Work Accidents & Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles, California
Work Accidents & Injuries
If you’ve been injured on the job, you need a work injury attorney in Los Angeles to protect your legal rights. You have the right to be compensated for any injury that occurs at the workplace. Your employer is interested in protecting its own legal rights—not your right to compensation. This is why you need to hire your own lawyer. A workplace accident attorney can help you preserve evidence, document your injuries, and demand fair compensation for your losses.
At Blair & Ramirez LLP, our California work injury lawyers have helped many accident victims protect their legal rights. Workers trust us to file claims and demand fair compensation. If your workers’ compensation or personal injury claim is not handled properly, we can file suit in the civil court to demand fair treatment. Let us protect your legal rights so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
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What should I do after a workplace accident?
After any type of accident, it is important to get medical attention right away, even if you do not think you are injured. Some injuries are difficult to detect. Only a qualified medical professional can determine if you need medical treatment. Injuries that are not treated tend to become worse over time.
Not only does this increase your pain and suffering, but it can also impact your right to compensation. A defense lawyer could argue that you contributed to your own injuries by failing to seek medical treatment right away. If this argument is successful, the employer would not have to pay for the additional medical bills made necessary by delays in treatment. A work injury lawyer in Los Angeles, California, can help protect you from these claims, but only if you take care of your health.
Filing a legal claim
Once you have taken care of your medical needs, it is time to address your legal needs. Consult with a workplace accident attorney as soon as possible after you are injured on the job. The sooner you have an attorney in your corner, the better protected your legal rights will be. An attorney will also ensure that your legal claims are filed before any deadlines created by a statute of limitations. A work injury attorney can also help you choose the type of claim that is appropriate for your case.
The difference between workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim
Workers' compensation is available to any person who is injured in the "course and scope" of their employment. Almost all California employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Unlike other types of insurance, workers’ compensation is "no-fault." This means that the injured workers do not have to prove who was at fault for the accident. As long as the injury occurred on the job, workers’ compensation will pay for all accident-related medical expenses. Workers' compensation also covers a portion of the injured employee’s lost wages.
Personal injury claims are more difficult to prove. Unlike workers’ compensation, personal injury is based on fault, and the injured plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent. But once this is proven, the plaintiff is entitled to compensation for all medical bills, all lost wages, all decreased future income, pain and suffering, property damage, and any other financial loss that was caused by the accident.
Personal injury claims can lead to greater compensation. Workers' compensation claims are designed to get injured workers quick access to medical care. This is why it is easier to get workers' compensation coverage—and also why it is limited in scope.
However, there are some exceptions to California's workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule. There are five occurrences in which employees can obtain additional compensation for their injuries. Please read about the 5 exceptions to California's workers’ compensation here.
Why injury victims might have to choose
An injured employee usually cannot file both a workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim against an employer. This rule is called an "election of remedies," and it is designed to prevent employers from being charged twice for the same accident. There are some exceptions to this “election of remedies” rule, but they are not common, and only an attorney can determine if they apply to your case. This is why it is important to get legal advice before you choose to file a workers’ compensation claim.There is a notable exception. An injured employee can file a workers’ compensation claim against an employer and a personal injury claim against some other third party who was responsible for the accident. If, for example, a construction worker was injured by a defective saw, he could file a workers’ compensation claim against the employer and a products liability claim against the saw manufacturer. These are complicated legal situations that require an attorney’s guidance from the start of the case. If these claims are not handled properly, the injury victim could lose out on the compensation to which he or she is legally entitled.
How to protect your legal rights while your claim is pending
There are several important things you can do to protect your legal rights while your case is pending. This will help you prove your case and defend you from insurance company tactics to reduce the value of your claim.
Document your injuries and losses
The largest component of a personal injury award is often pain and suffering. This is also the most subjective loss, so it can be difficult to prove. Start by taking photographs of bruises, cuts, stitches, or other physical signs of your injury. You should also document all the ways in which your injuries have affected your daily life. Perhaps you are unable to sleep. Maybe you missed an important family event. These are real losses. By tracking them in a journal or diary, you have evidence of the very real losses you have suffered due to your injuries.
Do not post anything about your injuries or claim on social media
In today's digital world, most people have an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or YouTube. Many people have accounts on all of these platforms. While these can be helpful tools for staying in touch with friends and family, they can also be a defense lawyer’s weapon to destroy your case. Some plaintiffs make the mistake of posting about their accidents on social media. Any statements about what happened or who was at fault can be used to challenge liability. Statements about your injuries or pain level could be used to attack your credibility. Even something as simple as a gym selfie could be used to challenge your personal injury claim: if you were in so much pain, how could you make it to the gym? These tactics are unfair, but they are part of a defense lawyer’s daily work.
Insurance companies have always hired investigators to try to challenge claims. These are people who are hired to follow you and your family, often recording you performing activities to challenge your claims of pain and suffering. While these creepy tactics still persist, much of these investigators’ work has moved online. Many people document their entire lives on social media. Insurance companies pay their investigators to find this information and use it to discredit injury victims.
Do not give them the chance to attack your claim. Change all your account settings to allow for the maximum available privacy. Even after you have done this, refrain from posting anything about the accident on social media. Do not discuss your work, the accident, your injuries, or anything else related to your claim. Do not discuss your daily activities. Post as little as possible until your claim has been settled.
Follow through with all treatment recommendations from your medical providers
Another insurance company tactic is to challenge your medical treatment. As discussed, delays in treatment can aggravate your injuries and delay your recovery. Defense lawyers know how to identify these delays. They use them to challenge accident claims and try to get out of paying injury victims. Do not give a defense lawyer the chance to blame you for their client’s negligence. See a doctor as soon as possible after your accident, and follow through with all the treatment recommendations he or she gives you.
In other cases, the defense attorney will attack the type of treatment you receive. This is especially common with “alternative” treatments like acupuncture. Chiropractors are also common targets of defense attacks. You have the right to be compensated for the medical treatment you require, and you do not have to let a defense lawyer bully you into stopping treatment before you feel better. Be sure to keep your personal injury lawyer updated about the type of treatment you are receiving and how your recovery is progressing. Your lawyer can help prevent these attacks by documenting the need for your treatment.