If you’ve been injured while at work, you may be searching for the best lawyers for a work injury to make sure you get the workers compensation benefits you deserve. A workers compensation attorney in San Francisco is ready to hear your case.
No one plans to get hurt at work. Missing time from work as a result of an injury can add undue stress to an already unpleasant situation. The last thing you should worry about is how you’re going to pay bills while you’re out of work recuperating. That's what workers comp is for. Bay Area workers' compensation attorneys can work on your behalf to help you pursue benefits.
Many people have jobs that require driving. You may need to drive somewhere at random, or driving may be a large part of your job. The important question is: Can you still get workers compensation for a San Francisco car accident if you were driving at work?
The most important thing to remember is that you don't have to go through this injury alone. To help you sort through the claims process, Accident.com is here to break down SF Bay Area law. We can connect you with a workers compensation attorney in San Francisco to help you along the way.
Basic Details to Know About Workers Comp in San Francisco
Generally, when an employee gets injured, the employer files a claim with the workers comp insurance company. However, the City and County of San Francisco are self-insured. This means that the city directly pays workers comp claims, not an insurance company. Once they approve the claim, the injured employee receives payment.
Workers comp benefits include the following:
- Medical care. Your employer pays for reasonable and necessary medical care while you're out of work. The Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule determines what classifies as reasonable and necessary.
- Disability* (temporary and permanent, if applicable). You receive disability payments if you're unable to work. Temporary disability covers lost wages if you can't perform your usual job functions while you recover. Permanent disability provides payments if you never completely recover. A workers compensation attorney in San Francisco can help you pursue the right claim.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits. If you never fully recover and don’t return to work for the same employer, you can receive vouchers for additional training to better prepare you for another job.
- Death benefits. These are payable to dependents in the event you pass away as a result of the injury.
*A few other important notes on disability: Workers comp generally pays city and county employees in San Francisco two-thirds of their usual salary in temporary disability payments. However, some classes of employees (law enforcement, first responders and teachers, for example) may be paid their full salary while on disability. Also, a city employee who is disabled as a result of an assault on the job may receive full battery pay in addition to disability.
San Francisco Workers Comp Claim Statistics
When an employee is injured at work, the report made afterward is known as a first report of injury. In 2019, there were 699,120 first reports of injury in California, with 17,773 in San Francisco County. The highest percentage of employees reporting injuries was in the 25-34 age group (24.6%). There were slightly lower percentages in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups (20.7% and 21.4%, respectively).
Strains were the most common type of injury, primarily caused by lifting or slipping and falling. Parts of the body most commonly affected were the lower back area. However, injuries to multiple body parts were also common.
Manufacturing is the leading industry in the Bay Area, but in San Francisco specifically, apparel/textiles, shipbuilding and food processing are dominant. These industries include occupations that require a certain amount of physical exertion. So, it’s easy to understand how workplace injuries happen in this region. A workers compensation attorney in San Francisco has experience in this environment and can help you navigate injury claims.
Common Workers' Compensation Scenarios
Workers Compensation in a San Francisco Car Accident
Workers compensation is available to employees who were injured while driving on the job. However, coverage depends on the situation.
Although you can't get workers comp if you're injured while driving to or leaving from your job (because that isn't within the "scope of your job duties"), car accidents that happen while you're already on the job, or that are part of your work duties, are covered by workers compensation. Additionally, if your employer has multiple offices or job sites and you're injured while driving from one to the other, your injury may be covered by workers compensation.
Any accident that happens while you're driving to do something to help your employer - like running an errand or picking something up for your boss - would also be considered work-related and covered by workers compensation.
Employee or Contractor? It Matters
You must be an employee to get workers compensation in a San Francisco car accident. That means independent contractors don't qualify for benefits. There is currently a legal dispute about whether rideshare drivers for companies like Uber or Lyft are employees or contractors. As of 2021, it's a legal grey area and will likely stay like this for a while.
However, employees (both part- and full-time) who aren't contractors, such as bus drivers, do qualify for workers compensation if they're injured in a San Francisco car accident while driving on the job.
Workers Compensation or Personal Injury?
If you're injured while driving for work, you can sue for workers compensation, and you may also be able to sue the other negligent driver for personal injury damages.
While a workers compensation case will not allow you to sue your employer, if a third party was involved you are able to file a personal injury suit against that individual.
For example, a personal injury lawsuit after a San Francisco car accident would allow you to collect pain and suffering, or mental anguish, which you couldn't get with workers compensation. You typically don't need two separate lawyers to resolve these claims, especially if you rely on a network of experts such as Accident.com.
