An accident on the job can leave you with painful injuries, unable to work, and unsure about the future. Fortunately, many employees in this state are eligible to collect workers’ compensation benefits. While most injured workers in California are eligible for the benefits, the process is complex. One simple misunderstanding or error on the paperwork can cause denials and unnecessary delays. Therefore, many injured employees choose to reach out to a knowledgeable workers’ compensation employment lawyer to help them navigate the challenging process. If you need help to collect workers’ compensation benefits, call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Diefer Law Group at (888) 301-7795.
Who Is Eligible for Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation benefits protect workers when they become ill or suffer injuries while completing their duties at work. The benefits include medical care to return the worker to their health before the accident, physical therapy, disability payments if necessary, lost wages, and death benefits. Workers’ compensation benefits are mandatory for all businesses with over one employee in this state. Even when the employee has a valid reason for a claim and understands the basics of the process, collecting workers’ compensation benefits can still be challenging. Reaching out to a seasoned workers’ comp lawyer could help avoid unnecessary delays and recover the total and fair amount of benefits. Some requirements include the following:
The Worker Must Be an Employee
The state must consider the worker as an employee to be eligible to collect worker’s compensation benefits. Independent contractors, volunteers, consultants, and freelancers are not qualified. There are some exceptions to the rule. A seasoned workers’ comp attorney could investigate to determine eligibility. If an employer asserts that the injured worker does not fall within the guidelines as an eligible employee, the worker should consider speaking to an experienced lawyer to learn more about their legal rights.
Illnesses or Injuries Must be Work-Related
In most cases, it is relatively easy to determine if the injury or illness occurred at work. However, in other cases, it is not as straightforward, and those include:
- Illnesses potentially related to exposure of chemicals or toxic materials
- Back injuries from loading or unloading cargo
- Carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive movements
Most people understand they are eligible for benefits if they sustain injuries while working. However, they may need more information to realize that the benefits also cover illnesses. Diseases are eligible for benefits, but they may be more challenging to prove. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney could help complete an investigation and find the evidence needed to confirm the accident was work-related.
Workers Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to help employees seek treatment and help them with expenses while they recover. Under the California Labor Code Section 3700, all California employers must provide workers’ compensation benefits. The benefits cover all part-time and full-time employees. Failing to have workers’ compensation benefits is a criminal offense. Workers’ compensation benefits could cover the following:
- Medical care, including future expenses, if the worker requires ongoing care.
- Temporary disability benefits cover current and future lost wages and benefits, including partial wage replacement, while the team member is away from work recovering from the injury or illness.
- Permanent disability if the injuries require extended medical treatment and recovery time away from work.
- Supplemental job displacement vouchers allow workers to learn new skills if they cannot return to their job duties before the accident.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits if necessary.
- Death benefits for family members if the injuries are fatal.
Workers’ compensation benefits also protect the businesses that offer them. Employees who collect payment after injuries or an illness do not have the legal right to sue their employer for damages.
What are the Steps to File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
There are many steps that a worker must complete to ensure they receive their benefits after an accident on the job. The essential steps to take after a workplace injury or accident include the following:
- Report the injury to the employer
- Choose a physician from the company’s medical provider network
- Visit the healthcare provider for the initial treatment
- Wait for the administrator to determine whether they accept or deny the claim
- Follow the healthcare provider’s treatment plan
Failing to complete all steps or follow the healthcare provider’s treatment plan can mean losing the ability to collect benefits. Throughout the process, the knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer could help ensure the worker completes all the needed steps and paperwork. They could also assist with disputes or denials if required.
Some of the Reasons to Consider Hiring a Lawyer During the Workers’ Compensation Process
According to the Employment Development Department, employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits, including medical expenses, if they sustain injuries or illness while completing their job duties. The workers’ compensation process is rarely straightforward, even when there is proof an injury or disease occurred in the workplace. When issues arise, the need to hire a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand all of your legal options. Potential problems that may occur during the process include:
- The employer denies the claim
- The injuries are severe and will require surgery
- Delays in the benefits process
- The injuries are severe enough to prevent the employee from returning to work
- The employee has pre-existing conditions
- Denial of benefits
- The settlement offer is not enough to cover medical bills and lost wages
Hundreds of thousands of workers sustain injuries on the job each year and file workers’ compensation claims. Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be overwhelming without the help of an experienced lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney could help navigate the complexities of the workers’ compensation claim process.
Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced Worker’s Compensation Attorney Today
Suffering injuries or illnesses while on the job can leave you with mounting medical bills and keep you from working. Worker’s compensation laws are in place to assist employees during these challenging times. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney could help you through the process and ensure you receive the benefits you need and deserve. If you need help to navigate the process of collecting workers’ compensation benefits, call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at the Diefer Law Group at (888) 301-7795.