Q: Am I suing my employer? A: No. This is a no-fault insurance system. Hiring a lawyer does not mean you are suing your employer.
Q: Do I need a lawyer? A: Not everyone does. However, with the exception of minor injuries, everyone should at least consult with a certified specialist in workers' compensation law to make sure they are getting the benefits to which they are entitled. Certainly, if the insurance company is denying any benefits, or disputing the claim, a lawyer is probably necessary.
Q: How do you get paid? A: We typically receive a fee of 15 percent from your disability award or from other benefits we obtain for you. It is illegal in California to charge any injured worker "up front" or to charge a consultation fee. All fees are approved by a workers' compensation judge.
Q: Am I limited to workers' compensation benefits? A: Most of the time, yes. If, however, your injury is caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer or co-workers, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit in addition to your workers' compensation claim. These are complex cases. We have many years of experience in dealing with the complex interplay between workers' compensation claims and associated civil lawsuits. You should NEVER settle one claim without knowing how it will affect the other.
Q: What is "lifetime medical care"? A: Unless you choose to settle your rights, this system awards ongoing medical care rights. This is not a general health insurance policy but medical coverage for your work injury. Your right to medical care never expires through the passage of time. You are covered as long as you can connect the need for treatment to your work injury. There are, however, new limits on the type of care you can receive.
Q: Have workers' compensation laws changed recently? A: Yes, in many ways. Vocational retraining has been eliminated and replaced with a voucher system. There is a new method of determining disability, which tends to result in lower disability awards. There are also limitations to the type of treatment you can receive. We are fighting many of these changes, and we will see over the next few years how the courts interpret the new laws. In addition, there are bills pending now that may further change the system.
Q: Do I have to see the company doctor? A: You have the right to change doctors. We will help you find a doctor that looks out for your interests and provides quality medical care.
If you have a question that is not answered here, pleasecontact us.
THE LAW OFFICES OF JEFFREY M. GREENBERG
In Business Since 1992
ADDRESS 825 Van Ness Ave., Suite 601 San Francisco,