Suffering debilitating injuries in an accident at work can turn your entire life upside down. Workers’ compensation can help you financially through a tough time. Through workers’ compensation, you can receive benefits for lost wages and medical expenses.
According to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), the law requires employers in California to have workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have only one employee. California operates under a no-fault workers’ compensation system, so you can receive benefits, even if the injury occurred due to your own fault.
Workers covered by workers’ compensation are generally unable to sue their employers in a court of law; however, in return, insurance covers all work-related injuries. The employee does not have to prove an employer was responsible for an accident or injury. Typically, any work-related injury is covered by workers’ compensation in California.
In some cases, a worker might find it challenging to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. If you have suffered considerable injuries in a work accident, your Los Angeles worker’s compensation lawyer could help you get the compensation you deserve. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm now at (800) 529-9122 for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out if we can help you.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Pay in Los Angeles?
It can be difficult to speculate about exactly how much compensation you could receive with your workers’ compensation claim in Los Angeles. Your final amount will depend on the extent of your injuries, your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages in connection with your work accident.
Generally, workers’ compensation in Los Angeles should make you whole again and compensate you for damages arising from your work injury.
In detail, this means that workers’ compensation will pay for several damages, including all medical expenses related to your work injury. In Los Angeles, you can also receive temporary disability benefits up to two-thirds of your wages if you cannot return to work after three days. If you are permanently disabled due to a work injury, you could receive disability benefits for life up to the current maximum of $840 per week.
In addition to medical and disability benefits, you could also receive career-related benefits, including vouchers for education-related training or vocational rehabilitation services.
If you are the spouse or close family member of a worker who suffered fatal injuries in a work accident, you could recover death benefits for dependents and minor children. Death benefits can also compensate for funeral and burial expenses. Death benefits for the surviving family generally have a maximum ceiling of $160,000, according to the County of Los Angeles, although there can be exceptions.
How Long Can You Receive Workers’ Compensation in Los Angeles?
How long you can receive workers’ compensation benefits depends on the permanence of your injuries and whether you have temporary or permanent disabilities. Generally, workers’ compensation will continue to pay your medical benefits until you have recovered and for as long as treatment is medically necessary.
If you are eligible for temporary disability benefits, you would generally receive an ongoing payment until:
- You return to work
- Your doctor releases you for work
- Your injury has improved as much as is possible
Normally, you can receive temporary disability benefits for 104 weeks in Los Angeles, according to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). If you suffer from specific long-term injuries, including severe burns or chronic lung disease, you could receive benefits for up to 204 weeks of payment within a five-year period.
If you suffer from a permanent disability after a work accident, and this disability prevents you from returning to work, you could receive workers’ compensation for the rest of your life. In California, you might be able to receive lifetime disability benefits if your disability is 70 percent or above.
You may have a fight on your hands if you are looking to receive lifetime benefits, as your employer or your insurance carrier will most likely try to fight your claim. Working with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can help you prove your claim for lifetime disability benefits.
For a free legal consultation with a Los Angeles Workers' Compensation Lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (800) 794-0444
Does Workers’ Compensation Pay Full Salary in Los Angeles?
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident at work in California, one of your biggest worries might be whether you will continue to receive your salary. The potential of losing income due to an injury can be frightening for you and your family. However, workers’ compensation generally compensates you for a loss of income if you have a temporary or permanent disability.
In California, workers’ compensation will pay up to two-thirds of your pre-tax gross salary up to a certain maximum per week, currently just under $1,300 (2020), per WorkCompWire.
Losing a third of your salary can be frustrating and most likely will cause you to tighten your belt somewhat.
However, while workers’ compensation will not cover your loss of income 100 percent, there may be other avenues you could pursue. You might want to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer about your claim. If you suffered injuries due to a third-party, such as another contractor on your job site, or a property owner’s negligence, you might have a personal injury claim.
You might be able to sue the at-fault party and possibly recover compensation in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits. This could help you to bridge the gap in income as well as provide some financial security for the future.
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Who Qualifies for Workers’ Compensation in Los Angeles?
First, to qualify for workers’ compensation in Los Angeles, you must have suffered an injury while working or developed a work-related illness or disease. In order to be eligible for benefits, you will also have to take a few important steps as soon as you suffer an injury:
- Report the accident.
- Seek prompt medical attention.
- Fill out a workers’ compensation claim form.
