Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Put the three time workers’ compensation Trial Lawyer of the Year on your case! Keith More, a partner at Bentley & More, LLP, has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2003, 2004 and 2012.
If you’ve been injured at work, you may have a lot of questions and don’t know where to turn. At Bentley & More, LLP – our workers’ compensation attorneys are top-notch and represent workers throughout Orange County. In 2017, The Daily Journal named its 75 Top Labor & Employment Lawyers in the state of California – with our very own Keith More as the only Workers Compensation attorney named to the list.
Knowing what you are entitled to as a worker in California is important when going through a workers’ compensation trial. Our very own Keith More explains your benefits and rights:
Any day on the job can end in personal injury. While employees in high-risk industries such as construction, oil and gas, and mining may be in more danger than others, even those in office jobs can suffer serious injuries. Traumatic events, repetitive motion injuries, strained muscles, and illnesses from toxic exposure all qualify as work-related injuries. Come to Bentley & More, LLP, for legal advice regarding workers’ compensation and personal injury claims after a workplace injury.
About Workplace Injuries
Every day, millions of workers put their lives on the line for the good of the American economy. Workers in almost every industry can face some type of hazards, whether it’s loose carpeting in the office or Orange County traffic as a delivery person. California, like all other states, has a workers’ compensation program to provide benefits to injured workers without requiring proof of negligence. This program will give compensation to injured workers for on-the-job injuries such as:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falling from heights
- Muscle strains/overexertion injuries
- Hit by falling objects
- Vehicle crashes and collisions
- Toxic substance injuries/illnesses
- Exposure to loud noises
- Fights/assaults at work
- Animal attacks
- Machine entanglement
- Wrongful death
It is important for all California workers to realize that workers’ compensation is not the only possible outlet for financial recovery. Workers injured in negligence-related incidents may be able to pursue greater or additional compensation through the civil court system with personal injury claims. If your accident involved someone else’s negligence or intent to harm, talk to an attorney before you file for workers’ compensation. Another legal route may be in your best interest.
Workers’ Compensation Statistics and Benefits
Workers’ compensation programs paid a total of $62.3 billion to injured workers across America in 2014. Medical bills accounted for $31.4 billion, while lost wages accounted for $30.9 billion. The California State workers’ compensation insurance system provides coverage to more than 500,000 employers. It provides benefits to about 800,000 injured workers annually. Data from January to September 2017 shows 12,243 workers’ compensation claims in the state of California, paying around $508,120,598 to injured workers total. Below is the breakdown of benefits to which each worker is entitled through the program:
- Total cost of medical care related to the injury. This may include hospital bills, surgeries, medications, live-in care, medical equipment, and other past and future medical costs. Any medical treatment necessary to “cure or relieve” the side effects of a personal injury are coverable under workers’ compensation.
- Temporary disability benefits. If a worker loses wages because of a temporary disability from the injury, he or she will receive partial lost wages. Eligibility kicks in as soon as the worker loses three days of work or more. The California workers’ compensation system pays two-thirds of average weekly wages during this time.
- Permanent disability benefits. These benefits will apply if impairment remains indefinitely. It comes in the form of a weekly permanent disability benefit of two-thirds average weekly wages. The maximum rate that applies changes year by year. In 2016, the maximum for these benefits was $290 per week.
- Supplemental job displacement benefits. If an employer doesn’t offer alternative work while you heal, and you cannot return to work for the employer within 60 days of losing temporary disability benefits, you are eligible for these benefits. You will receive a voucher worth $6,000 for education-related job training for a new position.
- Death benefits. If a worker dies from his or her injuries, a surviving spouse or other dependent can receive a lump sum death benefit, ranging from $250,000 to $320,000. Minor children may also receive a weekly death benefit in the same amount as temporary disability benefits, until the child turns 18.
In 2012, the Governor signed a workers’ compensation reform bill, Senate Bill 863, into law. This bill increased the benefit amounts for injured workers. For questions about how much the system may entitle you to after a workplace injury or death, speak to an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney. The team at Bentley & More, LLP, has helped many injured workers and their families seek maximum benefits for injuries. If you aren’t sure whether to file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, we can help.
Workers’ Comp for Construction Workers
The construction industry takes one in five worker lives, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Construction was responsible for 21.4% of all U.S. worker deaths in 2015. Construction workers put their lives in danger by operating from great heights, around heavy machinery, with dangerous equipment, and near toxic materials. OSHA identifies the following four causes as the most common for construction worker deaths:
- Falls. Falls killed 364 construction workers in 2015. Falls from scaffolds, roofs, ladders, equipment, and platforms can end in fatal injury. The industry can help prevent falls by teaching proper scaffold construction, height safety, and providing personal fall-protection gear.
