If you were injured at work, you may benefit from the help of a workers comp attorney in Sacramento. The Sacramento workers compensation program will give you the support you need while you recover at home. However, workers comp laws and processes vary by state, so it can be a tricky system to maneuver without the right resources.
Accident.com is here to shed light on the situation and help you through this with a network of expert workers comp attorneys in Sacramento. They can help you navigate the claims process in California so you get the support you need and deserve.
As you navigate the workers comp process, it’s important to understand how California handles the program. For starters, the state requires that any company in California with one or more employees have insurance coverage for workers comp. This protects employers from employee lawsuits over said injuries. It also gives employees a way to receive prompt medical treatment and supplemental pay.
If you work for a contractor in California, your employer still has workers comp requirements to fulfill too. They must hold a valid Certificate of Workers' Compensation Insurance or else sign an exemption that certifies they have no employees.
The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) monitors workers comp claims for the state of California. It's part of the state Department of Industrial Relations. This division aims to resolve workers comp claim disputes when necessary to reduce the impact that work injuries have on California employees.
In 2019, over 699,000 employees in California filed workplace injury claims, with nearly 25,000 from Sacramento County. Employees between the ages of 25 and 34 represented the largest group of claimants, with those ages 35-64 also representing a substantial portion.
Key industries in the Sacramento area include:
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, agriculture is one of the most hazardous industries in the US. Therefore, it's understandable that some of the most common injuries in California overlap with those that often appear from agricultural jobs nationwide.
The three most common work-related injuries in California made up over half of the first report to injuries filed in 2019:
Other injuries included punctures, inflammation and fractures. (Fractures make up 15% of all agricultural work injuries nationwide.)
For the most part, these injuries were caused by overexertion of some kind (like lifting or straining) or by slipping and falling.
In regards to the body parts injured, these were some of the most common:
Towards the bottom of the list, other body parts injured included ankles, feet and eyes.
In more recent news, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill in 2020 permitting COVID-19 to be considered an occupational injury. This means an employee diagnosed with the disease can stay at home and collect workers comp benefits as they recover.
In order to qualify for workers comp benefits, you need to show that the onset of injury occurred while you were at work. This is a crucial first step for your claim, so tell your supervisor promptly so they can document the incident.
Otherwise, it'll be hard for your workers comp attorney in Sacramento to prove your injury. For example, if you sprain your ankle while at work and go home without reporting the injury, you can't prove your injury occurred at work and not somewhere else.
However, it can take some time for an injury to appear, so state guidelines give you a 30-day window to report it. Be sure to act within that timeframe though, or else you may not be able to get your benefits.
In some cases, injured employees may not realize they qualify for benefits. As a result, they may not report their injuries. However, as an employee in California, you have rights. You don't have to be a legal resident, in most cases, to receive workers comp benefits. You can also qualify even if you're a temporary or part-time worker.
Other employees may not report their injury due to the fear of retaliation from their boss. Don’t let this stop you. It's illegal for an employer to harass or fire an employee for getting hurt at work. It's also illegal to retaliate against an employee for requesting workers comp.
The takeaway: If you're an employee and you get hurt, report your injury to your supervisor immediately.
Your health and wellbeing is top priority. Regardless of the severity of your injury, you should see a doctor to make sure you’re okay. Seeking medical treatment will not only help your recovery, but it'll also provide you with some important documentation that your workers comp attorney in Sacramento can use to support your case.
Through workers comp, your employer has to pay for your medical care, even if you don't miss work. So, by getting prompt medical help, you’ll have a record of the treatment you received when you consult with a workers comp attorney in Sacramento. Your medical records may help your lawyer get the benefits you deserve.
After reporting the injury, your supervisor will advise you on the proper steps to take. Your employer should provide you with a claim form within one day of reporting the injury. Once you have returned the completed form, your employer should submit a claim within one day as well.
At this point, a workers comp coordinator will assist you. They'll process your claim, and you should receive a response from the insurance company in writing within 14 days letting you know the status of your claim.
