Pleasant Hill, CA Workers Compensation Attorney

Workers’ compensation in California is designed so that if you are injured while working on the job, various benefits will become available to you regardless of whether you, your company or a third party was negligent.

Under California law, all employers are required to provide workers’ compensation — even if they only have one employee. Unfortunately, too many employers ignore this mandate, leaving workers in danger of having no coverage if they are injured or get sick on the job. This was the case for employees at four restaurants in Pleasant Hill, whose bosses failed to purchase workers’ compensation coverage.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, employees in the foodservice and preparation industry suffered 73,410 nonfatal work injuries requiring time off of work. The most common injuries were sprains, sprains and tears; cuts, lacerations and punctures, thermal burns; and contusions. 

When restaurant owners fail to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees, their workers may not be able to access necessary medical treatment — or obtain benefits for lost wages. Given the high cost of living in Pleasant Hill, this may be particularly devastating for employees.

Without the benefits provided by workers’ compensation, a worker injured on the job may have to file a claim with the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF). This is a special fund used to pay the claims of employees who get injured while working for an illegally uninsured employer. UEBTF pays injured workers and attempts to recover all benefits paid from the uninsured employer.

The percentage of Pleasant Hill residents who commute to jobs outside of town is high. But, nearly 18,000 workers do not commute. Employers may think they can overlook the insurance requirement since most of Pleasant Hill jobs are sedentary. They need to think again.

Even with sedentary jobs, workers may be injured or become ill from toxic exposures or repetitive use injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Slip and fall accidents can happen in any workplace — including on job sites where most workers perform work on computers or at desks. If you have been hurt or suffered an illness as a result of your job, it doesn’t matter if you aren’t working construction or doing the heavy lifting; you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation under California law.

If you work in Pleasant Hill, which has a high percentage of small business owners, check with your employer to be sure that they have workers’ compensation insurance. You will need the help that provides you while you are recovering from your work-related illness or injury.

If You Face Problems Receiving Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits, Contact Our Experienced Attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP

It should be easy to obtain your workers’ compensation benefits. You got hurt on the job. File your claim and receive the benefits that are owed to you by law. Unfortunately, even though that is the way it is supposed to work, you may need to jump over some hurdles before actually receiving any benefits. Your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier may allege:

  • That you failed to comply with the strict reporting requirements. Workers’ compensation law requires you to report the injury to your employer within a certain period of time and to seek medical care. If you fail to do these things, you may be unable to collect benefits.
  • Your injury is not work-related.
  • You had a pre-existing condition that was responsible for your injury or illness and it was not caused by your work.

If your claim is denied, delayed or you disagree with any decision of the workers’ compensation insurer, you are entitled to file an Application for Adjudication with the workers’ compensation appeals board.

Adjudicating Your Claim

An Application for Adjudication can be filed when your claim is denied, or if you disagree in any way with the benefit decision. The application requires that detailed forms be filled out and submitted to the board. When you have completed the application for adjudication, and all necessary discovery has been completed, such as depositions have been taken of your physician or any other relevant individual, you can file a Declaration of Readiness document with the workers’ compensation appeals board and your case will be scheduled for a hearing.

At the hearing, you and your attorney will be present with the defense counsel or claims adjuster from the insurance company. The judge will work with all of you with the goal of helping you come to a settlement. If the settlement is not possible, then the judge will schedule a trial date that will be heard by a different judge. There is no right to a trial by jury at a workers’ compensation trial.

At the trial, you will be allowed to call witnesses and present documents that support your claim. If you still do not prevail on your claim, and the judge rules against you, you can file a Petition for Reconsideration.

If you were injured on the job, contact Pleasant Hill Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP for a free consultation. You can reach them at (925) 938-2000.