Workers' Compensation Lawyers Los Angeles, CA
At Joe, Southard & Yeoh LLP, our Workers’ Compensation attorneys in Los Angeles, CA focus on helping individuals who are hurt at work. Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you today, whether you are involved in an accident at work, or your work injury has worsened over time because of your job duties.
Below are some frequently asked questions answered by our accomplished Workers’ Compensation attorneys. Call us now at (424)325-2205 for a free consultation. We are happy to answer additional questions and assist you with evaluation of your claim. Our dedicated attorneys are here to help.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
California Workers’ Compensation laws were designed to protect and provide for anyone who has been injured on the job, regardless of whether the injured employee or the employer caused the injury. In California, Workers’ Compensation benefits may include providing the injured employee with a wage replacement while the injured worker is undergoing medical treatment and recovering from the work injury. This relieves financial strain from the injured employee and allows an opportunity for recovery.
The attorneys of Joe, Southard & Yeoh LLP work aggressively to help California employees obtain all the Workers’ Compensation benefits they are entitled to when they have been hurt at work. This allows our clients to focus on treatment and recovery from their work injuries.
What Does “No-Fault” Mean?
The no-fault Workers’ Compensation system in California was designed to protect the injured worker. If an employee has been injured at work, and a medical physician finds that work caused the injury, the employee generally is entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits.
You do not have to prove that your employer did anything wrong or caused your work injury to pursue a Workers’ Compensation claim.
- The employer does not have to have acted negligently for you to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits
- The employer does not have to have acted in bad faith for you to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits
- The employer does not have to have done anything wrong for you to obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits
Remember, you may obtain medical treatment and wage replacement through the Workers’ Compensation system even when your employer has provided every protection that is required for your work. The Workers’ Compensation laws in California are designed to protect you when you have been hurt on the job and may allow for medical care and treatment, paid time off work with wage replacement, and other benefits when a doctor finds you have suffered a disability due to work. It is crucial to consult with one of our experienced Workers’ Compensation attorneys when you have been injured at work. We are here to help in your time of need.
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Claims Does Your Firm Commonly Help With?
We represent employees in all types of work injuries and work-related illnesses, including:
- Slip and fall injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Construction accidents and injuries
- Continuous/cumulative trauma injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Repetitive Back Strain
- All orthopedic injuries, including those that are bone and muscle related
- Illnesses resulting from hazardous exposure
- Respiratory injuries
- Hearing loss and vision loss
- Internal injuries
- Stress or psychological injuries
When Should an Injured Employee Contact Your Firm?
Our attorneys should be contacted immediately after a work accident happens, or as soon as you notice any pain or discomfort you are experiencing could be caused by your work duties. This allows us to act quickly and aggressively on your behalf and ensure no Workers’ Compensation requirements or timelines are missed.
One sign that repetitive work duties have caused injury or disability is when an employee begins taking over-the-counter pain reliever during or after work. Additionally, should an employee need to wear a wrist brace, back support or other assistive device while working, this may be a sign that repetitive, prolonged work duties have caused injury. For others, it may be needing to lie down and rest after returning home from a long day’s work to alleviate pain and discomfort from a work day. These are signs that work may be causing the employee’s pain and injury.
Again, California Workers’ Compensation laws protect employees when they suffer a work injury at a specific point in time (like a slip and fall in the office), as well as injuries that occur over time due to repetitive work duties (like carpal tunnel syndrome or repetitive back strain). For both types of injuries, the injured worker may be entitled to medical treatment and time off work with a wage replacement.
If you have suffered either type of injury, contact our law office today for a complimentary, no cost consultation with one of our attorneys.
What Should I Do When I Am Injured at Work?
After sustaining a work injury, it is critical to report the injury to your supervisor or manager as soon as possible. This puts the employer on notice of your work injury.
There are exceptions to the rule of reporting when an employer has not posted the required documentation to inform an injured worker of his or her reporting duties, after a work-related injury or illness.
