Orange County Work Injury Lawyer
Each year, thousands of California workers are injured on the job. Some of these injuries occur because employers fail to provide a safe and healthy work environment, and some occur despite an employer’s best efforts to ensure worker safety. No matter the cause of a worker’s injuries, he or she is entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost wages and more. An Orange County work injury lawyer could help protect an injured worker’s legal rights and make sure a client receives all the benefits and compensation he or she deserves.
What to do after suffering an on-the-job injury
After obtaining any necessary medical care, it is important for injured workers to report the injury to their employer. This should be done as soon as possible because workers could lose their workers’ compensation rights if a report isn’t filed within 30 days of the incident. For certain types of injuries, such as slips and falls, the date of the incident will be obvious. However, it may be less clear for repetitive strain injuries and occupational diseases. Under such circumstances, workers should count the day they first missed work or saw a doctor regarding a work-related injury or illness.
Workers’ compensation rights
California operates under a no-fault workers’ compensation system. This means that workers who file for workers’ compensation benefits cannot sue their employers in court. Likewise, workers are under no obligation to prove their employer was at fault for an injury or illness to qualify for benefits.
The following workers’ compensation benefits are available to California workers:
- All medical costs associated with a work-related injury or illness, including exams, treatments, surgeries, physical therapy and other forms of rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical aid devices and transportation to and from medical appointments
- Temporary disability payments while an injured worker is unable to work
- Permanent disability payments
- Life pension payments
- Vocational retraining costs for workers who cannot return to their previous job due to a work-related injury
- Death benefits for the families of workers who die from job-related injuries or illnesses
Job-related accidents can be financially devastating for workers, and workers’ compensation benefits are frequently insufficient to cover all associated costs. While California law prohibits workers from suing their employer after accepting workers’ compensation benefits, it allows workers to take legal action against third parties in certain situations. These “third-party” claims can help fill the financial gap between workers’ compensation benefits payments and a worker’s actual monetary losses.
For example, if a worker was injured because a properly-used piece of equipment failed, he or she may wish to pursue a products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product. If the claim is successful, the worker could receive both his or her workers’ compensation benefits and any settlements paid as a result of the lawsuit.
Possible damages paid in a third-party claim could include:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Property loss
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of income
- Loss of future earning capacity
A work injury attorney could evaluate an injured worker’s case and determine if a third-party lawsuit is appropriate.
Worker injury statistics
In 2017, there were 5,147 fatal workplace injuries and 2.8 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses across the United States, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In California, there were 376 worker deaths and approximately 466,600 nonfatal injuries in 2017.
Some of the most common causes of job-related injuries and fatalities are:
- Transportation incidents, including car accidents while commuting
- Overexertion injuries, such as lifting injuries and repetitive motion injuries
- Being struck by objects
- Workplace violence
When to hire a work injury attorney
Not every workplace injury requires the help of a work injury lawyer. For instance, minor injuries that are clearly work-related will likely be paid by insurance companies without disputes or delays. However, any situation involving major injuries, claim denials or benefits disputes may require the assistance of a legal professional.
An Orange County work injury attorney could thoroughly analyze the facts surrounding a case and help identify potential third-party claims. Legal counsel could also ensure an injured worker understands all the benefits he or she is entitled to and push insurance companies to pay the maximum settlement amounts possible.
Contact Rizio Liberty Lipinsky for your free initial consultation.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.