Workers Compensation Lawyers in San Francisco Can Help in the Age of COVID-19
While workers comp claims are most commonly associated with injuries, the COVID-19 pandemic was a game-changer in 2020. In response, California created a special provision, allowing employees who believe they contracted COVID-19 at work to file for workers comp. This provision went into effect after shelter-in-place restrictions kept many at home, but frontline essential workers were still required to go to work and place themselves at risk for contracting the virus.
One man was among those filing workers comp claims after getting COVID-19 in March 2020. As a psychologist, he worked in a clinic unmasked, since, at that time, mask mandates were only in place for medical professionals performing high-risk procedures.
As his condition worsened, the man went to the hospital a few weeks after his diagnosis and remained there for a week. Nearly a month passed before he was able to return to work, practicing telemedicine. With the assistance of his healthcare workers’ union, he filed for workers comp and received approval.
This is a powerful precedent, and if you find yourself unable to receive workers comp in the wake of a COVID-19-related work illness, contact a workers compensation attorney in San Francisco.
Initial Workers Comp Steps to Take
If you get injured or sick at work, there are steps you need to take as soon as possible to help ensure the best possible outcome:
Notify your supervisor
Tell your supervisor or HR department about your injury as soon as you can. Even if your injury developed gradually (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome caused by repetitive motion), let your boss know as soon as you become aware of it. Promptly notifying your employer will help you more easily prove that your injury occurred because of work. By reporting as soon as it happens, there is a record of your injury. This helps qualify you for workers comp.
Seek medical attention
If it’s an emergency, go to the hospital immediately. However, even if it's a minor injury (or if you don't think you have any real injuries at all), still seek medical help. A doctor can check you over to make sure you're safe and don't have any hidden injuries, like a concussion. Be sure to let the medical staff know your injury is work-related so they can document it accordingly. Doctors have to file a Doctor's First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness. Furthermore, if you're a city or county employee in San Francisco, you’ll need to visit a designated medical treatment facility.
Have your employer file your claim
Your supervisor will start the process of filing a workers comp claim or place you in contact with a workers comp coordinator, who will assist in the process. From there, you will receive notification of approval or denial of your claim.
In the meantime, it’s helpful to document the dates and names of those you encounter, as well as your injuries and the treatment you received. In the event you decide to take legal action, the information you provide as the injured party will greatly assist your workers compensation attorney in San Francisco in handling your case.
Also, keep in mind that failure to report your workplace injury within 30 days of its onset can lead to the denial of your workers comp claim, so don’t delay.
Workers Comp Resources in the San Francisco Area
You can find the San Francisco district office of workers compensation at 455 Golden Gate Avenue or by email at email@example.com.
For employees of the City of San Francisco, the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Department of Human Resources handles most workers comp claims. Each department has a designated adjuster and claims assistant. However, there are some departments that are handled by Intercare Holdings Insurance Services.
Knowing exactly who to talk to and what steps to take can sometimes feel overwhelming though. This is just one of the reasons that working with an attorney who is familiar with the San Francisco region can help. Accident.com can help you find an attorney in your area who can answer your questions and get you started on the right path.
When You May Need a Workers Compensation Attorney in San Francisco
In some situations, workers comp claims get denied. Oftentimes, it's because the employee can't prove that the onset of injury occurred while at work. In other cases, the injury may have occurred more than 30 days before the initial report. This can happen if an employee doesn't report the injury in a timely fashion.
However, even if you follow all the necessary protocols, your workers comp claims can still be rejected. That's where Bay Area workers' compensation attorneys can help. They are familiar with SF Bay Area law and how it works. If your workers comp claim is denied, you don’t have to give up just yet. A workers compensation attorney in San Francisco can review your case with you to ensure you are taking every step possible to get the assistance you need.
A Workers Comp Attorney in San Francisco Has Taken Your Case, Now What?
Your San Francisco workers comp attorney will become your ally and advocate for you to get benefits. They'll be your legal counsel, will speak for you and will act on your behalf. Your legal counsel will obtain any necessary documents and medical records to support your case.
As previously mentioned, any information you have, including any notes you have taken regarding your case, will be of great benefit. Any documentation and correspondence will help them help you. That way, you can rest and recuperate from your injuries with more peace of mind.
How Accident.com Can Help You Find Bay Area Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Workers comp is a valuable benefit for employees who have injured themselves or have gotten sick at work. If your claim gets denied for any reason, or if you suspect it'll be a complicated case, don't hesitate to contact a professional. A workers compensation attorney in San Francisco is ready to hear your case and offer assistance.
Accident.com provides numerous resources to help you navigate workers comp. We'll refer you to workers compensation lawyers in San Francisco, who will promptly follow up with you to discuss your case. Remember, the first-time conversation is free!
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