Your employer’s insurance will then determine whether you qualify for workers’ compensation.
In California, your employer must have worker’s compensation insurance, even if they employ only one person. If your employer does not have workers’ compensation, or they let their workers’ compensation insurance lapse, you could file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages from them.
If you suffered an injury at work, you deserve compensation for your damages. If your claim is denied or your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can turn to a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to help you. Your lawyer can help you protect your rights and fight for a fair settlement. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free case review of your workers’ compensation claim today at (800) 529-9122.
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Do All Workers’ Compensation Cases End in a Settlement?
Not all workers’ compensation cases end in a settlement. However, your case could end in a settlement if you suffered life-altering or permanent injuries and disability. If you only have minor injuries and can return to work within a reasonable time frame, you most likely will not receive a settlement.
Be Careful When Accepting a Settlement
You will have to be careful when it comes to accepting a settlement. It can be in your best interest to hire a lawyer to help you negotiate for a fair and comprehensive settlement. Since settling a claim could bar you from filing a lawsuit later on, you need to make sure that a settlement offer covers your present expenses and damages and any expected future costs.
Depending on your situation and the severity of your injuries, you could either recover a lump-sum payment or a settlement that is paid out over several years.
Knowing When to Accept a Settlement
To know whether a settlement is adequate, you will need to have a good understanding of your damages and expected future damages. Do not be tempted to sign the first settlement offer you receive from an insurance company. Remember, you can have a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer review it first before deciding. An attorney will know what your case is worth.
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Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you suffered injuries due to a work accident, you may be wondering whether you should hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help you with your claim. If you suffered only minor injuries and recovered the necessary medical costs and loss of income benefits, you most likely do not need to hire a lawyer.
However, in many other cases, hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer could be beneficial. A lawyer has the relevant legal expertise and can protect your rights as well as fight for a comprehensive settlement on your behalf. Hiring a lawyer can be particularly helpful if:
- You suffered from serious injuries
- Your claim is complex and contested
- Your employer or an insurance company denied your claim
- Your injury prevents you from returning to your job
- Your employer retaliated against you after a claim
- You suffered injuries due to a third party’s negligence
In a contested claim, a lawyer can help you in several ways. They can collect evidence to strengthen your claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and fight for justice and compensation on your behalf.
Even if you have a straightforward workers’ compensation claim, you may wish to consult with your Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to protect your rights and make sure you get your due.
What Does TTD Mean?
TTD, in the context of workers’ compensation, stands for “temporary total disability.”
If you suffered a temporary yet completely disabling injury, you might qualify for TTD benefits. Typically, a TTD injury will leave a worker completely incapacitated. However, they are expected to recover and return to work eventually.
You could be a “TTD” if you cannot return to work at all temporarily or need special accommodations to return to work, but your employer is unable to provide.
If you have a TTD, you could receive compensation for lost wages during your recovery period in Los Angeles. Temporary total disability benefits will compensate you for up to two-thirds of your wages. If your employer offers you work that you can do, and your doctor agrees, you will not receive any additional TTD benefits.
A temporary total disability can occasionally lead to a TPD, a “temporary partial disability.” TPD benefits are generally available to employees who, although injured, can work, albeit in a reduced capacity. The amount of benefit you could receive will depend on what you are earning at your new job in your reduced capacity. TPD benefits are usually compensating you for up to two-thirds of the wages that you have lost because of your injury.
What Are the Four Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to injured employees and their families. There are four main categories of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Benefits
If you suffered injuries at work, workers’ compensation will take care of your medical expenses. Compensation will include hospitalization, doctor’s visits, surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical needs you might have.
- Disability Benefits
If your injuries at work caused a temporary or permanent disability, you could recover certain disability benefits. There are four general categories of disability benefit, and compensation will depend on your degree of disability:
- Temporary partial disability (TPD)
- Temporary total disability (TTD)
- Permanent total disability (PTD)
- Permanent partial disability (PPD)
- Career Support Benefits
You may be able to qualify for a career change, skills enhancement, and training benefits if you cannot return to your previous position. In California, you could receive awards that can cover various costs, including licensing or professional certification fees, exam fees, and course fees. Awards can also help buy computer equipment and reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses.
- Death Benefits
Workers’ compensation offers benefits to the family of a worker who suffered fatal injuries in a work accident. Benefits can include funeral and burial expenses and support payments for dependents of the deceased.
