The risk of injury at work is always present. One fine morning, you can walk into work, sustain a workplace injury, and never be quite the same again. It could happen in a myriad of different ways: an equipment malfunction, a slip and fall, a scaffolding collapse, release of a toxic substance, and a forklift crash.
In case you have been injured on your job and are missing time from work, then you probably have several questions. It is likely that you are wondering how you would be able to pay for all of your medical bills while you cannot work, what steps you should take in order to ensure your workers’ compensation claim is paid, or if you have the right to file an appeal after receiving a denial. Don’t worry as you are not alone.
Every year, thousands of workers who are injured on the job come to our website for learning more regarding their workers compensation rights in Oakland after being hurt or injured on the job.
We encourage you to go through our informative and valuable FAQ section below and get in touch with us with any additional questions that you might have.
- Do I Qualify For Workers’ Comp Benefits in Oakland?
Your employer is mandated to have workers’ comp insurance for covering incidents like yours when you’re hurt on your job. Keep in mind that in case you’ve been injured at your workplace or while performing a task for work, like driving a company vehicle, you may qualify. In most cases, there are 2 primary factors that will determine your status.
Firstly, whether you’re an employee, and secondly, whether your work injury happened as a result of your employment. Note that if you intentionally injured yourself or were intoxicated at work, you may not be covered by workers’ compensation.
- How Much Of My Medical Bills Will Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation in Oakland covers a majority of medical expenses. Medical providers usually send all their bills directly to the workers’ comp insurance company for repayment. That being said, some workers’ compensation insurance providers won’t immediately reimburse your medical expenses, leaving you in limbo. That is where it is vital to have a competent advocate like us on your side.
- What Kind Of Benefits Can I Get From Workers’ Compensation in Oakland?
Usually, there are 2 main benefits you can receive through workers’ comp. The first type is medical payments. These benefits would cover all your expenses that are related to diagnosing as well as treating your work-related illness or injury, including medications, doctor visits, surgeries, physical therapy. They also include any equipment that is required to help you in adapting to your condition. In addition, injured workers are eligible to receive timely disability payments. It is worth mentioning that these funds are provided to make up for your missed wages while you are not able to work. Typically, the amount of money you receive is about two-thirds of the normal wages.
- Can I Receive Workers’ Comp Benefits Even If The Accident Was My Fault?
Note that part of the main purpose of the workers’ compensation system is providing benefits to all injured workers without the need of proving who was responsible for the accident. That being said, there are many instances when an injured worker will not receive benefits. A worker, for example, won’t receive benefits in case of self-inflicted injuries or for those injuries that are sustained when the worker is under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol.
- Will Hiring A Competent Attorney For My Workers’ Comp Claim in Oakland Affect My Employment?
The answer is NO. As an injured employee, you’re in a protected class and can’t be discriminated against for filing a workers’ comp claim under the Labor Code. Keep in mind that in case your employer tries to threaten you or otherwise takes any action against you in order to retaliate for being injured or hurt on the job they’re in violation of the law and could be punished. We will have very little involvement with your employer as a workers’ compensation attorney.
In most cases, we will let them know that you have retained us, so any issues about your medical treatment as well as work status can easily go through their specific insurance provider. As a result, you will not have to deal with medical and legal terms that you might not understand. For all intents and purposes, we proceed against the workers’ comp insurance carrier in order to pursue the benefits that you are entitled to receive. Our main goal is keeping you at work. This is why we will exhaust every benefit that you’re entitled to receive so that you can achieve a full and speedy recovery and get back on your job. We don’t want to create a hostile or tense situation between you and your employer and put your valuable job in jeopardy.
- Do I Have Legal Rights In Case I Am Permanently Disabled?
Note that in case you’re permanently disabled due to the accident or injury sustained in your workplace and not able to get back to work, you might qualify for disability benefits. It is something our competent workers’ compensation attorney will discuss with you in great detail.
- Can I See My Own Doctor?
It will largely depend on the specific laws of your state as well as the requirements of your employer’s workers’ comp insurance policy. You should ask your employer whether they want you to see a particular doctor, or if you may choose your own doctor. Note that if you’re required to visit a doctor that is chosen by your employer, you might have the right to change doctors, especially after a specific period of time has passed, or for getting a second opinion. Keep in mind that if you visit your own doctor, then the insurance company might still need a comprehensive medical exam by one of its doctors.
- Can My Doctor Prescribe Any Kind Of Treatment?
No. There’re specific guidelines that govern the type of medical treatment that your doctor can provide, and any procedures or tests you may undergo. However, that does not mean you cannot have specialized tests and treatment. That being said, if the treatment or procedure isn’t permitted under the general guidelines, then your doctor will need to prepare as well as submit appropriate forms in order to obtain approval for the treatment. In case the treatment isn’t approved, then workers’ comp benefits will not pay for it.
- What Is An Impairment Rating?
Workers who are injured on the job, or develop illnesses, have to submit to a medical evaluation. And during this evaluation, a doctor would determine your impairment rating. It is a tool that determines your whole body impairment. Keep in mind that this rating is based out of 100%. The types of benefits you will receive depend on whether your rating is below or above 50%.
- Is My Workers’ Compensation Case Going To Settle Or Go To Trial?
Note that a majority of workers’ comp claims settle before having to go to trial; that being said, it does not mean that all cases are settled before trial. Our firm would do the best we can for getting every client the best settlement offer; however, we will not advise you to settle your claim if we contend that the settlement offer isn’t fair.
We are competent and experienced trial attorneys, and hence, have no problem trying your case before an arbitrator if it’s in your best interests. We always offer each and every client with detailed and insightful advice on whether we think a case should be settled or proceed to trial. It’s your decision in the end to either settle your claim or go to trial.
- Should I Hire A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Oakland?
Yes. Although you’re not required to hire an attorney by law, keep in mind that an experienced and competent workers’ comp lawyer could provide help in several different ways. So, for starters, a workers’ compensation lawyer could help you in navigating the complicated process of filing your claim and making sure that you submit all required information on time. In addition, a workers’ compensation lawyer can help you in appealing a denied claim. Note that by hiring a workers’ comp lawyer, you can increase your chances of recovering all the financial support you need and deserve.
Our workers’ comp lawyers provide free consultations in order to help injured and hurt workers determine whether they need an attorney or not. If you are considering settling your workers’ comp claim, then you should certainly talk to a lawyer before you take any action.
- What If My Employer Refuses To Pay?
In case your employer refuses to make a payment on your claim or your compensation claim is denied, you could take action or appeal your denied claim. You may file an appeal on your own; that being said, it helps to have a competent workers’ comp attorney by your side at all times that can protect your best interests while ensuring you get all of the benefits that you deserve. Our experienced firm is dedicated to helping employees get the benefits and compensation they deserve.