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Know your rights. Protect your benefits.

Although no one expects to be injured at work, it’s better to know what to expect and the steps you need to follow in the unfortunate event of an accident. In a place like LA, where construction sites, warehouses and other high-risk workplaces are spread, work injuries occur on a daily bases.

An accident can have long-lasting effects on the victim, in some cases preventing the injured individual from working temporarily or even permanently. When this happens, the injured employees are entitled to receiving compensatory benefits that are meant to cover the living and medical treatment costs, job replacement or others. Nonetheless, as in every other insurance-related situation out there, there are cases where the victim’s necessities or rights are not covered or respected. That’s when a workers’ compensation attorney comes into play to level up the game and help you get the compensation you deserve.

On this page, you’ll find information in regards to what you should expect from a worker’s compensation process.

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My employer denies liability for my work accident. What should I do?

Employers denying the liability for a work accident is something that inevitably happens every now and then. Although some might accept the liability initially, they can quickly change their mind at the advice of the representing insurance companies. In cases such as such, it’s important that you have a legal expert by your side to help you navigate through the entire process and ensure your rights are protected and your best interests are prioritised at all times. A work injury attorney or a workers’ compensation professional will have the experience and expertise to deal with insurers and ensure that all pre-action protocols related to your injury are respected. After you seek medical attention and get the first aid or necessary treatment, you should try to gather as much evidence that will support your claim as you can. Some of the pieces of evidence you can claim are:
  • CCTV footage of the incident, if available
  • Photos of where the workplace accident occurred
  • Witness statements and their contact details
  • A medical report of the injuries you sustained
It is vital that you inform your employer as soon as you suffer a work accident in order to maximise your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. After you have informed your employer, you should be provided with a workers’ compensation claim form within 24 hours. If your employer fails to provide you with the compensation form, you can download it yourself from the DWC1 website.

Can I sue my employer for a work accident I sustained?

Normally, all employees that have suffered an accident in the workplace have to file a worker’s compensation claim to receive the benefits they’re entitled to. Therefore, employees do not need to sue their employers in order to claim their benefits. However, there are four expectations that can apply in certain circumstances. If one of the situations listed below is applicable, the employee has a legal base to sue their employer:
  • does not have a workers’ compensation insurance in place
  • has fraudulently tried to conceal or hide the injury and/or its connection to the work site
  • Intentionally caused the injury
  • hurt the worker in a different capacity than as the worker’s employer
If the employer hurts one of its workers intentionally, the injured worker is legally able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer instead of making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The type of injuries that usually fit under the umbrella of personal injuries are the cases in which:
  • the employer has assaulted or physically abused the employee in the cause
  • has fraudulently tried to conceal or hide the injury and/or its connection to the work site
  • Intentionally caused the injury
  • hurt the worker in a different capacity than as the worker’s employer

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What is a third-party claim for work injuries?

The fault does not lay on the employer in all cases when an employee is hurt on the job. Sometimes, the person in the cause can be injured by another person on the work site. A third-party claim is a personal injury lawsuit against someone that has harmed the victim on the worksite. In cases like these, the defendant is not the victim’s employe. In most cases, defendants are:
  • a customer or client of the employer
  • the property owner where the worksite is located
  • a vendor of the employer
  • a coworker or supervisor of the victim

Personal injury lawsuits usually request compensation from one of those listed above.

For example:

A lawn-mowing company employee goes to Jim’s house to carry out its work. Jim’s dog breaks loose and bites the employee.

In cases like the one listed above, the injured employee can file a lawsuit against the dog owner, with the dog owner playing the third-party role in these circumstances.

The results of a personal injury claim are supposed to cover the following for the victim:

  • pain and suffering
  • loss of consortium or punitive damages
  • lost wages or reduced earning capacity
  • medical bills

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Can I reopen a closed workers’ compensation case if my injury gets worse?

A workers’ compensation case is normally considered closed as soon as you have received the benefits you agreed upon in your settlement. If your condition gets worse after your compensation case has been closed, you might be able to reopen it based on where you live.

In the state of California, therefore, in Los Angeles, you can ask to reopen your case within five years after the injury was sustained. Normally this means that you need a new round of medical treatment, and you have to go back on either total or temporary disability, based on the severity of your injury.

Nonetheless, trying to reopen a worker’s compensation case can prove to be quite a challenging thing. Insurance companies try their best to deny reopening requests, and the judges for workers’ compensation are usually reluctant when it comes to reopening new cases.

In cases like this, it’s highly recommended that you opt for the services of an experienced professional who can guide you through the legal labyrinth and improve your chances of getting your case reopened. A work injury attorney will help you grasp a better understanding of the laws that apply in your state and particular situation and gather the necessary evidence to support your case. Additionally, it will represent you in the court of law at your hearing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

No, filing a workers’ compensation claim does not mean you sue your employer. The dispute is carried out between you and the insurance company.
Any employers in the state of California are required by law to pay for the workers’ compensation insurance to provide workers’ medical benefits. There is no deduction from the salary of an individual employee, and all costs are entirely covered by the insurance company.
If you suffered an accident on the job, your first priority should be to seek immediate medical attention and report your injury to your employer. After that, you should be provided with a DWC1 form to fill in order to request your benefits.
Cumulative injuries and health conditions develop gradually as the result of performing repetitive actions or exposure to certain factors. Claiming workers’ compensation benefits for a cumulative injury can be a complicated process, given the fact that you might have to prove that your injury was caused by certain work-related circumstances or factors.
Based on the gravity of your injury or illness, you decide if you need an attorney to aid in your workers’ compensation case. The higher your injuries are at stake in your workers’ compensation process. A work injury attorney can help you overcome any complications in the process and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. If you need a Long Beach accident attorney to help with your case, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Yes, it is. California employers are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance even if they have less than two employees. Legally, all employees are entitled to receive prompt medical treatment for on-the-job injuries or illnesses no matter who is at fault and, in return, are prevented from suing employers over the injuries.

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