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Your boss has an attorney, so why shouldn't you?

The workers' compensation program covers employees in California. This insurance pays particular monetary benefits to employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries. What makes it different from insurance you would carry -- such as car insurance -- is that your employer pays the premiums, and when claims arise, it is often the company's interests that are protected. To protect your interests, you can utilize the skills of an experienced workers' compensation attorney.

Here is what a workers' compensation attorney can do for you:

Workers' compensation is a complicated system that involves federal laws for employees of a myriad of industries and state laws for employees of private companies within the state. Laws vary from state to state, complicating matters if your boss sends you on a contracting job in another state where you suffer a work-related injury. With laws forever changing, your attorney will know the laws of both states and where to file your claim, along with the required administrative and legal procedures to follow.

Another difference between workers' comp and vehicle insurance is that work injury claims cannot be disputed. However, some exceptions allow employers to challenge claims, and you may be up against several hurdles if you navigate this process on your own. Claims lead to increased premiums, and your boss might argue that your injury was not work related. Nevertheless, workers' compensation is a no-fault system meaning that even if you are partially responsible for your own injury, you can still claim benefits.

What are the benefits to which you are entitled?

The type of injury, its severity and how long it will keep you away from your job will determine the worker's compensation benefits you receive. The following are the most common type of benefits provided to those who have suffered on-the-job injuries:

  • Medical Treatment -- Coverage of all medical costs related to the workplace injury
  • Disability Payments - Represent a partial wage replacement for your absence from work during your recovery
  • Permanent Disability Settlement - Can be based on partial or total disability
  • Vocational Training - Used toward providing new skills that will accommodate physical limitations

Your attorney can also determine whether you might be entitled to pursue additional civil claims against other parties. You can file a civil lawsuit against a third party -- not connected to your employer -- who caused your injury, or against the manufacturer of a piece of equipment that malfunctioned.

While civil lawsuits may not include items also claimed from workers' comp, you may seek recovery of other damages. Examples of such claims could include emotional damages such as pain and suffering or financial damages if you had to modify your home to accommodate a wheelchair. An experienced California workers' compensation attorney can assess all your losses and navigate all viable claims for you.

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