Workers’ Compensation Law Firm Answers Frequently Asked Questions From Workers in Santa Clarita and Throughout Los Angeles and Central Coast Counties

Helpful answers from the Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz

When you suffer an on-the-job injury and can’t work, we know you have many questions. The legal team at the Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz is honored you chose us for your questions, and we’re pleased to provide answers. From what treatment to receive to what to do about pre-existing injuries and returning to work, and all the questions in between, trust that the Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz has the answers. Not only are we skilled at filing claims and getting you your benefits, we also stay up to date on new legislation and have the answers you seek.

Below is a list of the most frequently asked questions we’ve seen in workers’ compensation cases from San Fernando, Lancaster, Palmdale, and Santa Clarita, CA, as well as our clients in central coast counties, such as Kern County, San Luis Obispo County and Santa Barbara County. The answers provided herein do not create an attorney-client relationship and are only meant as general advice. Our general advice is based on California law and not any other state in the United States or outside thereof. With ever-changing laws and unique set of facts, we invite you to contact us to discuss your case.

Meet with us to discuss your case and answer your questions about work-related injuries in the San Fernando Valley, as well as Lancaster, Palmdale, Santa Clarita and the Central Coast

The Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz is ready to take your call and meet with you for your free initial consultation. We proudly represent injured workers in the San Fernando Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Santa Clarita. We keep office hours Monday through Friday and on weekends. Contact us at 818.350.2658 or through our website.


What is a stipulated finding and award?

One of two types of workers’ compensation settlements, a stipulated finding and award is a settlement of your case in which the parties agree to the terms of the award. The judge signs the document to make the settlement final. This is a voluntary agreement by the parties and contains the percentage of disability agreed to as well as the number of weeks over which the disability benefits will be paid. In this situation, future medical care is left open and you may re-open your claim within five years of the date of your injury.

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What happens if the case is settled?

When the case is settled, the parties consider it a full and final compromise of the case. The settlement is usually a final payment to the injured worker to fully compensate him/her for the injuries sustained. Once the case is settled, no further monies are paid to the injured worker in connection with the injury. The final payment is nearly always paid in a lump sum and is tax-free.

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What if the insurance company won’t make a reasonable offer?

When the insurance company refuses to make an offer that is reasonable, a trial of the merits of the case is an option available to the injured worker. Remember, this is your injury and your case, and you should feel comfortable with any offer made. Of course, the insurance company cannot force us to accept a reasonable buyout of a claim so we exercise our experience to advocate as to why the insurance company needs to raise its offer to something that we believe is fair.

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What is a Compromise and Release?

A Compromise and Release closes the case, eliminates the need for payment of benefits over a period of time and eliminates your opportunity to be reimbursed for the cost of future medical care. This type of settlement agreement may not be available if you continue to work for the same employer and that employer is still insured by the same insurance company. With that said, the Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz has been successful in entering into a Compromise and Release that allows you to retain your job – even with the same insurance carrier. Nonetheless,  an employer may not want to enter a Compromise and Release agreement with you while you are still under their employ because they would have to resume payment of medical benefits if you are re-injured after the settlement is complete.

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Can’t I get all of the money and keep the medical open?

Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to pay for necessary medical care for work-related injuries. It is important to follow your doctor’s recommendation for recovery and reach a final resolution of your medical needs. The benefits paid for a work-related injury compensate you for your injuries and are also intended to cover the cost of the medical care you need to make you whole.

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What is the difference between temporary and permanent disability benefits?

Temporary benefits compensate you for treatment until you return to work. Temporary disability benefits are available when you are unable to return to work because your injury renders you unable to openly compete in the job market due to your industrial injury; or, your employer cannot accommodate your limited restrictions. Permanent disability benefits compensate you for injuries that are long-lasting without a medical expectation of reaching full recovery.

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How do I appeal a decision?

When you are not satisfied with the award decision, you may set the matter for trial. The trial is filed with the state Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board by filing the appropriate paperwork and traversing through the appropriate legal channels for your "day in court." The trial is an opportunity for you to present witnesses and your own testimony to establish the existence of your injury, along with medical evidence and lead examination by the Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz.

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Is my employer required to carry workers’ compensation insurance?

Yes. Even if you are the only employee, your employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.

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What doctor can I visit to treat my injuries?