Moreover, with an injury occurring over a period of time, the notice deadline requirement may be tolled in certain circumstances.
Are There Specific Deadlines to Worry About?
The initial deadline any employee should meet concerns notifying the employer of the work injury. Thus, it is crucial that an employee immediately notify the supervisor of the work injury. Technically, the “employer” can be the managing representative or an employee’s supervisor. The injured worker should inform the manager or supervisor about the work injury right away. If the employer provides the injured worker with a Claim Form, the employee should complete it immediately and return it to the employer. If an employer does not supply a Claim Form, that employer is not following the laws and rules outlined by California Workers’ Compensation policies.
Another document that is filed in Workers’ Compensation cases is the State of California Division of Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Application for Adjudication of Claim (DWC/WCAB Form 1A). There is a statute of limitations to file this document, which gives the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board jurisdiction over the injured worker’s Workers’ Compensation claim. The injured worker is generally referred to as a Workers’ Compensation Applicant.
There are various other Workers’ Compensation timelines and deadlines, including some involving medical treatment. When a request for medical treatment that is recommended by a physician is denied, there generally is an opportunity to appeal that denial within a specific timeline. In certain instances where timelines are appropriately followed, the denial of medical treatment may be overturned with the recommended medical treatment subsequently granted to the injured worker or Workers’ Compensation Applicant. However, an appeal is necessary for this secondary review to occur.
In addition, there are deadlines related to contesting a physician’s medical findings, which may have a great impact on the outcome of your case. For instance, take the case where an injured employee is off work on disability and feels physically unable to return to work; however, his or her doctor finds the worker can return to full work duties. Under these and similar circumstances, an employee generally only has a limited amount of time to object to that doctor’s findings, with an opportunity to obtain a third party medical opinion.
The Workers’ Compensation system in California is complex. Various timelines and deadlines are imposed that must be followed. Our dedicated Workers’ Compensation attorneys are here to assist you with navigating through the complicated process and ensure all state required timelines and deadlines are met so that you may focus on your recovery.
Do Notice Deadline Requirements Apply to Both Specific Injuries as well as Cumulative Trauma Injuries?
Yes. The deadlines to report a work injury apply whether an individual has suffered from a specific injury at work (like a slip and fall in the office) or a cumulative trauma injury due to prolonged and repetitive work duties (like carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive back strain).
The notice deadline applies differently for different types of injuries. For this reason, it is critical to consult with one of our experienced attorneys immediately after you have been injured at work or realize that your work may be causing you a long-term injury.
What Happens Once an Employer Has Been Notified of an Injury?
Once an employer has been notified of an injury, the employer has a duty to provide the injured worker with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). Once provided with the Claim Form, it is the injured workers’ responsibility to complete his or her portion of the Claim Form and return it to the employer.
Generally, once the completed Claim Form has been returned to the employer, a 90 day clock begins to run during which time the employer may investigate the injured worker’s claim of injury. The employer may conduct various forms of discovery, including but not limited to obtaining medical records via subpoena or other requests and deposing the injured worker. Within the 90 days, the employer may either accept and admit that the employment caused injury, or the employer can deny the injured worker’s claim of injury. If no denial is issued by the employer or its insurance company/third party administrator and 90 days has elapsed since the Claim Form was returned to the employer, the claim becomes presumed compensable and will be treated as if it were accepted.
Generally, once a Workers’ Compensation claim has been accepted, the employer’s insurance company/third party administrator will begin to provide medical treatment and even wage loss, where appropriate.
It is important to keep in mind, that even in cases where a Workers’ Compensation claim has been denied, the injured worker may still be able to obtain medical treatment on a lien basis, as well as wage loss for work related injury through the California State Employment Development Department.
All injured employees should be able to obtain medical treatment and paid time off work to allow for recovery and healing when they have been hurt on the job. Our attorneys have helped injured employees with both accepted and denied claims obtain medical treatment, paid time off work, and other Workers’ Compensation benefits. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can assist you after you have been hurt at work.
