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Common Misconceptions About California Workers’ Comp Benefits

desk with workers compensation claim formWorkers often do not learn much about the workers’ compensation system until they get hurt at work and need benefits. They may not read official documents and act based on what they have heard from coworkers or even friends or family members who have been through the process before. Unfortunately, this could be incomplete or incorrect information.

Below, learn more about some of the common myths and misconceptions workers have about the process and why they are inaccurate or misleading. You should strongly consider discussing things with a licensed attorney.

Employers Can Fire Workers for Filing Claims

This is considered retaliation and it is against the law. Employers are prohibited from firing solely because you exercised your right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits.

That said, filing for benefits does not protect your job indefinitely. There are times when employers may be able to replace you because you cannot return to the job because of an injury.

The Injury Must Have Happened at Your Worksite

This is not necessarily true. There are times when workers who were injured away from the normal jobsite may be eligible for benefits. For example, if you were making a delivery for your job and were injured in a car crash, you may be eligible for benefits. You could also be eligible for benefits if you were injured while on a business trip.

Injuries that take place while commuting to or from work or in the parking lot generally are not covered.

You Must Have Been Doing Your Job When the Injury Occurred

Workers’ compensation benefits are provided for workers injured in the regular course of their employment. That generally means you must have been doing work-related activities.

However, you could still be eligible if the injury occurred while you were not at your desk or work station. Maybe you were walking up or down the stairs or to another area of your workplace when you slipped and fell. You could also be eligible if you fell on your way to the bathroom.

Workers’ Compensation Claims are Just Like Personal Injury Claims

There are key differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims. For example, in a personal injury claim, you must prove your injury resulted from another’s negligence. In a workers’ compensation claim, you could be at fault for the injury and still be eligible for benefits, if the injury happened in the course of your job.

In a workers’ compensation claim, you can seek compensation for medical bills, a portion of lost wages and potentially vocational rehabilitation. In a personal injury claim you can seek compensation for the full amount of lost wages, along with damages like pain and suffering and lost companionship.

You Cannot Obtain Treatment from Your Regular Doctor

You can seek treatment from your own doctor if you predesignate that doctor before the injury occurs. The doctor must agree to be your predesignated physician.

Otherwise, you must see the physician your employer designates for the first 30 days of treatment. Workers’ compensation insurers have a network of medical providers for employers to choose from.

Once a Claim is Denied, You Are Ineligible for Benefits

There is an appeals process for denied claims, so you may still be eligible for benefits even though you were initially denied. As this process cam be complicated, it is important to discuss the situation with a licensed attorney and find out how he or she may be able to guide you through the legal process.

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today to Ask Your Workers’ Comp Questions

Unsure if you have a valid workers’ compensation claim? Worried you may have run out of time to file a claim?

Our Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys are prepared to answer these and any other questions you have in a free legal consultation. There is no obligation for you to take legal action after your consultation, so there is no risk to you in meeting with us.

We take workers’ compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no fee unless you receive compensation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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