California has strong laws to protect injured workers. Understanding your rights under California’s workers’ compensation laws ensures you know the benefits you deserve and how to fight for them. This process goes smoothly for many employees with workplace injuries. However, many others need to take aggressive actions to secure their medical care coverage and wage loss benefits.
First and foremost, do not forget that you have a right to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer at any point in your case. An attorney can handle your claim and represent your best interests throughout this process.
You Have the Right to Benefits Under Workers’ Compensation in California
Without a good understanding of the benefits available to injured workers, there is no way to know if you received all the compensation you have a right to recover. Per “Workers’ Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers,” the benefits injured workers can receive depend on their injuries, lasting disabilities, and other factors. Generally, they could receive:
Payment for Medical Care
Workers’ compensation insurance should pay your related medical expenses directly. The insurer works with the medical care providers to cover your healthcare costs. This is one reason you must see a doctor in the liable insurer’s network. Workers’ compensation insurance may not cover your expenses if you choose to see a doctor outside of its approved providers.
Indemnity benefits cover a portion of your lost wages while you are out of work. They are also known as wage loss benefits or income loss benefits. In California, there are two types:
How much you receive in your weekly or bi-weekly payment depends on your previous weekly wage and the maximums set by state law. This amount could also decrease if you return to work part-time or in a different role.
Workers’ compensation provides a one-time payment to the family of a worker who passed away from their injuries.
There are other benefits and programs available to some injured workers. This includes supplemental job displacement benefits for workers who require retraining or new skills. There are also return-to-work programs that help those with healing injuries transition back to their old hours, responsibilities, or tasks.
You Have a Right to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you run into any issues in your workers’ compensation case, you have a right to hire an attorney. You can hire a workers’ compensation lawyer for a minor injury, for catastrophic injuries, or for any type or severity of injury in between. Having a lawyer on your side could make it easier to navigate the claims process, protect your rights, and get the compensation you deserve.
Your lawyer will assess your case and calculate your benefits. They can even determine a fair settlement range when considering a lump-sum settlement. They will want to ensure you understand the benefits you deserve, and they will fight to secure them for you, whether through regular payments or a one-time payout.
Your attorney will also protect your other rights, such as getting a second opinion for your diagnosis, seeing a specialist, and more. They can also assess your options for pursuing a third-party lawsuit based on your on-the-job injury. Some injured workers can file a claim or lawsuit against a liable third party and recover additional compensation, such as non-economic losses.
You Have a Right to Challenge a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial
If the insurer denies your workers’ compensation claim, it is not the final decision. You have a right to challenge this decision and fight for the benefits you deserve based on the case’s facts and the liable insurance policy.
Your attorney will handle your appeal. If you do not have a workers’ compensation lawyer Los Angeles and receive a denial notice, you should consider hiring one. There is no requirement to have legal representation, but doing so can prove invaluable when seeking what you deserve.
The appeals process is not always easy or quick. It could take several months or longer to get approval for benefits.
You Can Negotiate a Lump-Sum Settlement in Many Workers’ Comp Cases
You have a right to choose whether to accept a lump-sum settlement in your workers’ compensation case. Medical care coverage is generally paid directly, and you receive a weekly or biweekly check for wage loss benefits. However, the insurer could offer a one-time payment to settle the claim.
When this occurs, it could offer a lump sum for your future medical care, future wage losses, or both. For some injured workers, this is a good option. However, there are a lot of things to consider. You will want to discuss the pros and cons with a workers’ compensation attorney.
Your lawyer will also discuss a fair settlement range for your case. Because you exchange your right to any further compensation for this one-time payout, you must recover enough money to cover your future medical care. Your attorney can handle the negotiations if you decide a lump-sum payment is for you.
You Have a Right to Go Before a Judge
Some workers’ compensation cases require a hearing. When there are disputes between the injured worker and the insurer, it may seem like reaching common ground is impossible. When this occurs, you may need to take your case to the courtroom. You have a right to take a dispute before a workers’ compensation judge and ask them to decide.
Disputes could arise about the cause of an injury, necessary medical care, the amount of income loss benefits due, the lump-sum value of a case, or other related topics. Your attorney will manage the case, represent you to the court, and request the proceedings.
Speak With a Team Member About Your California Workers’ Compensation Claim
You can talk to a our team member from KJT Law Group about your California workplace injuries for free today. We provide free consultations and never charge our clients upfront fees. We only get paid if you do. Contact us now by calling (818) 507-8525.