Why Did Your Attorneys Decide to Focus on Helping Injured Workers with Their Workers’ Compensation Claims?
We chose to focus on helping injured employees with their workers’ compensation claims because of the relationships we build with our clients in their time of need. After sustaining an injury, our clients arrive to our office hurt and often scared of what will happen next. They are concerned about how they will provide for themselves and their families when they require medical treatment and may need time off work to recover. Our goal is to help our clients reach a better physical and mental condition, and to get them back on their feet again after they have been hurt on the job. We offer solutions so that our clients can focus on recovery and healing, and in many instances, obtain paid time off work with a wage replacement to ease the financial burden caused by the injury. We give our clients excellent representation, guidance and hope after they have been injured on the job.
The greatest reward comes at the end of a case when our clients thank us for helping them obtain a successful result. It continues when they refer us to help their friends, family and co-workers, who also are hurt on the job.
As previous defense attorneys, we know that it is the employees whose rights need to be protected from employers and insurance companies. In short, we switched sides, and opened our own firm because we were drawn to the need of workers that had been injured on the job.
What Type of Workers’ Compensation Cases Do You Handle?
We represent employees with all types of injuries and illnesses that occur at, or because of, work. This includes injuries that occur at a specific point in time, like a slip and fall, as well as injuries that occur over time, which are referred to as cumulative trauma injuries.
What Are Cumulative Trauma Injuries?
Cumulative trauma injuries are those that occur over time often due to prolonged and repetitive work duties. They can include, but are not limited to:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Repetitive Back Strain
- Illnesses and Diseases from exposure to asbestos, paint or other toxins
- Construction, factory or vocational injuries caused by performing repetitive motions and duties
- Illnesses from hazardous exposure
- Respiratory injuries
- Hearing loss and Vision loss
- Psychological injuries (including but not limited to anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder) to sleep loss and stomach problems due to ongoing stress on the job
These are just a few examples of the types of cases in which we have successfully represented our clients with their cumulative trauma injuries. Our attorneys are here to help you when you have suffered a cumulative trauma injury. Contact us today for a free consultation.
What Makes Your Law Firm Stand Out from Other Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Los Angeles, CA?
We are aggressive attorneys that take a proactive approach to each client’s case. We provide individual, personalized attention. We understand that when an injured worker contacts us, he or she is going through a difficult time and requires immediate help. We give every case priority.
We are proud to have earned the support of our clientele, who have referred us repeatedly to family members, co-workers, and friends. We take great pride in our clients’ referrals because that shows our clients trust us and have been so happy with their own Workers’ Compensation case results that they confidently refer us to the people that are closest to them.
Who Will Handle My Case at Your Office? A Licensed Attorney or a Non-Attorney Paralegal or Non-Attorney Hearing Representative?
All of our clients can rest assured knowing they will work directly with a knowledgeable and dedicated, licensed attorney on their Workers’ Compensation claim. We do not utilize non-attorney hearing representatives at hearings, depositions, court conferences, or at trial. Anyone looking for a Workers’ Compensation attorney should keep in mind the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board allows hearing representatives (which are not licensed attorneys) to represent injured workers. As a result, these non-attorney hearing representatives are commonly hired by law firms that represent injured workers with their Workers’ Compensation claims. That is not how our law firm operates. We have found that use of non-attorneys in these instances often delays resolution of an injured worker’s claim, and that having a non-attorney represent a client may even adversely affect the outcome of a case.
It is in these times that our clients need the knowledge and experience of a licensed attorney on their side, rather than a non-attorney that may be less familiar with the clients’ injuries and Workers’ Compensation laws and procedures. Our clients feel confident they will have an aggressive and knowledgeable licensed attorney defending them, and advocating on their behalf at every critical point of their Workers’ Compensation claim.
Are Your Attorneys Bilingual?
Absolutely. We are fluent in English, Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin).
What Type of Experience Do Your Attorneys Have?
