Sustaining an injury at work can be a trying and overwhelming experience for anyone. Aside from the physical pain, there’s the stress of returning to work, wondering if your employer will retaliate, and worrying about the cost of medical bills. Fortunately, California has specific laws and regulations that protect employees who have been injured in a workplace accident.
Right To File a Workers’ Comp Claim
One of the most crucial aspects of being injured at work is knowing you have the right to file a claim. As an employee in California, you are entitled to file a claim for any work-related injury or illness. This includes physical injuries such as broken bones or muscle strains, as well as psychological or emotional trauma caused by your job.
You Have The Right To Benefits, Like Medical Expenses and Lost Wages
If you are injured on the job, you have the right to receive certain benefits. These benefits usually cover medical expenses including doctor visits, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation.
Additionally, compensation is provided for lost wages, either partial or total, depending on the severity of the injury and the time needed for recovery. It is important to understand that workers’ compensation is not a fault-based system, as it covers injuries occurring as a result of work-related activities or work environment.
You Can See Your Own Doctor
Once you have filed the claim, you have the right to visit a physician of your choice and receive medical attention if you previously pre-designated them. If you haven’t pre-designated your doctor, the claims administrator has the right to select a treating doctor for the first 30 days after the employer knows of the injury.
This means that during the first 30 days, you will be assigned a doctor chosen by the claims administrator. However, you have the right to choose your own physician or facility after the initial 30 days have passed. You can choose a doctor who you trust and who has experience in treating your specific injury.
In Some Situations, You Can File a Lawsuit After a Workplace Injury
In some cases, workers’ compensation may not be available. In this case, the employee has the right to sue the employer for damages. This can be done under the principle of negligence, meaning that the employer had a duty of care to keep their employees safe and failed to do so.
Negligence can manifest in various ways, such as providing inadequate safety equipment or failing to maintain a safe work environment. Whatever the reason, if the employer’s negligence caused the injury, the employee may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional distress.
You Can File Lawsuits Against a Third Party
Furthermore, it is possible to file claims with third parties, typically when another person or vendor is partially responsible for the accident. For instance, if the injury occurred due to a defective tool, the employee may be able to sue the tool manufacturer for damages through a product liability claim.
Similarly, if the injury occurred in a traffic accident while delivering goods for the employer, the employee may be able to sue the other driver involved in the accident. This can be an option in addition to workers’ compensation and can help the employee receive the full compensation they deserve.
If you need help with a workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation a Fresno workplace accident lawyer.