Los Angeles Workers Compensation Attorney

A workplace injury can be painful, emotionally draining, and confusing. If you or a loved one suffers a work injury, it’s essential to understand your rights and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Your first step should be to speak to a Los Angeles workers compensation attorney. Workers’ compensation benefits or worker’s comp exist to help those suffering from a work injury heal, recover, and have a better quality of life.

The process is complex and could be lengthy, so having a workers comp lawyer represent you is vital. One mistake could result in your claim or medical treatment being denied. If you or a family member suffers a work injury you need the representation of an experienced Los Angeles workers compensation attorney. You need one of the attorneys at Pacific Attorney Group PLC working for you. Our attorneys have more than 70 years of collective practice and are ready to work for you.

How Pacific Attorney Group Can Help After You’re Injured at Work in Los Angeles

In addition to the pain, employees that suffer a work injury in Los Angeles often deal with tremendous stress. Some employers make it difficult for employees to receive compensation for an injury by failing to submit documentation within the time frame or by not corroborating the claims of the employee. Some workers encounter problems with excessive documentation proving their claim, denying the claim, or deliberately delaying payments when the claim is approved. Under these circumstances, a Los Angeles workers compensation will work diligently to protect your rights.

No one can take advantage of you when you have a worker’s comp lawyer working for you. Your lawyer will fight for your rights. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company for the compensation you should receive based on your injury. If negotiations with the insurance company don’t achieve the results you want, your lawyer will take the case to court. Hiring a workers comp lawyer is the best way to be awarded the compensation you deserve. Our Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys at Pacific Attorney Group have decades of experience handling worker’s compensation claims. We have the expertise to secure the compensation you’re entitled to under California law.

How Common Are Workplace Accidents in Los Angeles?

Workplace injuries can occur in any occupation and are more common than most people realize. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.8 million nonfatal workplace illnesses or accidents occurred in Los Angeles in 2017. Approximately 900,000 resulted in workers having to take days off. The most common workplace injuries were:

  • Bodily stress injuries from carrying, lifting, pulling, and pushing
  • Explosions and fires
  • Getting stuck or caught by moving machinery
  • Slips and falls
  • Vehicle accidents for workplace equipment operators and on the road

Workplace injuries may occur due to any of these circumstances:

  • Improper safety protocols
  • Insufficient employee training
  • Machinery that’s not properly maintained
  • Slippery floors
  • Improper or not enough supervision

Among the injuries that may occur as a result of negligence are :

  • Amputations
  • Brain injuries
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Fractures
  • Inhaling toxic substance fumes
  • Joint replacements
  • Respiratory problems
  • Spinal injuries

Workplace injuries can result in time off and loss of income. Workers that suffer serious injuries may need extended time off from their jobs, lengthy hospitalizations, and ongoing medical care. Many workers need long-term physical and/or occupational therapy following a serious accident. When a worker is the primary income provider financial support for families is a necessity. Without the necessary financial assistance, many families face serious financial hardships.

Do I Qualify For Workers’ Compensation Benefits Under California Law?

A resident of California qualifies for worker’s compensation benefits if the injury or illness suffered occurred while doing your job and due to your job. It’s advisable to inform your employer as soon as possible after an injury or illness that occurs at work. A worker’s comp claim should be filled in by the employer and employee within 30 days of the occurrence. You should contact a workers comp lawyer as soon as possible to handle the case for you.

Under the California worker’s compensation system there are five types of benefits:

  • Benefits for medical care
  • Temporary disability benefits
  • Permanent disability benefits
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits
  • Death benefits

Benefits For Medical Care

Under California law, workers are entitled to medical treatment for injuries or illnesses received on the job. Medical care may include hospitalization, physician visits, diagnostic and other lab procedures, medical equipment, prescription medications, and travel expenses for medical appointments.

Temporary Disability Benefits

California workers are entitled to cash benefits to compensate them for wages lost while they’re sick or injured and not able to work. The stipulation is that the illness or injury must be work-related. Temporary disability is only paid when a worker is healing from an accident. Temporary total disability benefits may be paid as long as the person is unable to work. The amount disbursed spends on the worker’s average weekly wages.

