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What Are Your Questions About Workers’ Compensation?

At Meechan Rosenthal & Karpilow PC, we understand that filing a workers’ compensation claim can feel immensely complicated. The steps are confusing, difficult, and overwhelming. Fortunately, we draw from decades of experience serving the people of California to help you with your claim, appeal, medical care, and more. On this page, we have answered some questions that we frequently hear about workers’ compensation law from our clients.

Can I be fired after an injury at work?

Employers do it all the time. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a worker after he or she has sustained a work injury or has filed for workers’ comp benefits. It is unlawful to not “reasonably accommodate” a disabled worker or fail to provide a “good faith, interactive process” to return a disabled worker to work. If you have been threatened with losing your job, it is important that you get a lawyer immediately.

What should I do if I am injured at work?

One of the most important actions is to report your injury to your supervisor or employer. A text or email about the injury is also good evidence. You need to submit a claim form. If you don’t report the illness, injury, or condition within a short period of time, it can lead to problems for you and difficulties in getting the workers’ compensation benefits you have earned.

What benefits can I get from worker’s compensation?

Your medical care will be provided and if you lose wages because your injury makes it impossible to work while you are recovering, you may collect benefits during that time. If you do not fully recover, you will be due permanent disability benefits. You may also have access to educational training if your employer does not provide you with a job that you can perform, considering your current condition and health.

What do I do if my spouse died at work?

You are due death benefits for yourself and your children or other legal dependents. The amount you are paid will be based upon the number of dependents and the amount that your spouse was earning at the time of the fatal accident or illness.

What medical care and treatment can I get?

The law allows you to get “reasonable” medical care to treat or cure an injury or illness that is job-related. The system has rules about what types of treatment you can get and will only pay for medical care that meets certain guidelines. Many requests are sent through utilization review and treatment is denied. We can help you with this process.

What do I do if my employer claims my injuries are not work-related?

Get a lawyer. This is not uncommon, but you do need help to fight back. Otherwise, you may find yourself unable to work and without workers’ comp benefits until the situation is resolved. Once your benefits are approved, you will also get the back payments you missed while your case was being appealed. You should also immediately apply for state disability to pay weekly benefits for up to one year.

Can I go to my own doctor?

If you signed a form when you were hired that you wanted to use your own doctor if you were injured, you have that right. If you didn’t sign the form, go to the medical facility that your employer has directed you to use. Depending on your circumstances, it is often possible to change your treating physician. A doctor that does not regularly practice workers’ compensation medicine is at a great disadvantage in getting care for his or her patients.

I am listed as an independent contractor. Does this affect my workers’ compensation benefits?

Some employers try to avoid paying for workers’ compensation insurance as well as health insurance by listing employees as independent contractors when they are actually employees. If your employer controls how you do your work, can terminate you, pays you an hourly wage or salary, makes deductions or supplies you with tools or other materials, and requires you to work on specific days, and for specific hours, it is likely that you are an employee and have been incorrectly listed as a contractor. Talk to a workers’ compensation attorney from our firm at once for help if this is your situation.

Ask More Questions And Get More Answers

If you are ready to get the information you need about workers’ compensation, you can ask our lawyers at Meechan Rosenthal & Karpilow PC. Call our Santa Rosa law office at 707-528-4409 or send us an email today to request a free, no-obligation, confidential consultation.