Experienced Representation for Fontana Work Injury Victims
Some American industries are notoriously dangerous. For example, most people are aware that working as a member of the military, as a first responder, as a construction worker, as a meat processor, as a logger, or as a commercial fisher is inherently dangerous. However, there is no American industry that is completely safe. Certainly, construction workers are at greater risk of significant falls and crush injuries than office workers are. However, office workers frequently suffer debilitating repetitive stress injuries, just as health care providers are at a unique risk of injury caused by patient attacks and truck drivers are at unique risk for work-related injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions.
Whether you have been injured acutely as a result of an accident, have been made ill due to toxic exposure in the workplace, have aggravated a preexisting condition, or have sustained repetitive trauma, your work-related injuries or illness symptoms deserve to be taken seriously. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may be entitled to one or more kinds of compensation at this time. Don’t dismiss the idea that you may have strong grounds for legal action simply because your injuries aren’t catastrophic or because you’ve been taught to “work through the pain.” If you’ve been injured while engaging in work-related activities, contact our firm today to schedule a confidential, free consultation with no strings attached to this service. Our firm believes that every injured and ill worker deserves to understand their rights under the law, so we extend free case evaluations to any workers interested in learning more about their options.
Client-Focused Representation for Injured and Ill Workers
Too often, law firms that represent injured and ill workers focus on assisting a significant volume of clients as opposed to providing quality, detail-oriented, and client-focused representation for each case that they take on. Our firm employs the opposite philosophy. We only assist as many clients as we can while maintaining the highest quality approach to representation. Regardless of whether you are a documented or an undocumented worker, regardless of the industry you serve, and regardless of whether you operate as an independent contractor or as an employee, you have rights under the law. Please allow our experienced legal team to help you understand what those rights are and what your legal options are at this time. Every consultation we schedule is a confidential meeting that is offered to injured and ill workers free of charge and with “no strings attached.” In short, the only thing you need to invest to explore your legal options is an hour or two of your time.
How Common Are Workplace Injuries and Occupational Illnesses?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for every 100 full-time workers in the U.S., 2.8 workers sustain work-related injuries or occupational illnesses annually. This means that roughly three percent of the U.S. workforce is injured or made ill on the job every year. The BLS reports that the occupations with the highest incidence rates of workplace injuries per full-time equivalent in 2019 were:
- Nursing assistants (approximately 370 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Heavy truck and tractor-trailer truck drivers (approximately 360 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers (approximately 350 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Light truck drivers (approximately 340 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Construction laborers (approximately 250 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Maintenance and repair workers (approximately 210 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Stockers and order fillers (approximately 150 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Janitors and cleaners (approximately 120 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Registered nurses (approximately 105 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
- Retail salespersons (approximately 60 incidents per 10,000 FTE)
According to the federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the most dangerous (non-fatal) occupations for workers in the U.S. at this time include:
- Health care and social assistance
- Retail trade
- Accommodation and food services
- Transportation and warehousing
- Wholesale trade
- Administrative and waste services
- Professional and technical services
- Educational services
- Oil and gas extraction
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Arts, entertainment, and recreation
- Fishing and hunting
What Do I Do if I’ve Been Injured While at Work?
The first thing you’ll need to do after sustaining an injury or developing an occupational illness is seek medical attention. You may be hesitant to do so, especially if you don’t have insurance. However, your wellbeing is paramount and your condition may worsen if you do not seek medical attention immediately. Once you have sought medical attention, you can connect with our firm so that we can determine what kinds of compensation you may be entitled to (including compensation that may cover all of your injury-related medical bills) at this time.
If you are eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to report your injuries to your employer. Reporting your injuries to your employer is important under any circumstance, however, some workers are understandably concerned about being retaliated against in the event that they choose to speak up. Although it is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers for reporting injuries or otherwise exercising their legal rights, if you feel uncomfortable reporting your injuries to your employer, speak with us as quickly as you can so that we can protect your rights and figure out the best way forward.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you are classified as a full-time or part-time employee and the company you work for keeps more than a few workers on its payroll, chances are very good that you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Generally speaking, the only workers who are ineligible for these benefits are independent contractors who have not been misclassified, workers at very small companies, and workers in certain specialty industries. If you are unsure of whether you are eligible or should be eligible for these benefits because you have been incorrectly classified as an independent contractor, we can clarify that issue for you.