Permanent Disability Benefits

If the illness or injury causes permanent disability the worker may be entitled to permanent disability benefits. The benefits apply if one suffers from a mental or physical condition that’s permanent, impacts his or her ability to be employed, or has an impact on normal function. Depending on the part of the body that’s affected and the extent of the physical or mental disability, a lump sum payment may be authorized.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

When a worker is unable to return to his or her previous position, permanent disability benefits may be awarded. He or she may be entitled to receive a voucher to pay for retaining their current skills or to enhance their skills to allow them to enter a new field. The amount may vary depending on the worker’s condition. The maximum amount allowed under California law is currently $6,000.

Death Benefits

If the on-the-job illness or accident results in a worker’s death the family may be entitled to death benefits. the amount the family is entitled to may include payment for the lost earnings of the family member and money to cover burial expenses.

Different factors can have an effect on the amount of weekly benefits or lump sum payments that may be awarded due to a work injury. The laws are specific about liability payment. It’s advisable to contact a Los Angeles workers compensation attorney who will advise you of your rights and the benefits that are allowed under California law. A workers comp lawyer will represent you if your work injury claim is disputed by an employer or denied by the claims administrator.

How Much Is My Workers’ Compensation Claim Worth?

Each worker’s comp case is different. For temporary benefits, the amount is calculated by two-thirds of the weekly wage before the injury. the minimum and maximum amounts are recalculated each year. Permanent disability benefits are calculated as percentages based on the worker’s age, impairment level, and occupation. A Los Angeles workers compensation attorney is best qualified to guide you through the process of applying for worker’s compensation benefits.

What Benefits Can I Get From Workers’ Compensation In California?

California law requires employers to carry basic worker’s compensation insurance to cover medical care including any hospitalization, doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, lab, and other diagnostic tests, and travel expenses for medical visits. Depending on the case employees may receive temporary or permanent disability benefits and supplemental benefits. In the event of death, the family may receive death benefits to cover medical and funeral expenses.

What Are My Rights Under Los Angeles CA Workers’ Compensation Laws?

Los Angeles has the same worker’s comp laws as all locations in California. Worker’s compensation is the exclusive remedy to receive compensation for medical expenses or lost wages due to a workplace injury. A Los Angeles workers compensation attorney can represent you so you receive the settlement to which you’re entitled.

Can I Sue My Employer If They Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

In California employers and employees are protected by worker’s compensation laws. Employer liability insurance policies will usually cover legal expenses if a worker blames their employer for a work-related injury or illness. Under California law employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance. If an employee is injured on the job and the employer doesn’t have worker’s compensation insurance the penalty could amount to $10,000 per employee at the time the injury occurred.los angeles workers compensation lawyer

Can I Sue a Third Party for Additional Money?

Under the California labor code, employers and employees may file a claim of right of action. An employee or family may file for damages that result in the injury or death of an employee caused by a party other than the employer. Worker’s compensation is a no-fault system that allows a worker to collect benefits as long as the injury or illness occurs on the job. A third-party lawsuit may be filed against a party other than the employer. If an injury or illness occurs when a person is at work and the negligence is caused by a third party, you could have a case against the person or persons. A workers comp lawyer can advise you of your rights.

Can I Sue My Employer for Denying My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A Los Angeles workers compensation attorney is the most qualified person to handle your worker’s comp case if your claim is denied. If a worker receives a letter from the claims administrator stating the claim is denied, there are several steps to take. The necessary paperwork that’s filed must be in by a specific deadline. some workers may choose to represent themselves. However, it’s best to have legal representation.

Can I Still Recover Compensation If I’m Being Blamed For an Accident at Work?

California has a no-fault worker’s compensation system. An employer can’t terminate an employee for requesting worker’s compensation benefits. The employee must only prove that the injury or illness occurred at work.

We Handle All Workers’ Compensation Claims

Pacific Attorney Group handles all worker’s compensation cases in Los Angeles. If you’re been in a work-related accident you’re entitled to receive worker’s compensation benefits, as long as the injury or illness occurred at work. The attorneys at Pacific Attorney Group can assist you with filing your claim with all the necessary information. We’ll file your claim before the deadline. We can handle all communication and negotiations between claims administrators, employers, and any third parties that are involved. With a worker’s comp attorney working for you a lot of the stress related to your circumstances is alleviated. We can help you to receive the highest settlement based on your case.

