Irvine Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Irvine Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The workers’ compensation system of California is one of the most robust in the country, requiring almost every employer in the state to carry workers’ compensation insurance, even if an employer has just one employee. If you work in the Irvine area, your employer likely has workers’ compensation insurance, and if you suffer an injury at work, you should speak to an Irvine workers’ compensation lawyer.
Experienced Legal Representation for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Irvine
Why You Need an Irvine Workers’ Compensation Attorney
There is no law in the state requiring you to hire an Irvine workers’ compensation attorney after an injury at work, but doing so allows you to approach the claim process with greater confidence. In addition, your attorney can provide several valuable legal services throughout your recovery efforts following any workplace injury. When you choose Diefer Law Group to represent you, you will have instant access to a responsive, dedicated legal advocate who can answer questions, address concerns, and provide invaluable guidance throughout all stages of the legal proceedings ahead of you.
Our firm will take time to listen to your story, learning as much as we can about your injury, the struggles you have faced in recovery, and your concerns about your future. Whether you anticipate securing suitable compensation through just a workers’ compensation claim, or you expect a more protracted series of legal proceedings such as a personal injury claim against your employer or a third party, we are fully prepared to assist you.
If you tried to handle your workers’ compensation claim and related legal matters on your own, you would face various challenges as you struggle with the medical complications of your injury and the financial strain of your inability to work. When you have experienced legal representation on your side, you can focus on your medical needs and your family while your legal representative manages your claim filing process, correspondence with insurance company representatives, and any related legal issues you face following your work injury.
Another benefit to hiring legal representation for your work injury case is the fact that you could easily overlook avenues of recovery you did not know were available to you at first. For example, depending on how your work injury happened, a specific party may bear fault for causing it and you could pursue a civil claim against them to recover damages that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover. Ultimately, having an experienced Irvine workers’ compensation attorney on your side dramatically increases the chances of maximizing the total compensation you secure for your work injury.
ELIGIBILITY FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION IN IRVINE
California law requires almost every employer in every industry to have workers’ compensation insurance, and most employees are qualified. However, there are some exceptions, such as independent contractors and some seasonal workers who are not covered by their employer’s insurance. Some employers in the state have attempted to avoid paying workers’ compensation insurance for some employees by intentionally misclassifying their employment.
If you are unsure whether you qualify for coverage under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy, your employer is required to provide this information and explain your eligibility. If you believe your employer has intentionally misclassified you, it is vital to raise your concerns with an experienced Irvine workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
When you know you are qualified for workers’ compensation benefits but you aren’t sure a specific injury is eligible for benefits, it is important to remember that almost all work-related injuries and illnesses can form the basis of workers’ compensation claims. As long as your injury occurred while you were working or you acquired your medical condition through the course of your employment, you are likely eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim.
However, there are some situations in which an employee may disqualify themselves from workers’ compensation benefits. If you caused your own injury due to negligence while working, you may assume that you would be disqualified, but this is often not the case. As long as you caused your own injury from an honest mistake made in good faith while working, you should be eligible for benefits.
If an employee caused their own injury because they were engaged in horseplay at work, working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if they intentionally violated important workplace safety regulations, these issues may disqualify them from workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer tells you that you do not qualify for a claim, it is advisable to consult an Irvine workers’ compensation lawyer so they can review the details of your situation.
ACUTE INJURIES AND ACQUIRED MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Workers’ compensation applies not only to traumatic injuries but also to illnesses and medical conditions that are gradually acquired over time. For example, if a worker must perform the same physical tasks every day at work, they will eventually experience wear and tear on their body. Repetitive motion injuries may take time to manifest noticeable symptoms, but they can still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as they developed from work duties.
The same rule applies to acquired illnesses like cancer and respiratory illnesses. If you developed an illness from your work environment and/or the materials you use to complete your work each day, your condition is also covered by workers’ compensation benefits.
One challenge that claimants with acquired illnesses and conditions face in their claims is proving their symptoms are the result of work and not any other cause. Your Irvine workers’ compensation lawyer can help determine the optimal way to prove that your condition directly resulted from work and do everything they can to ensure you receive appropriate medical expense benefits to cover all the treatment you need to recover.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Claims
When you suffer an injury at work, you should notify your supervisor immediately. Under California law, your employer must document your injury in an incident report that includes how, where, when, and why your injury occurred. Your employer is also required to furnish you with the materials needed to file a claim against their workers’ compensation insurance policy. This is very similar to filing any other type of insurance claim but with the caveat that your employer will be involved in the process.
