Workers’ Compensation -
Workers' Compensation is codified in the California Labor Code. Under the law, all employers in the State are required to carry an insurance plan to cover employees for work related injury or illness. In exchange for providing this insurance, an employee is barred from hiring a lawyer and filing a lawsuit for personal injury such as negligence against their employer in most situations. The Labor Code also requires that each plan provide a set of benefits and be administered in a particular way. In order to enforce the proper administration of insurance as provided by State Labor Code, the State established an administrative court known as the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board(WCAB) where lawyers can appear and present disputes to be heard by judges.
Benefits Available Under Workers' Compensation
Workers' compensation law provides for a no-fault system for distributing benefits. This means that so long as the injury occurs at work (with some exceptions discussed below), help is available. Once it is established that the health condition is due to job accident or job factors, the worker is covered. The Code provides for four main benefits and the availability and amount able to be collected varies significantly depending on the nature and extent of the health condition or illness as well as the administration of the policy by the insurance company. Medical Care/Treatment: To cure or relieve the work related injury or illness.
The four available benefits under workmans compensation laws are as follows:
- Temporary Disability: Money provided to the injured employee as a form of wage replacement while they recover.
- Permanent Disability Benefit: Money provided to the employee to compensate them for a loss of earning capacity due to a work related injury or illness that is permanent in nature
- Job Retraining Voucher: A very limited voucher to be used to retrain an employee who cannot return to their old job because of the job accident or job illness.
Every person’s condition and circumstances are completely unique and will change what and the amount available under workers compensation law. Therefore, it is of absolute importance to seek the advice of an experienced lawyer for advice about a each personalized case.
Workers' Comp. Work Injury Claims Process
Each local district office of the WCAB houses judges that hear disagreements and issue decisions that are binding on all parties concerned. It is every victim’s right to have an attorney at any time during the claims process and to file a case with the WCAB. In fact, most injury victims choose to have an attorney to help them file a lawsuit and make sure their claim is properly administered. This is because, despite being a no-fault benefits system, the process is extremely adversarial. Generally speaking, this is due to the insurance company’s inherent tendency to limit the amount paid to employees as a way to increase profits and lower costs to their client, the employer.
Types of Injuries Covered Under Workers' Compensation
- The first type that is covered is one that arises on the job from a specific instance of trauma to the body such as a slip and fall resulting in a broken leg.The Two mechanisms of injury are covered under the system.
- The second type of recognized mechanism arises from repetitive job activities such as typing leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Toxic exposure cases and psychiatric disorder are also covered and each could fall under either mechanism depending on the circumstances. Psychiatric disorder claims are covered, however, unique rules for collecting apply under Labor Code Section 3208.3 so consulting a lawyer about collecting for psychiatric disorder is always a must.
In all circumstances, the injury or illness must at the very least arise out of and in the course of the employment. Once this is established (with the exception for psychiatric disorder that has special rules), there is usually coverage.
Workers Compensation Lawyer Help
An experienced workers compensation law attorney can help make sure that the worker gets what they are entitled to receive under the Labor Code and applicable Regulations (Rules that further define how claims are to be handled). Here the this lawyer office, experienced and compassionate attorneys advocate for those suffering from job accidents and illnesses by filing the applications for adjudication at the WCAB. Cases are taken on a contingency fee arrangement so that no costs of suit or attorney fees are due up front. This allows ordinary people in need of legal help to obtain our services. And, those in need of assistance can call for a free legal case evaluation without the requirement to retain us or file a lawsuit. – California Workers Compensation Law.