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How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in San Bernardino

How to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in San Bernardino

Fortunately, you can hire a workers’ compensation attorney in San Bernardino to file your claim in San Bernardino. They will lead you through every step of the claims process, including filling out a claim form with your employer. Once your employer has filed the claim, your attorney will deal with the insurance company and fight for the compensation you are entitled to.

If you are pursuing a workers’ comp claim, it means you suffered an injury or illness. Let your recovery be your priority as your attorney deals with the insurance company and fights for your financial recovery.

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Steps Required to File a Workers’ Comp Claim in San Bernardino

You must waste no time in initiating the workers’ compensation claims process. If you wait too long to prompt your employer to file a claim, the insurance company may deny your request for compensation.

Start your claim by:

  • Reporting your injury to your employer: You will need to fill out the employee portion of the workers’ compensation claim, and your lawyer may provide the necessary form. An attorney can help ensure you fill out this form completely and accurately.
  • Ensuring your employer files the workers’ comp claim: Your attorney can follow up with your employer. They will ensure that the insurance company receives the claim soon after you complete your portion. Your lawyer may obtain proof that your employer has filed the claim.

You should make and keep copies of all paperwork related to your claim, including the form you fill out and provide to your employer. Your lawyer may make copies for you.

Having a Lawyer Will Prevent Certain Claim-Related Risks

Injured worker consulting with attorney regarding insurance coverage and legal options.

A lawyer will take firm control over the claims process. Your attorney will prevent certain risks that other injured workers have suffered, including:

  • Failure to report your injury to your employer in a written, detailed format
  • Failure to ensure the insurance company receives your claim before any applicable deadlines expire
  • Rights violations during the claims process
  • Failure to document your injuries and injury-related losses

A lawyer will protect your best interests. They will provide easy-to-follow advice so you can do everything possible to promote your claim’s success.

When Will I Know If I’ve Received the Benefits I’m Seeking?

Insurers who issue workers’ compensation policies generally have 14 days to issue a decision after receiving a claim. There may be exceptions to this rule, but it’s always true that you should receive a prompt decision from the insurance company.

How a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Can Help File (and Complete) Your Claim

You cannot overstate how helpful a lawyer can be when filing a workers’ compensation claim in San Bernardino. You can focus on your recovery process because your attorney will:

Lead All Communications with the Insurance Provider

By dealing with the insurance company, your lawyer will ensure no mistakes or undue pressure compromises your claim. Your lawyer will:

  • Ensure the insurance company receives the claim
  • Insist that the insurer issues a quick decision
  • Provide any necessary documentation or information to the insurer
  • Negotiate with the insurer when the time comes

The insurance company may have financial motivations that are directly opposed to yours. This means insurance representatives might deceive you, pressure you to accept a lowball settlement offer, and engage in other bad-faith strategies.

Your attorney will protect you and your claim from the insurance company.

Investigate the Reason You’re Filing the Claim

Let’s say you suffered an injury in an accident at work. Your attorney will gather relevant information and documentation of the accident, which may include:

  • Testimony from co-workers and other witnesses about how and why the accident happened
  • Any video footage of the accident
  • An incident report provided by your employer
  • Photographs of dangerous conditions that led to the accident
  • Any other relevant evidence

This evidence can be pivotal to a claim or lawsuit. The insurance company might claim you intentionally caused your injury, were engaged in horseplay, or were impaired. Detailed evidence may help prove otherwise and seal your case for compensation.

Document Your Covered Losses

The point of a workers’ comp claim is to obtain compensation for certain losses. Therefore, your lawyer must document what those losses are and may do so using the following:

  • Photographs of visible injuries
  • Medical images of injuries
  • Doctors’ notes, including specific diagnoses of injuries
  • Medical bills
  • A doctor’s testimony that you are unable to work because of your injuries
  • Proof of lost income

If any other documentation sheds light on your covered losses, your attorney will use that documentation in your case.

Calculate the Cost of Your Losses

Your legal team will calculate the cost of your covered losses. They will demand that the insurance provider pay compensation that equals the value of your losses.

Negotiate with the Insurer

Your attorney may need to negotiate with the insurance provider for a fair financial settlement. Your lawyer will have documentation of your losses, relevant details from the insurance policy, and other useful materials ready for negotiations.

Settling is a common way of resolving civil cases, and insurance claims generally conclude with settlements, too.

Advise You Throughout the Claims Process

Your lawyer will be your advisor and counselor. They will provide clear instructions for what to do (and what not to do) in the aftermath of a work-related injury. You can also contact your lawyer anytime for:

  • Updates on your claim
  • Questions
  • Concerns
  • Advice

Your attorney will contact you whenever there are developments in the claims process. They may also contact you even when nothing happens, as they want to ensure you are comfortable with your claim’s status.

A Lawyer Can Also Help You Appeal an Adverse Ruling from the Insurer

Three attorneys seated at a desk, shaking hands in agreement during a meeting.

The California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) has locations throughout California. This is the body that will process any appeal you must file for a claim in San Bernardino.