Unfortunately, some employers try to dissuade their injured workers from filing workers’ compensation claims out of fear of their insurance premiums increasing. Others go so far as to directly interfere with employee workers’ compensation claims or even retaliate against employees who file these claims in good faith. If you encounter any such treatment from your employer after notifying them of your work injury, you should speak with an Irvine workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
If your employer fulfills their legal obligations after your injury, you will likely need to visit a workers’ compensation physician for a medical evaluation following your injury. Of course, you can see any doctor in an emergency, but you will eventually need a formal evaluation for the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to ascertain the severity of your injury. When you see the workers’ compensation doctor, they will inspect your injury and assign you a disability rating. This rating is a numerical indicator of the severity of your injury and the level of future complications you are likely to experience because of it.
Your disability rating has a strong influence on the total benefits you obtain from your claim. The higher your rating, the more you can receive in benefits and the longer you may continue receiving them. If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment of your condition you have the right to seek a second opinion from a different doctor, and your Irvine workers’ compensation attorney can assist you in arranging this.
Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation
Once you have completed your medical evaluation, received your disability rating, and submitted all required forms and documentation to the insurance carrier, they will review your claim before delivering a determination of benefits. This will include the details of how much you will receive in benefits, the length of time your benefits will continue, and the scope of medical care your employer’s insurance covers. There may also be specific terms and conditions you must fulfill to maintain your benefits, such as reporting the income you are able to earn and significant updates on your medical status.
Most claimants whose claims are approved will qualify to receive full compensation for their medical expenses. As long as your injury happened at work, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier should cover the cost of any immediate treatment you require as well as any ongoing medical expenses you are likely to face for managing symptoms and restoring lost functional capacity. In addition to medical expense coverage, you should also receive a determination of disability benefits, and these can be awarded in various ways.
Disability Benefits Determinations in Irvine
Most workers’ compensation claims will yield either total or partial temporary disability benefits. If you are not able to work at all during your recovery, you are more likely to receive total temporary disability benefits. If you are able to handle lighter duty and/or lower paying work, you are more likely to qualify for partial temporary disability benefits. If you receive total temporary disability benefits, these payments will continue for up to 104 weeks or until you are medically fit to return to work. In some severe and specific cases, you could receive disability payments for up to 240 weeks.
If the insurance company awards you partial temporary disability benefits, you can continue working as you receive your benefit payments. However, these payments aim to make up the difference between what you earned prior to your injury and what you are able to earn during your recovery. Therefore, you must report your medical updates and your weekly earnings to the insurance company. Failure to do so could lead to losing your eligibility for further benefits payments or even an accusation of disability fraud.
In the event you are injured severely enough that you will not be able to return to work at all in the future, you could qualify to receive permanent disability benefits. However, permanent is usually something of a misnomer as these extended disability benefits almost always have an end date, but you could continue receiving disability benefits for many years if you have been left completely unable to work due to your injury. Most insurance companies will aim to settle such cases with large lump sum clincher offers.
Taking Further Legal Action Beyond Workers’ Compensation
While workers’ compensation serves to provide a financial safety net to injured workers, it also insulates employers from civil liability for their employees’ workplace injuries. However, there are exceptions to this rule. First and foremost, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law, you not only have the right to file a civil suit against them for your injury, but they will also face legal penalties. Second, you have the right to pursue further legal recourse against your employer if they caused your injury intentionally or through an egregious violation of workplace safety standards.
It’s also possible to have grounds for a civil suit against a third party. If a vendor, distributor, business partner, employee, or any other third party caused your injury while you were working, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a personal injury claim against the party responsible for the injury. After securing as much compensation for your injury as you can through your workers’ compensation claim, any outstanding losses can be sought directly from the party who caused your injury.
Damages Available in a Third-Party Personal Injury Suit
If you were driving for work and suffered an injury in an accident or any other third party caused your recent workplace injury, you likely have grounds to file a personal injury claim against a third party. In California, you have two years from the date your injury happened to file your personal injury claim. As long as you work quickly after your injury to secure an Irvine workers’ compensation attorney, they can assist you with the workers’ compensation claim filing process within the one-year deadline and then move to file your third-party personal injury claim within the two-year statute of limitations, ideally streamlining your recovery efforts substantially.
The damages in a personal injury claim include the full range of economic losses the defendant caused you to suffer, along with pain and suffering compensation that reflects the severity of your injury. You can receive full medical expense coverage from workers’ compensation but only about two-thirds of your lost income in disability benefits. Your personal injury claim would enable you to seek compensation for the remainder of your lost income, any property loss you suffered because of the third party’s negligence, and compensation for your pain and suffering.
Calculating Pain and Suffering for a Work Injury in Irvine
You can only recover pain and suffering compensation for a work injury if you have grounds to file a personal injury claim against a third party or a civil suit against your employer. However, if you do qualify to claim pain and suffering compensation, the state does not limit the amount you can seek from the defendant as long as your injury does not fall within the purview of medical malpractice. An experienced Irvine workers’ compensation attorney assisting you with your claim will help you determine an appropriate figure to seek from the defendant to maximize your total compensation.