What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Disability?
The main difference between workers’ compensation and disability benefits is that to receive workers’ compensation, you must have suffered an injury at work or have developed a work-related disease. If you suffer from a disability that is not work-related, you could qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if you meet certain criteria.
If you got hurt on the job, you are probably wondering what to do. Disability and workers’ compensation can both pay benefits to employees who have a disability, and you might be able to apply for both. However, there are usually limits on the amounts you can receive from both sources.
Your best bet may be to apply for workers’ compensation first and then consider additional avenues to get your due, such as Social Security benefits. First, you do not have to pay taxes on workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on your injury, workers’ compensation benefits are typically available for a longer period, and they will cover all your medical expenses without deductibles. However, if your workers’ compensation claim is denied or delayed, you should apply for SSDI benefits.
If you got hurt at work, it might be challenging to know what to do next. However, making the right decisions is important for your future. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, your Los Angeles worker’s compensation lawyer, for help and advice today at (800) 529-9122.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Los Angeles?
When you apply for workers’ compensation benefits, there is a possibility that you could receive a settlement that could be a lump sum or several smaller payments. However, this comes with a caveat as accepting a settlement means you will have to give up additional workers’ compensation benefits.
Once you have accepted a certain settlement amount, you most likely will not be able to file additional claims for medical payments or lost income for the injury. This can work well if you are fully healed and do not expect any future medical expenses or losses of income. However, if you are still recovering from your injuries or temporary disability, it might be better to wait until you are better before negotiating any settlements.
Since workers’ compensation cases can vary greatly based on the severity of the claimants’ injuries and their family circumstances, it is almost impossible to generalize and speculate about the amount of a settlement. Settlements could be anywhere in the range of $20,000 and $40,000, depending on your injuries.
Before you accept any settlement offers, you might want to consider consulting with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to ensure that the settlement offer is sufficient for your needs.
How Do Workers’ Compensation Payments Work in Los Angeles?
If you suffered injuries at work in Los Angeles, you are usually entitled to receive up to two-thirds of your pre-tax gross salary in workers’ compensation benefits up to a certain weekly maximum amount. Although information is available from the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), calculating your workers’ compensation benefits can be somewhat confusing.
If you want to find out what you could receive in workers’ compensation payments, you will need to calculate your weekly wage. To do this, you would divide your annual salary by 52 (for the 52 weeks in the year). If you earn $50,000 per year, for example, your regular weekly wage would be approximately $962. Your maximum weekly payment from workers’ compensation would be about $641 since your maximum benefit would be two-thirds of your pre-tax salary.
Once your claim has been accepted, you should receive a workers’ compensation check every two weeks, much like a regular salary.
However, if you accept a lump-sum settlement for your work injuries, you will not receive any weekly benefits. Instead, you will accept either a lump sum or a more structured payment over months or years. When you accept a settlement, you typically relinquish your rights to any additional workers’ compensation benefits and payments.
The process of filing for workers’ compensation can be tricky. You can opt to consult with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you get what you deserve.
Who Is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Every employer in California is required to have workers’ compensation, no matter how small the operation or business. As such, all regular employees can receive workers’ compensation and may apply for benefits if they suffer an injury on the job.
However, certain types of jobs and employment may not be covered by workers’ compensation, including but not limited to:
- Business owners
- Independent contractors
- Volunteers except for volunteer police officers and firefighters
- Federal employees
- Longshore and harbor workers
In some instances, the following professions may also not be covered by workers’ compensation:
- Part-time domestic workers
- Taxi drivers
- Intermittent workers not in permanent employment
- Agricultural laborers
If you suffered injuries at work, you might not know whether you can apply for workers’ compensation. There are several gray areas, for example, when it comes to independent contractors. Some employers illegally classify employees as independent contractors for tax reasons and to avoid workers’ compensation payments.
If you are not sure whether you qualify, you might want to discuss your matter with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can after your accident and injury. If you are ineligible for workers’ compensation, a lawyer can help you assess other available options for recovering compensation.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Pre-Existing Conditions?
Generally, workers’ compensation offers benefits for a specific work injury resulting in medical expenses and time off work. Throwing a pre-existing condition into the equation can make your workers’ compensation claim quite challenging and confusing.
