Common Workers’ Compensation Concerns
1. Q. I injured myself at work but my employer would not give me the workers’ compensation insurance information. I told my boss that I need to see a doctor and he said I do not have proof that I injured at work. What should I do?
A. Once you told your employer that you are injured, they are required by law to provide you with the workers compensation insurance information. You should report your claim within 24 hours of the injury and you have one year statute of limitation to initiate your claim. Your employer is required to have the workers’ compensation insurance information posted in a public place. Please contact our law office and we can assist you in getting all the necessary information.
2. Q. After my injury, I feel that I am unable to continue doing my regular work. I went to see the company doctor and she told me to go back to do light duty. I don’t think my employer have light duties, do I have to go back to work?
A. You need the doctor to give opinion whether you are able to return to your regular job while you are recuperating. If you cannot work during this time, the insurance company is responsible to give you temporary disability (wage loss). Temporary disability is 2/3 of your gross weekly wage with a maximum amount set by law. If your doctor says that you can do light duty then you need to check with your employer. If they do not have light duties for you then you are entitled to collect temporary disability during this period.
3. Q. I work in a restaurant as a waiter. I get paid a low monthly wage and some cash on the side. I work 10 hours a day, six days a week. I am hurt and cannot go to work. The insurance company is paying me very little money based on my partial wages. What should I do?
A. It is illegal to pay your wages partially in check and cash. You may have a wage and hours violations. You are entitled to overtime pay, break and meal time pay etc. You may recover the wages that you are entitled to from the employer. If you can prove that your wages should have been higher, you may also get additional temporary disability or other benefits from the insurance company.
4. Q. After I reported my injury to my employer, he did not tell me where to go for medical treatment. I went to my primary doctor and he said he would only treat me under my medical insurance but he does not want to deal with workers’ compensation insurance. Where should I go for treatment?
A. As soon as you reported your injury, your employer should give you information for medical treatment. Many insurance company have a list of doctor for you to choose from. This is call the Medical Providers Network (MPN) If they did not give the list to you or if they do not have a MPN list then you may see whoever you like. It would be wise to check with a workers compensation attorney to assist you in selection of a suitable doctor for you injury.
5. Q. I filed a workers’ compensation claim about a year ago. I just received a letter from the insurance company that they would like to settle my claim. I am not sure what my case is worth and what it means to settle my case?
A. There are two ways to settle your case. Basically there are two factors to consider in calculating a settlement. The first factor is the permanent disability , and the second factor is the future medical needs. Both factors are assessed by either your primary treating doctor or your evaluating doctor (QME). The first type of settlement is called Stipulations, where you settle you permanent disability amount as set by law and leave the future medical open. The other type of settlement is called Compromise and Release where you settle in a lump sum both the permanent disability and the future medical needs. It would be advisable to consult an attorney to ensure that you are getting the best settlement value for your case.
6. . Q. I am seriously injured at work and I cannot return to the job market. I have very little education and had been doing heavy physical work all my life. The settlement that the insurance company is offering me is very little. Is there any way for me to get more money?
A. There are several things that you need to look at. First is you need to make sure that you have included all of your injuries in your claim. If your injuries and your inability to return to work cause you to be depressed , you should include psychiatric issue in your claim. If you are taking a lot of medications and you suffer from stomach ailments then you should include the internal injuries in your claim. Since you are unable to return to any type of work, you need to consult a vocation expert to give their opinion on your loss of work capacity. Please call our office, your may have a very high value case due to combination of factors that you have not explored.
7. Q. After my work injury, my employer has been very mean to me. He would yell at me all the time and give me really bad shift. My co-workers were laughing at me and telling me that they heard the boss said I am faking my injuries. I am very angry and also fear that my employer is trying to fire me because of my injuries. What can I do?
A,. The labor code 132a specifically said that the employer cannot discriminate against an injured worker due to their injuries. That means they cannot treat the injured workers differently solely because they filed a claim. If your employer is discriminating against you, you may file an additional claim against the employer for violation of labor code 132a.
8. Q. I was seriously injured at work because my employer failed to do the regular safety check on the equipment. The equipment malfunction and caused my injury. I feel really angry at my employer and very upset that my injury may impact my future work ability. Can I sue my employer for not doing what he is supposed to do in addition to my workers compensation claim? I feel that my employer should not get away with this.
A. If the employer is grossly negligent in not performing his required regular safety check on the equipment then you maybe able to assert an additional claim called “Serious and Willful Misconduct”. The workers compensation system is an exclusive remedy, that means you can only sue the employer under workers’ compensation law. However the system also recognizes that the employer has responsible to ensures work site safety to avoid know danger to the employees. This type of claim allow additional benefits in addition to the work injuries compensation. Please contact this office to get more information.