Helping Californians That Have Been Injured At Work
Should I Hire an Attorney for My Workers Compensation Claim?
In cases that become contested (or litigated) the claim is brought, normally through an attorney on behalf of the injured worker, before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board which then assumes jurisdiction over the matter and allows the parties the ability to address disputed issues before that body.
When an employee is injured while at work, there are certain responsibilities an employee and employer must fulfill for a workers’ compensation claim to go smoothly. Contact our experienced Valencia workers’ compensation lawyers today to find out how we can help you especially if:
- Your claim has been denied
- You are appealing your decision
- You have a preexisting condition
- Your permanent disability rating has been challenged
- Your workers’ compensation hearing is approaching
- You are receiving government benefits other than workers’ comp
In addition, you will find a detailed treatment of employer and employee responsibilities in workers’ compensation claims below.
Is California a “No Fault” State for Workers’ Compensation
In California, the workers’ compensation system is referred to a “no fault” system. This means that, generally speaking, a work injury is the result of an accident through no fault of the employer or the employee.
When an injury occurs and a claim is filed it is not a lawsuit such as would occur with a civil or personal injury matter. Meaning that the employer is not being sued but rather the injury is reported to the employers’ insurance carrier and a claim is then opened up.
As an employer, you are responsible for providing a safe environment at work to prevent injuries to the best of your ability. However, if an employee is injured, you are responsible to perform the following duties:
- You must complete a workers’ compensation claim form and forward it to your workers’ compensation carrier
- If the injured employee needs medical attention, allow them to see the company doctor or leave work to see their own physician
- Ensure that you do not violate any laws or the rights of the injured employee
Your next step is to cooperate with your workers’ compensation carrier and its attorneys during the investigation of the injury. This means doing the following:
- Provide any documents they may need, such as your payroll history or a copy of the injured employee’s personnel file
- If they want to interview the injured employee’s supervisor or co-workers, allow them to speak without obstruction
Your workers’ compensation attorney in Valencia can help you take care of these requests, if needed.
Allowing Injured Workers to Come Back to Work
You are also responsible for welcoming an injured employee back to work once they are physically ready. You may not penalize an employee, or terminate them, simply for having filed a workers’ compensation claim. You can face serious civil or criminal charges.
Finally, you must assist your state workers’ comp board to ensure you are not committing fraud. While its true employees can fraudulently file for workers’ compensation, employers can also fail to process the appropriate workers’ compensation forms.
When employers fail to provide insurance carriers with the correct claims forms, it could lead to an increase in premiums.
As an employee, you must act responsible while at work. If you’re injured at work in California while intoxicated or after knowingly violating a policy or code meant to protect you, you may not be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Reporting Your Injuries
If you are injured at work, you should report your injury to your immediate supervisor or employer right away. If you do not report your injury on a timely basis it could potentially impact your rights to receive benefits, both monetary and medical.
Once you tell your employer, they are required by law to provide you with a DWC-1 Claim Form and may assist you in filling it out and send it to their insurance carrier. Review the form carefully to make sure it accurately reflects your injury and request a copy for your own records after you sign it.
Cooperating With the Insurance Company
Cooperate with any reasonable requests made by the insurance company. For example, you may need to see an in-network physician; if you fail or refuse to do so, it may raise suspicions or result in the delay, or denial, of your claim. If you falsify an injury, you may face serious criminal penalties for fraud which may include fines, jail and restitution.
Recovering from Your Injuries
Most importantly, you’ll want to focus on your recovery and getting back to work. An attorney can help ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to as a result of an industrial injury.
How an Experienced Santa Clarita Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
The Bridgeford Law Office will provide you with the absolute best legal advice you can obtain concerning all areas of workers’ compensation in Valencia. Our years of experience in navigating the treacherous waters of the workers’ compensation system are a cut above the rest
At our firm, we partner closely with our clients and business owners throughout the legal process to ensure a successful outcome.