Will My Workers’ Comp Benefits Be Affected if My Accident Was Partially My Fault?
Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you should be awarded these benefits even if it was your fault or partially your fault that you were injured in the first place. As long as you sustained your injuries while engaging in work-related activity, you should be awarded your benefits provided that you were not impaired by drugs or alcohol when you sustained you injuries, your injuries did not result from a fight you started, and you did not create an accident scenario for the purpose of getting injured so that you could collect workers’ compensation benefits.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
The workers’ compensation system limits employer liability for work-related harm. This means that if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you almost certainly cannot sue your employer directly for any part that your employer may have played in the harm you have suffered. However, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against any third party (other than your employer) that may have contributed to the harm you have suffered. Workers’ compensation does not limit the liability of third parties, including motorists, manufacturers of defective equipment, etc.
If you are ineligible to receive a workers’ compensation benefits award, you may sue any third party that contributed to the cause of your harm through their negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous actions or inactions. As you are not restricted by the limited liability shield provided by California’s workers’ compensation system, you may also sue the company for which you provide work-related services, if that company contributed to the cause of your harm.
What if I Have an Occupational Illness or Repetitive Stress Injury?
If you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, we can help you file a claim successfully, regardless of whether your injuries were caused by an accident, exposure to toxic substances, repetitive stress, or aggravation of a preexisting condition. The same principles that apply to workers’ compensation benefits extended to accident victims apply to those who have been hurt on the job due to circumstances that made them sick, aggravated their preexisting conditions, and/or resulted in repetitive trauma.
With that said, non-accident workers’ compensation claims tend to be more complex and they tend to not be paid out as quickly. In addition, some are initially undervalued. When an accident causes an employee harm, it is hard for an insurance claims adjuster to argue that their injuries are not work-related. However, when workers are ill, suffering due to repetitive stress, or are dealing with the aggravation of a preexisting condition, insurance claims adjusters will often argue that the suffering these workers are experiencing was caused by other influences and life choices beyond engaging in work-related activity. As a result, it can be very helpful to work with an attorney before you submit an initial claim, especially if your case is not straightforward or involves repetitive stress, aggravation of a preexisting condition, or occupational illness. We understand how to avoid red tape, unnecessary delays, and unreasonable devaluation of such claims. We will work hard on your behalf so that you don’t have to deal with the heightened stressors that are traditionally associated with non-accident workers’ compensation claims requests.
What if I Was Hurt While Working from Home?
Just as it can be more difficult to be awarded a fairly valued and promptly paid claim for occupational illness, repetitive stress, and aggravation of a preexisting condition, it can be more challenging than usual to receive a fairly valued and promptly paid workers’ compensation claim when the injured worker in question engages in work-related activities out of their home. If you are a full or part-time employee and are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you should be awarded those benefits even if you were injured while working from home. Provided that you were engaging in work-related activity when you were injured, your eligibility for benefits should not be affected by where you were when your injury occurred. Again, however, these claims can be harder to prove and may be undervalued, so it is important to work with an attorney as soon as you’ve been injured to better ensure that your claims request is paid promptly and valued fairly.
Can My Employer Retaliate if I File a Claim?
Employers are specifically prohibited from retaliating against workers for reporting their injuries, participating in any activity related to work or safety including investigations, and filing workers’ compensation claims. If your employer attempts to retaliate against you, we will work hard to protect your rights and the rights of your coworkers.
If you have not yet scheduled a confidential, no-obligation, free consultation with our experienced legal team, please do so today. The sooner you act, the sooner we can advise you of your options, clarify your legal rights, and help to empower you to make informed decisions about your situation. Our trusted and respected Fontana workers’ rights attorneys look forward to speaking with you.