WHAT IS WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that is purchased by your employer. You are not expected or required to contribute toward this expense. It provides for the cost of medical care and lost wages should you become injured or ill as a direct result of your job. Each state has its own Workers’ Compensation Board that is responsible for processing your employer’s claim and determining the extent and amount of benefits that you will receive in the event of a dispute.
According to workers’ compensation law, neither you nor your employer is considered to be at fault if you file a claim. That means that your claim will not be diminished if you were at fault. By the same token, it will not be increased if the employer is to blame. That being said, you do not have the right to file a claim if an accident occurred solely as the result of your being intoxicated on drugs or alcohol or if you were attempting to hurt yourself or others.
Your claim will be paid if your employer or their carrier agrees with you that the injury or illness was work-related. In cases of dispute, you do not receive any payments until a workers’ compensation law judge determines whether you or your employer are right. You might still be eligible for disability payments, however, until the outcome is decided. If you can go back to work but cannot earn the same level of wages due to your injury, you might be entitled to two-thirds of the difference between your former and current wages.
WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO HIRE THE RIGHT ATTORNEY FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
Every workers compensation claim that is paid out means a loss for the insurance company. Therefore, it is in their best interest to make the payment you receive as low as possible. Without legal guidance, you might not be fully aware of your rights or of how much you can reasonably expect to be compensated for an injury or illness. This is especially true because of the complexity of workers’ compensation law and the uniqueness of every case. Taking bad advice in this matter could mean that you lose thousands of dollars in the wages and benefits you deserve to receive.
People are often reluctant to hire a lawyer because they fear that it will be too expensive. In reality, the maximum you will be charged will be 20 percent of the settlement and sometimes less. You pay only if you win and contribute nothing up front. You don’t even shell out money for letters or phone calls. Since lawyers get compensated based on a percentage of the settlement, they are highly motivated to help you get the maximum amount.
HOW CAN AN ATTORNEY IN WORKERS COMPENSATION HELP ME AND PROTECT MY RIGHTS?
There are several good reasons why it makes sense to rely on the expertise of a good workers’ compensation attorney:
• An attorney will ensure that you get the benefits you deserve, seeing to it that your average weekly wage amount is accurately documented and helping you to get the home modifications, job training or other special extra benefits your injury may require.
• A workers compensation lawyer will fight for the protection of all of your rights under the California Worker’s Compensation Act.
• If problems arise with your benefits, you will already have an attorney who is familiar with the details of your situation and can act quickly on your behalf to come to a resolution.
• An experienced lawyer is familiar with the California judicial system as well as the complexities of workers’ compensation law. No one, not even supervisors or family and friends who have received benefits in the past, will be as qualified to make recommendations to you about settling your case.
• A workers’ compensation attorney can also help you to get additional benefits via a third party liability suit. You can file this in civil court if your accident on the job was the fault of someone other than yourself, your employer or a co-worker.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A CASE OR CLAIM?
As soon as you develop a job-related illness or injury, you can file a workers’ compensation claim. The sooner you do it, the better since the employer’s insurance company can deny delayed requests. If your illness or injury developed over months or years, you should file a claim as soon as you recognize that the situation is work-related and as soon as you saw a doctor or took time off because of the illness or injury.
At the Lee Legal Group, we are expert in all aspects of workers’ compensation law and can help you to determine if you have a legitimate case. We will never charge you unless we help you win your case, and your initial consultation is absolutely free. You have a lot to lose and everything to gain by talking to one of our friendly and knowledgeable legal staff members today.