Say, for example, you previously injured the same body part and have already received workers’ compensation benefits for this injury. In this case, you may only be able to recover reduced workers’ compensation benefits the second time around. However, your workers’ compensation will pay for all your medical needs, and you should also receive some temporary disability benefits.
If you have an unrelated pre-existing condition that is aggravated or worsened due to a work injury, your pre-existing condition will most likely make no difference to your claim. You will still receive medical benefits for the work injury while you might be responsible for the medical expenses required to treat your pre-existing condition.
If you suffer from a significant pre-existing injury and then get hurt in a work accident, your claim could turn into a minefield. Struggling through filing such a claim by yourself could result in loss or reduction of your benefits and may compromise your rights. Having a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to guide you can help straighten out any issues with your claim. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for help at (800) 529-9122.
Can You Get Pain and Suffering with Workers’ Compensation?
The term “pain and suffering” refers to one of several so-called noneconomic damages that injured plaintiffs can pursue in a personal injury lawsuit. If you have suffered extensive or permanent injuries and had to endure lengthy or painful medical treatments, you are typically able to file for noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages in a personal injury lawsuit can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, and others.
When it comes to workers’ compensation, however, you are generally not entitled to non-economic damages. Compensation is limited to medical expenses and income losses. However, there can be some exceptions to this general rule. If you developed a mental disorder or condition due to a work injury, you could receive additional compensation. An example of this can be a work injury or accident leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or another mental disorder.
There may also be other avenues for pursuing non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. If your work accident or injury happened due to a third party’s negligence and not your employer, you could file a personal injury lawsuit. If you are not sure whether you can file a lawsuit, speak to a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer for legal advice.
Do I Have to Go Back to Work After My Workers’ Compensation Ends?
Your workers’ compensation usually ends when you return to work or when your doctor declares you fit for work. If you have a permanent disability or are not well enough to return to work yet, your workers’ benefits should continue to compensate you.
Many workers make the mistake of returning to work too soon, feeling pressured by their employer or the workers’ compensation doctor. Before you go back to work and risk losing your workers’ compensation benefits, you should tread carefully and ask yourself some questions: Do you feel fully recovered? If not, can you return to work in a reduced function and with restrictions? If a doctor declared you fit to go back to work, but you do not feel well enough, should you get a second medical opinion? You can speak with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who might be able to offer insight that can give you more clarity about your situation.
If you are not fully recovered but received a Notice of Ability to Return to Work letter, do not panic. This does not necessarily mean you have to return to work instantly or lose your workers’ compensation benefits. Speak to your doctor and consider getting professional legal help to protect yourself.
In some cases, you can return to work with a partial disability or some restrictions. If this means that your salary is now reduced due to a change in position, you could receive reduced earning compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation in California?
There are set deadlines and time limits for filing your workers’ compensation claim in California. Currently, you generally have one year from the date of your injury or accident to file for workers’ compensation.
It is important to note that notifying your employer does not mean you have actually filed a claim. To correctly file for workers’ compensation in California, you will have to:
- Report your accident and injury.
- File a claim with your employer.
- File an Adjudication of Claim and Declaration with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB).
If you do not file your claim within one year of your injury, you might lose eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
However, not all is necessarily lost if you missed the deadline. In some cases, exceptions apply. If you have suffered from a minor condition for a while but did not know that it was work-related, and your condition suddenly worsens, you may still be able to file a claim. The time you have to file typically starts on the day you noticed the injury.
If you received medical treatment or benefits for an injury, and this injury subsequently causes a new disability, you can, in some cases, file a claim for up to five years after the date of the original injury.
Can You Collect Workers’ Compensation and Disability at the Same Time?
In theory, it is possible that you can collect both at the same time, workers’ compensation as well as Social Security disability benefits. If you cannot work due to your work injury, you could be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. However, if you are still able to work, you will most likely be denied for disability as there are no awards for partial disability under the federal disability program.
Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, offers temporary benefits to those who suffered from partially disabling injuries as well as others. Since workers’ compensation is entirely separate from federal disability benefits, you do have the option to apply to both, if you qualify. However, there is a cap on the total amount of benefits you can receive from both programs simultaneously. The total combined income workers’ compensation and disability benefits must not exceed 80% of your previous wage.
Trying to collect workers’ compensation at the same time as disability can make for a complicated claim. Also, consider that qualifying for disability will have different requirements than qualifying for workers’ compensation. If you think you qualify for both, you may wish to discuss your options with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you avoid leaving money on the table.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Los Angeles?
