If you have been recently injured at work in the State of California, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to compensate you for medical bills and the cost of lost income. California employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, but that doesn’t mean that the process of filing a claim is guaranteed to go smoothly. This is especially true when hospitalization or surgery is involved, or when a worker is unable to return to work for a long period of time. Under such circumstances, employers and claims examiners may look for reasons to deny legitimate claims or defraud victims of their due benefits. It’s highly recommended that seriously injured workers partner with a seasoned workers’ compensation attorney when filing a claim.
Without the workers’ compensation system in place, employers can be held personally liable for any accidents that occur. As a worker, you would have to file the equivalent of a personal injury claim in order to secure financial compensation after a work accident. That’s why the workers’ comp system is often viewed as a compromise between workers and employers. Employers are insulated from lawsuits, and workers can receive benefits while they are out of work, even if they helped contribute to causing an accident themselves. There are exceptions that apply, of course. For instance, an employee who is determined to be intoxicated at the time of an accident may lose their right to file a claim, and employers whose criminal misconduct was the cause of a worker’s injuries may expose themselves to civil or criminal liability in spite of the protection granted by the workers’ comp system. There may also be third parties, such as equipment manufacturers or property owners, who can be held liable in the event of a workplace injury. These third parties are not protected by the workers’ compensation system and can be sued in court like in any other personal injury case.
If you’re unsure if you need to hire a lawyer, or would like to discuss your case, call Hernandez and Schapiro, Inc. – Attorneys At Law. We can advise you about your rights after a workplace accident and help you make sure you’re doing everything possible to maximize your benefits.