The aftermath of a workplace accident is a stressful time for many reasons. If you’ve suffered an injury or illness on the job, your mind is probably spinning with uncertainty and concerns about what happens next. At the Law Office of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we often have injured workers who come to us with questions such as, “How will I pay my medical bills?” and “Who will provide for my family while I’m unable to work?”
The workers’ compensation system exists to protect injured workers and ease some of the financial worries that come with recovering from a job-related injury or illness. However, there are many complexities that can be difficult to understand without an attorney to guide you through the process. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions we receive about workers’ compensation:
What do I need to do if I’m injured at work in San Diego?
There are two critical components to reporting your workplace injury: telling your employer within 30 days of the date you were injured, and officially filing a workers’ compensation claim. You can accomplish both of these tasks at once by filling out the DWC-1 claim form and turning it into your employer.
How do I know if I qualify for workers’ compensation?
There are three main criteria that must be met to be able to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. First, you must be an employee of the company you work for. Contractors and consultants are not eligible for workers’ comp. Second, your injury must have happened at work or be directly related to your job duties.
Lastly, your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance. California businesses are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but not all of them do. If you meet the above requirements and your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, an attorney can help you sue your employer for missed wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering related to your injury.
Can I still receive workers' compensation benefits if the accident was my fault?
Workers’ compensation is a tradeoff: an employee relinquishes his or her rights to sue the employer for an injury or illness, and in exchange, he or she can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident. There are exceptions, such as if the injury was self-inflicted or if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
What types of benefits can I receive from workers’ compensation in San Diego?
There are two main benefits an employee can receive through workers’ compensation. The first is medical payments. Your benefits will cover all expenses related to diagnosing and treating your work-related injury or illness, including doctor visits, medications, surgeries, physical therapy, and any equipment required to help you adapt to your condition. Injured workers are also eligible to receive disability payments. These funds are designed to make up for missed wages while you’re unable to work. The amount you receive is roughly two-thirds of your normal wages.
Can I see my own doctor after a job-related injury?
You can, but only if you tell your employer the name of the doctor you want to see before an accident occurs using DWC Form 9783, Pre-Designation of Personal Physician. In California, the doctor you pre-designate must be your primary care physician, and you only have a right to pre-designate a doctor if your employer offers group health insurance. If you didn’t pre-designate a doctor, you may need to see a doctor chosen by your employer.
What happens if my workers' compensation claim is denied?
Your workers’ compensation claim could be denied for a number of reasons. Whether it’s because you didn’t inform your employer of your injury on time, or because your employer is denying responsibility for your injury, you have a right to request a hearing before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. You can file an appeal on your own, but it helps to have a workers’ compensation attorney by your side that can protect your best interests and ensure you get the benefits you deserve.
Gerald Brody San Diego Workers' Compensation Law Firm Can Help
At the Law Office of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we are committed to helping employees who have been injured at work receive the benefits they need to make a full recovery. If you have questions about your workers’ compensation claim we haven’t answered here, please call us to schedule a free consultation.