Everything You Need to Know
Have you been recently injured at work and need legal assistance? G. Lauren Belger, ESQ. is a respected attorney who represents injured workers in Murrieta, CA and the surrounding areas. She is familiar with all kinds of workers’ compensation benefits, and she will work hard to make sure you receive yours. Read on to find answers to any questions you might have about workers’ compensation.
What does it mean that you are a “legal specialist”?
Everyone who “specializes” in representing injured workers is not necessarily a certified legal specialist recognized by the State Bar of California. To obtain formal recognition by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, G. Lauren Belger, ESQ. had to:
In addition to the above, to be a Certified Legal Specialist:
Do I have a good case?
Naturally, this is a common question attorneys get. If you believe your work injury will have a long-term impact on your physical capabilities, then you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you could be entitled to potential compensation for your injury. Even if you are able to continue working, you still may be entitled to monetary compensation for your work injury, depending on the nature and extent of your injury.
When should I hire an attorney?
As soon as you believe your injury may have long-term consequences on your life. The insurance company’s goal is to minimize the pay-out to you. Lauren’s goal is not only to help you obtain all of the benefits you may be entitled to receive but also to maximize what you receive at the end of your case. The insurance company will try to low ball you. Lauren simply will not allow that and will ensure you receive every penny to which you are entitled to under the workers’ comp laws of California.
Do I have to sign a medical release form?
Injured workers often feel their privacy is being violated by the insurance company asking them to sign a form to release all of their medical records. When someone is injured on the job, the insurance company is legally permitted to obtain any information that can help the insurance company learn more about the workers’ medical past. Therefore, yes, you need to sign the medical release form.
However, the exception would be if the injured worker only files a claim for physical or orthopedic injuries, such as to their neck, back, knees, legs, feet, hands, or arms, then the insurance company cannot lawfully obtain records for a prior mental condition, should one exist. The injured worker can feel free to cross out language in the authorization that would release records for a prior psychiatric condition if the workers’ compensation claim does not include stress, anxiety, or any type of psychiatric condition.
Can I get compensated for pain and suffering when my case settles?
No. Unfortunately, there is no compensation for pain and suffering in the California workers’ compensation laws.
Can I work while I have an open workers’ compensation case?
Yes. If your doctor gives you work restrictions that your employer can accommodate, you are expected to attempt to work. If you do not attempt to return to work, the insurance company or self-insured will not have to pay you temporary disability benefits.
Can I get fired for filing a workers’ compensation case?
It is against the law for an employer to fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, or making it known you intend to file a claim. If you have proof, perhaps in the form of statements made by your employer at the time of termination, you may have a successful workers’ compensation discrimination claim, also known as a 132a claim. 132a refers to the section from the Labor Code, the rules and regulations that govern the workers’ compensation laws in California.
I am on Social Security. Can I still get workers’ compensation benefits?
Maybe, but usually yes. The Social Security Administration has a formula they use to ensure any money you receive from Social Security, workers’ compensation, or other specific sources does not exceed a certain amount of your pre-injury earnings. To find out your monthly Social Security benefit may be impacted by your workers’ compensation payments (temporary disability or permanent disability), you should immediately contact the Social Security Administration to provide them with the amount you may be receiving from workers’ compensation so any adjustments can be made to your Social Security benefits.
How will I pay you?
Lauren only gets paid if a settlement by Stipulations with Request for Award (fancy name for a future medical award) or a Compromise and Release (complete settlement of your case, without future medical) is reached. At that time, she would receive up to 15% of your settlement. A Workers’ Compensation Judge must approve the attorney fee.
Will Social Security affect settlement of my case?
Maybe. If you are on Social Security Disability, the Social Security Administration will want to ensure your income does not exceed the guidelines they have in place. A future medical award, where your settlement is paid over a period of time, will generally have little to no impact on your monthly Social Security benefits. However, it is imperative you discuss your potential future medical award with a Social Security representative.
A complete settlement of your case, or Compromise and Release, could potentially impact your monthly Social Security benefits, as you would generally be receiving your settlement as a lump-sum payment. The portion of your settlement that is not specifically to be used for future medical may raise a red flag for the Social Security Administration. It is therefore important you work with an attorney who can include important documentation that could potentially reduce, or eliminate, Social Security reducing your monthly benefit.
Make Lauren Your Worker’s Comp Attorney
End your search for a qualified worker’s comp attorney, and let G. Lauren Belger, ESQ. handle your case. With her, you can breathe easy in knowing your best interests are put to heart. To learn more or to schedule a free legal consultation, do not hesitate to get in touch.