As a general rule, workers’ compensation should cover any injury you suffered while you were working or a disease that developed as a result of your work. This includes any occupational illnesses and even debilitating infections that you acquired as part of your job, for example, while working as a nurse or caregiver. Types of injuries covered can include:
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Muscle strains
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Getting struck by a falling object
- Slips and falls
- Hearing loss
- Back pain
There can be many other injuries and illnesses that workers’ compensation covers. You may also, in some cases, recover benefits for psychological disorders caused by your work.
However, to receive benefits, you will have to prove the injury or illness occurred at work or because of your work. While this can be easy to prove if you suffered an accident at work, some cases can be more complicated, for example, when your injury happened away from your place of work.
If you need help with the workers’ compensation process or have trouble with your claim, call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 529-9122, and learn how a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer could help you.
How Do Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Get Paid in Los Angeles?
If you are thinking of hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer, you might worry about the cost. Generally, workers’ compensation lawyers do not ask for upfront attorney’s fees to start working on your claim. This means you have no financial risk in getting professional legal help. Your attorney will not receive a fee unless and until they win your case. If you lose your case and do not receive a settlement, you will not have to pay your lawyer.
A workers’ compensation lawyer will generally take their fees from the final settlement, and the percentage a lawyer receives for their services can vary.
Working with an attorney can be a helpful investment. Not only does your lawyer protect you legally, but they will also leave no stone unturned in fighting for a fair and comprehensive settlement for you. Consider hiring an attorney, especially if your work injuries are considerable and possibly permanent, or an insurance company is challenging your claim.
In the first instance, workers’ compensation lawyers can offer you a free, no-obligation consultation where you will be able to learn about the fee structure and can ask questions. Contact us to schedule a free case evaluation with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Do?
Workers’ compensation lawyers can help protect your rights and fight for comprehensive compensation on your behalf. A lawyer can help in several ways, including:
- Offering legal advice
- Helping you pursue the benefits you deserve
- Proving that your injury or illness is work-related
- Gathering the necessary medical records
- Proving your inability to work
- Establishing an employer’s negligence
- Filing a third-party personal injury lawsuit
- Appealing a denied workers’ compensation claim
- Communicating with the workers’ compensation insurance company
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Helping you pursue benefits for rehabilitation and retraining
Most of all, having professional legal help can offer you peace of mind and the reassurance that someone is looking out for your interests. In some cases, those injured at work end up getting pressured by their employer or the insurance company to return to work before they have recovered. An employer may also unfairly dismiss you or discriminate against you when you return to work.
A workers’ compensation lawyer understands the issues you are facing with a claim and what you might be up against. They will be looking at your claim from every possible angle to try and maximize your benefits and compensation. A workers’ compensation lawyer can also advise you on eligibility for other benefits, including Social Security disability.
How Much Can I Expect from My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
A serious work accident and injury can significantly affect your health, your psyche, and your finances. Workers’ compensation benefits can be of great help and offer various benefits to a claimant who suffers from an injury at work or a work-related illness.
While there is no general amount a claimant can expect, as every case is different, your Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can assess your individual case and advise you on what exactly may be due to you. Typically, workers’ compensation offers the following benefits:
Loss of Income
Loss of income benefits can include reimbursement of up to two-thirds of your gross pretax wage up to a maximum amount.
Workers’ compensation will pay for all your medical expenses related to the work injury or illness without you having to pay a deductible.
Retraining and Career Change Benefits
In California, workers’ compensation offers certain benefits for employees who have to retrain or change careers as a result of their injury. This can include costs for courses and fees for licensing and other expenses.
You could receive a settlement from your insurer if you have a lasting disability. This could either be in the form of a lump sum or several payments that are spaced out over time.
Can I Lose My Job While on Workers’ Compensation?
Unfortunately, employees sometimes express concern about filing a workers’ compensation claim. They might fear retaliation from an employer or losing their job altogether. While you do have certain protections under California law, an employer could find ways to fire you while you are receiving workers’ compensation. They could, for example, argue that they had planned some redundancies and that you were about to let go when your work accident happened. You could also get fired if your disability makes it impossible for you to perform your previous job.
