According to recent public data, Irvine’s economy is supported by 137,000 workers. Irvine’s largest industries are professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and manufacturing. Thus, Irvine workers engage in a mixture of significantly hazardous and low-risk professions. While it is particularly important to promote safe workplace practices in higher-risk industries, no industry is risk-free. As a result, our firm has developed successful attorney-client relationships with injured workers from every conceivable industry operating in Irvine.
From repetitive stress injuries suffered by office workers to crush injuries suffered by manufacturing professionals, our firm has assisted documented and undocumented workers alike in the wake of practically every conceivable kind of work-related injury and occupational illness.
If you have been injured or made ill on the job, you may have the opportunity to pursue one or two different kinds of compensation, in addition to any insurance settlements that you may be owed. The kind(s) of compensation that you may be eligible to collect in the wake of a work-related injury or illness will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding the occurrence of your injuries and whether you are classified properly as either an employee or an independent contractor.
You don’t need to know which kind(s) of compensation you are eligible for before you schedule a no-cost, confidential, risk-free consultation with our legal team. Once we learn more about your employment circumstances and about your injuries, will be able to advise you of which opportunities for compensation are available to you at this time. Is important to understand that employers cannot lawfully retaliate against workers for exercising their rights under the law.
Therefore, whether you are documented or undocumented, full-time, part-time, or an independent contractor, if you have been injured at work, you should not pass up the opportunity to speak confidentially with an attorney about your options. Your job security should cannot lawfully be compromised in the event that you choose to exercise your rights under the law.
Protecting the Rights of Injured Workers
Every member of our legal team strongly believes that workers have a right to be safe while they are on the job. We understand that accidents happen and that sometimes those accidents are nobody’s fault. However, when workers are injured on the job because their employers do not take safety regulations seriously, we consider it a privilege not only to assist our clients with securing any compensation to which they are entitled, but also to help them anonymously report their concerns to authorities.
Anonymous safety reporting can inspire a work site safety inspection that might help everyone working at an unsafe job site remain as safe as possible moving forward. Our firm will never pressure you into taking any course of action, whether that action is filing a claim, filing legal action, or reporting your situation anonymously to authorities. Instead, we will advise you of your legal options so that you can be empowered to make informed decisions about those options.
Our firm has earned a reputation for excellence, in great part due to the fact that we employ a client-focused approach. That means that instead of focusing on serving as many clients as possible as quickly as we can, our team takes the time to build a quality case on behalf of every client that we serve. Know that if you choose to work with our firm, you can trust that you will never be treated as “just a number.” You will be treated with the respect that you deserve and your case will be treated with the focus and determination that it deserves.
Eligibility Requirements – Workers’ Compensation
If you are classified as a full-time or part-time employee by the company that you work for, your company employs more than a handful of workers, and you don’t work in an exempt specialty industry (like the railroad), you are almost certainly eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim in the wake of your work-related injury or occupational illness. This is true regardless of whether you sustained your condition over time due to work-related activity or due to a work-related accident.
You may also be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you have been improperly classified as an independent contractor. Independent contractors are not ordinarily eligible for workers’ compensation benefits but they may be entitled to them if they perform the work of an employee and have been misclassified (either intentionally or unintentionally) by their employers. If you are unsure of whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, simply ask our attorneys to look into this classification issue and we will clarify your options accordingly.
Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, if you are eligible for coverage, you will be eligible for benefits as long as your work-related injury did not occur because you started a fight, you were drunk or high at the time that you were injured, or you intentionally tried to get hurt so that you could collect compensation. This means that even if your injury was all your fault, as long as it occurred while you were engaging in work-related activity and as long as none of the above scenarios apply to your situation, if you are eligible for coverage, you are entitled to benefits.
The Personal Injury Claims Process
If you are ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you may be entitled to compensation through the personal injury process, provided that you were not totally at fault for the harm you have suffered. If a third party contributed to your injuries, you may be able to hold them accountable if their actions or inactions were negligent, reckless, or intentionally dangerous in nature and they caused your injuries directly as a result of their behavior.