We have 45 years combined legal experience invested in serving our clients’ best interests. Our firm is comprised of three partners, and we are all active members of the State Bar of California as well as the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
One of our partners, Debbie Joe, has received the distinguished award of 10 Best Attorneys in Client Satisfaction in the Workers’ Compensation Division from the American Institute of Legal Counsel, in 2016 and 2017.
How Does This Experience Translate into Client Satisfaction and Overall Claim Success?
We go the extra mile for our clients, in large part, because we are prior Workers’ Compensation defense attorneys so we can anticipate exactly what the other side will argue when a claim has been filed. This allows us to apply various strategies to successfully obtain all the Workers’ Compensation benefits our clients are entitled to, which can include:
- Medical treatment and medical care
- Wage loss or wage replacement for time off work
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Partial or full disability
- Supplemental Job Displacement Voucher to assist with vocational retraining
Do Your Workers’ Compensation Cases End in Settlement or Proceed to Trial Before a Judge?
To ensure our clients’ rights are fully protected, our attorneys prepare each case as if it will proceed to trial. Our attorneys are extremely dedicated to advocating on behalf of our clients and aggressively push cases forward.
In each case, we file the Application for Adjudication of Claim, in addition to a Claim Form for our clients. This provides additional protection to our clients by giving the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board jurisdiction to hear the case should an employer fail to properly authorize medical treatment or pay benefits due to the injured employee or Applicant.
This means that when our clients do not receive the benefits or medical treatment they are entitled to, we can request a hearing to appear before an administrative law judge, and fight on our clients’ behalf until we achieve success.
Ultimately, most Workers’ Compensation claims end in settlement with successful negotiation by our attorneys on behalf of our clients who have been injured at work. This does not diminish the results our clients enjoy. We understand that much is on the line when our clients have been hurt on the job, and we work diligently to ensure a successful and equitable result for each client we represent. Thus, in instances where a fair settlement is not offered, we are prepared and aggressively fight for our clients at trial.
I Have Been Frantically Searching for a Workers’ Compensation Attorney. Why Should I Choose Your Firm?
There are many deadlines and procedures that need to be followed by an injured worker to successfully obtain benefits in California’s complex Workers’ Compensation system. By hiring our law office, you can rest assured that you’ll be working directly with a knowledgeable, licensed attorney that will act quickly to help you get the medical treatment and benefits you are entitled to after being injured at work. This will allow you to focus on recovery and healing from your work injury.
Our attorneys and staff are devoted to getting the best results for our clients. We understand being injured on the job is one of the largest hurdles our clients may face during their lives when they are unable to work and provide financially for themselves or their families so we are personally invested in each case, and aggressively handle each claim to obtain successful results for our clients.
We work proactively on our clients’ behalf to fight for their medical treatment, for the paid time off work in the form of wage loss or wage replacement, as well as other Workers’ Compensation benefits our clients are entitled to after suffering a work injury in California.
What Are Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits (SJDB)?
Injured employees may be eligible for supplemental job displacement benefits in the form of a voucher in certain situations. The amount of the voucher varies depending on the level of permanent disability. For additional information, visit the FAQ page.
The voucher generally may be used for:
- Retraining for another job with tuition for classes to prepare for a change in vocation
- Generally, the voucher covers school tuition, fees, books and expenses required by the school for training
- In certain instances, a percentage of the voucher may be used for vocational and return to work counseling
- In certain instances, a portion of the voucher may be used for the purchase of computer equipment
What Are the Top Two Things an Employee Should Do after a Work Injury?
It’s natural to feel hesitant and scared after a work injury. However, the California Workers’ Compensation system was designed to protect injured workers. First, notify your manager or supervisor that an injury has occurred.
Next, it is crucial to act quickly and speak with one of our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys right away. We will take care of the paperwork and assist you with your Workers’ Compensation claim so you can focus on resting and recovering from your work injury.
What Happens After I Contact Your Firm?
