Correctional officers are required to work in a dangerous environment that places them at-risk each day of suffering a severe or fatal injury. This includes enforcing prison rules, making sure inmates are where they are supposed to be and patrolling areas of the detention facility.
Unfortunately, correctional officers’ required duties often place them in dangerous situations that may increase the risk of injury or death. Some of the most common causes of Fresno correctional officer injuries and illnesses include:
Correctional officers who suffer work-related injuries may be entitled to benefits for their medical expenses and loss of income. Berry, Smith & Bartell’s workers’ compensation lawyers in Bakersfield know the difficulties of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. If you are a correctional officer employed at Kern Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, Wasco State Prison, California City Correctional Facility, California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi, or another prison, contact us as soon as possible for qualified legal representation. We are ready to help you with every aspect of your workers’ compensation claim.
Employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for injured employees’ medical expenses and partial lost wages. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that employees can apply for if they suffered an injury in a work-related accident or during the course of their employment.
California has a strict workers’ compensation process that Fresno correctional officers must follow in order to obtain the benefits they need. This includes:
If a correctional officer is injured or becomes ill as a result of his or her employment, the correctional officer must report the injury in writing to his or her employer within 30 days after the date of the injury.
Within one business day after reporting the injury, your employer should provide you with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). Completing this form and submitting it to your employer opens your workers’ compensation case. It also starts the process of pursuing all benefits you may qualify for under California law. You should use this form to describe the time, date, location and the events that led to you suffering an injury or illness.
Once you have reported your injury to your employer, you will need to receive medical treatment from a physician of your employer’s choice. For state employees, including correctional officers, the California Department of Human Resources will arrange treatment with the employer’s selected physician or medical facility within the Medical Provider Network, or with the employee’s pre-designated personal physician or medical group. However, you cannot use a pre-designated physician unless you provide the California Department of Human Resources notice before your injury. Additionally, the physician must have agreed to provide treatment for a work-related injury or illness.
After you have received medical attention, you must inform your employer of your health care provider’s diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. If your injury forces you to take time off from work, you must provide your employer with the Absence and Additional Time Worked Report form (STD 634).
You must also provide your employer a written statement from your treating physician each time you are seen regarding your work-related injury or illness. All physician statements must be attached to the STD 634 form and forwarded to the attendance clerk or the Personnel Office of the California Department of Human Resources.
Our attorneys are familiar with helping state employees navigate California’s workers’ compensation process. We will help you through every step of the process and work to ensure you obtain the benefits you need. We know benefits cannot change what happened, but they are a very important part of moving forward after an injury.
Fresno correctional officers who suffer a work-related injury may be entitled to the following types of benefits, depending on the long-term effects of their injury:
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will pay for the entire cost of any medical services related to your injury. This may include:
If you qualify for temporary disability (TD) benefits, you will receive two-thirds of the wages you earned at the time of your accident. TD benefits are paid every two weeks and may not exceed 104 weeks within five years from the date of your injury.
There are two types of temporary disability benefits you may receive:
TD benefits stop when you return to work or when your treating physician determines your injury has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).
If your treating physician determines that your injury has reached MMI and you cannot return to work, you may receive permanent disability benefits (PD). Unlike TD benefits, you may receive PD benefits for an extended period of time, however you may have the option to accept a lump sum.
During your free, no obligation consultation, our attorneys will carefully review your claim to determine the benefits you may be qualified to receive. If we find that you did not receive the proper benefits for your injury, or your benefits were prematurely terminated, we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
When you suffer a work-related injury, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Once a doctor has diagnosed your injury and determined the type of medical treatment you require, you should immediately begin filing your workers’ compensation claim.
However, there are several deadlines you must follow to receive workers’ compensation benefits in California. Regardless of the circumstances behind your injury, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of acquiring it. Failing to report your injury within the 30-day time limit may result in you being denied benefits.
After you inform your employer of your injury, you will have one year from the date of your injury to complete the DWC 1 claim form and begin the worker’s compensation claim process, according to CA Labor Code § 5405. If you do not file your claim within the one-year deadline, you will lose the right to do so and you will not be able to receive the benefits you need.
For this reason, it may be in your best interest to work with an attorney who understands California’s workers’ compensation laws. At Berry, Smith & Bartell, we know how to efficiently handle workers’ compensation claims.
Although filing a workers’ compensation claim may seem straightforward, there are several situations where working with an experienced attorney may benefit your claim. An attorney can help you by:
This is particularly important when you are appealing a denied claim. An attorney will understand which kinds of evidence you need and can help you develop your case by:
There are several other types of evidence your attorney may use to support your case. This may include:
Another reason for hiring an attorney is that he or she will understand the true amount of benefits you may be entitled to through a workers’ compensation claim. To reach a fair settlement, your attorney may consider several factors, including:
If you are unable to reach a settlement, your workers’ compensation claim will likely proceed to a hearing. Your attorney will represent you during the hearing and defend your claim in front of an administrative law judge.
At the hearing, your attorney will present a case that supports your claim that your injury is work-related. Your attorney will also make opening and closing statements and examine witnesses.
At Berry, Smith & Bartell, we understand that many people are unfamiliar with workers’ compensation claims. Whether you are a Bakersfield correctional officer working at a Wasco State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, or California Correctional Institute, we will help you fight for the benefits you deserve.