When you get injured in the workplace, there is a lot that has to happen. Not only do you need to seek medical care, but you also must ensure that you get the workers’ compensation support that you need. Without workers’ compensation, you could be held financially responsible for your own medical bills, a cost that few people can afford.
Fortunately, California’s generous workers’ compensation laws allow employees to receive financial support after a workplace accident occurs. These settlements often cover medical bills from the incident and can also contribute to short- and long-term disability payments. These payments are crucial for many families as they endure the injury and recovery process.
Timeline for Settlement
Most workers’ compensation cases in California settle within 30 days. Ideally, the workers’ compensation insurance company will take responsibility right away. You may need to appear before a judge in an informal hearing. During this hearing, the judge will ensure that the settlement agreement is fair and that you understand the terms. Once this is finished, you should receive your money within 30 days.
This is the most straightforward and best-case scenario. Unfortunately, there can be roadblocks that slow this process and make it difficult to receive the payment that you need and deserve.
Insurance Company Delays
Although many people believe that insurance companies exist to help them, they are ultimately businesses that look out for their own profits and bottom line. In some cases, this means that they will try to avoid their responsibility to pay settlements. In a workers’ compensation scenario, they may attempt to place the responsibility on your shoulders so that they are not responsible. If there is any question about the validity of your claim, or about your involvement in the accident, the insurance company may conduct an investigation to determine if they are liable for the damages.
It is important to know that most accidents should be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The only scenarios in which the insurance company is not responsible for paying are:
If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the accident occurred.
You caused the accident on purpose.
You were injured outside of work.
You were roughhousing or otherwise breaking the rules and caused the accident.
Otherwise, you should not be responsible for an accident that happens in the workplace. This is true even if you were not directly doing your job at the time of the accident. If you were on the premises and behaving normally and within your rights as an employee, you should not be held financially responsible for the aftermath. For example, if you were on your break and a sandbag fell and knocked you unconscious, you should not have to pay because taking a break is within the normal and expected activities in the workplace.
Insurance companies may attempt to convince you otherwise, so it is important that you know your rights in a workers’ compensation case.
Hiring an Attorney
It is in your best interest to hire an attorney to represent you during your workers’ compensation claim. We can help to ensure that insurance companies do not take advantage of you or attempt to avoid responsibility. If necessary, we can collect evidence to prove your innocence and place responsibility on the insurance company. If you are eligible for disability insurance or other programs, we can help you navigate the system to get the best possible support for your family.
Q: What Is the Longest You Can Be on Workers’ Comp?
A: In California, you can receive workers’ compensation for 104 weeks or 2 years. If you do not need the support consecutively, you can spread out the compensation over 5 years if the situation allows. If you are unable to return to your normal job after 104 weeks, you will need to apply for long-term disability or file a personal injury claim against any third parties involved in your accident. You may even need to explore vocational retraining.
Q: How Do I Maximize My Workers’ Comp Settlement in California?
Retain copies of any medical records or doctor’s notes you get.
Understand your disability rating.
Get a second medical opinion.
Hire an attorney.
Although there is no single way to guarantee the highest settlement, following these tips can help you to strengthen your case and give you the best chance at maximum compensation.
Q: What Is the Largest Workers’ Comp Settlement in California?
A: The largest workers’ compensation settlement in California to date was $11.3 million. This settlement occurred in 2020 and was in response to an extremely severe catastrophic brain injury. It is important to note that most cases, even when they involve traumatic brain injuries, do not amass this large of a settlement. Most settlements range between $2,000 and $20,000, depending on the severity of the injury and the necessary medical care.
Q: Is Workers’ Comp Taxable in California?
A: No. Workers’ compensation is considered non-taxable income by the federal and state governments. This means that, although your payments may be lower than your weekly salary, you get to keep all of it rather than paying some to the government. However, there are a limited number of scenarios in which workers’ compensation may be taxable. The best way to ensure that you are adhering to the rules is to hire an attorney for your workers’ compensation claim.
Contact English Lloyd & Armenta
Our team at English Lloyd & Armenta can help you with your workers’ compensation claim. We have years of experience with these cases, and we are well equipped to handle any roadblocks or delays that occur in your case. With our team on your side, you can be sure that you are getting the best possible compensation for your injury.