Your attorney will facilitate an appeal by:

  • Determining the reason you were denied benefits
  • Filing a Petition for Reconsideration that addresses the reason for denial
  • Seeking a settlement with the insurance company (perhaps with assistance from a WCAB judge)
  • Overseeing any necessary trial related to your appeal

Your lawyer will make the most of your appeal, as this may be the final option for seeking the benefits you deserve.

Common Reasons for Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney

Injured workers in San Bernardino often sense that they need help obtaining the compensation they deserve. They turn to workers’ compensation attorneys because:

  • Lawyers know how to navigate workers’ comp claims: Familiarity can lend itself to success in workers’ comp cases. You should hire a lawyer with years of experience representing injured workers. Their familiarity with the claims process (including appeals) can be a huge credit to your claim.
  • Law firms fund clients’ claims: Your law firm will shoulder the financial burden of completing your claim. Whether they are hiring experts, covering filing fees, or taking other measures to strengthen your case, your law firm will pay. Your lawyer will work to recover their costs by winning for you.
  • Attorneys protect the client’s health: Your lawyer may aid in your recovery. By preventing badgering from insurers and handling case-related duties, your lawyer may provide you the time and privacy necessary to heal.
  • Injured workers may not know how to handle a claim: Odds are that you did not suffer an injury while working as a lawyer. You may have no legal training and little to no prior experience with workers’ compensation claims. This can make it difficult for you to resolve your claim without an attorney.

If you need to file a lawsuit related to a work injury, an attorney has the training and experience to help. Having an attorney on your side may provide some peace of mind at a time when you can really use it.

The Substantial Risks of Going Without an Attorney

You should seek to minimize risk (particularly financial risk) as an injured worker. You are presumably already facing medical bills and an inability to work. You could face a dire situation if you do anything that jeopardizes your financial recovery

Hiring a lawyer is one way to mitigate risk. If you choose not to hire a workers’ comp attorney in San Bernardino, you may:

  • Make an expensive mistake: Without an attorney, you will interact directly with insurers and any others involved in your case. This can lead you to do or say something that compromises your case.
  • Struggle to handle the claims process: Completing a workers’ comp claim in San Bernardino will occupy your time and potentially exhaust your energy. If you are not willing or able to invest such time or energy, it’s time to hire a lawyer.
  • Risk worsening your health: The stress and physical demands of your workers’ comp claim may jeopardize your health. This is one risk you should not be willing to accept. With an attorney handling your claim, you can give your physical recovery the attention it warrants.
  • Suffer mental health-related consequences: The stress of handling a workers’ comp claim may deteriorate your mental health. As you may already be experiencing pain and suffering, you should be unwilling to risk worsening your mental or emotional state.
  • Fail to secure the compensation you seek (and deserve): Handling your own claim can be a financially ruinous decision. You may suffer a significant financial loss if you cannot complete the claims process effectively.

While workers’ comp lawyers do not guarantee results for clients, you now know the advantages of hiring a lawyer. You also know the risks of choosing not to work with an attorney.

A Lawyer Can Lead a Lawsuit (If You Are Eligible to Sue)

Hand holding a gavel, poised to strike on the sounding block in a courtroom setting.

Your attorney will take a big-picture view of your work-related injury or illness. They will handle any necessary workers’ comp claim, but they will also consider if you can sue liable parties. Some circumstances that may warrant filing a lawsuit are:

  • When an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance
  • When a third party causes a worker to suffer injuries

For example, say a construction worker uses a protective helmet on a work site. If the helmet proves defective and the worker suffers a brain injury as a result, they might sue the helmet manufacturer for resulting damages.

Your Lawyer Will Demand Fair Payment for Your Losses

As your lawyer builds your claim or lawsuit, they will consider every loss or damage for which you deserve compensation. Some common types of harm injured and sick workers experience are:

Pain and Suffering

Your lawyer will account for damages known as pain and suffering, which can include:

  • Physical pain
  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Lost quality of life
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Attorneys frequently work with mental health experts to identify these damages, and your lawyer may, too.

Healthcare Expenses

Medical bills are an anxiety-inducing reality for most injured and sick workers. Workers’ comp should cover all medical bills from your work-related injury or illness. Your lawyer will demand that the insurance company (or any parties you sue) cover your medical costs.

Lost Income

You may suffer several professional damages, including:

  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning power
  • Inability to earn bonuses, promotions, and other performance-related perks
  • Loss of benefits

These damages may become particularly costly if you are disabled or face a long-term recovery period.

Property Expenses

If any property was damaged due to a work-related accident, you may receive compensation to repair or replace the property.

Vocational Retraining 

If you need to undergo training to return to work, your lawyer will seek fair compensation for the time and cost of such training.

Disability-Related Harm

If you need medical equipment, in-home care, or any other items or services because of a disability, your lawyer will account for these damages.

Greg Bentley, Personal injury lawyer

Workers’ Compensation Lawyer, Greg Bentley

When to Hire Your San Bernardino Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Hire your San Bernardino personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. There are deadlines related to your case, so don’t wait to find your attorney. You never have to decipher how to file a claim on your own, and doing so risks errors that might make the process more challenging than it already is. Consult a lawyer today.

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