Attorneys generally use two methods to calculate pain and suffering for their clients: the multiplier method and the per diem method. With the multiplier method, the attorney multiplies their client’s total economic losses by a factor representative of the severity of their injury. This method is most often used when their client has suffered permanent harm resulting in lifelong disability. However, if they are expected to make a full recovery in the near future, the attorney is more likely to use the per diem method. This would seek a set amount of compensation for every day the victim spends recovering from their injury.
If you qualify to file any type of personal injury claim in response to your work injury, you might be surprised to discover that your pain and suffering compensation forms the bulk of the total compensation you obtain. However, you may also receive further compensation in the form of punitive damages. If the party responsible for your injury caused the injury through any illegal misconduct, such as intentional violence or driving under the influence of alcohol, they would face criminal charges from the state. During sentencing, the judge may award the victim of their actions punitive damages to further punish the defendant.
What to Expect From Your Irvine Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Ultimately, every work injury case in Irvine is entirely unique, and no two injured workers will face the same road to recovery after their injury. However, Diefer Law Group has helped many clients in Irvine and surrounding communities with their workers’ compensation claims, and we are often able to exceed clients’ initial expectations in terms of the compensation they are eligible to recover. When you choose our firm to assist you with your workers’ compensation claim and related legal proceedings, we will help you understand all the legal issues you must overcome to recover as fully as possible from your injury.
When we take your case, we will begin by assessing whether your employer has met their legal obligations under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. If you have encountered any illegal adverse treatment or retaliation in response to your claim, we will help you determine the best options for addressing this. When it comes to your claim itself, we will assist you in submitting all necessary documentation to the insurance company, and should any disputes arise with insurance company representatives, we will handle these issues on your behalf.
Should you have grounds to pursue additional legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim filing process, we will help you build your civil suit and collect as much compensation as possible from the party responsible for causing your injury. In addition, whether you meet with an unfair denial of benefits and need to appeal the insurance company’s decision or you have further recovery efforts you must attempt outside of the workers’ compensation system, you can rely on Diefer Law Group to assist you with every stage of your recovery process in Irvine.
Q: When Should I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Irvine?
A: You technically have one year to file your workers’ compensation claim in Irvine, California. However, it is always best to start the claim filing process as soon as possible after your injury. If you delay filing your claim for any reason, it will inherently cast doubt on the validity of your claim in the eyes of the insurance company. The company may assume that, since you did not file your claim immediately, your injury is not as severe as you claim. Consult an Irvine workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after your work injury to have the best chance of success.
Q: How Much Can I Receive in Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
A: At the very least, if you qualify for workers’ compensation, you should expect full coverage of your medical expenses and about two-thirds of your weekly income in temporary disability benefits every week until you can return to work. However, other variables can influence the total amount of benefits you will qualify to receive, and it’s possible to have alternative avenues of legal recourse available to you depending on how your injury occurred.
Q: Do I Really Need to Hire an Irvine Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
A: Technically, you have the right to file a claim without hiring legal counsel, but it’s vital to understand what an experienced Irvine workers’ compensation attorney brings to the table when you are struggling in the aftermath of a disabling work injury. Your legal team can make every aspect of the claim filing process easier and more likely to yield the best possible outcome. Instead of trying to manage your medical needs and your workers’ compensation claim at the same time unassisted, hiring an attorney allows you to recover peacefully while your legal representative handles your claim on your behalf.
Q: What Happens if a Work Injury Is Fatal in Irvine?
A: Unfortunately, some work injuries are fatal, and if you have recently lost a family member this way, you must consult an experienced Irvine workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you file a claim for death benefits through your deceased loved one’s employer’s insurance carrier. Death benefits typically provide a large lump sum to reflect the future income the deceased can no longer earn and provide to their family as well as other compensation. An Irvine workers’ compensation attorney can help you maximize the death benefits you receive from the insurance carrier.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Irvine Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
A: The attorneys at Diefer Law Group understand that your injury has impacted your life in various ways, and our goal is to help you recover as fully and as swiftly as possible. We take workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning that when you choose our firm to represent you, you are not required to pay any upfront or ongoing fees for our representation. Instead, we take a percentage of your final case award as our fee, but if we are unable to secure compensation on your behalf for any reason, you pay nothing.
Get an Expert Legal Assistance from our Workers Compensation Lawyer in Irvine
Diefer Law Group has years of professional experience handling complex workers’ compensation claims for our clients in Irvine and surrounding communities. Throughout the years of our firm’s operation, we have secured millions in compensation for our clients and cultivated a strong reputation as a leading choice for workers’ compensation representation. Whatever your work injury case entails, you can trust our team to provide ongoing support and reassurance through every phase of your recovery efforts. Contact Diefer Law Group today and schedule a free consultation with an Irvine workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about the legal services we offer.
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