Bakersfield Workers’ Compensation
All employees in California are eligible for the workers’ compensation benefits whenever they fall ill or get injured on the job, no matter who caused them these injuries. It is always a devastating experience to be injured while working in an area that is expected to be free from hazards. The costs of the physical injuries, medical bills, and time taken away from work can become overwhelming for the victims and their families.
Some of the common injuries in the workplace are caused by third parties, like auto accidents, slip and falls, and defective machinery. In addition to the workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker may have a right to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party.
Where Do You Begin after a Bakersfield Work Accident?
- Report the work-related injury to your employer
Reporting a work-related injury is a very important step. This is because your claim can be hugely affected by the date you report the injury. It is advisable to let your employer know about your injuries immediately, as California allows you thirty days to do so. Failure to report on time could make you ineligible for the workers’ compensation.
- Seek medical treatment
After reporting the incident to your employer, you will need to seek medical treatment for your injuries. The employer will recommend the doctors that you can seek treatment from. Ensure to report all the symptoms of the injuries so as to get proper medication for your injuries. It is also important to let your doctor or physician know that your injuries are work-related.
- File a workers compensation claim
After reporting the accident and seeking treatment, you can now proceed with filing a claim. You may need to speak to an experienced Bakersfield work injury attorney to have a clear picture of what to expect from your claim.
Common Third-Party Negligence
If an accident in the workplace was caused by forces that are beyond the control of the employer, an injured worker could file both the workers’ compensation and a third-party lawsuit. Examples include;
- Auto Accidents: Employees who work as drivers can be involved in accidents caused by another person. In other cases, the employee may have been traveling to meet a client or running an errand for the employer. The injured victim will be eligible to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against the driver responsible for causing the accident.
- Defective Products: Many accidents that occur in the manufacturing and processing industries are caused by malfunctions in the machinery or safety tools. The injured workers, in such a case, can file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective product.
- Injuries Caused by Property Owner’s Negligence: An accident in the workplace may result from a hazardous condition in the work area, at premises not owned or managed by the employer. The injured worker may be allowed to file a personal injury case against the owner of such property.
- Construction Site Injuries: Contractors and subcontractors are responsible for the well-being of the employees. If you are injured as a result of an injury due to unsafe conditions that the contractor should have known about, you may file a third-party lawsuit against the responsible contractor.
- Toxic Exposure: Some workers may get injured due to being exposed to hazmat conditions caused by other parties. Such workers may file a third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the toxic materials or the parties who did not discard them properly.
- Workplace Assaults: Some injuries in the workplace could be caused by a coworker, a customer, or other parties like robbers. In such cases, the injured worker may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim.
When Can You Sue Your Employer
When a worker files a workers’ compensation claim, the state does not allow them to sue their employer. There are few exceptions to this law.
- Injuries Caused by Gross Negligence of the Employer: In an instance where an employee can prove that their employer acted willfully to injure them, or their gross negligence caused the worker’s injuries, the injured party may file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible employer.
- Assault by the Employer: Assaults by employers on their employees voids the no-fault limitation in the workers’ compensation coverage. The worker, in this case, can file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer.
- The Employer Lacks the Workers Compensation Coverage: In such a situation, the employee can file a personal injury lawsuit and recover the full damages, including lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.
Workers’ Comp Denials
Workers’ compensation claims are not always approved. A claim may be denied if the workers’ comp insurance company believes that the claimant’s injuries are not work-related. A denied workers’ compensation claim will put an injured worker in danger of being unable to recover benefits, placing his or her financial security and future at risk. Click here to read more about workers’ comp denials.
Workers’ Comp Appeals
Although a workers’ comp claim may be denied, this does not mean that all is lost. Our law firm handles workers’ compensation appeals for clients throughout Bakersfield and the surrounding areas. We can help you get a second chance to seek the benefits you need. By properly handling your claim and presenting evidence of your work-related injury in a clear and logical manner, your lawyer will work toward the best possible result on your behalf. C
Injuries and illnesses caused by exposure to toxins or hazardous conditions at the workplace are typically covered by workers’ compensation. For example, a construction worker may be exposed to asbestos or lead. A receptionist or other office worker may be exposed to mold that has grown in the air conditioning system. A worker at a manufacturing plant may be exposed to benzene, radiation or constant loud noises. When the worker suffers illness or injury as a result of this exposure, they may have the right to move forward with a workers’ compensation claim.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a social insurance program that was established to handle cases involving workplace accidents and all types of work-related injuries. This is a no-fault program, meaning that an injured worker does not have to prove that someone else caused his or her injuries in order to receive financial benefits. It also limits a worker’s ability to sue his or her employer for workplace injuries. In essence, workers’ compensation serves to keep a balance between employers and employees in regard to workplace accidents and injuries.
In filing a Bakersfield workers’ compensation claim, a worker may be entitled to six different types of benefits, depending on the nature of the injury and impact it has on the worker’s ability to return to his or her employment:
- Medical benefits
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
- Death benefits (for families of workers who lost their lives in workplace accidents)
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits (for injuries prior to January 1, 2004)
- Supplemental job displacement benefits (for injuries on or after January 1, 2004)
Workers’ Compensation Appeals
Filing a workers’ compensation appeal is important if your claim has been denied for some reason. In the presence of a workers’ comp denial, an injured worker in Bakersfield can file an appeal, or Petition for Reconsideration, with the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. This seven-member board is responsible for reviewing decisions made by Division of Workers’ Compensation administrative law judges, and for regulating the adjudication process concerning workers’ compensation claims, disputes and appeals.
