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Mistakes happen in the workplace, just as they do in other parts of life. But when an avoidable mistake in the workplace causes death or a lifelong disability, that explanation just isn’t enough. State and federal laws strictly regulate workplace safety, and workplaces should have their own safety rules and procedures. But all too often, managers and owners interested in saving a few dollars ignore those rules or find ways around them. Other times, workers just don’t follow them, out of carelessness or bad communication. The Los Angeles work injury attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Workplace accidents happen, especially in a large, populated place like Los Angeles County. In fact, if Los Angeles County was it’s own nation, it would have the 19th largest economy in the world. With an economy of that size, Los Angeles is home to 244,000 businesses and employs a lot of workers.
Some of the largest employers in Los Angeles County include:
County of Los Angeles – 95,700 employees
Los Angeles Unified School District – 73,000 Employees
Kaiser Permanente – 36,500 Employees
Target Corp. – 14,200 Employees
Kroger Co. (Ralphs, Food 4 Less) – 13,200 Employees
Boeing Co. – 11,200 Employees
Walt Disney Co. – 10,500 Employees
Edison International – 8,900 Employees
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. – 8,000 Employees
Reported Work Injuries in California
In 2014, employers reported more than 460,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and 344 fatal injuries in California. The most common causes of fatal work-related injuries were transportation incidents, violence by persons or animals, falls and slips, contact with objects/equipment, and exposure to harmful substances. The service industry reported the most nonfatal workplace injuries in California, followed by the reincorporation industry and office/administrative support. Overexertion was the most common cause of nonfatal injuries in the private sector, followed by contact with objects or equipment.
Why do I Need a Work Injury Attorney for my Workers’ Compensation Case?
Your employer most likely has a legal connection to use during workers’ compensation cases. A team of Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys will support your company and your employer – fighting against you in an effort to diminish or completely dismiss your workers’ comp claim. Unless you have legal experience, you don’t want to go up against major insurance corporations or their attorneys on your own. Hiring a lawyer might not be mandatory in the California civil courts, but it’s critical if you want to protect your rights as best you can. A lawyer can do the following for you:
- Help you select a physician. Contacting an attorney immediately after a workplace accident can come with benefits such as getting a physician referral from a trusted source. Our LA attorneys can help you decide which doctor to go to with your injury or illness for a fair, dependable examination that fulfills workers’ comp requirements.
- Handle the claims process. Don’t make common mistakes such as forgetting to notify your supervisor of the injury or failing to file your claim within the state’s strict deadline. These could ruin your chances of getting compensation. Hire a lawyer to take care of the claims process on your behalf, from beginning to end.
- Negotiate a better settlement. Contrary to what you may believe, you do have the power to negotiate a better workers’ comp settlement. If you believe the insurance company isn’t giving you enough to cover your accident-related damages, a lawyer can help you negotiate a higher amount.
- Take your case to trial. One of the most important reasons to hire a work injury attorney is to prepare in the event of a trial. A trial may be the best option if your employer’s insurance company is denying your claim, or if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. A third-party claim needs a lawyer’s guidance.
- Maximize recovery. Overall, a workers comp attorney in Los Angeles can help you maximize the recovery you receive for your work-related injury. Skilled negotiations, aggressive legal tactics, and the power to take your case to court can all make a difference in the amount you get for your claim.
No matter how tough or complex your workers’ compensation case is, a lawyer can help you achieve great results. Hiring a lawyer can immediately take the burden of settlement negotiations off your shoulders. You can focus on spending time with your family and healing while your attorney takes care of legal matters.
When Should I Hire an Attorney for a Workers’ Comp Case?
You should hire a work accident attorney for a workers’ compensation case in California if you have severe injuries, you missed a significant amount of work because of your injuries, you have pre-existing injuries that may affect your claim, your employer denies that the injuries happened because of work, or the insurance company is denying your claim. These are complications that can be difficult to work through on your own. Instead of running the risk of losing your right to compensation forever, discuss your case with a lawyer to see how legal representation could change the outcome.
Anything that may make your workers’ compensation claim nonstandard is a reason to contact a lawyer. Claim denials, settlements that are too small, permanent disabilities because of your injuries, or an issue such as retaliation for filing a claim all deserve an attorney’s attention. You should also contact an attorney if a third party’s negligence or misconduct caused your injuries. This could give you grounds for a third-party personal injury claim – something that may result in higher compensation than workers’ comp alone.
It’s always worthwhile to schedule a free legal consultation with our Los Angeles workers compensation lawyer team regarding your case. You may discover you have the opportunity for better compensation through legal action. You can reach us at (310) 477-1700 today!
What are some Common Workplace Injuries from Work Accidents in Los Angeles?
