Oftentimes, injured workers call our office after talking with friends, coworkers or relatives, and say they are unsure if they need help in their workers’ compensation case. These inquiries often start with comments such as, “My boss said after I was injured that ‘we’re all family here’ so you don’t need to call an attorney. I’ll send you to my chiropractor for free!” Or, “You don’t need a lawyer, they will only take all of your money!” Or, “I don’t really want to sue my employer, but since I was injured at work he is behaving like I am trying to ruin his business or something but all I did was fall from a ladder and now I need a shoulder surgery which is being denied by the insurance company.”
At the Law Offices of Marc Francis, our reply to such questions is that if you have a need for medical treatment or disability benefits (lost time from work or impairment/disability) from a work injury, you owe it to yourself to consult with a certified specialist in workers’ compensation law in order to make this critical decision.
Initial reporting of injuries, referral to medical treatment, and investigation and workup of your claim are essential to achieving a fair and equitable determination of your entitlement to benefits such as medical care, temporary total disability when unable to work, temporary partial disability when unable to return to work full-time, and permanent partial disability for injured workers with permanent impairment and disability because of the work injury.
Our experience is that often it is not the well-meaning employer, but rather the insurance company that determines whether to accept or reject your claim and whether to provide the needed medical treatment and disability benefits. Your boss’s encouragement to not file a workers’ compensation claim will usually cause problems with benefit determination, and for that reason you should get a free consultation with the Law Offers of Marc Francis, certified by the State Bar of California, to determine the best course of action for you.
The longer you wait the more difficult it becomes, because medical evidence becomes stale, witnesses’ memories fade, and a physical evidence can be lost, destroyed, or misplaced, all making it more difficult to prove that your work injury resulted in a need for medical treatment and/or disability benefits.
Attorney fees in all California workers’ compensation cases are determined by a workers’ compensation judge based on the results obtained, the time spent by the attorney, the nature of the case, and other factors. This is for the protection of you – the injured worker.
Another important point is that workers’ compensation in California is a “no fault” system which means that in most cases, there is no reason or need to find fault with the employer; the main inquiry is whether the injury or accident occurred at work. If it did, the remaining issues are determining what medical or disability benefits are due and payable by the insurance company.
But some injured workers ask, “Can’t I figure this system out for myself?” Perhaps, but it’s unlikely that your result in the case will be to your best advantage. That’s because:
1) The system is highly technical and has many problems.
2) The insurance company claims professionals know how to work the system to their best advantage and you don’t. In our office, we often tell prospective clients that when we need electrical work done, we don’t try to do it ourselves; we hire an electrician. When we need medical treatment, we don’t try to diagnose our own illness and guess about the correct treatment, we go to a licensed physician for advice and care.
So, if you have been injured at work, and need medical treatment or disability benefits, contact the Law Offices of Marc Francis – your workers’ compensation attorney in Santa Rosa – for a free consultation. Call us today at (707) 664-9675. You’ll be glad you did!