Our law firm represents workers throughout Bakersfield who need to file workers’ compensation appeals. With our experience in workers’ compensation law and our commitment to protecting our clients’ rights and interests, our law firm can assist you in properly filing your Petition for Reconsideration and seeking a better resolution for your case. After all, it is possible that your claim was unjustly denied or that pertinent information was overlooked. An attorney can work to ensure this is brought to light and your rights as an injured worker are properly represented and protected.
Bakersfield Workers’ Comp Resources
Filing for Workers’ Compensation
Filing for workers compensation will be a necessary step to ensure you receive the money you need for medical care, missed work and other expenses or damages associated with your injury. Here are the steps you can take in filing for workers’ compensation:
- Inform your supervisor or manager that you were injured. It is important to take this step right away, as delaying may limit your right to recover benefits.
- Your employer should provide you with a workers compensation claim form within one business day of learning of your injury.
- Fill out your workers compensation claim form and return it to your employer promptly. (If your employer does not provide you with your form, it is available online at the California Division of Workers Compensation website.
It is important to consider involving a lawyer to assist you in filing your claim and in handling any issues that may arise in relation to your accident or your claim. For example, a dispute may arise regarding the validity of your claim, or your claim may even be denied.
Contact us today to talk about filing for workers’ compensation in Bakersfield.
Hire a Workers’ Comp Lawyer
After a work injury, you may be asking yourself, “Why hire a workers’ comp lawyer?” You may wonder whether professional representation is really necessary in filing for workers’ compensation, and what difference – if any – this will make in your ability to recover the workers’ compensation benefits to which you should be entitled. Because our firm offers a free consultation, this will offer you the opportunity to talk to a lawyer about your particular case and learn what we can do to assist you.
You are not required to hire an attorney when you file a workers’ compensation claim. However, you may find that with a professional at your side you have a greater opportunity at a positive resolution because your rights will be protected, your claim properly filed, and your interests represented throughout the process. An attorney can assist you not only in filing your claim but in resolving any possible dispute that may arise, helping with a denied claim, or filing a workers’ compensation appeal with the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
State Workers’ Comp Claims
This process is essentially the same for a state worker or any government employee, but some issues may arise in regard to your employment or the rights of your employer as a government agency. That is why it is important to work with a lawyer who understands state workers’ compensation claims and can properly represent your interests. Our firm handles all types of workplace accident and injury cases in Bakersfield, including workers’ comp claims involving accidents at work, toxic exposure, repetitive motion injuries, work-related car accidents, and much more.
Our law firm represents all types of state or government workers, including at such agencies or organizations as: California Highway Patrol, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Mental Health, Department of Education, Department of Social Services, California Coastal Commission, Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Finance, Franchise Tax Board, Department of Conservation, State Personnel Board, Department of Food and Agriculture, and much more.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are a number of advantages that workers’ compensation has to offer for Bakersfield employees who are injured on the job. For example, injured workers have the right to swift and effective medical care following a work-related injury, and their employers are required to pay up to $10,000 in medical bills even before their workers’ compensation claim is approved. Another benefit to workers’ compensation law in California is that the victim of a work accident need not prove that another party was responsible for his or her injuries. An injured worker has the right to workers’ comp benefits even if personally responsible for causing his or her injuries (unless under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance).
Perhaps the greatest benefit of workers’ compensation is that it offers a person injured in a workplace accident the opportunity to recover benefits regardless of the particular circumstances surrounding the accident or injury – as long as it was work-related:
- An injured worker may be entitled to medical benefits, for medical care, hospitalization, medicine, medical supplies, and all expenses associated with the medical treatment of an injury.
- The worker may also be entitled to disability benefits, which will cover a certain portion of the worker’s normal pay while he or she is temporarily or permanently disabled.
- If the worker’s previous job is no longer available, the worker may be able to seek supplemental job displacement benefits, which will offer the worker the opportunity to receive retraining or skill enhancement
- Death benefits (for families of workers who lost their lives in workplace accidents)
- The family of a worker who has lost his or her life due to a work accident or injury may be able to seek benefits for lost income and funeral costs.
Rights of Injured Workers
Workers in have specific rights when it comes to workplace accidents and injuries. At Pacific Attorney Group, we are dedicated to protecting those rights and representing our clients’ interests as we assist them in filing workers’ compensation claims following work accidents, exposure at work and injuries related to job duties. When you work with a Bakersfield work injury lawyer at our offices, you can rest assured that we will utilize our experience, resources and legal knowledge to protect your rights as an injured worker throughout the process of filing your claim, and also in relation to any dispute that may arise, a denied claim or in filing a workers’ comp appeal.
When a worker is injured on the job, his or her employer is required by law to pay for workers’ compensation benefits. Most employers achieve this by working with a workers’ compensation insurance company, but some employers are secure enough to self-insure. Injured workers have the right to:
- Prompt, effective medical care.
- No-fault coverage of work-related injuries, meaning they do not have to prove that someone else was responsible for their accident or injuries.
- Workers’ compensation benefits, potentially including medical benefits, disability benefits, job displacement benefits, and death benefits.
- Honest and fair treatment through the process of filing a claim or appeal.
Workers’ Comp Denials
At times, a workers’ compensation claim may be denied. Although a claim cannot be denied on the grounds that it was the worker’s fault (unless alcohol or drugs were involved) it may be denied if it cannot be established that the injury was actually work-related. Considering that some people may attempt to commit compensation fraud, the ability to deny a claim is important. However, it also places honest workers at risk of not receiving the benefits to which they should be entitled.
Handling a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim
You may have been the victim of unethical practices on the part of your employer or the insurance company dealing with the workers’ compensation claim. Although we would like to think that our claims will be honestly investigated and handled fairly, this does not always occur. Some employees are even the victims of employer retaliation, such as interference with the workers’ compensation process or wrongfully terminating an employee for filing a workers’ comp claim.