After a workplace accident or incident, you could qualify for workers’ compensation for occupational injuries & diseases. This money could help you receive necessary medical care and support yourself and your family until you can return to work. You should qualify whether your injury or illness was caused by a single event or if you became sick or injured over time.
What Are Occupational Injuries & Diseases?
Employees have the right to workers’ compensation benefits if they can prove their injury or illness is the result of an accident, an exposure, or repeated exposures that occurred due to their job. Common examples of occupational injuries and diseases include:
- Fire burns
- Chemical burns
- Cuts and lacerations
- Bone fractures
- Head injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Certain types of cancer
- Muscle strains or sprains
- Amputated digits or limbs
This is far from a complete list of occupational illnesses and injuries covered by workers’ compensation. A California workers’ comp attorney can tell you for sure if your condition entitles you to benefits.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Chapter One of a document released by the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) states that workers’ comp benefits cover the following areas:
If your employer’s workers’ comp insurer accepts your claim, you could receive treatment for your injury-related care both now and in the future. Any emergency care you received could also retroactively be covered.
You should not have to worry about affording medical care or even consider missing out on vital treatments after a workplace injury. Workers’ comp can ensure you do not face such a situation.
For most people, this means they can receive a percentage of their normal wages until they are well enough to return to full-time work. If your doctor says you are permanently disabled due to your workplace injury, workers’ compensation could offer more long-term financial assistance.
Say that you are permanently disabled in a way that prevents you from returning to your old job. You can, however, qualify for a different type of job, if you undergo training or attend an educational course.
If all that stands between you and a new job is additional training or education, workers’ comp could help cover the costs of preparing you for the new position.
Sadly, some workplace injuries prove fatal, either immediately or after attempts at medical treatment. Workers’ compensation may pay compensation to the victim’s relatives if those relatives were financially dependent on the victim.
Death benefits include compensation for funeral expenses and for the income your loved one would have contributed to your household.
How to File for Workers’ Compensation
In theory, filing for workers’ compensation for occupational injuries & diseases should be simple. Unfortunately, many factors could complicate or delay your case, so your first step towards seeking benefits should be to consult a workers’ compensation attorney.
Your workers’ comp lawyer can:
- Figure out how much your case is worth so you know what kind of compensation you need and qualify for
- Speak with your employer and their insurance company to make sure your case is progressing and to negotiate for financial benefits
- File all necessary paperwork, including objections to the insurer’s denial, if necessary
- Collect and present evidence that demonstrates your needs and qualifications for benefits
- Attending in-person or virtual meetings on your behalf and/or with you
Injured people often don’t have the time or personal resources to balance a claim or lawsuit with their other responsibilities. You should be focused on your health and your priorities. Your attorneys can take care of the rest.
Proving Your Injury Is Occupational
Workers’ compensation only pays out if the injured worker can prove the following statements are all true:
- They are an employee, not a contractor, of the employer.
- They were injured or exposed to a contagion while on the clock and performing their regular job duties.
- They were behaving in a reasonable manner at the time of the injury and not engaging in “horseplay” or willfully breaking company rules.
- There are no other factors, such as a preexisting injury or condition, that substantially contributed to the injury.
Your employer may complicate your attempts to prove these points by making statements that contradict yours, demanding you undergo additional medical examinations or claiming you are somehow unqualified to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
We Will Find the Evidence Necessary to Validate Your Claim
Fortunately, a workers’ comp attorney in California can help you find enough evidence to build a strong case. They may collect information such as:
- Your medical history, including proof of your health prior to the injury and the types of treatments your doctor feels are necessary
- Your history with the employer, to show you are a good and responsible worker
- Your working environment, to demonstrate any potential hazards you were exposed to while on the job
How Common Are Occupational Injuries & Diseases?
If you suffered an injury at your California workplace, you are not alone: the California Division of Industrial Relations (DIR) reports that over 450,000 workers in the state were injured on the job in 2021. Of these, nearly 300,000 workers needed to take time off to recover.
While some occupations are inherently more dangerous than others, you can hold your employer accountable for a safe work environment. Report safety violations to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office and speak with an attorney about litigation against negligent at-fault parties who may have contributed to your injuries or illness.
Call Our Workers’ Compensation Team Today
The team at KJT Law Group is dedicated to helping people fight for workers’ compensation for injuries & diseases. Contact us so that can even offer you a free case review so you can better understand your legal rights and options before you hire us. Call (818) 507-8525 when you are ready to begin.