Work Injury Lawyer
When you went into the supplies closet at work in search of copy paper, a large, heavy box fell from an overhead shelf and landed on your foot. Now you have a metatarsal fracture and are facing time off from work plus a mountain of medical bills. What do you do now? How do you navigate California Worker’s Compensation law? A work injury lawyer can help.
First Steps Following an Injury at Work
1. If you have been injured at work, report the incident to your employer, even if you think your injury is minor.
2. Fill out the “employee” section of a Worker’s Compensation claim form as soon as possible and submit it to your employer, who will complete the “employer” section. If you mail it in, use registered mail and get a receipt.
3. Get medical care if you haven’t already done so. Keep records of your bills, including ER, office visits, and prescription medications.
4. Contact a work injury attorney for legal guidance and support.
Even if your injury seems inconsequential at the time it happens, make sure your employer is aware of the accident. It is the employer’s job to forward a report to the California Worker’s Compensation claims administrator, who then determines if there are grounds for your claim. If the administrator accepts the claim, you are eligible for compensation for any medical bills or time missed from work that results from your workplace injury.
Your Legal Rights After an On-the-Job Injury
Although the laws governing worker’s insurance vary from state to state, several basic rights apply to most workers:
- The right to file a claim for a job-related injury or illness
- The right to seek medical help
- The right to return to your job once you get your doctor’s okay
- The right to disability compensation, either temporarily or long-term
- The right to appeal a decision pertaining to your case that you don’t agree with
- The right to representation by a work injury lawyer from start to finish
Let’s say your employer shrugs off your report of a workplace injury, saying that you knew the dangers of the job when you took it. That does not, by any means, have to be the end of the issue. If you know your rights under California law, you know that your employer has a legal obligation to submit your claim to the appropriate person at your local Worker’s Compensation office.
Once you are fully recovered and ready to return to your job, what happens if your employer says the company has replaced you? According to the California Labor Code, an employer cannot legally fire you or any of your coworkers who support you after you have filed an injury claim.
Also, if your doctor recommends restriction on some activities after you return to your job, your employer cannot discriminate against you due to your disability. State and federal laws prohibit such discrimination.
Even if you are on good terms with your employer prior to your injury, protecting your rights and your health has to be your first priority. It is impossible to predict how smoothly the claim process, your recovery, and your return to work might go. An Orange County work injury attorney will provide the legal support you need.
What Are Third-Party Accidents?
You have probably heard stories of denied claims, difficult employers, and economic loss from others who have filed Worker’s Compensation claims. The fact is that California Worker’s Compensation does not always cover all your injury-related expenses. For example, worker’s insurance reimburses your direct cash outlay for medical care, but it does not compensate the cost of your pain and suffering.
If someone outside your workplace is partially at fault for your accident, you can take that party to court to recover your losses too. Some examples of third-party culpability include:
- Defective product liability: a design flaw in machinery causes your hand injury.
- Premises liability: construction at a conference site causes you to slip and fall.
- A coworker’s or employer’s negligence: a carelessly placed box falls on your foot and breaks it.
The above situations may give you cause to sue a product manufacturer, the owner of your conference site, or a coworker in addition to your Worker’s Compensation claim. Any third party whose negligence or intentional actions led to your accident is likely liable to some degree.
Some of the damages your lawyer may be able to recover for you in a third-party accident case are similar to the compensation you would get from Worker’s Compensation, such as payment of injury-related expenses. Others, such as payment for your pain and suffering, are only available to you through a third-party action.
Work Injury Trends and Statistics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly three out of 100 private industry employees in the U.S. experienced on-the-job injuries or illnesses in 2019. Of these workers, 888,220 missed at least one day of work as a result.
Employees in the following lines of work experienced the most accidents/illnesses:
- Nursing assistance
- Commercial truck driving
- Freight and materials movers
- Construction work
- Stocking and order filling
Although significantly lower than the number of worker injuries and illnesses in 2019, a total of 5,333 work injury fatalities occurred as well. That amounts to 3.5 per 100,000 employees. One out of five fatalities involved workers in the commercial trucking/moving and sales industries.
From these numbers alone, it is evident that workplace injuries frequently happen across virtually all types of jobs in the U.S. In the vast majority of cases, these injuries and fatalities result from accidents on the job. Most victims qualify for Worker’s Compensation, but not all of them receive full compensation.
When to Hire an Irvine Work Injury Attorney
If you have experienced a workplace injury or a loved one has been killed on the job in the Irvine/Orange County region, your best source for legal knowledge, experience, and support is a work injury law firm. Get in touch with us at Kubota & Craig of Irvine, Cal., for the assistance you need. We can help you through this difficult time by making sure you receive the compensation you’re entitled to. Give us a call today at 949-218-5676 to schedule a free initial consultation.