Cramer and Martinez

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7459 Monterey St., Suite A, Gilroy, CA 95020

California workers' comp attorneyOne of the more common reasons that injured workers may avoid filing a Workers’ Compensation claim is a fear of retaliation. Especially in difficult economic circumstances, employees may be very fearful of losing a good job. It may seem preferable to deal with a worksite injury alone, through your own medical insurance rather than risking job loss during the next round of layoffs. However, in California, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone for filing a claim with Workers’ Compensation. Doing so would be a form of wrongful termination, and you could have legal recourse. If a fear of retaliation is keeping you from filing for Workers’ Compensation, our attorneys may be able to help set your mind at ease and get you the funding you need. 

What California Law Says About Retaliation and Workers’ Compensation

Under California state law, your employer cannot fire you - or even threaten to fire you - because you filed a Workers’ Compensation claim or plan to do so. If you make your intention to file a claim known and are threatened with the possibility of losing your job, your employer is breaking the law and could actually be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor. The same is true if your employer actually goes through with firing you. 

Employers will sometimes make up excuses to fire employees who have filed for Workers’ Compensation. For example, they may terminate your employment the second you file a claim and then try to say you were actually fired for being 45 seconds late that one time. This approach is rarely effective - courts are smart enough to see right through the ruse. 

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California workers' compensation lawyerAs if getting hurt at work is not bad enough, finding out that your rightful claim for Workers’ Compensation has been denied can make your life that much harder. Claims can be denied for any number of reasons, reasonable or otherwise. It could be that you are having a hard time proving that a repetitive stress injury was caused by your work, or that someone is under the false impression that you are exaggerating the extent of your injury.

Whatever reason you were given for having your claim denied, there may be steps an attorney can take to appeal the board’s decision and hopefully get you the compensation you need to get better. Cramer + Martinez knows how a denied claim can affect the financial health of your whole family, and we will fight to make it right. 

Appealing a Denied Workers’ Compensation Claim in California

If your initial claim was denied, do not panic. You have the right to appeal the decision, and it is best that you do so with assistance from a trained attorney. The first order of business will be to figure out why your claim was denied. Reasons your claim might have been denied include: 

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Santa Clara County Workers' Compensation LawyersLosing a limb is among the most dreaded types of permanently disabling injuries that one can suffer in the workplace. When you have lost an arm or a leg, or even a finger, it can take a long time for you to get back to a point where you can perform your normal activities of daily living. You will likely need extensive physical therapy, with or without a prosthesis, before you can do things like dressing yourself or cleaning your home. Having a limb severed also tends to come with a lot of pain - the pain alone associated with this injury can keep you from returning to work. While you may eventually be able to adjust to a new way of doing things, you may never be able to return to the type of work you were doing before the injury. Because this is such a major type of Workers’ Compensation claim, it is best to have an attorney handle your case. 

What You Should Know About Workers’ Compensation After Losing a Limb

While some people do very well with a prosthetic limb, others do not. At no point should you feel any obligation to be “inspiring.” Physical and mental recovery after the loss of a limb is an intensely personal affair. You deserve to receive compensation so that your injury does not come with a big financial hit. This is what Workers’ Compensation is for. 

Here are few considerations you should keep in mind as you explore your available options:

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California work comp lawyerBrushing off a “minor” injury in the workplace can come back to bite you. Some injuries or accidents may seem like no big deal in the moment, only to become a very big deal later on. If you report the injury right away and have the accident thoroughly documented, then you will have solid evidence that you got hurt at work should you need to pursue a Workers’ Compensation claim later on. However, if you fail to report what happened, it might be more difficult to establish that your injury is a workplace injury.

There are a number of reasons that people do not report workplace accidents, ranging from embarrassment to a belief that the injury will quickly heal on its own. Reporting the injury anyway can preserve your claim just in case. 

Why You Should Report Every Injury, Every Time

“Minor” injuries can turn out to be a much bigger deal than you may have anticipated. Reasons that you should always report every workplace accident or injury include: 

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Gilroy workers compensation lawyersSome workplace injuries are much more serious than others. After a simple injury like a sprained ankle, you may need a few weeks off to recover before returning to work. In that case, your claim would be fairly straightforward - you recover lost wages and medical expenses, and you are back at work like nothing happened. However, some workplace injuries can be much more serious. A serious accident that causes a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury can leave you permanently unable to return to work. You may have to change career paths, which often involves taking a serious pay cut. Or, you may never be able to work again in any capacity. In these instances, you may be eligible for permanent disability benefits. If you are in this type of situation, it is crucial that you reach out to an attorney for help applying for Workers’ Compensation

When Am I Eligible for Permanent Disability Benefits?

Applying for permanent benefits can be trickier than applying for temporary benefits. You will need some patience, as you cannot apply immediately. It is impossible to prove permanent disability until a doctor has determined that your injury is no longer improving and is unlikely to improve in the future. Depending on the injury, this could take months. A worker with a traumatic brain injury may spend up to a year in a rehabilitation facility while slowly improving as time goes on. Of course, in other cases, it is fairly clear that improvement is unlikely to occur. For example, if an accident leaves you paralyzed or missing a limb, your condition is not likely to get better. 

If your doctor determines that your condition is as good as it is likely to get, but you are still not able to return to work, you might be eligible for permanent disability payments. 

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