- Struck by object. Ninety construction workers died from this cause in 2015. Objects such as building materials, handheld tools, and debris can fall on workers and cause serious or fatal head and brain injuries. Lack of proper head protection and securement of materials contribute to these injuries.
- Electrocutions. Electrocutions took 81 worker lives. Working around live wires and with electrical components is an incredibly dangerous field that requires a great deal of training and safety gear. Employers who don’t take the risk of electrocution seriously may fail to properly train employees to work around these elements.
- Caught-in/between. Getting caught in or caught between objects killed 67 workers in 2015. Construction employees may get caught between a motor vehicle and stationary object, gears in a piece of heavy machinery, or caught in collapsing structures. A safe workplace environment can prevent these fatal injuries.
OSHA gives hundreds of citations to California workplaces for broken rules and safety violations. Hundreds of construction workers would still be alive today were it not for the negligence of employers, product manufacturers, and other parties. As an injured worker or a surviving loved one, discover your rights in terms of workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim in Orange County. Keep in mind that once you file for workers’ compensation, you lose your right to sue your employer for negligence. Before making this decision, speak with one of our construction accident lawyers.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Workers’ Compensation
Workplace injuries don’t have to stem from one-time traumatic events to qualify for workers’ compensation. Many workers don’t realize that they could be eligible for workers’ compensation due to carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries (RSIs). Carpal tunnel cases are becoming more common as more and more employees perform their jobs behind keyboards.
It is up to an employer to help prevent the development of carpal tunnel by providing proper equipment, training courses on proper typing techniques, and allowing breaks from work. If a doctor recently diagnosed you with carpal tunnel syndrome, consider whether your tasks at work caused or contributed to this injury. If you type a lot, use a cash register, push, slice, or press objects without ample rest at work, carpal tunnel may be a work-related injury.
If this is the case, you could qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under California’s Workers’ Compensation laws, adopted in 1997. If an employer’s (or third party’s) negligence contributed to your carpal tunnel, consider pursuing monetary recover through a personal injury claim instead of or in addition to workers’ comp. The lawyers at Bentley & More, LLP, have experience representing workers with RSIs in Orange County.
Workers’ Compensation for Factory Workers
Factory workers take on unique tasks and functions in the workplace. They exist in hazardous work environments that could pose the risk of crush injuries, slip and falls, repetitive motion injuries, and equipment-related harms. The most common injuries factory workers suffer include:
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Muscle strains from heavy lifting, bending, or twisting
- Transportation injuries
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Contact with objects/equipment
- Amputation injuries
Factory workers often do not have the proper training or safety gear to protect themselves from common injuries. Such workers (or their survivors) may have personal injury/wrongful death claims against the employer in these cases. Injured factory workers should always consult with an attorney before filing for workers’ compensation because they could be eligible for greater benefits through a PI claim than with a workers’ comp claim in Orange County.
Workers’ Comp Retaliation
Injured workers should never be afraid to file workers’ compensation claims because of the fear of employer retaliation. California law has provisions in place to prevent employers from retaliating against employees who come forward with safety complaints, violations, or work-related injuries. It is against the law for your employer to terminate your job, demote you, cut your pay or hours, or take any other adverse employment action against you because of your workers’ compensation claim.
If you believe you have a case of workers’ comp retaliation, our lawyers can help. We understand the elements an employee needs to bring these types of claim in Orange County. Our team can go up against major companies and corporations on your behalf, to get to the bottom of an alleged retaliation case and its affects on your life. You may be eligible for job reinstatement and compensation for your losses. Never take retaliation lying down. Retain an attorney to defend your rights as a California worker.
Speak to Someone About Your Workplace Injury Today
Your story is our priority at Bentley & More, LLP. We pride ourselves on our defense of California’s vulnerable workers in the face of serious work-related injuries and wrongful death. Our team has appeared on broadcasts such as NBC, The Dr. Oz Show, KTLA 5, and several others for our exceptional case results. Our unwavering dedication to the clients we serve sets us apart.
When you come to us after a workplace injury, we’ll listen to your story carefully, list your legal opportunities, and help you take a stand against negligent employers or other parties. Take the first step toward the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call (949) 870-3800 for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.