What Are Common Workplace Injuries?

Workplace injuries affect workers in every occupation. The most common injuries that occur on the job are auto-related accidents, injuries while working on construction sites, injuries that result from falling objects, and slip and fall accidents.

How Much Time Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in California?

According to California state law, all employees must file a form with the California State Board of worker’s Compensation within one year. California workers must report their work-related injury to their employer within 30 days of the accident. Failure to report the incident within the allowed time frame could result in being denied worker’s compensation benefits.

What Mistakes Could Compromise My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

1. Failure to act immediately following an accident could compromise a worker’s comp claim. You should document all the details including what you were doing before the injury, how the injury occurred, and what you did immediately following the incident.

2. Report all your symptoms to your doctor including symptoms that change or get worse. You should never embellish your injury or symptoms.

3. Never falsify symptoms or injuries. Doctors will perform an array of diagnostic tests to determine if your claims are legitimate.

4. Never discontinue the treatment plan required by your doctor. You may feel better but symptoms could return or intensify. If you don’t follow your doctor’s instructions the insurance company may assume your injury isn’t as severe as you reported.

5. Insurance companies use the services of private investigators to ensure an employee isn’t engaged in activities beyond their doctor’s restrictions. If you lift a heavy object against the doctor’s instructions, your claim could be denied.

What Should I Do After I Get Hurt On the Job in Los Angeles?

The first thing to do is to report your injury to your employer. If your injury is serious seek immediate medical care. Fill out the worker’s compensation claim form for your employer. You should never attempt to handle your worker’s comp claim yourself. The attorney at Pacific Attorney Group has more than 70 years of collective experience in handling worker’s comp cases.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Los Angeles?

Your workers comp lawyer won’t charge you for handling your claim. The attorney fee is paid out of a portion of the benefits you receive when your claim is settled.

Contact Our Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Lawyers For a Free Consultation.

Call Pacific Attorney Group at 800-358-9617 or submit your case online for a free consultation.

Accidents & Injuries in the Workplace

If you are injured in an accident at work or become ill because of the conditions at your workplace or duties associated with your job, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. It’s crucial to contact a Los Angels Workers’ Compensation Attorney for a free consultation. We have over 70 years of collective experience. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that can benefit workers by streamlining the route to compensation, eliminating the need to prove that another party is to blame in order to receive financial support and medical care. In California, most workers are entitled to monetary benefits and medical treatment under the state’s workers’ compensation system – as long as their injuries or illnesses are work-related. 

Need assistance filing a workers’ comp claim or appealing a denial?
Call 866-832-1387 for a FREE consultation!

Workers’ compensation should cover the full extent of your injuries, but the claims process can be difficult. Some claims are delayed or denied, jeopardizing a worker’s ability to recover benefits. That is why we recommend at least discussing your case with a California workers’ compensation attorney at our firm. Though some claims may prove straightforward and legal counsel may be unnecessary, there are complex claims and disputes that can benefit from the attention of a skilled Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer.

 

 

About Workers’ Comp Benefits

los angeles Workers comp lawyer
Workers Compensation

Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Benefits for Injured Workers

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance system that provides benefits and medical treatment for workers who are injured at work or fall ill as a result of occupational exposure or the duties associated with their jobs. In California, an injured worker or his or her family may be entitled to specific benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation system. It is important to understand exactly what benefits may apply so you can approach your claim and seek the financial support and medical treatment you deserve. In addition to reviewing the information included here, please feel free to call a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer at our firm for a free consultation.

There are five primary types of benefits offered under the California workers’ compensation system: medical care, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, supplemental job displacement benefits and death benefits.

Medical Care
An injured worker is entitled to medical treatment that is required to recover from a work-related illness or injury. This may include hospitalization, doctor visits, medication, medical equipment, diagnostic and other tests, and even travel costs to and from medical appointments.

