Workers' Compensation Attorneys for San Diego
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Work Accident?
You've been injured on the job in San Diego. Are you wondering if you need an attorney to handle your workers' comp claim? It makes a big difference. The workers' compensation process can be very complicated. An experienced attorney can help you prove your claim and file appeals if your claim is denied.
If you've been hurt in a workplace accident in California, you are eligible to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The workers' compensation system is a state program designed to help employees who have been hurt on the job. In theory, the system is set up to give you the resources you need to make a full recovery. Workers' compensation benefits are supposed to provide you with medical treatment for your injury or illness, and partially replace the wages you lose while you can't work.
McLaughlin & Sanchez knows that in practice, it doesn’t always work that way. The workers’ compensation system is an insurance fund. And like any insurance company, it tries to keep payments as low as possible. Too many times, we see workers denied proper medical care and financial compensation. They are left still suffering from an injury and find it harder to pay their bills. The system is stacked against them, and they don’t know what to do.
That's where we come in. McLaughlin & Sanchez can help you navigate the complicated legal system to increase your benefits while you focus on getting better. We can make sure proper procedure is followed and will represent you in all appeals and hearings.
From the cities in South Bay, the beach communities in North County to the rural areas of East County and all points throughout San Diego County, injured workers rely on McLaughlin & Sanchez to protect their rights.
What types of injuries are covered by workers’ compensation?
Many types of work injuries can sideline you and qualify you for workers' compensation. But some are more common than others. Find out about California's most common workplace injuries.
A significant number of cases requiring time off from work are due to sprains and strains related to overexertion. You may tear a ligament or strain your lower back due to lifting or lowering an object and need to file a workers’ comp claim. A fall down accident or slip and trip without a fall can also cause a work injury that requires days off from work.
Call now if you suffered any of these types of top workplace injuries
- Strains from lifting
- Repetitive motion
- Injured after slipping, tripping or falling
- Cuts or punctures
- Struck by a falling or flying object
- Knee and leg injuries
- Head and brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Occupational exposure injuries
- Back injuries
- Chemical exposure
- Hearing loss
Injuries suffered at work should always be taken seriously. Don’t try to work though it and hope you will feel better. Be sure to report the injury and get medical attention. A doctor may suggest taking time off from your job while you recover.
Serious workplace injuries can happen to any employee, from a nurse who strains his or her back at a hospital in Hillcrest to a waiter who slips and falls at a restaurant in Mission Beach. Our law firm represents injured workers from all walks of life, including public safety members and flight crew members. If you're in a union, talk to us.
What types of accidents can lead to a workers' compensation claim?
Any employee hurt while working can file a claim for benefits. California requires all employers to have workers' compensation insurance. Incidents that lead to injuries usually fall into these categories:
- Slip, Trip or Fall
- Toxic Exposure
- Tractor Trailer/Vehicle Defects
- Construction Accident
- Other Accidents
Injuries are generally covered if they happen on-site, such as the company headquarters, a company warehouse, or a satellite office or store. Injuries that happened off-site may also be covered if they were work-related. For example, attending a company-sponsored event, making a delivery or meeting clients.
If you're injured while working, you can put in a claim for workers' compensation benefits. But you may not get all the benefits you need and deserve.
Inside the worker’s compensation process
There are several steps involved. First, you are required to notify your employer about your workplace injury. You need to file a DWC-1 claim within 30 days along with other documentation. This documentation includes an Application for Adjudication of Claim, a Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906 (g) and document cover and separator sheets.
You need to get appropriate medical care for your injury and gather documentation about your diagnosis and treatment. Next, you will need to submit a claim for benefits, such as temporary disability or permanent disability. But your employer or their insurance company may dispute your claim. If your claim is denied, you can file an appeal.
How can you help with my workers' compensation claim?
Our top priority is helping you get proper medical care and the maximum compensation you rightfully deserve. All you need to do is report your injury to your employer. We'll handle everything after that.
Your employer can choose which doctor you see for your injury. Typically, employers will choose doctors who will minimize the extent of needed treatment and rehabilitation. But we can help you find a doctor in your provider network who can give you a complete and unbiased second opinion of your injury.
We'll make sure proper procedure is followed every step of the way. If your claim is denied, or the benefits don't cover all the medical treatment you need, we'll aggressively fight the decision, even if it means going to court.
Our help doesn't stop there. If you are cleared for modified work by a doctor, we will make sure your employer takes appropriate steps. If you are harassed by your employer, or if your employer tries to punish you in some way for your claim, we will take action.