The workers’ compensation insurance carrier sets up a network of doctors who are approved by the Court’s administrative director. Employees covered by this network of doctors receive workers’ compensation care from a physician in the group unless, prior to the injury, the employee was eligible to predesignate his/her personal doctor. Our office also regularly works with physicians familiar with workers’ compensation law, and, if the insurance carrier denies your claim, we can refer you to a physician who provides care on a lien basis. This means the physician’s lien is not against your settlement but against the insurance carrier. These liens are resolved after final disposition of your case and do not involve your participation.

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How do I file a claim?

Report the injury to your employer and request a claim form, then call a workers’ compensation lawyer to make sure your rights are protected within the court system. Having a skilled and experienced workers’ compensation attorney such as the Law Office of Scott A. Schwartz by your side from the beginning helps ensure you are given the opportunity to exhaust all your rights in an effort to compensate and/or maximize the benefits associated with your claim for the injury you sustained.

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How long will it take to file my workers’ compensation case?

Our law firm expedites the filing of your case by using our cutting-edge technology. Our technology encrypts information such as your birth date and Social Security number so you are protected from compromise of your personal information. We file your case as soon as possible upon receipt of the appropriate information regarding your workers' compensation claim.

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Can I be fired for filing a workers’ compensation case?

It is against the law for an employer to fire you for exercising your right to file for workers’ compensation. If your employer fires you for filing a claim, you should also consider a wrongful termination or other employment law case against your employer. You also have the option of filing an action with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board seeking reinstatement of your position. Most employers know it is illegal to fire a worker because of his/her intent to file for workers’ compensation. When it does happen, we have experience in representing you for this act of wrongful termination.

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What if my employer fires me anyway?

If your employer ignores the law and fires you for seeking workers' compensation benefits, we file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Court seeking penalties, fines and reinstatement of your job. The claim filed when this happens seeks payment of lost wages and must be filed within one year from the date of wrongful and illegal termination. Therefore, it is very important that you notify your workers’ compensation attorney immediately when you are discriminated against or fired for filing a claim. A claim for wrongful termination is a separate suit outside of the Workers’ Compensation Court system. Our office is experienced in bringing those types of suits on behalf of terminated workers.

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What is the maximum amount of financial compensation available for a temporary disability claim?

For injuries that occurred in the year 2012, the weekly maximum rate increased from $986.69 to $1,010.50, and the weekly minimum rate rose from $148.00 to $157.57. The amount you are entitled to depends on the specifics of your case. Most injured workers fall somewhere between the minimum and maximum weekly rates. For injuries that occur on or after January 1, 2015, temporary disability rates have been adjusted as elaborated upon further here.

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Who pays for the medical expenses associated with my on-the-job injury?

Your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier is responsible for all medically necessary expenses that relate to your injury. You do not pay out of your pocket for treatment of an injury that is covered by workers’ compensation. If you do pay for any of your care out of pocket, you are entitled to be reimbursed for the amount you paid. For this reason, it is critical to keep all receipts and records of medical treatment visits.

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Who pays my temporary disability while I am receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

Temporary disability payments are made by either your employer’s insurance company or from the state, provided your employer has held out money from your paycheck for state disability and it is available at the time that you are certified as temporarily totally disabled. If you are a W-2 employee, your employer is required to withhold this from your paycheck. If your claim is denied, we prepare a disability insurance claim form so you will receive your state disability when you are considered temporarily totally disabled and unable to work.

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How much does it cost to have a workers’ compensation law firm represent me?

Our office takes workers’ compensation cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don't pay unless we win. You are not out any money for fees or for court costs. Our office requests 15% of what you win at court as our fee.

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Will filing for workers’ compensation affect my future employment prospects?

Workers’ compensation cases are confidential. Your future employer does not have the right to get the information or to ask you if you have ever had an on-the-job injury.

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How much is my case worth?

Each case is different, and the value of your case depends on the physician’s rating of permanent disability after you finish your medical treatment. The total value of your case also depends on factors such as your need for future medical care.

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How can I tell if I have a workers’ compensation case?

If you get injured while working or while traveling for work, you have a workers’ compensation claim. There are times when this general rule will deviate, and our office is skilled in analyzing the specific facts surrounding your injury to make that determination.

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How long will it take to resolve my claim?

Most cases reach a final resolution within nine months after the treating physician discharges you.

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I have other questions; where can I get more information?

Click here to send a question to attorney Scott A. Schwartz about your injury, or to make an appointment for a free initial consultation.

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