However, your employer cannot legally fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim as this could be considered retaliation. Retaliation by an employer is unlawful. In reality, your employer could make up reasons why they fired you to make it look like it was not an act of retaliation. This is why it can be important to have the support of a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who can help you fight an unfair dismissal.
Luckily, you do not have to worry about losing your workers’ compensation benefits if you get fired. Your benefits expire only when you have recovered or reached maximum medical improvement. If you suffer from a permanent disability, you could receive lifelong benefits from workers’ compensation.
Can I Get a Settlement from Workers’ Compensation if I Go Back to Work?
The most important thing after a work injury is to protect your legal rights and your rights to fair and just compensation for your injuries. Returning to work prematurely can damage your rights regarding certain workers’ compensation benefits. Always make sure your doctor has cleared you for returning to work, and that you and your employer observe any medical restrictions your doctor may have placed on you.
If you have reached maximum medical improvement, and your employer offers you a light-duty job that you can perform with your disability, you could return to work. You may still be able to receive certain benefits, for example, for medical treatments and loss of income due to accepting a different position.
If you are hoping to receive a settlement from your insurance company, you may have suffered significant and permanent injuries. Going back to work too soon will most likely not work in your favor. A workers’ compensation insurance company could try to negotiate a settlement offer based on the fact that you are well enough to go to work.
Therefore, you might want to speak to a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer before returning to work. While you could still receive a settlement even if you do go back to work, you might be severely compromising your chances for fair compensation.
How Will My Lawyer Calculate My Workers’ Compensation?
Your lawyer will base any calculations for a fair settlement on your actual losses, including your medical expenses and income losses. They will also take into account expected future losses you will most likely experience due to an injury, including future medical bills and a loss of income. You may also qualify for specific damages, for example, compensation for loss of a limb or loss of a sense such as eyesight and/or hearing.
Your lawyer can help you negotiate a lump-sum settlement with your workers’ compensation insurance in certain cases. A settlement will depend on the severity of your injuries, the permanence of any injuries and disabilities, and your income losses. There are two types of settlements you could receive in a workers’ compensation claim:
A lump-sum settlement is just what it says. It is a one-time payment from your workers’ compensation insurance or employer.
A structured settlement differs from a lump-sum settlement only in the way in which the amount is paid out to the worker. Structured settlements are distributed in smaller payments over a schedule of months or years, depending on the settlement details.
If you accept a settlement, you will give up certain rights to any additional benefits.
How Do I Maximize My Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
There are several actions you can take that can help you maximize your workers’ compensation settlement.
Hire a Lawyer Who Regularly Handles Workers’ Compensation
Your Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can calculate your damages accurately and knows the worth of your case. They can protect you from accepting any low-ball workers’ compensation insurance settlement offers that might come your way and negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf.
Only Settle Once You Have Reached Maximum Medical Improvement
Do not make the mistake of settling too early if you want to maximize your workers’ compensation settlement. Settling before you have reached your maximum medical improvement, or your plateau of recovery, could mean that you are leaving money on the table. You will not know the extent of your future medical costs if you are still in the middle of a long recovery process.
Make Sure You Obtain an Objective Impairment Rating
Since the rating you will receive is pivotal for determining your compensation and when/whether you are expected to return to work, you need an objective impairment rating. You can make sure that your impairment rating is fair by insisting on a second doctor’s opinion.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to find out how we could help you maximize your workers’ compensation settlement at (800)529-9122.
How Do I Know if I’m Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
You are most likely eligible for worker’s compensation if you suffered an injury at work or have a work-related condition and are in a full-time or part-time employee relationship with your employer. On the other hand, if you are a freelancer, an independent contractor, a business owner, or a casual worker, you are unlikely to qualify for workers’ compensation.
In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation, your injury must either have happened at work or be caused by the work you do. You may also qualify for benefits if you developed a mental illness due to your work. In California, it does not matter whether the injury was your fault or not; you will still be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, if you suffered an injury during your commute to and from work, or while you were out for lunch, you are generally not covered.
In California, all employers are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. However, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation, you will not be able to file a claim. There could be other ways to recover your due, for example, with a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, you could consult with a Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to find out about the legal options you might have.
Should I Accept My First Workers’ Compensation Offer?
Once you have filed your workers’ compensation claim, you may experience pressure to accept a first settlement offer from either your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance. It is important to note that you are under no obligation to accept your first settlement offer. In fact, you may want to be careful and contact a workers’ compensation lawyer for advice. You might be able to recover a more advantageous settlement.
