San Diego Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
San Diego Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Experienced Legal Counsel for San Diego Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you suffer any injury while working, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you require extensive medical care and/or are unable to work during your recovery. Your employer has several legal obligations to you in this situation that they must fulfill or risk severe legal penalties alongside liability for your civil damages. Ultimately, any work injury case could escalate into a complex series of legal proceedings involving the victim, their employer, their employer’s insurance provider, and even third parties bearing fault for their injuries.
Whatever your work injury claim entails, you need legal counsel you can trust to guide you to the best possible outcome for all your recovery efforts. Diefer Law Group can provide the compassionate and detail-oriented legal representation you need to feel more confident about your situation. As a result, you are not only more likely to maximize the outcome of your claim with their assistance but also substantially more likely to succeed with any additional legal remedies you are able to pursue following your work injury.
Benefits of Hiring a San Diego Workers’ Compensation Attorney
There may not be any laws requiring you to hire legal representation for your impending workers’ compensation claim, but doing so dramatically increases your chances of reaching a positive outcome. You will be better equipped to address any issues that arise throughout the claim filing process and more likely to prevent such issues from arising in the first place with your attorney’s assistance.
When you hire Diefer Law Group after an injury at work in San Diego you will have instant access to a dedicated and responsive legal advocate who can answer questions, address concerns, and prepare you for the legal challenges ahead. Our goal in every case we accept is to help our client approach their recovery efforts with confidence, ultimately helping them secure maximum compensation for the losses they’ve endured.
You could have more opportunities to recover your losses than you realize at first, and the team at Diefer Law Group can help you take full advantage of these recovery options. We’ll help you file your claim, resolve any complications that arise between you, your employer, and their insurance carrier, and then move on to explore further avenues of legal recourse that you may have overlooked on your own. Ultimately, you have the best chance of recovering from your work injury as fully as possible when you have an experienced San Diego workers’ compensation attorney representing you.
What to Expect From Your Employer After a Work Injury
Every employer in the state required to have workers’ compensation insurance is also required to meet strict requirements when it comes to handling injured workers’ claims for benefits. If you suffer any injury at work, you should notify your supervisor and seek medical care immediately. In an emergency, you can see any available doctor, but you should anticipate needing a medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation physician in your area. Your employer must provide you with a list of local doctors you can visit for this medical examination.
The workers’ compensation doctor you see will review your injury and determine the scope of long-term or permanent complications the injury may cause. They will then assign you a disability rating to reflect the severity of your condition, and this rating weighs heavily in your final determination of benefits from the insurance carrier. If you disagree with their assessment for any reason, you have the right to seek a second opinion and a San Diego workers’ compensation attorney is the ideal asset for addressing any such situations.
Your employer may not interfere with your claim in any way. This includes withholding claim forms and other documentation you need to file your claim or engaging in any form of retaliation. If they do interfere, you have the right to file a civil suit against them, and your San Diego workers’ compensation attorney can advise you as to the best way to proceed with this legal action.
Ideally, your employer will provide you with claim forms and the list of local workers’ compensation physicians you may visit for your medical examination. However, remember that even if your employer fulfills their legal duties and handles your claim in good faith, it is still best to have legal counsel you can trust when it comes time to file your claim to their insurance carrier.
ELIGIBLE INJURIES AND ACQUIRED MEDICAL CONDITIONS
When most people think of work injuries, they imagine acute traumatic injuries that happen unexpectedly from very specific events, such as equipment malfunctions, falls, and vehicle accidents. Acquired illnesses and medical conditions that manifest gradually over time also qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The claimant will, however, face the challenge of proving their condition resulted solely from their work and not any other cause.
Repetitive motion injuries, acquired illnesses like certain cancers, and mental health conditions from repetitive workplace stress may all qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in San Diego. Your workers’ compensation lawyer can help gather any documentation you will need to prove that your condition is a result of your work environment and/or job duties.
If you have some preexisting condition that your job duties worsened, it can also qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, these cases are inherently complex, and the insurance carrier may only be willing to cover medical expenses to a certain point. Working with an experienced San Diego workers’ compensation lawyer is the optimal way to ensure you receive the maximum benefits possible for your injury or illness.
QUALIFIED FORMS OF EMPLOYMENT
Beyond your medical condition’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, it is also vital to ensure your employment classification qualifies for coverage. Most regular employees in the state are qualified to file workers’ compensation claims after workplace injuries, but some workers are exempt. These include independent contractors, domestic care workers, and some seasonal employees.
