Workman’s Compensation — When to Hire an Attorney

Workman’s Compensation is a right for all employees in California. It seems like a simple idea, and one designed with the workers’ best interests in mind. The truth, unfortunately, can be a lot more complicated than that. Avoid learning this lesson out the hard way by hiring a qualified attorney as soon as you are sick or injured on the job. 

The way the system works begins with your employer. They are required to cover Workman’s Compensation insurance privately or through a state or federal (in the case of federal employees) entity. The system is really set up with your place of work in mind and relates to you as far as you are a part of it.  

This means that after you are injured, your claim will go through with the following objectives: to help you heal so you may return to work, to cover your medical expenses, and to compensate you for the wages you may have missed from your injury. This can also apply to illnesses encountered on the job from exposure to toxins, germs, etc.  

In fact, we can break down the most common kind of Workman’s Comp claims into two groups:  

One-Time Event:  

  • Car or truck accident 
  • Falling down or having something fall on you 
  • Getting splashed with chemicals/toxins 

Continuous Action or Exposure: 

  • Breathing harmful fumes 
  • Long-term injury to hands, arms, shoulders 
  • Impact on back and spine from repeated stresses[Text Wrapping Break] 

While the one-time event type of injury or illnesses may seem more apparent, you would be surprised how many people don’t come forward immediately, trying to “tough it out,” or “wait and see.” This can be a disastrous approach as, primarily, you may be causing further or permanent damage to yourself by not taking time to heal or seek medical help. Unfortunately, though, that is not the only risk you are taking if you wait: you may also miss your opportunity to benefit from this insurance that is literally designed for you. If you do not report your accident within 30 days, you may become ineligible for compensation. 

Once you have submitted your claim, your employer is responsible for your medical care. You are also protected from retaliation, in the form of firing or reduced hours, if you need to miss work to heal or to go to medical appointments. Another thing to keep in mind is that you may be eligible for these benefits even if you are a temporary or part-time worker.  

If you are facing any kind of intimidation or misleading advice about these rights, or about the process in general, make sure you contact an attorney right away. However, even if everything seems to be going smoothly with the process, you may be better off with legal advice all the same. The thing is- the way the payouts are designed is very complicated, and your employer or their insurance company do not actually have your best interests at heart. They could be motivated to downplay your injuries and assign you less compensation than you actually deserve by law. Also of concern is the fact that once you file these claims, you are effectively giving up your right to sue for personal injury. For all these reasons, make sure you contact an established attorney as soon as you are considering workman’s compensation. 

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