We understand the impact of a work injury
Being hurt on the job can affect you physically, emotionally and financially. If you miss time from work, there is less income coming in. Medical expenses for treating your work injury can add up quickly. You may start to worry about how you are going to pay the bills. We fight to help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
You pay us nothing until you get results. Contact us today for a free case review. Let us put our knowledge and experience in workers' compensation law to work for you.
What are slip, trip and fall accidents?
These types of workplace accidents are extremely common. A slip happens when a worker loses balance while walking on a floor or other surface. The floor or surface might be wet (spilled water, mud or grease), dry (spilled dust or powder) or waxed. Trips can happen when a worker's foot or lower leg hits another object-for example, a hose, an extension cord or an open filing cabinet. Or a trip can be caused by walking on an uneven surface or stepping up or down to a different level. The result is a fall-and that worker getting hurt.
These types of accidents can cause all kinds of injuries. They include sprains, strains, bruises, cuts and scratches-and broken bones. Workers who fall can suffer injuries to their ankles, feet, wrists, elbows, back, shoulders, hips and head.
These injuries can cause temporary or permanent disability. An injured worker may need to see a medical specialist, such as an orthopedist. Surgery and/or physical therapy may be required.
Can toxic exposure in the workplace be harmful?
Yes. Exposure to hazardous chemicals and other toxic substances can be extremely harmful. This exposure can happen suddenly-for example, when a chemical is spilled and touches the eyes or skin. Or the exposure can happen slowly over a long period of time, such as breathing in chemical fumes at the workplace.
For example, shipyard workers in the South Bay area of San Diego County may have developed mesothelioma, a type of cancer that can develop from exposure to asbestos.
Toxic exposure can lead to injuries of the eyes, skin and lungs. Eyes can become irritated, watery and swollen. Vision may become blurry or there may be sensitivity to light. Skin can become burned or irritated. Lungs can also be affected by breathing in toxic fumes. This can lead to shortness of breath, and pain or burning in the lungs.
Some injuries caused by toxic exposure can be completely healed. But others can lead to long-lasting illness or disability.
Am I eligible for workers' compensation if I'm hurt while driving a tractor-trailer?
Yes, if that's your job. Workers can get hurt if they are involved in an accident while driving a tractor-trailer. But they can also suffer an injury while hitching trailers, loading or unloading, using a pallet jack or securing boxes. An employee may get hit by a piece of equipment or slip or trip. Sometimes, an accident is caused because of defective equipment.
Many different types of injuries can occur in workplace accidents involving tractor-trailers. They can involve back, neck or knee sprains, cuts or broken bones. Or they can be far more serious, such as burns, spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injury.
If the accident was caused by defective equipment-such as tires or brakes, or a forklift used in loading-you may have other options. In addition to filing for worker's compensation benefits, you may be able to seek damages from a third party that was negligent.
Can I file a workers' compensation claim if I've been hurt in a construction accident?
Yes. If you're an employee who was hurt while working construction, you are entitled to benefits. Employees who work on a construction site can include carpenters, roofers, sheet metal workers, structural workers and all tradespeople.
A construction site is a very dangerous workplace. There is heavy equipment moving around, and power tools such as nail guns, saws and drills. Heavy pieces of lumber and steel are being moved regularly. An employee may be working high off the ground on a project in the Columbia neighborhood of Downtown San Diego. The risk of an accident is always there.
Because of the dangerous nature of construction work, when there is an accident, it can result in severe injuries. They can include back and neck injuries, vision or hearing damage, burns, crushed or amputated limbs or spinal cord injuries.
Due a workplace accident on a construction site, you may suffer a temporary or permanent loss of mobility. As a result, you may no longer be able to work.
Construction accidents are sometimes caused by defective equipment or contractor negligence. In these cases, you may also be able to seek damages from a third party. This means you may be eligible to receive compensation for pain and suffering and other damages not included in a workers' comp claim.
Are there other workplace accidents and injuries that qualify for workers' compensation benefits?
There are. Some injuries don't show up for many years. One example is repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, from performing the same task over a very long period. Another is hearing loss from working in a loud work environment (where there is loud machinery, for example). Working at a job can also lead to chronic pain or arthritis over time.
Other types of injury can be brought on by stressful conditions. These include heart disease, hypertension and stroke. Mental and emotional injuries are also covered by workers' compensation laws. For example, overwork or a very stressful workplace can lead to a mental breakdown.
These types of claims can be difficult to prove and workers with these injuries may be denied benefits. That's why it important to have an experienced workers' compensation attorney on your side.