Filing Both Kinds of Claims
Workers who are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits may sue third parties – other than their employers – in the event that they meet the personal injury criteria noted above. However, the workers’ compensation system insulates employers from liability for anything that they may have done uniquely to contribute to the harm that their workers have suffered. As a result, if you are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, you won’t be able to sue your employer directly.
Repetitive Stress, Occupational Illness, and Preexisting Conditions
Workers who are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage are entitled to benefits for qualifying harm, regardless of whether that harm occurred as the result of an accident, toxic exposure, repetitive trauma, or aggravation of a preexisting condition. With that said, it is often a more straightforward process to file a claim for accident-related injuries, as it isn’t usually difficult to discern the cause of acute traumatic injuries.
By contrast, supporting a claim for a repetitive stress injury, an occupational illness, or aggravation of a preexisting condition can be very complex. Workers’ compensation claims adjusters look for excuses to pay out less compensation than the maximum potential amount owed and they look for reasons to reject claims outright. Therefore, these professionals are often predisposed to questioning whether a condition that has developed over time developed as a result of work-related activities and work-related activities alone. For example, an insurance claims adjuster may question whether your shoulder injury resulted solely from your work-related activities and not from the fact that you played volleyball for a Division One school 15 years ago.
Because it is often so much more difficult to successfully build an effective case for repetitive stress, occupational illness, and aggravation of a preexisting condition claims, you will want to take particular care to speak with our legal team as soon as you can following your decision to seek workers’ compensation benefits related to these kinds of harm. We understand how to advocate efficiently and effectively for our clients, regardless of how complex their cases may be.
The Benefits of Working with an Attorney
Some workers are understandably tempted to file their own workers’ compensation claims in an effort to save money on legal fees. If your injuries are superficial in nature, will not require any significant medical care, and will not keep you from your job for more than a day or two, you may be able to file your own claim because there is not much at stake in doing so.
However, if your injuries will require more than a few stitches or will keep you from your job for more than a few days, there is too much at stake to risk that your claim will be devalued or rejected because it was not properly constructed, supported, and submitted. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to avoid being “penny wise and pound foolish” by filing your own claim.
If, during your free consultation with our firm, we feel objectively that you could file your claim successfully on your own, we will let you know.
Concerns About Retaliation
It isn’t always the case that injuries are sustained as a result of hazardous working conditions. However, there are good reasons why many industries are considered more “high-risk” than others. Operating under hazardous conditions – due to the presence of heavy equipment, toxic material, and unsafe spaces – tends to lead to a higher rate of injury.
Unfortunately, some of the job sites in the nation’s most high-risk industries are unsafe not just because the jobs themselves are inherently dangerous but also because those who employ workers in these industries don’t always take safety seriously. Many of the same employers who fail to adequately invest in the safety of their workforce also tend to be those most upset when workers speak up about their injuries, working conditions, and rights.
If you are concerned that filing a work injury claim could lead to retaliation, know that the law protects you from such retaliation. Employers cannot legally retaliate against workers in any way (whether they are documented workers or undocumented workers) because those workers choose to exercise their legal rights. With that said, we understand that many workers’ fears concerning retaliation are legitimate.
When you arrive for your confidential, free consultation, please let us know if you fear retaliation at this time. We will do our utmost to protect your rights and to advise you accordingly.
Our firm’s legal team takes great pride in advocating on behalf of workers who have been injured or made ill on the job. Whether you pick fruit, teach science, manufacture microchips, or life guard, your work provides our society with a significant service. Our representation of injured and ill workers helps our team to honor that service through a client-focused, dedicated, and knowledgeable approach to building strong cases on their behalf.
We also work hard to ensure, whenever possible, that workers return to job sites safer than when they left them. We are sensitive to concerns about retaliation and we understand how to address those concerns effectively so that workers exercising their rights are not in any way endangering their job security.
If you have been injured while at work, you have rights under the law. Please schedule a confidential, free, and risk-free consultation with our legal team today to learn more. We look forward to speaking with you.