Workers Compensation Laws You Need to Know
If you have the misfortune of sustaining a personal injury at work (and at work comes in many permutations), you will in most circumstances, need to file a claim for Workers Compensation benefits with the help of your Los Angeles Lawyer. The Workers Compensation system is an Administrative Law system operated by the State of California. This system takes care of these types of claims. You do not have a right to a jury trial in workers compensation. You will not be able to claim damages for pain and suffering. You will in most circumstances) be able to claim punitive damages. Punitive damages are those that are designed to punish the wrongdoer of a tort against you.
What the Workers Compensation will pay you is TTD (Total Temporary Disability), WPI (Permanent Disability) defined as your diminution in your ability to compete in the open labor market due to your Work Related Injury, death benefits, and your work related injury medical bills. The workers compensation system is designed to get the injured worker back to work as soon as possible. Depending upon the type of injury, the state has panel of doctors in that specialty. Either side may request a panel of three doctors and each side may strike one of the panel choices and the remaining doctor will be the doctor who examines you. The doctor will conduct the examination and will issue a medical report. Either side may take the doctors deposition if they disagree with the findings of the doctor. The parties may agree upon a doctor. This type of doctor is called an AME (Agreed Upon Medical Examiner). In most cases, what this doctor finds will carry considerable weight with a workers compensation judge because both parties agreed to this doctor.
Workers Compensation cases are tried before an Administrative Law judge and do not have the formality of a civil trial. There is no strict adherence to the evidence code. The judge may consider all information that is brought before him/her and accord whatever weight they decide to give to the evidence. This is in contrast to a civil case where various items of evidence may be excluded for a variety of reasons. Once a doctor determines that the TTD period is over, until the case resolves, the injured work will start to get PDA’s (permanent disability advances). These PDA’s diminish the financial exposure to the insurance carrier for the total resolution of the claim.
All employers in the State of California are required to have Works Compensation insurance. If an employer does not carry this insurance, the State of California has established the UEF (uninsured employer’s fund). They will pay the injured workers claim and then proceed against the employer to collect the monies they had to pay on their behalf. The employer may also get fined by the State of California. If an employer discriminates against a worker for filing a claim for benefits, they may be subject to a Labor Code Section 1329a) claim. This assesses a $10,000 fine against an employer for this type of conduct.
This area of law is constantly evolving. In years past, an injury occurring on the way to work, or on the way home from work was not subject to workers compensation consideration. This is now changing to provide coverage if the employer derives some benefit from the coming and going. For example, a sales representative may be hurt while going home using either in his car or a company car after seeing a prospect. If the employer got some benefit, this would be covered. Attorney’s fees are set by statute. The applicant attorney gets 15% of the permanent disability settlement for their fees.
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