It is essential that employees act quickly and contact us as soon as possible after a work injury so that we may take all necessary steps to help them evaluate their claim and proactively fight for them. As discussed above, the Workers’ Compensation system in California is complex and imposes various deadlines and timelines that must be followed.
We are dedicated to you, and will aggressively advocate on behalf of injured workers. We help our clients with every stage of their workers’ compensation claims to achieve a successful resolution.
What Types of Clientele Do You Represent?
A large percentage of our clients are referrals from previous clients who have been satisfied with our work.
We are passionate about helping people when they have been injured on the job. We are dedicated to assisting our clients when they have been hurt at work, and we are happy to have had a positive effect on our clients’ lives.
Different Kinds of Workplace Accidents
Here are some examples of types of accidents that frequently happen in the workplace:
- Construction Accidents
- Many different types of accidents and injuries can transpire at construction sites, ranging from minor to fatal
- Some examples are:
- Falling debris
- Falls from high places such as scaffolding or ladders
- Injuries caused by equipment
- Electrocutions and Burns
- Electrocutions and burns can by caused by:
- Break room appliances
- Overheating equipment
- Welding torches
- Burns also can occur in a restaurant environment, especially in the kitchen
- Chemical burns also can occur in various work environments
- Electrocutions and burns can by caused by:
- Equipment Malfunctions
- When various types of equipment malfunctions, it can cause many work injuries, including:
- When various types of equipment malfunctions, it can cause many work injuries, including:
- Falls may happen when a person is standing on a raised surface, like on a ladder or scaffolding, and can result in major injuries or death
- Fatal Accidents
- Fatal accidents can occur when someone falls from heights, with falling from or being hit by a vehicle
- Vehicles are not necessarily cars; an average of 1,500 fatal injuries annually are caused by forklifts
- Manufacturing Accidents
- Manufacturing accidents happen when employees use or work near equipment used for manufacturing products
- Office Accidents
- The type of injuries caused by office accidents tend to be injuries like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or Repetitive Strain Injury, also known as RSI.
- The excessive use of keyboards and/or computer screens can strain a person’s body, leading to:
- Back and neck discomfort
- Joint pain
- Wrist pain
- Vision problems
- Rotator Cuff Syndrome and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- These are both repetitive motion injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome tends to occur in construction workers, cashiers, factory workers, office and clerical workers and causes tingling, numbness, pain, and weakness in the hands
- Rotator cuff syndrome occurs in jobs that require repetitive overhead reaching and it affects the shoulders, causing weakness, pain and the loss of range of motion
- These are both repetitive motion injuries
- Slip and Fall
- Slip and fall incidents in the workplace are very common, and many result in injury
- If a floor or surface is not properly maintained and cleaned, it can become slippery or uneven, potentially causing an employee to trip or slip, sustaining an injury
- Spine Injuries, including neck, back, and spinal cord
- Injuries to the spine can occur in a myriad of work environments
- These accidents can occur in every work setting; some examples include:
- Construction sites
- Office buildings
- Stock yards
- The severity of a spinal injury can vary:
- Simply straining a muscle
- Herniation of one or more spinal discs
- Fracturing the spinal cord
- Toxic Exposure
- If an employee works with or near harmful chemicals like gas or fumes, accidents in the workplace can be very hazardous to his or her health
- Exposure can include inhalation injuries
Traumatic Head and Brain Injury
- Head injuries can occur as a result of car accidents and falls arising out of and in the course of employment
- Among other things, a traumatic head injury can cause:
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Cognitive impairments
- Decreased concentration
- Other neurological deficits
Common Industries Where Workplace Accidents Occur
Our clients suffer from a wide variety of injuries and include those injured in many industries:
- Forklift Accidents — Loader and Unloader; Forklift Driver
- Carpenter Injury
- Floor, carpet and tile layer injury
- Restaurant Kitchen Injuries — cook, chef
- Restaurant worker — server, waitstaff, fast food worker
