Workers’ Compensation Attorney Debunks Common Myths
According to the Department of Industrial Relations, 683,502 workers’ compensation claims were filed in California in 2021. Many of these claims were related to COVID-19 infections and fatalities among essential workers. Other common causes of workers’ compensation claims in California include musculoskeletal injuries, dermatological conditions, and mental health disorders. As a top workers’ comp law firm in Orange County, we encounter many common myths surrounding the workers’ compensation system. Here are five myths, the facts, and how an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help if you suffered a workplace injury.
Myth #1: Only serious or physical injuries are covered by workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation covers any injury or illness that arises on the job, regardless of the severity of the injury. This can include injuries caused by accidents, repetitive motions, exposure to hazards, or violence at work. It can also include occupational diseases, such as lung cancer from asbestos exposure, hearing loss from noise exposure, or carpal tunnel syndrome from keyboard use.
In some cases, workers’ comp may even cover mental and emotional conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression, if they are caused by a work-related event or stressor. However, if you only suffered a minor injury or illness and do not have any related losses, you may not have enough grounds to file a claim.
Myth #2: You can’t file a workers’ comp claim if you were at fault for your injury.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means that you are entitled to benefits regardless of who caused your injury or whether you were negligent. The only exceptions are if you intentionally injured yourself, if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if you violated a safety rule or policy. In those cases, your claim may be denied or reduced.
Myth 3: Filing a workers’ comp claim will get you fired.
Under workers’ compensation law, your employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ comp claim. In fact, it is illegal for them to do so. As an employee, you have a right to workers’ comp benefits, and your employer cannot stop you from filing a claim. However, that does not mean that your employer cannot fire you for other reasons. California is considered an “at-will” work state, which means an employee can leave their job at any time and for any reason. This also means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason, as long as the reason does not violate the law.
If you believe you were unlawfully terminated, consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney.
Myth #4: You can’t get workers’ comp benefits if you’re an independent contractor.
Whether you are an employee or an independent contractor depends on several factors, such as the degree of control your employer has over your work, the nature of your work relationship, and the terms of your contract. Some employers may misclassify their workers as independent contractors to avoid paying workers’ comp premiums and taxes.
However, if you are injured on the job and you can prove that you are actually an employee under the law, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. You may also have a claim against your employer for misclassification and other violations.
Myth #5: You have to accept whatever workers’ compensation benefits you are offered.
Workers’ compensation benefits are not fixed or final. They are based on several factors, such as the extent of your injury, the amount of your lost wages, and the duration of your disability. If you disagree with the amount or type of benefits you are offered, you have the right to challenge them. You can request a hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, where you can present evidence and arguments to support your claim. You can also hire a lawyer to represent you and advocate on your behalf.
How a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Helps Injured Workers
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim appears fairly straightforward. You become injured, file a claim, and receive compensation while you recover. However, your insurance company or employer might deny or minimize your benefits. They may even claim your injuries are not that serious, or deny them altogether. In these cases, an experienced workers’ comp lawyer will provide the clarity that you need.
If you are injured on the job, you only have a certain amount of time to file a workers’ comp claim. In California, you must submit a claim within one year of the injury or illness, or you risk losing out on the right to pursue compensation. With legal representation, you can focus on your recovery while your legal team takes care of the legwork. Speak to our workers’ compensation attorney in Santa Ana to learn more.
Get Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
At our personal injury law firm in Santa Ana, we have helped countless clients maximize their workers’ compensation benefits. With our help, our clients are able to either return to work or receive proper compensation to find a new career path. We aggressively fight for the rights of the injured worker in dozens of cases in California. To find out how we can help you, give us a call at (657) 662-8033 and set up a free consultation. You do not pay any legal fees until we win your case.