Unfortunately, some employers knowingly misclassify certain employees to avoid paying for workers’ compensation coverage for them. If you are unsure of your eligibility status, your employer is required to disclose all related information. If you believe your employer has intentionally misclassified your employment to avoid covering you with their insurance policy, it’s vital to speak with an experienced San Diego workers’ compensation lawyer.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in San Diego
The process of filing your claim is similar to filing any other type of insurance claim. After compiling the claim forms and other documentation required for your claim, you can then proceed with submitting this packet to your employer’s insurance company. They will review your claim, potentially reaching out for more information if necessary. After finishing their investigation, they will deliver their findings and a determination of benefits.
If the workers’ compensation insurance carrier accepts your claim, you can typically expect full coverage of your medical expenses and disability benefits based on the severity of your injury and the level of functional capacity you retain after the injury in question. Your San Diego workers’ compensation attorney will be a crucial asset for reviewing the determination of benefits received from the insurer and verifying that it is acceptable under the terms of your employer’s policy.
If the insurance carrier rejects the claim for any reason, your attorney will help you determine the best way to resolve the situation. Of course, you may need to appeal their decision, but if you have been disqualified from workers’ compensation benefits for any reason, you may need to explore alternative recovery options.
Diefer Law Group will do everything we can to streamline the claim process. We know how workers’ compensation insurance carriers tend to handle these claims and the tactics they often use to reduce settlement offers as much as possible. Some go so far as to engage in bad faith tactics, preying on the desperation of injured claimants who aren’t fully aware of their rights. When you have our firm representing you in your work injury case, we will make certain that the insurance company processes your claim in good faith and delivers a fair determination of benefits.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Benefits in San Diego
Two main forms of compensation are available through your claim: medical expense coverage and disability benefits. Medical expenses are relatively straightforward, and your employer’s insurance will help to ensure you receive full compensation for all immediate and future medical expenses you face after your injury. However, disability benefits are more variable and may be awarded on a partial or total basis.
Partial disability benefits are reserved for claimants who are still able to work after their injuries but have suffered diminished earning capacity because of their injuries. If you can only manage light duty and/or lower-paying work than what you did prior to your injury, you are likely to qualify for partial disability benefits. You will need to report your earnings each week and provide updates on your recovery to maintain eligibility to receive these benefits. For most claimants who qualify for partial disability benefits, this will make up the difference between what they earned previously and what they are able to earn after their injury.
Total disability benefits are appropriate for claimants who are completely unable to work until they recover from their injuries. These benefits are generally paid at a rate of two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wages for the year prior to their injury. For example, if you earned roughly $1,200 per week before your injury, you should receive about $800 per week in disability benefits until you are able to return to work.
Most workers’ compensation claimants are eligible to continue receiving weekly disability benefits for up to 104 weeks, but this can be extended to 240 weeks in certain cases, and for certain injuries, if the claimant suffered a severe injury that demands more extensive recovery time. In addition, in the event you have suffered a catastrophic injury resulting in permanent disability, you could qualify for permanent disability benefits. However, most insurance companies will attempt to override the need for extensive ongoing benefits arrangements by offering large lump sum settlement offers.
Your San Diego workers’ compensation attorney will be invaluable for maximizing the results of your claim. They can help you address any unexpected complications with the insurance carrier and ensure they handle your claim in good faith. In addition, if you experience any problems with your benefits or believe that you qualify for more expansive recovery than your claim provides, your workers’ compensation attorney in San Diego, CA can help you determine the best next steps to take to resolve these matters
Exploring Further Recovery Outside of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law and they do not interfere with your claim in any way, you probably cannot file a civil suit against your employer in response to your work injury. However, if your employer injured you intentionally in any way, or if you were injured because of a safety issue in your workplace that your employer was aware of but neglected to address, you may have grounds for a civil action.
It’s also possible to have grounds for a personal injury claim against a third party. For example, if someone outside of your work injured you while you were working, you could still file a workers’ compensation claim to recover medical expenses and a portion of your lost income. However, you would have the right to file a personal injury claim against a third party to request compensation for the losses that workers’ compensation insurance won’t cover.
In a personal injury claim against a third party or a civil suit against your employer, you have the right to seek recompense for any losses not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. For example, if your claim only yields compensation for about two-thirds of your missing income after your injury, you could seek the remainder in your civil suit. Additionally, you also have the right to claim pain and suffering compensation to reflect the severity of your injury and the long-term medical complications it is likely to cause.