- Factory accidents — factory worker, machine operator
- Manufacturing accidents — assembly line worker, assembler, quality control inspector
- Industrial accidents — electrician, industrial technician
- Installers — cable, heating and air installation technician
- Construction accidents — construction worker
- Warehouse accidents — warehouse worker
- Crane accidents
- Heavy equipment & machinery accidents
- Toxic exposure
- Car Mechanic
- Slip and Fall accidents
- Office Injuries — administrator, receptionist, secretary, typist, clerical staff
- Maintenance and Janitorial Work Injuries — cleaning crew, housekeeper, janitor
- Healthcare Injuries — nurse, nursing assistant, technician, hospital worker
- Caregiver Injuries — caregivers and workers at Eldercare facilities, Assisted Living facilities, Rehabilitation facilities and Residential Care facilities
- Airline Industry Work Injuries — flight attendant, baggage handler, tarmac crew members
- Airplane Mechanic
- Truck Driver Injuries — delivery driver; truck driver
- Bus Driver
- Plumber and Pipefitters
- Retail Sales Representative
- Grocery Store Employees
- Security Guard
- Trainers, Gym Employees, Exercise Instructors
Occupational Diseases Due to Exposure
We help injured workers in a wide range of industries who are suffering from occupational diseases due to exposure to:
- Loud noises resulting in hearing loss
- Paint Fumes and Gases
- Toxic Chemical Exposure
- Extended computer work resulting in vision loss
If California Is a No-Fault State, What Difference Can an Attorney Have on a Workers’ Compensation Case?
An enormous difference. The California Workers’ Compensation system can be complicated and overwhelming, especially for someone who is suffering from an injury, and just really needs help and time to recover from the injury to get back on track.
We help injured workers navigate the complex Workers’ Compensation system. With our vast experience, our licensed attorneys have made appearances at all the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board locations in Southern California and are familiar with the Workers’ Compensation judges.
We do have cases where injured employees come to us after they have tried to traverse the workers’ compensation system on their own. What most people find is that it is burdensome and they begin to run into hurdles with denials of much needed medical treatment and denial of wage replacement benefits. This could not come at a worse time than when someone has just suffered a work injury and feels unable to perform job duties fully or without pain.
We understand that when you are injured and not receiving medical treatment or benefits, your quality of life declines quickly and worries build regarding finances.
The earlier you consult with a knowledgeable attorney, the better. Our attorneys proactively fight on behalf of our clients who have been injured at work, which relieves much stress and pressure, to allow our clients to focus on recovery and healing.
Do I Have to Pay Any Up-front Fees Before the Attorneys at Joe, Southard & Yeoh LLP Will Represent Me?
No, we do not collect any fees or payment up front. To serve the best interests of our clients, we handle all Workers’ Compensation cases on a contingency fee basis. That means we will not collect a fee payment from our Workers’ Compensation client, unless and until our client’s case either has settled or an award is issued by a Judge in the case.
There are NO up-front fees or hidden consulting costs. During the free consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your case fully and have it evaluated by an experienced Los Angeles Workers’ Compensation attorney.
What Cases Does Joe, Southard & Yeoh LLP Take?
We handle all types of work injuries, including everything from a minor slip and fall to a major limb amputation. We have represented clients in every scenario, from unwitnessed slip and fall accidents in storage rooms to toxic exposure illnesses. Don’t hesitate to call today when you have been hurt at work. Our knowledgeable attorneys provide a free, no obligation consultation to advise you of your rights when you have been hurt at work.
Contact Our Experienced Los Angeles, CA Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
If you have been hurt at work – either in an accident or over a period of time – contact the accomplished Workers’ Compensation attorneys at Joe, Southard & Yeoh LLP in Los Angeles, CA today at (424) 325-2205. Each of our dedicated attorneys provides personal attention, and a knowledgeable legal perspective on how to proceed with your case. Our goal is to help you recover physically and financially when you have been injured on the job. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we may help you evaluate your claim. We look forward to hearing from you.