A worker who has suffered injuries while on the job – especially when it requires medical care and/or prevents him or her from immediately returning to work – can file for workers' compensation benefits. This type of compensation tends to pay a portion of the victim's medical expenses and also cover some of the wages they have lost from not being able to return to work. However, what many don't know is that it doesn't help reimburse workers for all associated costs and the losses they may have sustained.
Often, in these types of cases, it is in your best interest to meet and seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer who specializes in assisting injured workers secure maximum compensation for their losses. Filing a work injury claim is fraught with pitfalls and requires you to deal with a system that is fairly complex to understand and navigate.
Consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer not only gives you an opportunity to resolve some of your initial questions and concerns, but also learn how a work injury lawyer will proceed with your claim and let you focus on recovering from your injuries. Please remember many lawyers typically offer such a first consultation at no expense to you.
Five Critical Questions to Ask Your Work Injury Lawyer
Here are five important questions to ask your work injury lawyer that can help you better understand how to proceed with your injury claim.
What if the incident was my fault? Am I still eligible?
It is understandable for a worker who has been injured on the job and believes the incident occurred due to his or her mistake to assume that he or she cannot receive benefits or a work injury settlement. When it comes to workers' comp, workers are eligible to receive benefits for injuries suffered on the job regardless of fault. This means that a worker has a right to receive compensation even when at fault.
What steps should I take to protect my claim?
Following your work-related injury, you must take certain steps that could go a long way to help ensure that your claim is successful and that you receive full compensation. This is crucial as the insurance companies who act on behalf of your employer may attempt to limit your claim or reduce payouts. Your work injury lawyer will outline all the steps required to file a successful claim.
Such steps include submitting a written report of your injury accident to your supervisor. You should also get a signed copy of the report for your files. Make sure to take photos of the location where your accident occurred including any evidence of spills, hazards, etc. You should see a doctor at once and have your injuries treated even if you feel they are minor or do not require medical attention. Going in for a medical evaluation immediately after your work-related accident creates an official record. It is also important here to maintain a log of all the medical bills and expenses you incur as a result of your work injury.
What does workers' compensation cover?
Workers' comp benefits typically cover your medical expenses as well as a portion of the wages you lost from being unable to work. If your injury resulted in your absence from work for more than three days then you may be entitled to temporary disability benefits. Longer absences and more serious injuries should be eligible for permanent disability benefits.
Also, while the medical treatment you receive after your work injury may be compensated, there are other care and treatment procedures – for example, chiropractic care and physical therapy – that are only partially covered and, in some cases, completely denied, even if you need such treatments and therapies. Workers' compensation also doesn't compensate victims for lost future wages, loss of earning capacity, cost of future treatment, and pain and suffering. In order to recover maximum compensation, workers may have to file a third-party claim against a party other than the employer.
Is a work injury lawyer necessary in my case?
A work injury lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in every instance. Of course, you should be able to file your case without help especially if it's relatively simple and you have not suffered injuries that required you to seek medical help or lose workdays. As mentioned earlier, the personal injury claim process is quite complicated and requires you to spot and avoid pitfalls in order to be successful with your claim.
Again, you should remember that the insurance company's claims adjuster is not your friend. The adjuster works for the insurance company while actively looking for any opportunity to enhance their employer's profit margin. Even claims stemming from routine and simple work injury cases are dismissed by adjusters who may maintain that the case is in fact not work-related and/or the injuries are lacking in severity.
So, it is always in your best interest to have an experienced Los Angeles work injury attorney on your side. You can find out in your attorney meeting how much your case is worth and whether it is a good idea to file the claim on your own.
Can my employer be held accountable?
Your employer typically cannot be held responsible or sued for your workplace injury accident even if they are determined to have been at fault. There may have been other factors though that led to the incident. For example, your injury may have occurred due to a faulty nail gun or a ladder. When a third party is found to have been involved and also responsible, then you can file a lawsuit against them. You should remember that third-party lawsuits tend to be worth a lot more than your workers' comp benefits.
Your lawyer can best establish the party or parties who are at fault in your case and also help you better understand its nuances. Third parties may include equipment manufacturers, general contractors, sub-contractors, building owners, etc.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Lastly, at the meeting with the lawyer you may want to know how much he or she charges to work on your injury case. Please know that the fee structure of many work injury lawyers is usually contingency based. This means they will only collect payment when your case has been settled. Your lawyer will collect a percentage of your settlement amount.
The experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyers at Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys have a long and successful track record of helping injured workers explore multiple options so they can secure maximum compensation for their injuries, damages and losses. Call us at (323) 782-0535 to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.