Why is this important? Should you hire a workers compensation attorney in Sacramento, you have a stronger case if you can prove that you followed company protocol in applying for benefits.
If you're an employee or volunteer with the City of Sacramento, you can contact the Workers Compensation unit at 916-808-5741. The city handles all workers comp claims internally. Their website also includes a fax number as well as a fraud line number.
If you work in Sacramento but the city doesn't employ you, you can contact the Sacramento district office at 916-928-3101. You can also email the office at SAC@dir.ca.gov.
Also, a trained Accident.com workers comp attorney in Sacramento may be available to guide you through the case and offer free legal advice on your situation.
Despite the good intentions of this program, workers comp fraud does exist. In one notable case in Sacramento in late 2020, an employer faced three felony charges of insurance fraud. In an attempt to save on workers comp premiums, the owner of a cleaning company under-reported payroll and employment numbers. This resulted in a loss of over $687,000 to three insurance carriers. The fraud was discovered when an employee filed a workers comp claim.
As of January 2021, the case is still pending at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office.
Hopefully, your employer is not involved with fraud. However, incidents like these are not isolated. If for any reason you suspect fraudulent practices on the part of your employer or any party related to your case, don't hesitate to contact the Sacramento County Fraud Hotline.
You may become aware of attempted fraud only after getting hurt at work and filing for workers compensation. It's at that time you may consider taking legal action with a workers comp attorney in Sacramento.
California requires employers to pay for workers comp insurance in case employees ever need the support. Injured employees, however, may face challenges getting their benefits.
In the case of the aforementioned cleaning company, the owner may choose to falsely document employment numbers in order to pay lower insurance premiums. In the event an employee is injured, fewer benefits would be available.
Other times, the workers compensation claims administrator may deny your claim, not believing that the injury qualifies for benefits.
You aren’t powerless in this situation though. You have the right to appeal the claim if this happens to you. However, appeals are time-sensitive, so take action as soon as possible. Take your appeal to the Sacramento district office of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board within 20 days of receiving the denial. Again, the number is 916-928-3101.
If for any reason you're facing challenges while proving your claim with the right evidence, Accident.com has a powerful guide to help. Learn about your rights as an employee here.
Although you may not know whether you should seek the help of a work injury lawyer in Sacramento, if you find yourself in any of these situations, a lawyer may be able to help:
If you’re getting nowhere in your case, consider consulting with a work injury lawyer in Sacramento. Whether you're facing the obstacles mentioned above or you just want help pursuing your benefits, a workers comp attorney in Sacramento can provide guidance on the best way forward.
By doing this, you can make sure you have the best shot at getting your benefits. After all, the attorney is your ally.
However, they can only help you if you help them. Your work injury lawyer will be more effective if you provide as much information about your case as possible:
Other pieces of evidence to support your case may include pay stubs, witness statements and doctor restrictions. Don’t see this as doing the work for your attorney. Look at this as helping your attorney help you.
Visit Accident.com for helpful resources on how to navigate workers comp and start on your path to recovery. If you're interested in speaking with an attorney, just enter your information on the website. Accident.com will connect you with a Sacramento workers compensation attorney who will discuss your situation. The consultation is free and there's no obligation.
If a workers comp attorney in Sacramento takes your case and you become a client, they'll become your advocate, making necessary phone calls and acting on your behalf. This will allow you greater peace of mind so you can focus on recuperating from your injury or illness. That matters more than anything.
Many Californians praise the effectiveness of Accident.com. In fact, the site has received a 4.9 rating (out of 5) on Reviews.io. Reviewers affirm that the site is user-friendly, and they love their ability to obtain free referrals for legal counsel online.
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Workers comp benefits are designed to cushion your financial loss while you recuperate from a work-related illness or injury. While you're entitled to these benefits, sometimes it can be hard to obtain them, even if you follow proper procedures in reporting the incident.
Fortunately, you don’t need to handle the process on your own. If you work in the Sacramento area, there are workers compensation attorneys who can act on your behalf to help you get the benefits you deserve. There's no need to delay. The sooner you act, the better. Contact Accident.com today to speak with a workers comp attorney in Sacramento.
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