When you or someone you love is injured on the job in the Sacramento area, it can be extremely stressful to say the least. You’re experiencing the pain of your physical injury, the confusion of what to do next, and perhaps even embarrassment to confront your employer and act upon your employee rights. Are there actions you can take to receive time off from work to fully recover? And, what about your medical bills? Will you be stuck paying them if the injury was the responsibility of your employer? How do you know if you even have a case?
Often, there are so many questions and not enough concrete answers.
Well, we’re here to provide you with the answers you deserve and the guidance you need to navigate this phase of your life and employment. Here at Buzzell Law Group, PC, we help our clients understand their employment rights, seek damages for their work injuries, and ultimately move on with their lives. We love Sacramento with all our heart and soul, so our goal is always to defend the safety and legal rights of our community. If you think you may have a workers’ compensation case, please tell us about it today.
Workers’ Compensation Cases in Sacramento: An Overview
Whether or not you have a workers’ compensation case is almost always dependant on the specifics of your situation, which is why it’s best to speak with a skilled Sacramento workers’ compensation attorney. But, generally speaking, here are work injuries that commonly constitute workers’ compensation claims:
- Slips, trips, and falls;
- Auto accidents with company vehicles;
- Injuries caused by machinery;
- Wear and tear injuries and repetitive strain;
- Injuries that involve being crushed or struck by something; and
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), among many others.
What California’s Laws Say about Workers’ Compensation
California’s workers’ compensation laws require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance (with few exceptions) so that: i) employees’ medical needs are covered following work-related accidents, injuries, and illnesses; and ii) employers are protected against negligence lawsuits later on. Typically, the following benefits are covered in workers’ compensation claims when approved:
- Medical attention– includes all hospitalization, hospital procedures, doctor visits, medicine and medical equipment, and more.
- Temporary disability– payments that effectively cover lost wages while the employee recovers.
- Permanent disability– payments for injuries wherein the employee cannot fully recover; here, injuries often include indefinite mental or physical impairment.
- Retraining– coverage for training/retraining in a new employment field if the employee cannot return to the previous employment due to an injury.
- Death benefit– if the employee were to pass away due to the work injury, benefits are then paid to the employee’s dependents.
What to Expect during Your Case
If you have a workers’ comp claim in the Sacramento area, here are the steps that you are likely to experience:
- First, seek out any emergency medical attention, as needed. Otherwise, visit a medical professional who is approved by your employer (or your physician) and inform him or her of your work-related injury.
- Next, you’ll want to provide your employer with a written notification of your work-related injury within 30 days of the date of the injury. It’s best to begin consulting with an attorney at this phase. Should you miss the 30-day deadline, you may not be able to receive compensation.
- Then, after your employer receives this notification of injury, they will have one day to provide you with the workers’ compensation claim form.
- Once you receive the claim form, you have up to one year after the injury to file a claim.
- While the claim is pending, employers are required to allow up to $10,000 in medical treatment toward the employee’s injuries.
- If the claim has not been denied within 90 days, coverage of the injuries is presumed.
- Should your claim be denied by the insurance company, you then have the right bring the dispute in front of a judge. If you don’t already have one, now is the time to absolutely have an experienced Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer by your side.
Why Legal Representation Is a Must for Your Sacramento Case
Because workers’ compensation cases involve not only the victim but also the insurance companies andthe employer(s), it’s especially recommended to have legal representation to help you obtain the employee rights given to you as well as the proper damages that are owed.
When seeking an experienced Sacramento workers’ comp attorney to help with your workers’ compensation case, look for the following characteristics:
1. Legal Experience
Because there are often three (or perhaps more) parties involved in a standard workers’ compensation case, an experienced lawyer is essential. These types of cases can get very complicated, quickly. So having someone on your side who is able to navigate the legal minefield and isn’t afraid to fight for your legal rights is top priority.
2. Knowledge about Workers’ Compensation Cases
Beyond just general legal experience, your Sacramento workers’ comp lawyer should possess a fair amount of experience specific to workers’ compensation cases. Again, because these cases often involve varying parties and multifaceted laws, it’s crucial to know the ins and outs of workers’ compensation law. What’s even better: Consider finding an attorney who has handled workers’ compensation cases in the past that involved your same injury. This increases the likelihood that your attorney can succeed at defending your legal rights in the face of a workers’ compensation claim.
3. Tenacity to Fight for You
One of the best characteristics to look for in a work injury lawyer is a tenacity to fight for his or her clients. Great attorneys should always remain professional, but also have a level of passion that suggests to the insurance companies and employers that you, the client, should not be bullied or pushed into settling a claim for far too few damages. There should be a balance between when to keep fighting and when to know to settle. An experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate work injury lawyer should possess this balance.
4. Good Reputation
The reputation of your Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer can say a lot about the potential outcome of your case. When looking for legal representation, it’s important to pay attention to reviews from past clients as well as whether this attorney has a positive reputation within the legal community at large. Your lawyer should be respected by his or her staff and peers, other attorneys in the area, the courts, and especially any arbitrators working with your workers’ compensation claim.
Frequently Asked Questions for Workers’ Compensation Cases in Sacramento
1. How long can a workers’ compensation claim last?
While the length of any legal case depends on a plethora of factors, one source recounts that about half of all standard workers’ compensation cases (from open to close) last anywhere from 13 to 24 months. But remember, sometimes a speedy claim can mean settling for less than you’re entitled.
2. Are all employers required to have workers’ compensation insurance?
In the State of California, companies and employers are required to hold workers’ compensation insurance – regardless of how many employees the employer has.
3. Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim?
It is illegal for an employer to terminate an employee on the grounds of retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, at-will employees can still be terminated for other reasons (for example, ongoing poor performance). If an employee is now unable to complete the job due to the work-related injury, an employer can try to reassign that employee to a job that can be completed post-injury or the employee may be terminated. In this case, the former employee will either qualify for additional workers’ compensation benefits for retraining in a new career or vocation or may qualify for permanent disability benefits.
If you fear that your employer may try to fire you out of retaliation for a workers’ compensation claim, be sure to collect relevant documentation and contact an work injury law firm.
Contact Us Today
After experiencing an injury at work in the Sacramento area, we understand how overwhelming everything can feel. You’re suffering from an injury, but perhaps you’re not sure exactly what happened while you were working or whether it’s simply all your fault. Maybe the fear of retaliation from your employer has you thinking that you’ll just muffle the situation and not file a claim nor exercise your rights as an employee. Whatever it is you’re worried about now as you search for legal representation, we’re here to help.
We work with residents of Sacramento to help them recover from their injuries and successfully resolve their workers’ compensation claims. We know the ins and outs of workers’ compensation law, employer obligations, and how the State of California treats these cases. We know how painful your work injury is, how time-sensitive the situation can be, and how to fight for fair damages from an unfortunate injury that has changed your life. If you have questions about your situation or if you’re wondering whether or not you have a potential claim, contact us online or by phone at 415-552-5582 and tell us your story today.