What is Workers’ Compensation And How Does It Work?
Jobsite accidents are common in any field. If lifting is part of your day-to-day job, you could potentially come across a time when you dislocate your shoulder, a nurse could slip and fall while rushing to attend to patients, or a truck driver might suffer a car accident. In other situations, construction workers always face the danger of being hurt by falling objects or exposure to toxic substances. No matter how you look at it, injury while doing your job can occur every day. But once it does, who is responsible, and are you covered? This is where the worker’s compensation program comes in. Learn why need a workers compensation lawyer. California’s worker’s compensation system covers all workers regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
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However, if you are denied these benefits or feel you deserve more, you should speak with worker’s comp attorneys in Fresno. They can help you with any issue relating to your worker’s compensation rights and ensure you receive fair compensation. Here is everything you need to know about worker’s compensation and how it works in California.
Worker’s Compensation in California
The state of California follows the no-fault system when it comes to worker’s compensation. This means that worker’s compensation is for employees who suffer an accident on the job site. Or while performing duties for their employer, regardless of who is at fault for the incident.
As long as the accident occurs while the employee is working, they are in this insurance system. The worker’s compensation is to protect both the employee and employer from financial consequences in the event of an accident.
This sounds good in theory for employees since they don’t have to file a lawsuit against their employer if an accident occurs. However, certain conditions may lower the benefits you deserve in the event of an accident. And this is where you will need to work with a worker’s compensation attorney to enforce your rights.
But before this, you should learn how to file a workers’ compensation claim. The process is quite simple. Once you are injured at work, you must inform your supervisor as soon as possible. Still, if your injury is related due to constant exposure to harmful substances and you notice that you are gradually affected by it, you should inform your employer.
In most cases, you should report your injury within 30 days from the date of the accident. Otherwise, you might lose your right to worker’s compensation.
How Your Employer Should Respond
Once you tell your employer about your injury, they must provide you with a claim form within 24 hours so that you are eligible for worker’s compensation. You should complete your part of the form as soon as possible and return it to your employer.
However, you should always keep a copy of your form submission as well as detailed information. So that you can prove when and how you provided the form to your employer. For example, if you completed the form and sent it by mail, you should have a certified mail and a return receipt with proof of delivery.
Your employer is the responsible entity that must complete the other part of the form and submit your claim to the insurance company. But they should also send you a copy too. In the event that your employer doesn’t provide you with a copy and doesn’t comply, you should submit the form yourself. The insurance company must notify you of the status of your claim within 14 days.
When You Will Need a Lawyer For a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Though it’s easy to assume that once you are hurt on the job site. You will have compensation right away, it doesn’t always happen. In some instances, your claim might be accepted. But the payment or settlement offers aren’t satisfactory.
In other instances, your claim might be denied, which means that the claim administrator doesn’t believe your injuries are covered under worker’s compensation. When these things happen, you will need a workers’ compensation lawyer by your side so that you can receive your rightful compensation without delay.
You might be tempted to have your case heard by a judge. However, attending a hearing without a lawyer by your side will be detrimental to your case. Since the judge, the claims administrator, and their attorneys are knowledgeable of the law and most likely dealt with many claims beforehand, and might put you in a tight spot where you won’t know how to respond.
Why Need a Lawyer For a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
With a lawyer by your side, you can navigate the legal system, use different strategies for your case, and advocate for your rights professionally, increasing your chances of success.
A workplace injury can also lead to a personal injury lawsuit where you are entitled to more compensation gains. This occurs when there are other parties at fault for your accident that aren’t necessarily related to your workplace environment. Such as negligence on behalf of someone who isn’t a coworker or your employer or a product defect.
In such cases, you can recover even non-economic damages for your losses. This usually aren’t in the workers’ compensation claims in California. These types of damages can easily exceed your other financial rewards. And you will be able to receive higher settlements for your troubles. But the best way to tell for sure is by contacting a workers’ compensation attorney for a consultation on your case.
Brantlee Bhide is a project manager at HB Consultancy. She has 16 years of experience working as a project professional across varying industries, countries, and cultures. She operates in both business and technical domains using an approach that she developed.