Some of the most common serious injuries from workplace or construction site accidents include:
- Falls and impacts from falling objects
- Automobile and equipment accidents
- Body parts caught in heavy machinery
- Exposure to toxic substances, including long-term exposure that builds up as well as sudden and severe exposure
- Explosions and fires
- Long-term ergonomic damage
- Violent crime
These on-the-job work injuries can kill their victims or leave them with amputations, chronic pain, multiple fractures, spinal injuries or brain damage. These are catastrophic injuries that rob victims of essential parts of their lives — often including their careers. Even when workers’ compensation insurance works the way it should, these injuries can be extremely expensive to treat and live with. When there’s no workers’ compensation or insurers don’t play fair, it just adds insult to literal injury. If you were injured at work through no fault of your own, you may file a workplace accident lawsuit to get compensation for costs caused by the accident as well as your injury, pain and suffering, any permanent disability and more.
How long do I have to file a Workers Compensation case in California?
According to the current laws of the state of California, a person that suffered an injury at their workplace has up to one year to file the worker injury claim. This is known as the statute of limitations and the time limit countdown starts on the actual date of the injury at the workplace. It is recommended to not wait this long to file your claim. You should file your workers compensation claim as soon as possible. Our experienced Los Angeles workers compensation attorneys can walk you through the whole process!
In order to get started with your workers comp paperwork, you need to fill out the following items:
– DWC-1 claim form. You can get this here.
– Application for Adjudication of Claim. Download this here.
– Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g). You can get this here.
– Document Cover Sheet and Document Separator Sheets. Get these here and here.
Los Angeles Workplace Injury Case Experience
Panish Shea & Boyle’s experience with workplace injuries includes Griggs v. Caterpillar, et al., in which partner Brian Panish won a $58 million verdict for a construction worker who was burned over 75% of his body when a defective piece of equipment he was operating caught fire. In another case, Beltran v. Chadwick Helmuth, partner Kevin Boyle helped win $13.55 million for two Army Chief Warrant Officers who sustained disabling spinal injuries when a defective helicopter they were maintaining crashed from 800 feet. In Doe v. Oil Refinery, the firm won a $6.2 million settlement for workers caught under a collapsing refinery roof.
Panish Shea & Boyle Los Angeles work injury attorneys are nationally recognized for excellence in consumer protection and personal injury law. Our attorneys have won several record-setting verdicts and settlements in addition to those listed above, including the largest jury verdict in U.S. history in Anderson v. General Motors. Our partners frequently take leadership roles in professional organizations and in complex national litigation. Partners have been repeatedly awarded or nominated for honors such as Rising Stars or Most Influential Attorneys, and they frequently write and speak to other attorneys about good trial practice or legal specialties.
Work Accident Verdicts & Settlements
- Griggs v. Caterpillar, et al. $58,137,361 Joseph B. Griggs sued West-Pac Industries after the Catepillar scraper he was operating burst into flames resulting in third-degree burns over 75% of his body. Attorney Brian Panish argued that the fire was due to a defective mechanical product in the hydraulic system of the construction vehicle. A jury agreed, awarding Griggs $58,137,361.
How to File a Workers Compensation Claim in LA
The California Workers’ Compensation Program gives monetary benefits to workers who sustain injuries on the job or to the surviving family members of workers who die on the job. The program provides benefits without the injured party having to prove anyone’s negligence in causing the accident. The worker must simply prove an injury or illness exists and that he or she obtained it while performing job-related tasks. Here’s how to file a workers’ comp claim:
- Report to your employer. Report the accident to your employer, and seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. There may be a specific doctor you must see under workers’ compensation rules. Never wait longer than 30 days to report the accident.
- File the proper documents. In most cases, your employer can file your workers’ compensation claim for you. If not, you can download the forms online and submit them yourself. You will need to file a DWC-1 claim form and potentially other documents as well.
- Wait for benefits. You have five years from the date of injury to file your claim, or one year from the date of a loved one’s death. The timeline may vary depending on your situation. The sooner you file, the sooner you can receive your benefits. The Workers’ Compensation Commission will mail you a check if it approves your claim.
Workers’ comp benefits will completely cover medical expenses, about three-fourths of lost wages, and disability costs. When you file for workers’ compensation benefits, you automatically surrender your right to sue your employer. It’s a tradeoff that employees take for guaranteed injury coverage. Discuss the potential of a work injury claim with an attorney before you file for workers’ comp in California. A PI claim could result in much greater compensation, or you could be eligible for both courses of action.
Los Angeles Work Accident Attorneys Dedicated to Your Case
The experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP will work to get maximum compensation for your workers comp case. Contact them today for a free consultation in Los Angeles here (310) 477-1700 or toll-free at 877-800-1700 or fill out the contact form here on our website.
California Work Injury Lawyer Disclaimer: The work accident or other legal information presented on this site should not be considered formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee or predict a similar outcome with respect to any future matter. Please note that you are not considered a client until you have signed a retainer agreement and your case has been accepted by us.