they must spend working on a case, the more it costs the client.
Diefer Law Group excels at helping clients resolve their complex workers’ compensation cases. We know you likely have many pressing legal questions after an injury at work, and we want to help you make clearer sense of your situation. Contact Diefer Law Group today to schedule a free consultation with a California workers’ comp lawyer you can trust.