Injured at work?
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Workers Compensation Attorney
Need for a Lawyer
If you are injured in the workplace, it is important that you secure legal representation when the employer and its insurance carrier do not comply with the laws. A workplace injury entitles you to benefits which include medical treatment, temporary disability payments to cover lost time at work and sometimes compensation for permanent impairments. While you are entitled to these benefits under the law, this does not mean that you will receive them in a timely and just manner from your employer’s insurance company.
A workers’ compensation lawyer will work to guide you through the claims process to ensure you receive all to which you are entitled.
California’s workers’ compensation program provides the following benefits to injured workers:
You are entitled to have all medical expenses paid for if incurred as a result of the injury. Only expenses for treatments that are proven to relieve or cure the specific injury are payable. Treatment requests are evaluated according to utilization review, which makes sure that your doctor’s requested treatments are sound and legitimate.
Temporary Disability (TD)
If you are temporarily unable to return to work due to the injury, either because you are still in treatment, recovering and/ or can only work with restrictions, and your employer cannot comply with those restrictions, temporary disability benefits pay a portion of your lost wages. Currently, injured workers are entitled to two-thirds (66 percent) of their average pre-tax weekly earnings.
The benefits are capped at 104 weeks within five years. Certain injuries and conditions which require longer medical treatment and recuperation, such as severe burns and amputations, allow up to 240 weeks of temporary disability benefits. The payments, which are restricted to a maximum amount per week, are increased annually by a percentage set by the state. The maximum amount for 2018 injury claims is $1,215.27 per week.
Permanent Disability (PD)
For an injury that results in permanent disability, permanent disability provides payments meant to compensate you for your lost future earnings. The amount of the payments depends on the disability rating assigned to your condition, which can range from 1 to 100 percent, the date of your injury, your occupation, and your wages before you got injured.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits / Vocational Rehabilitation
If the injury prevents you from returning to your employer or original line of work, vocational retraining vouchers are provided to help pay for skill enhancement or retraining. The amount is limited to $6,000.
If your job-related injury or illness results in death, your surviving dependents are entitled to payments. The total amount of the death benefit that will ultimately be paid depends on the date of injury and the number of total or partial dependents. Burial expenses may also be paid for.
While you have one year from the date of injury to file a workers’ compensation claim, the sooner you report the injury to your employer and file the claim, the more likely that your benefits will be timely approved. The actual time that it will take for your case to resolve varies widely depending on a number of factors, including the nature and extent of the injury, the number of medical evaluations you need, whether the insurance company denies your case and whether the case needs to go to trial. Some injuries require years of medical evaluations and treatments to accurately determine the consequences on the injured person’s ability to work.
Workers’ compensation cases end with either an Award or a Compromise and Release. An Award provides the monetary benefits, which are payable weekly, and leaves open the possibility of future medical treatments to be paid for by the insurance company. A Compromise and Release provides a lump sum award but closes off the possibility of payments for future medical care. A Compromise and Release can only occur with the agreement of both the injured worker and insurance company. Only a qualified attorney can advise you on the best option for you.
Cost of Representation
Workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency basis. This means that you do not pay until there is an award or settlement. Attorneys’ fees for workers’ compensation cases normally range from 12 to 15 percent of the benefits awarded. Complex cases may require higher fees. The fee is approved by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board after consideration of the attorney’s level of responsibility, the care in which the attorney has represented the injured worker, the time involved with the case and the results. The fee gets deducted from the benefits.
Workers Compensation News
Workers Comp Law | Updates Kite has provided workers comp applicants a potential increase in recovery for multiple injuries. In Kite, the applicant suffered CT injuries to both hips, and had surgery. His use of a cane afterwards resulted in injuries to his shoulder...
Workers Comp Law | Permanent Disability Hikida v. Workers Comp Appeals Board (2017) The applicant had carpal tunnel surgery resulting in a bad surgical outcome. She Then developed chronic regional pain syndrome, and never returned to work. The AME indicated that with...
Contact for Workers Compensation Consultation
Phone: (415) 335-7657
Fax: (415) 788-8378
bianca @ sanfranciscobaylaw.com
22 Battery Street, Suite 512B
San Francisco, CA 94111