Stockton Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Workers Compensation Lawyers in Stockton
Workers’ compensation is critical no matter where you work because you can get injured at work no matter what job you do. Workers’ compensation is essentially insurance. It secures any employee such that if there are any work-related accidents, the employee can easily seek medical assistance, as well as compensation for temporary disability while the employee cannot return to work, and additional compensation for injuries resulting in permanent disability.
In only the rarest of cases can an employee sue his or her employer in civil court for any negligence that resulted in injury and damages. This is known as the Exclusive Remedy rule. It was part of a bargain struck more than 100 years ago between workers and management. You cannot sue your employer for a work injury (usually) and in return, they cannot blame you for getting hurt. In other words, it is a no fault system.
Some employers offer a short or long term disability insurance that may be provided as a benefit to you. Or, perhaps you pay the premium for it. That policy will almost certainly not cover the same things that workers’ compensation covers, and, depending on what the policy says, you may be able to collect both.
Compensation covers such things as injuries suffered from hazardous or dangerous working conditions, injuries that were incurred from working overtime, injuries from car accidents while on the clock or in a company vehicle, illnesses suffered or acquired through your work, and more.
It does not cover:
- Injuries not suffered during work or as a result of work,
- Injuries due to your intoxication, and
- Self-inflicted injuries, among others.
Even if you think an injury is not covered, you should talk to a local workers’ compensation attorney. There are many exceptions to the defenses against workers’ compensation liability, and a good attorney can help you sort through them and fight for you to receive benefits even if the case is initially denied.
Workers’ Compensation under California Law
Workers’ Compensation is different for every state. The law requires that employers must have workers’ compensation insurance for its employees. This requirement exists regardless of the number of employees. For any starting business, the employer may choose to get a broker which will connect him to a variety of insurance agencies, or the employer may directly communicate with an insurance company of his or her choice. Failure to get insurance, however, is a crime. Some homeowner insurance policies, however, may cover an employee depending on the facts of the case because it is written into insurance law, regardless of what the actual policy states. Most workers are employees. Some are independent contractors. Your title or what the employer says you are, however, is not the deciding factor. Even if you get a 1099, you may still be an employee. It is 100% dependent on the facts of the individual case.
What are possible Benefits of Injured Workers?
- ⅔ Gross earnings (not net)
- Free Medical Treatment up to $10,000.00 initially, although certain rules apply, and potentially more depending on your circumstances
- Compensation for irreversible damage or “Permanent Disability”, limited if less than 70%, but a life pension for disability over 70%
- Lifetime medical for the injured body part(s) if it is determined you have a need for future medical care after your injury stabilizes and is considered “permanent”
- Death Benefits for dependents if the injury causes death
How Do You Claim Your Worker’s Compensation?
If you had an injury during work, whether it is related to your job or a simple office accident, you will find that it is a bit confusing to get the benefits you deserve. The processes require you to produce documents quickly, but it may often expect you to know certain legal aspects that could affect the getting full benefits, or getting paid at all.
Here are the things you may need to go through to claim Workers’ Compensation:
1. Notify Your Employer. Not just a co-worker, but a foreman, manager, supervisor, or owner, or if they are not available, then HR or the workers’ compensation coordinator. This needs to happen pretty much right away, but if it does not, then an attorney may still be able to assist you with obtaining benefits.
2. Get Medical Assistance. Simple or serious injuries should be immediately addressed to get proper medical attention. In this case, if you are injured beyond just first aid, it is best to contact a medical professional or provider and immediately inform them that you had a work-related injury. Upon notice to your employer of your injury, they will probably send you to the doctor. If they do not and you are in need of emergency aid, and your employer is dragging its feet, go to whatever doctor or emergency room that you can find and document to your employer after they failed to provide you with treatment.
3. Fill and Submit Your Claim Form. Upon learning of your accident, your employer should give or send to you a claim form that you should fill out and submit to your employer within a year. However, you may opt not to wait for this form and get the form yourself online. This form must be filled out and submitted to your employer personally or by certified mail. You should do this promptly. In filling out the form, list every body part that you injured.
4. Medical Treatment. When your employer has received your claim form, an authorized agent, or claim administrator should warrant or authorize the medical treatment to be done within the day they received the claim form.
5. Continued Treatment. While your insurance company is examining whether or not you are entitled to the medical treatment you are receiving, you will continue to have medical treatment. This cost shall be paid by the insurance company for up to $10,000.00. It must be approved or denied within 90 days. Otherwise, it is assumed that after the 90-day period, the injury is considered accepted.
6. In Case of Denial, Seek Judicial Action. If your case is denied, you can file an Application for Adjudication of Claim in “court”. Your Application for Adjudication of Claim should include your required documents, notice to the parties, and a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed. An attorney can assist you with these filings and represent your interests in “court” at the appeals board.
7. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. In case of a Petition for Reconsideration here in Stockton, the case is brought to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. If the parties cannot agree upon the issues in your case, the judge may ultimately have to decide those issues after a proper record and evidence have been developed. A lawyer can certainly help with this process because lawyers are trained to develop and present evidence. Judges are people just like anyone else. A local lawyer also knows the nuances of the judges, and can avoid pitfalls with certain judges.
Need Legal Assistance here in Stockton? Choose a Reputable Firm. Choose Ratto Law Firm!
From learning the procedures, you may think that you can do this on your own. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. You need a professional to guide you, and take care of your well-being to ensure that you won’t be at the losing end of the bargain. You need to have a dependable and respectable law firm that has been in practice for 35 years.
We at the Ratto Law Firm are a professional team of passionate and dedicated lawyers who are willing to assist and serve you. We know how confusing the system is, especially if you have no legal experience.
With Ratto Law Firm, our workers compensation and injury lawyers do their best to assist our clients as soon and as fast as we can. We know how valuable it is to get the proper medical care, and benefits that you truly deserve. Share with us your burdens and allow us to represent you. You deserve to ease your worries and focus on recovery. Here in Ratto Law Firm, you’re sure to get some of the best advice, guidance, and counsel in Stockton.
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