Temporary Disability Benefits
A worker is also entitled to cash benefits to make up for wages lost while injured or ill and unable to work – if the condition is work-related. For a temporary disability, these payments are paid while the worker is recovering. Temporary total disability benefits may be paid for the duration of the worker’s disability, ranging from $160 to $1,066.72 per week (as of 2013) depending on the worker’s average weekly wage.

Permanent Disability Benefits
If a worker is permanently disabled, he or she may be entitled to benefits. This applies if the worker suffers from a permanent physical or mental condition that impacts normal functions and/or his or her ability to be gainfully employed. Depending on the extent of disability and the part of the body, a worker may be entitled to a lump sum payment.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
If a worker is eligible for permanent disability benefits and is unable to return to work for his or her previous employer, he or she may be entitled to a voucher that will help pay for retaining or skill enhancement to enter a new field or position. The maximum benefit is $6,000 (as of 2013) and this amount will vary depending on the condition.

Death Benefits
If a worker loses his or her life as a result of an on-the-job injury or occupational illness, the family may be entitled to death benefits, which may include money for the deceased worker’s lost earnings and burial expenses.

There are a number of factors that may influence the specific weekly benefits and/or lump sum payment to which an injured worker is entitled. For this reason, you may find it helpful to involve an attorney who can advise you of your rights and the benefits allowed by law. You can also rely on an attorney to represent your interests if your claim is disputed or denied by a claims administrator.

Denied Workers’ Compensation Claims

Not all workers’ compensation claims are approved, and if you received a letter from the claims administrator that your claim was denied, you can take several steps to dispute this denial. There are deadlines by which you must file the necessary paperwork, however, so it is important to act quickly. You may also wish to involve an attorney. Though you can represent yourself in these proceedings, having a legal professional may work to your favor in presenting a clear and compelling case.

Contesting a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim

In California, contesting a denied workers’ compensation claim is done by filing a case at one of the 24 local Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) offices located across the state. This is the general process by which a denial may be contested:

  • You will need to fill out and file an Application for Adjudication of Claim with the office located in your county or the county in which you were injured. This application must also be served on any relevant parties, which typically includes the claims administrator.
  • Next, the DWC office where you filed your application will send you a notice that this has been received. You will be assigned a case number, which you will need to use in any and all correspondence related to your claim.
  • If you want to request a hearing before a judge, you will need to file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed. This lets the DWC know that you are ready for a hearing, called a mandatory settlement conference, in front of a workers’ compensation administrative law judge.
  • After filing a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed, a hearing will be scheduled for a judge to hear your case.
  • At the hearing, you (and your attorney, if you have one) and the claims administrator (and/or their attorney) must appear before the judge. The judge will try to help you reach an agreement by discussing the case with you, using the facts and evidence at hand. If your case cannot be settled in this manner, it will be sent to trial.
  • A trial will be held in front of another judge, who will consider the evidence and information provided by both parties to reach a decision on your claim. The judge will then issue a written decision on the matter and mail this to you between 30 and 90 days after the trial.
  • If your claim is still not approved, you have the option to file a Petition for Reconsideration. This is essentially an appeal of the judge’s decision, sent to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The Board may uphold or reverse the judge’s decision or may send the case back for another trial.

It is not easy to receive a notice that your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, but it is important to remember that you have options. A denial does not mean your case is over. With a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm to help you seek a hearing and even file an appeal, you can seek a positive result. Call our offices today for a free review of your case.

Not all workers’ compensation claims are approved, and if you received a letter from the claims administrator that your claim was denied, you can take several steps to dispute this denial. There are deadlines by which you must file the necessary paperwork, however, so it is important to act quickly. You may also wish to involve an attorney. Though you can represent yourself in these proceedings, having a legal professional may work to your favor in presenting a clear and compelling case.