If an insurance company approaches you, remember that they will have their own interests at heart, not yours. While it is understandable to want to settle everything quickly and get your compensation squared away, you will want to ensure that all your damages are covered and that you do not get any nasty surprises later on.
You will only know the true extent of your medical costs once you have recovered as much as you can. Accepting the first settlement without having any idea of your future expenses can leave you severely out-of-pocket and possibly without recourse.
Consider All Your Options Carefully
If you do accept the first settlement offer you receive, make sure it covers your damages adequately. You can consult with your Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who can assess your damages and determine whether the first offer is adequate.
How Long Does It Take to Negotiate a Workers’ Compensation Settlement?
It is almost impossible to place workers’ compensation settlement negotiations on a timeline. Timing depends primarily on the insurance and your employer and their willingness to settle for fair compensation. In some cases, it can take almost two years before you receive your settlement. Negotiations with the workers’ compensation insurance can take time.
Immediate Medical Expenses and Loss of Income
Fortunately, some workers’ compensation benefits will start almost immediately once you file a claim. In California, even if your claim has not yet been approved or denied, you can receive up to $10,000 for any upfront medical expenses. In fact, the claims administrator must authorize your claim for medical treatment pretty much right away, within one working day after your claim is filed with your employer.
Benefits related to your loss of income might not start immediately but will begin once your claim has been processed and accepted. A doctor will have to certify your inability to work for you to receive any temporary disability payments. Before you receive any benefits in addition to medical expenses, you will receive a notice that your claim is accepted or denied. If your claim is denied, you have the option to appeal.
If you have trouble claiming your due, you can consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer for professional assistance.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Offer?
A worker’s compensation offer from your workers’ compensation insurance is basically a type of settlement. Typically, an insurance company will send you an offer in the mail that details all the benefits you could receive. Benefits will depend on the degree of your injury and whether your disability is permanent or temporary. You may be offered one of the following types of disability benefits:
- Total disability benefits
- Temporary partial disability benefits
- Permanent partial disability benefits
You will have to contact the insurance company by a certain date to accept or refuse the offer. If you have received such a letter, it can be a good idea to speak with your Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer to find out what your next steps are.
If you dispute the fairness of the offer, you and your lawyer can start negotiations to pursue a fair settlement for your damages, or you can initiate a hearing or trial in court.
If you receive a workers’ compensation offer and are not sure whether the benefits offered are adequate and fair, contact us for help. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for your free consultation now at (800) 529-9122.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims
There can be different types of workers’ compensation claims, depending on the injuries a worker has suffered and whether they cannot return to work.
- Medical Treatment Only Claims
In some cases, an injury at work may not require the worker to take any time off work at all. In this instance, workers’ compensation will pay for the employee’s medical treatment for their injuries or illness.
- Medical Treatment and Work Absence
If a worker got hurt in an accident and misses work time, they could receive medical benefits and lost income benefits up to two-thirds of their pretax gross salary. The lost income benefits will stop when the employee can return to their previous position without any adjustment of duties.
- Medical Treatment and Disability
Sometimes, a worker’s injuries prevent them from returning to their former job due to a permanent partial disability. They may be able to return to work in a reduced function or on “light duty.” A shortfall of wages, if their previous position paid significantly more, can entitle the worker to receive some form of ongoing workers’ compensation benefits.
- Medical Treatment and Total Disability
If an employee can never work again after an accident at work, they could receive workers’ compensation benefits for life.
Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Can Fight for Your Rights
If you suffered a serious injury at work, you should not have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from or how you are going to pay for your medical treatments and other expenses. Workers’ compensation can be of great help when you need it.
Unfortunately, getting what is due to you is not always as straightforward as it should be, especially when you have suffered a horrific injury and might be permanently or temporarily disabled. You might be entitled to a settlement from the workers’ compensation insurance. However, you might have to fight for fair compensation.
A Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can defend your interests and fight for your rights, even in tough cases. We can assess your claim and damages fully and aim to get you the settlement you deserve. We do not charge any upfront attorney’s fees, so there are no financial risks for you. We get our fee when we win your case, and you receive a settlement.
Statutes of limitations apply in workers’ compensation cases in California, so timely action is of the essence. Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for your free no-obligation consultation with one of our team members at (800) 529-9122.