Sacramento Workers Compensation Lawyer

Workers’ Compensation Claims in Sacramento, California

No one expects to go to work and get injured, except maybe individuals in the rare “most dangerous jobs” category. Though your job may come with some amount of risk, most people are under the impression that it will never happen to them. Unfortunately, job injuries and illnesses due occur and they could happen to anyone. If you have been injured on the job, it’s important to speak to a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer for legal help. The best way to avoid getting hurt is to pay attention to the injury and illness prevention program all employers in the state of California are required to have. This program must consist of:

  • Worker training
  • Workplace inspection
  • Procedures for addressing unsafe conditions

When Injuries Occur on the Job

Some circumstances can’t be avoided under the best training. If you do sustain an injury, the incident should be reported to your supervisor immediately. If the injury or illness took a while to fully develop, it’s important to report it as soon as you think it could have been caused by your job. This is important for your employer as well as yourself.

Reporting as soon as possible helps your employer address the problem so others may avoid the same fate. It also makes it easier for you to receive benefits by limiting the delay. If you don’t report it within 30 days of the incident, you could lose the opportunity to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As soon as your injured, make sure to contact a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer.

If the injury is an emergency, seek medical help immediately. The employer may be able to instruct you on where to go for treatment. Be sure to tell your medical provider that your injury resulted from your job.

After reporting it to your supervisor, your employer should get you the claim form within one business day. Fill this out and return it as soon as you can to keep the process moving. You should receive a copy of the form you turned in within a business day. You can find the form online if your employer does not provide it for you. The information you fill out is only used to process your workers’ compensation claim.

Workers Compensation Claim Processing

The claims administrator processing your workers’ compensation claim is required to keep you up to date on what’s going on by sending you letters. These letters will explain details such as how payments were determined, why a payment may be delayed, etc.

While your claim details are being investigated, the claims administrator is required to authorize medical treatment within one working day of the claim filing. The treatment costs during the period of claim investigation is limited to $10,000. There is a law requiring immediate medical treatment to be authorized. If it is not, speak to your employer and the claims administrator immediately.

Claims administrators have utilization review processes that determine whether the treatment an injured employee is undergoing is necessary. This review process has legal rules about how it is executed. If you think it is being done unfairly, speak to the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

Disputes with the Workers Compensation Claims Administrator

When a claims administrator will not approve of medical treatment that was requested by your doctor, your doctor must resolve it through a process called Independent Medical Review (IMR). When your claims administrator denies or modifies a requested treatment, you will receive a letter in the mail explaining this. You are able to reject this by signing the provided IMR form, which will start the IMR process.

If you received treatment and the claims administrator will not pay for it, the doctor and the claims administrator need to discuss the situation and work it out. If this is your specific case, make sure to contact a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer.

Getting Back to Work After a Work Injury

The physician treating you can determine when you can start working again and in what capacity. He or she will send a report to your employer explaining:

  • What kind of work can be done during recovery
  • The changes in schedule and work necessary

You should review your job description with a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer, doctor, and employer to determine what changes need to be made. If you don’t agree with your doctor, it’s important to communicate with your claims administrator as soon as possible or you could lose your right to reject his or her report.

Temporary disability benefits can be paid for as many as 104 weeks. After that, if you still aren’t able to return to work or permanently lose your ability to work as you did before, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits.

There are so many independent people who have power over when you work and how much you receive in benefits. It’s important to seek knowledgeable and experienced legal representation during this process to help you get the benefits and treatment you deserve.

Speak to a Sacramento Workers Compensation Lawyer About Your Claim

Getting injured on the job can be an extremely tricky legal process. Having an experienced Sacramento workers compensation lawyer by your side can make all the difference. Mehlhop & Vogt Law Offices have been helping those injured at work get the right compensation they deserve since 1987. Give us a call at (916) 930-9675 if you’ve been injured at work.



Workers Compensation Claim Denied or Delayed

What Your Options Are If Your Workers Compensation Claim is Denied or Delayed

If you’re injured or become ill directly as a result of your work injury, workers compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and medical care you need to get back to good health. But what happens if your claim is denied or delayed? After already having a work-related injury, the last thing you need is a denial of medical care or financial payments you need to live. It can be a very stressful time. Contact a work comp lawyer in Sacramento if you’ve been denied workers compensation or your claim is delayed.

If your claim is denied, it means the claims administrator believes your injury isn’t covered by workers’ compensation. Unfortunately, this happens too frequently in the state of California. The good news is you have a right to challenge the decision. It’s crucial you do so in a timely manner. If you delay challenging it, you may lose your right to pursue the claim. The first thing you’ll want to do is speak to a work comp lawyer in Sacramento who can begin the legal process with you by filing an injury claim form DWC-1 and an “Application for Adjudication of Claim”.


Work Comp Attorney In Sacramento

California Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation is financial compensation for an injury an employee gets during work. Getting injured on the job can be a tricky legal process in getting the proper compensation you deserve and requires the expertise of a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer. Work-related injuries vary, such as:

  • Falling off a step-ladder and breaking your arm
  • Getting a chemical burn due to your work environment
  • Dislocating a shoulder during a car accident while driving for your company, such as to pick up materials or to make a delivery
  • Repeated exposure to physically stressful events – This can be hearing loss due to loud noise or a wrist injury due to repetitive motions required by your work.

