Not all workers’ compensation cases end in a settlement. In fact, in cases involving simple claims, the process does not typically require negotiation. If you can return to work fairly quickly and your injury does not involve lengthy and invasive medical treatments, you may not have any trouble receiving compensation for your injury-related healthcare.
However, in cases in which recovery takes an extended period of time or the injury results in a disability, claims can become more complicated. A lawyer can help you assess the value of your claim and seek adequate compensation.
Serious Injuries and Disabilities May Lead to Complex Claims
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), nearly all workers have coverage for occupational injuries under mandatory workers’ compensation laws, which exist in almost every state, including California. The agency states that whenever an employee gets sick, injures themselves, or dies due to their job, the employer must grant them full medical coverage to treat their injuries or illness and reimburse a portion of their wages if they cannot work. If they die, then the employer must provide death benefits for the surviving family members.
The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) outlines these laws, as they apply to California. It emphasizes the rights of workers in Los Angeles and throughout the state to receive workers’ compensation benefits in the event of an injury at work, regardless of who holds fault. Unfortunately, while some claims typically process with no issues, claims in which the victim suffered long-term and debilitating injuries, diseases, and illnesses at work can require a lengthy process in which the workers’ compensation case ends in a settlement.
Employers and Insurance Companies May Reject or Undervalue Your Claim
The more severe the injury or illness, the greater the chance that the victim will incur substantial financial losses as a result of continued medical care and lost wages. Because these cases cost employers and insurance companies more than minor claims, they may reject them. This leaves victims with the burden of pursuing legal action to seek financial recovery.
When you file a claim against your employer for failing to provide you with adequate compensation for your workplace injury, you may have the option to proceed outside of court and avoid a trial. The Superior Court of California offers options, known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), to assist parties involved in legal disputes with working out a settlement on their own terms without the cost, risk, and stress associated with taking the case to court.
- Negotiation: The two parties or their legal teams attempt to negotiate a settlement in person, over the phone, or via videoconference.
- Mediation: A neutral mediator helps both sides evaluate the arguments and encourages them to reach a compromise on their own.
- Arbitration: An arbitrator listens to both parties’ sides and makes a decision for the parties based on the facts of the case. Some arbitrations bind the parties to the decision, while others allow the parties to reject it and move forward with court proceedings.
Victims of workplace injuries may find that dealing with employers and insurance companies in legal settings without the assistance of a lawyer feels overwhelming or intimidating. Their legal teams may take advantage of your vulnerable position to achieve the results they want, not the ones that help you. A lawyer can help you through the ADR process and seek sufficient compensation in your case.
Determining Whether to Accept a Settlement
When you settle a claim with your employer, you may restrict yourself from pursuing future legal action in your workers’ compensation case. If the other party offers you a settlement amount during ADR, you may want to contact a law firm so a lawyer can evaluate it. Even if it seems generous, especially while you deal with mounting financial struggles, it may not cover the extent of your past, current, and future expenses.
A Lawyer Can Help You Seek Adequate Compensation
Considering future expenses plays a particularly critical role in permanent disability cases. When you decide on a settlement amount for permanent injuries that prevent you from returning to your previous position, you will receive the payments over the course of your lifetime in weekly payments or in one lump sum. Either way, a lawyer can help ensure that the settlement offer you receive will adequately cover your damages before you accept it.
A workers’ compensation attorney can help assess the value of your claim and seek fair recovery for your injuries and lost wages on your behalf. If they cannot reach a fair settlement amount for you, they will fight for your case in trial.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Today
Not all workers’ compensation cases end in settlements. In some instances, victims can achieve payment for their injuries and other losses through processes established and maintained by California for the protection of occupational injury victims. In more complex cases, however, your employer’s insurance company may push back against their legal obligation to compensate you.
At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, our lawyers can help you pursue the workers’ compensation settlement you deserve. Contact us today at (800) 529-9122 to discuss your case with our legal team.