Common Questions About California Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation can be confusing. I can help you understand your rights and protect them. Below, I answer some frequently asked questions about California workers’ comp. For answers to your specific situation, please call me for a free consultation at 916-374-6857. I represent injured workers statewide.
Why was my claim denied?
The employer or insurance company may reject a claim for many reasons, such as incomplete paperwork, failure to report an accident to your employer or insufficient medical records. Or they may reject the claim as not work-related. An attorney can help you resubmit your claim or appeal your case before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Can I sue my employer instead of filing for workers’ comp?
No. Workers’ compensation is the only remedy in California. You cannot sue your supervisor or co-worker even if their negligence caused your injury. However, you may have a personal injury lawsuit against a third party other than your employer. For example, if you were injured at a construction site, you could sue an manufacturer of defective equipment or a subcontractor who created a safety hazard.
Can I file for workers’ compensation if I had a previous injury?
Yes. A prior injury or preexisting medical condition is not a barrier to workers’ compensation. However, you must show that a workplace accident or working conditions caused the re-injury or made your condition worse.
Can I see my own doctor for a workplace injury?
Only if you have health insurance AND filed a predesignation form with your employer before the accident occurred stating that you want to be treated by your regular doctor for any work injuries. Otherwise, you must first seek treatment from a doctor on a list of approved workers’ compensation providers. You can later switch doctors if you are not comfortable with the treatment you are getting.
I have chronic shoulder pain from my job but I did not have a workplace accident. Can I get workers’ compensation?
Yes. Workers’ compensation covers overuse injuries that develop over time from repetitive motions on the job. If there was no specific incident, you must show that the working conditions caused your injury. Workers’ comp also covers injury or illness from occupational exposures such as noise or toxic chemicals.
More Questions? I Can Help!
My law practice, The Law Office of Cezar J. Torrez is devoted to workers’ compensation. I have handled a wide range of injuries across California. I also formerly worked in workers’ compensation defense so I understand the methods insurers use to analyze claims (and deny benefits).