Contesting a Denied Workers’ Comp Claim

In California, contesting a denied workers’ compensation claim is done by filing a case at one of the 24 local Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) offices located across the state. This is the general process by which a denial may be contested:

  • You will need to fill out and file an Application for Adjudication of Claim with the office located in your county or the county in which you were injured. This application must also be served on any relevant parties, which typically includes the claims administrator.
  • Next, the DWC office where you filed your application will send you a notice that this has been received. You will be assigned a case number, which you will need to use in any and all correspondence related to your claim.
  • If you want to request a hearing before a judge, you will need to file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed. This lets the DWC know that you are ready for a hearing, called a mandatory settlement conference, in front of a workers’ compensation administrative law judge.
  • After filing a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed, a hearing will be scheduled for a judge to hear your case.
  • At the hearing, you (and your attorney, if you have one) and the claims administrator (and/or their attorney) must appear before the judge. The judge will try to help you reach an agreement by discussing the case with you, using the facts and evidence at hand. If your case cannot be settled in this manner, it will be sent to trial.
  • A trial will be held in front of another judge, who will consider the evidence and information provided by both parties to reach a decision on your claim. The judge will then issue a written decision on the matter and mail this to you between 30 and 90 days after the trial.
  • If your claim is still not approved, you have the option to file a Petition for Reconsideration. This is essentially an appeal of the judge’s decision, sent to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The Board may uphold or reverse the judge’s decision or may send the case back for another trial.

Hearings Trials Appeals

Workers’ Compensation Hearings and Appeals

When an injured worker encounters problems when seeking workers’ compensation benefits, he or she may need to schedule and attend a hearing and/or file an appeal to seek a favorable result. There are specific steps that must be taken under the California workers’ compensation system to address a disputed or denied claim; the los angeles workers compensation attorneys at Pacific Attorney Group know how to navigate these proceedings to protect our clients’ best interests. We handle workers’ comp hearings and appeals in Southern California, applying more than three-and-a-half decades of experience to each worker we represent.

The process of requesting a hearing or filing an appeal will begin with the denial of a workers’ compensation claim. This may occur because a claims adjuster has come to the decision that a worker’s injury should not be covered because it was not work-related. A worker does not have to simply accept a denied claim and try to seek medical and financial support elsewhere. Injured workers have the right to challenge denied claims by filing a case with one of the 24 Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) field offices located across the state. These field offices serve as courts where hearings and trials are held to resolve workers’ compensation disputes.

Hearings, Appeals and Trials: Disputing a Denied Claim

You can learn more about the three key steps in contesting a denied workers’ compensation claim by reviewing the brief descriptions below, or click on a subject to be redirected to a page dedicated to that specific topic.

Mandatory Settlement Conference
A mandatory settlement conference (MSC) is a hearing held at a DWC field office to help an injured worker and claims administrator (or their attorney) come to an agreement regarding a disputed claim. A workers’ compensation law judge will discuss the case with both parties and try to facilitate a settlement.

Workers’ Compensation Trial
When a settlement cannot be reached through a mandatory settlement conference, the case will go to trial. These trials are presided over by workers’ compensation law judges without juries. If your case goes to trial, this will be held before a different judge, other than the one who handled your hearing. Upon hearing all evidence and testimony on the matter, the judge will make a decision and inform both parties in writing in 30-90 days.

Workers’ Compensation Appeal
If a worker does not agree with the outcome of a workers’ compensation trial, he or she has the right to file an appeal. This is accomplished by filing a Petition for Reconsideration with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). The WCAB has the authority to review the case and either uphold or reverse the judge’s decision, or send the case back for another trial.

Mandatory Settlement Conference

A mandatory settlement conference, or MSC, is a type of hearing held at a California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) field office. This hearing will be held in the county in which you live or in the county in which you were injured. Presided over by a workers’ compensation law judge, this hearing will be held to try to resolve a dispute regarding a denied workers’ compensation claim. The judge will attempt to help both parties (the injured worker and the claims administrator) reach a settlement.

Mandatory settlement conferences are an important part of the workers’ compensation process in California. The proper presentation of your case is crucial, as is full preparation to go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. Working with a competent los angeles workers’ compensation attorney can help you seek a fair and favorable result.

What happens at a workers’ comp hearing?

As is evident by its name, a mandatory settlement conference is required prior to a workers’ compensation trial to try to get disputing parties to reach a settlement. At this hearing, you (or your attorney) and your claims administrator (or their attorney) will appear before the workers’ compensation law judge. You will discuss your case and try to reach an agreement. If you reach a settlement, the judge must approve it.