COMPARATIVE FAULT IN WORK INJURY CASES
One of the most common issues of concern for injured workers in San Diego is whether they still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if they caused their own injury. The state uses a no-fault system for workers’ compensation cases, meaning it is possible for you to have caused your own injury at work and still qualify for benefits. However, there are some important exceptions to consider.
You could be disqualified from workers’ compensation benefits if you caused your own injury through an illegal act in your workplace, such as performing your job duties under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You could also be ineligible if you caused your injury through an intentional workplace safety violation. As long as you caused your own injury through an honest mistake made in good faith, it will not prevent you from filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Fault will, however, significantly impact any third-party personal injury claim you attempt to file. California operates on a pure comparative fault rule in such cases. This means that if a plaintiff bears any measure of fault for causing their claimed damages, they lose a percentage of their final case award equal to their percentage of fault. If you have any concerns about bearing liability for your work injury, it is vital to consult a San Diego workers’ compensation lawyer.
What to Expect From Your San Diego Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Legal representation you can trust is an invaluable asset no matter what you believe your claim is likely to entail. Every injured worker in San Diego will experience unique challenges and be presented with different opportunities to enhance their recoveries.
An experienced attorney will handle your work injury claim proceedings on your behalf so you can focus on your medical needs, your household, and your overall recovery. If any issues arise between you and your employer, your attorney will know the best ways of addressing these problems and streamlining your recovery. In addition, should the insurance company fail to handle your claim in good faith, you will be able to rely on your attorney to resolve these issues efficiently, ensuring you receive the money you legally deserve for your workplace injury.
When you hire Diefer Law Group as your San Diego workers’ compensation attorneys, our goal is to maximize your recovery as swiftly as possible. We’ll help you explore all available avenues of recovery, including those outside the scope of workers’ compensation. We have helped many past clients maximize their recoveries from workplace injuries, and we are ready to leverage this experience on your behalf.
Q: How Long Does It Take to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
A: If you fulfill all the procedural requirements of your claim and have an experienced San Diego workers’ compensation attorney assisting you with your case, it should only take a few weeks to receive your first benefits check from the insurance company. However, if your claim is denied for any reason, or if you have grounds for further legal recourse outside of the workers’ compensation system, it will take longer to resolve these issues. Your San Diego workers’ compensation lawyer can provide an estimate of how long your recovery efforts are likely to take.
Q: Can I Still Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits if I Caused My Own Injury?
A: Causing your own work injury does not immediately disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but only if you injured yourself through an honest mistake or act of simple negligence. If you intentionally disregarded a workplace safety rule, injured yourself while working under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or violated a workplace safety regulation, these factors could lead to the denial of benefits.
Q: How Much Can I Recover in Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
A: A successful workers’ compensation claim should cover all the medical care you require to reach maximum recovery from your injury, and you should also receive appropriate weekly disability benefits until you are able to return to work. Your San Diego workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether you have grounds to seek further recovery through a personal injury claim against a third party or civil suit against your employer that could enhance your final recovery substantially.
Q: Is Hiring a San Diego Workers’ Compensation Attorney Really Necessary?
A: You have the right to file your claim without hiring legal representation, but you face several significant risks in doing so. You could encounter problems with your claim you cannot resolve on your own, and you could miss valuable opportunities for additional recovery that an attorney could have identified on your behalf. It is always worth investing in legal counsel you can trust if you want to maximize the results of your recovery efforts after a work injury.
Q: How Much Does a San Diego Workers’ Compensation Attorney Charge Their Client?
A: It’s understandable to be worried about legal expenses when you are already struggling with the financial effects of your injury. However, the team at Diefer Law Group ensures that hiring our firm for your work injury case poses no financial risk to you with a contingency fee billing system. With this billing arrangement, you only pay a legal fee when we win your case and owe us nothing if we cannot secure compensation on your behalf. There are no upfront or ongoing legal fees for your proceedings.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR EXPERT LEGAL ADVICE
Diefer Law Group has successfully assisted many San Diego area clients with their workers’ compensation claims and related legal matters arising from workplace injuries. We know how to guide you through the workers’ compensation claim filing process, resolve legal disputes with employers and insurance companies that act in bad faith, and explore further legal recourse when workers’ compensation alone cannot fully repay your losses. Contact Diefer Law Group today and schedule your free consultation with a San Diego workers’ compensation attorney to learn how our firm can assist you with your recovery.
San Diego Practice Areas
Request a Free Consultation
Diefer Law Group, P.C.
2030 Main Street
Irvine, CA 92614
San Diego, CA 92130
355 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Riverside CA, 92506
34204 Pacific Coast
Dana Point, CA 92629