Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
A workplace accident can be a devastating event that changes the victim’s life forever. Family, friends, and loved ones can also find their lives upended when injuries are permanent. Many injury victims require a lifetime of care. Some are not even able to survive the injuries they suffer in a workplace accident. Injured workers are entitled to fair compensation for their losses.
California law requires employers to carry workers compensation insurance- even if they only have a single employee – in order to ensure this compensation is paid. Injured workers and their loved ones must be aware of their legal rights after a workplace accident.
Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you understand the claims process, protect your legal rights, and ensure that you have fair settlement negotiations – or, if necessary, the opportunity to take your case to a jury.
Schedule your Free Consultation by calling (888) 488-1391 to speak with a Workers Compensation Attorney in Los Angeles
Workers Compensation Accident Statistics
The Insurance Information Institute maintains data about workers’ compensation claims. By reviewing claims that are filed, the Institute is able to offer helpful insight into workers’ compensation injuries across the country. Here are some essential facts to know about the accidents and injuries that lead to workers compensation claims:
- The ten professions with the most workers compensation claims in 2019 were: laborers, commercial truck drivers, nursing assistants, stockers and order fillers, retail salespersons, light truck drivers, general maintenance and repair workers, registered nurses, construction workers, and janitors and cleaners.
- The most common causes of workplace deaths between 2017 and 2018 were: transportation accidents, falls, intentional injuries (including homicides), contact with objects and equipment, exposure to harmful substances or environments, and fires and explosions.
As you can see, certain industries and professions lead to more injury claims than others. Workers in these fields must be aware of the legal rights in order to protect them after a workplace injury.
Gatewood v. City of Los Angeles (arbitration award granted on 11/4/2020) – arbitration award involving an injured worker that sustained a traumatic brain injury when he fell off a truck. Eshghieh secured a 100% permanent total disability award yielding a present value sum of $1.195 million.– Tina Eshghieh
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
The first thing you should do after any workplace accident is to get medical attention. With serious accidents, this usually means calling an ambulance to the scene. It is an excellent idea to let emergency medical workers evaluate you even if you don’t think you need to go to the hospital in an ambulance. Your injuries could be more severe than you know. These workers are also trained in how to transport injury victims to avoid exacerbating their injuries safely.
If you don’t go to the hospital in an ambulance, it is still important to see a doctor as soon as possible. It is not possible to know how serious your injuries are without testing and medical imaging. Only a qualified medical professional can determine what medical treatment you need. If you fail to get medical attention right away, you could make your injuries worse. The workers’ compensation carrier could then deny your claim or try to say that you are responsible for the costs of these “added injuries.”
Do not give the insurance company any opportunity to deny your claim. Seeking immediate medical attention protects both your health and your legal right to compensation for your injuries. Once your immediate medical needs have been addressed, it is important to notify your employer of the accident as soon as possible. Even if your manager or boss was present at the accident, you still need to be sure that the company is aware of the injury and that a claim is opened with their workers’ compensation carrier.
Claims that are not promptly reported to the carrier can be denied. It would be best if you did not rely on your employer’s assurance that they will open a claim. Remember, you are filing a claim against your employer’s policy, which means that they are not necessarily on your side. Our Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney at Arash Law led by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. will ensure that the claim is filed properly and not denied for improper reasons.
Losses That Are Covered Under Workers Compensation Policies
Workers’ compensation policies cover many of the most basic losses associated with workplace injury. However, they do not cover all the same losses as a liability policy (such as auto insurance). It is important to understand what is covered under a workers compensation policy – and what is not. Injured workers are entitled to compensation for:
- All their medical bills that are related to the accident
- A set percent of lost wages (based on pre-accident earnings)
- Short-term or long-term disability benefits for injuries that take longer to heal
Here are some critical losses that are not compensated by a workers compensation policy:
- Pain and suffering
- All lost wages
- Future lost earnings beyond disability benefits
- The value of future employment benefits (such as employer contributions to health insurance premiums or retirement accounts)
This might seem unfair. There is, however, a reason that workers’ compensation policies do not offer full coverage. They are not liability policies. This fact means that an injured worker does not have to prove that the employer was at fault – only that the injury occurred within the scope and course of employment. Because of this, benefits are more easily accessible to injured workers. The trade-off is that these benefits are limited. The good news is that there may be other options for recovering these losses.
Other Insurance Policies That Might Cover Your Injuries
Many accidents involve several different defendants who are at fault. In these cases, there could be multiple insurance policies with coverage that applies to the same accident. For example: imagine a delivery driver is struck by a negligent driver while making deliveries in a work vehicle.
The accident happened on the job, so the injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. But the negligent driver is at fault for the accident. This means that his auto insurance policy also applies to the accident. The liability coverage on this auto insurance policy must pay for all the delivery driver’s losses, including pain and suffering, as well as all past and future lost wages.
Take another example: imagine that the delivery driver was given a truck with faulty brakes. The accident is caused by a defective vehicle. Because of this, the truck manufacturer can be at fault due to laws of product liability. Again, the driver is still entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, but he also has a claim against the truck manufacturer. The products liability claim will require the manufacturer to pay for pain and suffering, all lost wages, and future losses associated with the driver’s injuries.
When there are multiple insurance policies available, there is sometimes an overlap in coverage. For example, your workers’ compensation claim might pay for medical bills that are later recovered in a personal injury suit against a negligent driver. In this case, the workers’ compensation carrier can file a lien against the car accident claim to avoid any “double-dipping.”