If you are unable to reach an agreement at a mandatory settlement conference, the case will go to trial. Your workers’ comp attorney and the defense attorney will need to fill out paperwork that describes what issues have been agreed upon and what issues will need to be decided on during the trial. Both parties will also need to list out witnesses and exhibits that will be presented at the trial. This is the “discovery” phase of the case and must be completed at the mandatory settlement conference. No new witnesses or exhibits may be added after this list is given to the judge.

Preparing for a Mandatory Settlement Conference

Preparation for a mandatory settlement conference is crucial, not only because it is important to seek a fair settlement but because witnesses and evidence for the trial must be laid out at this hearing if the case is not resolved. A careful review and investigation of your claim and preparation of documents can help your attorney seek a fair settlement at your hearing – and lay the groundwork for your trial if that is the only way to seek a favorable resolution.

Workers Compensation Appeal

Filing a Workers’ Compensation Appeal

As an injured worker, there are different steps you can take if your workers’ compensation claim was denied. An appeal is one of these steps, typically the last in the process. The first step is to file a case with the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) field office in the county in which you live or were injured. A hearing, called a mandatory settlement conference, will be held to try to reach a settlement between you and the claims administrator who denied your claim. If all matters pertaining to the claim could not be agreed upon at this hearing, your case will go to trial with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). A workers’ compensation judge will preside over this trial and render a decision on any and all issues that need to be resolved.

If you are dissatisfied by a workers’ compensation judge’s decision regarding your case, you can appeal this decision. This is accomplished by filing a Petition for Reconsideration with the local district office of the WCAB in your area. You will be notified of the workers’ compensation judge’s decision within 30 to 90 days after your trial, via a notice by mail. Upon receiving this notice, you will have 25 days from the date of the judge’s decision to file an appeal (the date is located near the judge’s signature on the document). If the decision was rendered at the trial, you will have 20 days from that date to file an appeal.

What are the reasons to file an appeal?

You may be able to file a workers’ compensation appeal if you believe the judge’s decision was reached in error or by fraud, or if new evidence has come to light that could affect his or her decision. The Petition for Reconsideration form lists five primary reasons to appeal a judge’s decision on a workers’ compensation claim:

By the order, decision or award, the Board acted without or in excess of its powers.

The order, decision, or award was procured by fraud.

The evidence does not justify the findings of fact.

Petitioner has discovered new evidence material to him which he could not with reasonable diligence have discovered and produced at the hearing.

The findings of fact do not support the order, decision or award.

In the Petition for Reconsideration, you must completely describe your disagreement with the judge’s decision and why it should be changed. You need to fill out the form completely and honestly and be prepared to provide supporting documentation. The WCAB will then review your petition and will determine how to respond. The Board may support or reverse the judge’s decision or may order your case to be tried again.

Though your claim may have been denied by the claims adjuster and a workers’ compensation judge may have upheld this decision or otherwise ruled unfavorably, you may be able to file an appeal.

Workers’ Comp Trials

When an injured worker disputes a denied workers’ compensation claim and a settlement cannot be reached during a hearing (mandatory settlement conference), the matter may go to trial. It is important to note that workers’ compensation trials are very different than standard civil or criminal courtroom trials that most people are familiar with. In California, a typical workers’ comp trial will take place in a small hearing room at one of the 24 Division of Workers’ Compensation field offices located across the state. There is no jury. A workers’ compensation law judge will preside over the proceedings and make a final ruling based on the evidence at hand.

The manner in which a workers’ compensation trial is approached and handled will have a direct impact on its outcome. This makes involving a competent attorney of the utmost importance. If your claim was denied after a work accident, occupational disease or other on-the-job injury, you have the right to challenge this denial. The first step is a mandatory settlement conference, a hearing where a judge will try to help you and your claims adjuster (or his/her attorney) to reach a settlement. If you cannot agree upon a settlement, the matter will go to trial.

Your workers’ compensation lawyer’s preparation and handling of your mandatory settlement conference is just as important as his or her handling of your trial. If one or more issues cannot be resolved during your hearing, these will be resolved during a trial before a different workers’ compensation law judge. At your hearing, however, your attorney will already need to have complete documentation on all evidence and witnesses that will be presented at the trial. No other evidence/witnesses can be submitted after the hearing is over.

