Q. I was hurt at work, what do I do now?
A. Report the injury to your supervisor immediately. Document the injury. If you were not given a claim form, contact human resources for one. Go to the doctor and don’t try to “tough it out.” You should be referred to a physician or clinic for treatment for treatment. Keep your most recent pay stub because this will be the basis to calculate any lost wages. You should receive a packet of forms from your employer’s worker’s compensation carrier with information on how to select a doctor, submit mileage.
Q. Do I need an attorney? I don’t want to sue my employer….
A. Worker’s Compensation is a benefits delivery system. It’s an insurance system. Think of it this way, if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you report it to your insurance company and they take over. You don’t have any further direct contact with the other person in the accident, and this is the situation with the employer on your work injury. Your employer should only get information regarding your work restrictions from your doctor. Other medical information is protected by privacy laws.
Q. I can’t afford an attorney, how can I get legal help?
A. Worker’s Compensation practice is one of the few legal specialties in which people can obtain legal representation on a contingency basis. in other specialties charge a minimum 33% of any recovery and require a retainer up front. In Worker’s Compensation, attorney fees range between 12-15% of the final settlement. This office will request a 15% fee. No money out of pocket is due from you at any time.
Alternatively, you can contact the Information and Assistance officer with the Department of Industrial Relations. There are numerous offices throughout the State of California with injured worker workshops held regularly in English and Spanish. The Worker’s Compensation system does not require an attorney, although many clients just appreciate knowing that someone is looking out for their best interests, and guiding them through the system.
Q. I had an injury, now the insurance company is offering me a settlement; can I get an opinion on whether the settlement is fair and reasonable?
A. Absolutely! One of the most common questions we hear is, “How do I know if this is a fair settlement?” And the answer is, it depends. It depends what is best for you, right now, in your situation. To get an accurate assessment, many different factors are involved. How long were you off work? Is surgery recommended in the future? Are you eligible for Social Security, Medicare or Medi-Cal?
Whether talking to our office, another certified specialist attorney, or the Information and Assistance Office, bringing the following documents will greatly help figure out your case:
– W-2s,Earnings information, pay stubs dated prior to the injury;
– Any copies of claim forms, medical reports or notices from the insurance carrier regarding your injury;
– A timeline or summary of how your injury occurred, where you received treatment, and the body parts involved;
– Copies of any correspondence with the words “Temporary Disability”, “Permanent Disability” or “Qualified Medical Examiner”
– Any settlement documents or letters regarding settlement from the Insurance Carrier.
We can meet with you for a free one hour consultation and answer any questions you may have and make suggestions regarding possible options. If we cannot help you, we will tell you so.