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that a company pays for to protect their workers. Unlike other insurance, there is no amount of money deducted in paychecks for workers’ compensation – the employer is obligated to pay for it as a part of doing business. In the state of California, this insurance has five basic benefits:

  • Medical care – After an injury at work, the employer pays for the relevant medical care
  • Temporary disability benefits – This includes lost wages due to an injury or disability that prevents the injured party from working
  • Permanent disability benefits – If the injured employee does not recover completely, these benefits cover lost wages
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits – Displacement benefits consist of vouchers that help the injured party pay for retraining or acquiring new skills in the case the employee can not return to his or her original job
  • Death benefits – In the unfortunate case of the death of an employee, these benefits go to the spouse, children, or other dependents of the deceased

Unfortunately, under California law it is not required for independent contractors to be covered under the workers’ compensation of the company for which they work. As there is no exact definition of “independent contractor,” it can be difficult to determine if someone is an actual employee or an independent contractor.

When the person paying the worker behaves in the following ways, the court is likely to consider an employer/employee relationship:

  • Controlling the details and manner of work
  • Having the right to terminate the worker
  • Paying the worker an hourly or salary wage
  • Making unemployment and social security deductions
  • Supplying materials or tools
  • Requiring the worker to work specific days or times

If you’ve been injured on the job as an independent contractor, it’s important to seek legal advice from a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer who understands the complicated legal process.

Employer Responsibilities to Injured Workers

Employers have certain responsibilities to their employers regarding worker’s compensation. This includes:

  • Getting workers’ compensation insurance – The employer may qualify to be self-insured
  • Provide information regarding employees rights and responsibilities around workers’ compensation to all new employees
  • Have a workers’ compensation poster visible to all employees

After an injury has occurred, employers are obligated to do the following:

  • Provide the injured party with a workers’ compensation claim form within one working day of the report of the injury
  • Return a copy of the claim form within one working day of receipt from the injured party
  • Forward the claim form and the injured party’s report to the claims administrator within one working day of receipt of the completed form
  • Authorize up to $10,000 in appropriate medical treatment within one day of receiving the claim approval
  • Provide transitional or light work whenever possible
  • If the employee was a victim of a crime, the employer is required to provide information about workers’ compensation eligibility within one working day of the crime

Medical Care After a Work Injury

Doctors in the workers’ compensation system are required to provide medical treatment that has been proven to be effective in treating whatever specific injury or illness the individual is suffering from. There are specific guidelines that specify the exact treatments are effective for particular injuries and illness. These guidelines also go over how often these treatment should be given, how long treatment should last, and the extent or intensity of the treatment, as well as other aspects of treatment. This means there are limits to certain treatments, such as chiropractic therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.

Because there are so many details and various circumstances in which an employee can get injured on the job, it’s best to seek legal advice from a Sacramento workers compensation lawyer at our office to ensure you’re getting the compensation you truly deserve.

Temporary Disability Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation

Temporary disability is when a person’s illness or injury temporarily makes them unable to do their usual job. Benefits are paid to this individual through workers’ compensation, depending on whether the individual can work part or none of their usual hours. Temporary disability payments are typically about 67% of the pre-tax wages, tips, food, lodging, overtime, bonuses, etc. that the employee usually enjoys. There is a maximum amount set annually for what one person may receive each week.

Temporary disability payments begin when your doctor determines you cannot return to work as usual for three or more days or if you are hospitalized overnight. The payments are given out every two weeks and typically stop when you return to work or when you are released back to work by your doctor. After 2004, temporary disability payments were limited to 104 weeks.

Permanent Disability Benefits Through Workers’ Compensation

Permanent disability is when a worker has any lasting disability which decreases his or her earning capacity after medical treatment has completed. Individuals whose illness or injury resulted in permanent disability are entitled to benefits, even if they return to work. These benefits may not cover all lost income.

Your physician will be able to determine if a loss in the ability to work is due to an injury or illness and whether any more recovery is likely. When the maximal medical improvement is reached, or the illness or injury is permanent and stationary, you are considered to have permanent disability. A report will be sent from the doctor to the claims administrator, describing the loss of earning capacity and whether any other factors contributed to your permanent disability status.

Permanent disability benefits are determined by considering the following:

  • The disability rating
  • The date of the injury/illness
  • The wages before injury/illness

Seeking Legal Representation in a Workers’ Compensation Claim

No employer wants to pay out workers’ compensation. Some employers don’t even have it! In order to get the payment you deserve by law, it’s very important to have knowledgeable representation of a work comp attorney in Sacramento. This can help you get the full disability payments you deserve!

Call a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Sacramento

With 30 years of experience handling workers compensation cases throughout the greater Sacramento area, you can trust the Mehlhop & Vogt Law Offices to handle your case with the experience and dedication you deserve. Give us a call at (916) 930-9675 to speak to a work comp attorney in Sacramento now.