Health insurance companies can have the same right to reimbursement, but only if they pay for bills that are later actually recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. Medicare and Medicaid programs are especially diligent about finding personal injury claims and fighting for reimbursement.
These issues can get complicated, but don’t worry. Experienced workers compensation lawyers are skilled at handling rights to reimbursement. Your L.A. worker’s compensation attorney will ensure that only those insurance companies who have a right to reimbursement get reimbursed only for the amounts they are truly owed.
What Happens When You Are Permanently Disabled on the Job
Serious workplace accidents can cause permanent disabilities. These devastating injuries can disrupt your entire life – and those of your loved ones. Permanent injuries can leave you unable to return to work. You might need help to get around or even complete simple tasks, like feeding or dressing yourself. You could even be paralyzed or left unable to speak. When these permanent losses occur, workers’ compensation policies are usually capped at a contractual limit for permanent disability benefits.
Often, these benefits are not enough to compensate for a lifetime’s worth of lost wages and medical bills. There is also no compensation for a lifetime of pain and suffering or the accommodations your loved ones must make in their own lives to help you live with the disability.
Even proving that you are permanently disabled can be a challenge. Some disabilities – such as paralysis – are obvious. Workers compensation carriers are likely to accept these injuries as permanent and make them eligible for permanent disability benefits with little argument. But many injuries are far more subtle. For example, a broken bone seems like a simple injury that often heals on its own.
But what if the bone shards cut a blood vessel and cause internal bleeding? What if they damaged a nerve that is never quite the same? These injuries could lead to an inability to work. Imagine that a concert pianist had a nerve severed in their hand. While other workers might be able to return to gainful employment, the pianist’s career is effectively over. This could be a permanent disability for them.
But the insurance carrier might claim that the nerve could be repaired and even bring in their own medical experts to suggest treatment. You can see why it would be necessary for the injured pianist to have their own attorney who knows how to prove that the injury is permanent and that the injury victim is entitled to compensation for lost wages as a concert pianist.
Death Benefits Under Workers Compensation Policies
Unfortunately, not all injured workers are able to survive their injuries. Many workers are killed every year – especially in dangerous professions like construction, manufacturing, and truck driving. When this happens, surviving family members have a right to claim death benefits under the employer’s workers compensation policy. Like injury benefits, death benefits do not offer all the same compensation that could be recovered in a wrongful death suit.
Family members cannot sue for their own pain and suffering or loss of consortium (a legal term that refers to the companionship of a deceased spouse). They are also limited to the contractual amount of death benefits, instead of having the opportunity to prove the actual amount of their financial losses from a funeral, burial, and other expenses.
In some cases, surviving family members may have a wrongful death claim instead of (or in addition to) a claim for death benefits under a workers compensation policy. It is very important that survivors speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer about all of these options before agreeing to settle any claim on any policy. Some of these claims cannot be pursued together. For example: if you accept workers’ compensation death benefits, you are often prevented from filing a negligence lawsuit against that same employer.
This means that you would miss out on the opportunity to recover compensation for your pain and suffering, future expenses, and other losses beyond the policy limits of death benefits. A claim against a different third party (such as a negligent driver or truck manufacturer) might still be able to go forward.
Still, it depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case and the provisions of the insurance policies that apply to the accident. Be sure to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney in Los Angeles prior to signing anything related to death benefits for a loved one who was killed on the job.
Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer to Protect Your Legal Workers’ Compensation Rights
As you can see, there are many small details that can prevent an injured worker (or their surviving family members) from getting the compensation they are legally owed. An L.A. workers’ compensation attorney can help you avoid these pitfalls. An experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer will ensure that your claim is filed timely and with all insurance policies that could potentially apply to the accident.
Your lawyer will know how to investigate your claim and find all potential defendants. Your lawyer will even prevent you from accidentally saying something to the insurance company that could later be used against you. As soon as the insurance company is notified that you have a lawyer, they are no longer allowed to contact you about the accident.
You also have other rights throughout the claims process. You have the right to have a say in who treats your injuries. A workers compensation carrier can object to providers who are not qualified or licensed by the state, but they usually cannot limit you to seeing only a single doctor of whom they approve.
In some cases, the insurance company will request an “independent” medical examination by their own doctor to see if their opinion is the same as your doctor’s. While the insurance company has the right to request this exam, your attorney has the right to record it and dispute the insurance company’s doctor with your own expert witness.
Workers’ compensation claims can become very complicated, very quickly. They often involve many different parties with competing interests. The only way to ensure that your rights are protected in this competition is to hire your own Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney to defend your legal rights throughout the entire case process.
Experienced Los Angeles Injury Lawyers for All Workers' Compensation Cases
The best workers’ compensation lawyers in Los Angeles are right here at Arash Law founded by Arash Khorsandi, Esq. Our skilled accident lawyers have decades of experience and know-how to handle all types of workplace injury cases and claims under all different types of workers’ compensation insurance policies.
In addition to Los Angeles, we serve clients in San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout California. We have collected over 400 million dollars for clients across the state. Injured California workers trust our team to protect their legal rights.
Call (888) 488-1391 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. Don’t delay: the sooner you have an experienced workers’ compensation injury lawyer fighting on your side, the better protected your legal rights will be.
California workers across the state have trusted us to handle their workers’ compensation claims, and we will fight hard for you, too.