What happens at a workers’ compensation trial?

If your case goes to trial, you and your attorney and the claims adjuster and his/her attorney will be present. A workers’ compensation judge will hear the matter; there will be no jury. The trial is overseen by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). Depending on the issues you have already resolved during your hearing and which still need to be decided upon by a judge, your trial may only take a matter of minutes or hours. If the trial is not finished on the day it begins, it will not resume the following day. It will be continued to another day, which may be two or three months later. This means that extensive workers’ compensation trials may take years to resolve.

During the trial, the judge will consider the evidence and testimony presented by both sides and will then make a decision on any and all matters that need to be resolved. Each side will have the opportunity to call witnesses and to examine and cross-examine these witnesses. Expert testimony from medical professionals may be given in writing.

The judge will consider all of the evidence and the issues at hand and will render a verdict. In nearly all cases, the judge will not render a verdict on the day of the trial. You will be informed of the decision in the mail anywhere from 30 days to 6 months after the trial. You have the right to appeal a decision made at your workers’ compensation trial, which your attorney can do by filing a Petition for Reconsideration.

On the Job Injuries

Workers in any field or occupation may be injured, whether they spend the majority of their time operating heavy machinery on farms, sitting behind desks or working on scaffolding on construction sites. On-the-job injuries can affect anyone. The steps a worker takes after an injury may influence the medical care he or she receives and his or her financial stability in facing the upcoming weeks, months or years.

Exposure Injuries

An on-the-job injury typically stems from one of two causes: a single incident or repeated exposure. Single-incident injuries most often occur as the result of accidents. A worker may fall from a ladder at a construction site or may be involved in an auto accident while making a delivery. These injuries will vary dramatically depending on the type of accident and circumstances surrounding the incident, such as whether the worker was wearing protective gear at the time.

Repeated exposure injuries occur from recurring, ongoing incidents. This may be continual exposure to loud noises at a manufacturing facility or repeated heavy lifting in a warehouse. Some examples of work injuries resulting from repetitive motion or repeated exposure may include: hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome and back injuries.

Occupational injuries of all kinds are covered by workers’ compensation, and most workers in California are entitled to benefits. This is a no-fault system, meaning the cause of the injury does not need to be proven for a worker to recover benefits. As long as the injury is work-related, the worker will likely be covered – even if the worker may have been to blame. (The only exception may be if the worker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if the worker purposefully caused injury to himself or herself).

Psychological Injuries & Workers Compensation

Psychological injuries may also be covered by workers’ compensation. These occupational injuries are not discussed as frequently as physical injuries, but workers who suffer psychological trauma as the result of work conditions, an incident at the workplace or physical on-the-job injuries may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Benefits for psychological injuries may vary on a case-by-case basis, so it is important to talk to your attorney to see whether you may be covered.

Occupational Diseases

An occupational disease may be defined as a medical condition that arises as the result of one’s occupation. Some examples are mesothelioma, silicosis and carpal tunnel syndrome. The work environment and/or duties performed may contribute to the development of an illness, disease or disorder. A worker may be exposed to toxic materials while on the job or may perform duties that put strain on certain parts of the body. The worker may then develop a medical condition that requires medical attention and ongoing care. The condition may interfere with the worker’s ability to perform his or her job duties or may even be life-threatening.

Types of Occupational Diseases & Their Causes

The majority of occupational diseases are caused by exposure to harmful agents, substances that are hazardous to our health. This may include asbestos, lead, radiation, benzene, pesticides, viruses and other chemicals or biological substances. Most occupational diseases result from inhaled gases, particulates, vapors or liquids. In other cases, agents may be ingested or introduced into the body through touch.

Exposure alone is just one aspect of the cause of occupational disease. A number of other factors will come into play, including personal habits (like smoking cigarettes or refusing to wear protective gear), work history, susceptibility and general health. Occupational diseases can also be traced to accidents and disasters, like a plant explosion that exposes hundreds of workers to radiation, or a situation like the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that left the World Trade Center a pile of rubble and released dangerous gases, particulates and other materials into the environment.

As Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorneys, we handle occupational disease claims for:

  • Asthma
  • Pneumoconiosis
  • Silicosis
  • Asbestosis
  • Dermatitis
  • Renal failure
  • Kidney disease
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Vasodilation
  • Sterility
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Cumulative physical traumas
  • Hearing loss
  • Vision loss
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory disorders

Workplace Accidents

Work accidents happen, no matter the industry or occupation. Virtually any type of employee, from a miner to an administrative assistant, may be at risk of being injured in an accident of some kind. It is important for every worker to understand his or her right to financial compensation and medical treatment under the California workers’ compensation system. At Pacific Attorney Group, we are prepared to offer the level of insight and representation injured workers need to seek maximum compensation.

In addition to recovering workers’ comp benefits for lost earnings and medical care, an employee injured in a workplace accident may be entitled to monetary damages paid by a third party. This may be an individual or company (other than the worker’s employer or a co-worker) that is partially or wholly to blame for the accident. With a los angeles workers’ compensation attorney from our firm by your side, you can trust that we will look to every possible source of compensation in your case.

Types of Workplace Accidents

You can find out more about the types of workplace accidents, their causes and a worker’s right to compensation by reviewing the information included in this portion of our website. Read the brief descriptions below or click on any subject to learn more.

Construction Accidents
Accidents in the construction industry are one of the leading causes of worker injuries and fatalities in the United States. Our team handles construction accident claims involving ladder accidents, scaffolding falls, falling objects, electrocution and more. Our experience with these difficult claims can help the injured recover the money they need.

Electrocution
Workers in various fields may have to work directly with or in close proximity to electrical equipment, wiring or systems. In these cases, the utmost care must be taken to prevent contact between a worker and a live electric line. Our firm represents injured workers and the families of workers who have been electrocuted on the job.

Explosions
An explosion is one of the most serious types of workplace accidents. It can cause catastrophic injuries and can also affect a large number of workers at once. When workplace explosions occur, it is important to seek counsel from a firm with the resources to fully investigate its cause and identify any third parties that could be liable.

Falling Objects
Whether working at a construction site or in a retail store, an employee may be at risk of being struck by a falling object. This can cause serious injuries, including head trauma or traumatic brain injuries, depending on the size and weight of the object and the distance it fell. You can learn more about these accidents and your rights by calling a lawyer at our firm.

Machinery Defects
Heavy machinery, tools and other equipment enable us to get the job done faster and better than ever before. If these machines are not properly designed, built, inspected and maintained, however, they may malfunction and cause serious injuries or deaths. We can look to workers’ compensation benefits and possibly product liability lawsuits.

What is electrocution?

Electrocution is defined as the stopping of life (a stopped heart) as a result of any type of electric shock. In everyday language, electrocution may be used to describe any injury or death caused by electric shock, whether accidental or as a result of negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Depending on the voltage, an electric shock may cause a victim’s heart to beat rapid and irregularly or may even stop the heart altogether. If caught early enough and reversed with a defibrillator, the victim’s life may be saved without any permanent injury.

However, if the shock is powerful enough the victim may lose his or her life or may suffer from burn injuries and cellular damage. Brain damage may also result from an electric shock. Electrocution may result from a machinery defect, any defective product, or from negligence in implementing state safety regulations at a construction site, plant or other work-related environment. More than just workers may be at risk of suffering electrocution or injury in these situations, as any visitor to the site or even a passerby may be injured when equipment malfunctions or another incident occurs.

Explosions at the Workplace

An explosion in the workplace is most often catastrophic. Although many construction site accidents and other workplace accidents may be isolated incidents affecting only one or two workers, an explosion can cause serious or fatal injury to numerous workers, visitors to the site, and even passersby. On construction sites in particular, due to unsteady scaffolding or exposed gas lines or electrical panels, an explosion may cause widespread devastation to the property and all those in its vicinity.

An explosion may be caused by negligence on the part of a worker or employer, due to inexperience, improper training or a lack of standard safety protocols, or even as the result of a simple mistake. A machinery defect may also result in an explosion. Depending on the specific situation, victims in an explosion accident may suffer from serious burns, broken bones and fractures, crush injuries, damage to internal organs, amputation, disfigurement, or death.

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