Workers’ compensation can be intimidating. For many people, navigating workers’ comp occurs while they are also healing from an injury and taking time off work. This can add emotional and financial stress to an already difficult situation.
Fortunately, the state of California provides a fairly comprehensive workers’ compensation system for employees. In many cases, workers can receive the settlement that they need to get through their injuries. In fact, California requires that all workplaces with one or more employees have workers’ compensation insurance to protect both employees and employers in the event of an accident.
If you are facing a workers’ compensation claim, it is important for you to understand the basics of the system. In doing this, you can make sure that you get the best possible compensation and help your family to financially recover after your accident.
What Is Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation insurance functions similarly to many other types of insurance. An employer pays a monthly premium, and the insurance company covers medical expenses if an employee gets hurt on the job. The settlement for workers’ compensation should cover two-thirds of the employee’s weekly income, as well as medical bills associated with the accident.
Workers’ compensation covers most workplace incidents. The only situations that they will not cover are:
Accidents caused by roughhousing
Accidents in which the injured party was under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Accidents that occurred outside of work
Accidents that the injured purposely caused to get compensation
In all other instances, the insurance company should cover the expenses from an accident. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will attempt to blame accidents on one of the above scenarios to avoid paying bills. If this happens, it is especially important to have a workers’ compensation attorney on your side.
Do All Workers’ Compensation Cases End in a Settlement?
In California, all workers’ compensation cases end in a settlement of some kind. Most cases end in a voluntary settlement between the injured employee and the employer’s insurance company. These situations are the most straightforward and usually proceed quickly. However, some cases will get settled in court instead. If your employer’s insurance company refuses to pay, you may have to take them to court to get the compensation that you deserve. However, you will eventually receive a decision.
It is important to note that not all workers’ compensation cases will end in a financial settlement. In some cases, the court may find that the insurance company is not obligated to pay you. This happens when one of the above exempt situations has occurred.
Workers’ Compensation and Hiring an Attorney
Many people wonder if they need an attorney for their workers’ compensation case. In some situations, you may not need an attorney if the claim is small or quickly resolved. However, in many cases, it is helpful to have a legal professional to represent you. We can make sure that you get the proper compensation for your situation and that you are not taken advantage of by your employer’s insurance company.
If your case does have to go to court to be resolved, you will need an attorney to fight for you. In many scenarios, it is best to hire an attorney at the beginning of your claim. This way, they will be up to date on the details of your situation, should they have to proceed to court. If you wait to hire an attorney until after there has been a dispute, certain details may be lost.
Q: How Long Does It Take a Judge to Approve Workers’ Comp Settlements in California?
A: Workers’ compensation trials usually last only one day. However, a judge’s decision may take much longer. In many cases, a judge will come to a verdict between 30 days and 6 months after your trial. Your attorney will be able to help you navigate your case during this time and may be able to help speed the process along. It is best to retain all your receipts so that you can be reimbursed for eligible medical expenses.
Q: What Happens After 104 Weeks of Workers’ Comp in California?
A: The maximum amount of workers’ compensation insurance coverage is 104 weeks or two years. If you are still injured or unable to work after this time, you will need to apply for temporary or permanent disability benefits through the state. Many people apply for these benefits while they receive workers’ compensation, which can make the transition easier. There are other programs that you may be eligible for that can help support your family while you are unable to work.
Q: Can I Get a New Job While on Workers’ Comp in California?
A: Yes. Workers’ compensation is distinct from your other income. It is reimbursing you for medical expenses and the suffering you have gone through because of the accident. If you wish to seek alternative employment, you may do so. For many people, finding a new job is necessary after an accident. If your injury is severe enough, you may not be able to return to your old job anyway. Many people switch industries or jobs after a workplace accident.
Q: Can I Collect Unemployment After a Workers’ Comp Settlement in California?
A: Yes. Unemployment and workers’ compensation are aimed at different issues. This means that there is no conflict between the two programs, and receiving both is allowed. However, there are many times when a workers’ compensation settlement involves a resignation clause that states that you are leaving your position. If you signed paperwork agreeing to such a condition, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits after your workers’ compensation settlement. Your attorney can tell you if you signed a resignation.
Contact English Lloyd & Armenta
If you are facing a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to have proper legal support for your case. Our team at English Lloyd & Armenta is here to offer expert legal advice and fight for the maximum financial settlement in your case.