FAQ Workers' Compensation
Experienced Workers' Comp Attorneys in Santa Ana
The workers' compensation system can be confusing, especially if this is your first time dealing with a work injury. Below you will find answers to common questions regarding workers' comp claims. If you have a question that is not listed here, we'd be happy to answer your questions directly.
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Workers' Compensation FAQ
Why should I choose Ufkes & Bright to represent me?
As a smaller firm, we limit our caseload to ensure that we have the time and resources for each claim. Each claim will also be handled directly by your attorney, who will meet with you and get to know you as a person. We always respond promptly to calls and are available to answer questions.
We also have an in-depth understanding of the Labor Code and provide you with up-to-date knowledge of the law. Having helped injured workers since 1964, we have secured millions of dollars in recoveries for our clients. We also have an extensive network of resources and connections in the field - including two former partners who have become Workers' Compensation Appeals Court Judges.
I have a question about my case, what should I do?We do our best to make ourselves available to answer any questions you may have. If an attorney is unavailable, our legal assistants are familiar with your claim and will assist you until your attorney can call you back. We are a smaller firm and we limit our case load to make sure we have the resources to spend handling your claim.
How much does a workers' compensation attorney cost? What are the charges for your services?Attorney's fees in workers' compensation claims are determined by the workers compensation appeals Judge and are generally 15% of the value of the final settlement of your claim.
What other benefits can I get for workers' compensation?You will be entitled to a Supplemental Job Displacement voucher worth $6,000 in re-training benefits, including allocations for the purchase of computer equipment and general needs if your physician finds you have any level or permanent disability and your employer does not accommodate your permanent work restrictions. Additionally, you would be entitled to a $5,000 Return to Work Fund payment from the State of California if you meet these qualifications. We can guide you through this process.
What does a workers' compensation attorney do?
Denied Case: You may have been injured on the job, but for whatever reason, your employer and/or the insurance company claims that you were not, or a deny specific parts of your body you say you injured while working If your entire case is denied, you will be denied all benefits until your case can be heard. We will argue your case at the W.C.A.B. if necessary and do our best to make sure you receive all benefits you are entitled to.
Denial of Medical Treatment or Denial of Monetary Benefits: As stated above, the insurance company will often deny your benefits. If necessary, we will take the matter before the W.C.A.B. to and fight for all of your benefits.
Settlement: There are many factors which are considered in the total valuation of your case. Most importantly are the opinions of the physicians that evaluate you. We make sure we do everything in our power to ensure you are evaluated by physicians who have your well-being as their first concern, not those of the insurance company. If your injury is catastrophic, a vocational evaluator may also be utilized to increase the value of your case. In any situation, we strive to secure the best settlement possible for our clients.
What do I do if my workers' comp claim was denied?
This is why injured workers are better off with legal representation. The insurance companies will do everything from "short-change" you on your cash benefits to deny medical treatment to purposely send you to doctors they know will help them out, not you.
Switching Doctors: The insurance companies have lists of approved doctors on their own Medical Provider Networks (M.P.N.). Thankfully, we are familiar with many, many doctors in the Southern California area and many doctors we would feel comfortable sending you to are on these Networks. Many doctors we wouldn't ever, ever send anyone to are also on these lists. An advantage to having an attorney is that we can make sure we will send you to a doctor that will consider your medical needs before worrying about the insurance company's financial interests. And if you aren't comfortable with the doctor we help you choose, we can always help you choose another until you find a doctor that you are comfortable with.
Denial of Disability Benefits: There are many situations that an insurance company will use to deny paying your Temporary Disability Benefits. If this happens, we can assist you in asking the Court (Worker's Compensation Appeals Board - W.C.A.B.) to resolve the issue by Court intervention or through the use of a neutral doctor.
Denial of Medical Treatment: Medical disputes after 1/1/13 are resolved by Independent Medical Review (IMR). We will file all necessary paperwork and ensure all relevant medical documentation is submitted on your behalf.
What do I do if I was injured at work?
You have rights. First of all, your employer probably sent you to their doctor after you were hurt. If you are not comfortable with this doctor or facility, you have the option of switching doctors soon after your injury.
Your doctor might say you a) can't work or b) might give you "work restrictions" and your employer can't give you a job that fits those restrictions. If that happens, you do not have to work and are entitled to receive 2/3 of your wage/salary until your doctor decides you can return to work or your employer can give you a job with the restrictions. This is called "temporary disability".
If your doctor feels you can work while you recover, or you are receiving "temporary disability" payments, you will be under the care of a doctor. During this time, you will receive medical care in an effort to heal and get you back to the physical level you were before your injury.
If the system worked perfectly, you would receive all of your money benefits on time, all of the medical treatment would be authorized in a timely manner, and the insurance company would offer you a fair settlement when you have recovered from your injuries. Unfortunately, this almost never happens.
I was recently injured on the job, do I need a lawyer?
The decision to hire an attorney is yours. The Labor Code was designed to help injured workers with lawyers and without lawyer. However, the insurance company handling your claim is a business, and like any other business, its main goal is to make money.
The representative from the insurance company may be friendly and cooperative, but remember: Making sure you get the maximum benefits the law allows is not their job. Having an attorney assist you with your claim is no guarantee that you will see an increase in benefits, but you cannot be punished or penalized by the insurance company for getting legal assistance, and in almost every case, if your attorney is well versed in current Worker's Compensation law, the benefits you receive will likely be more, sometime much more, than if you try to handle your claim yourself.