Every month, a reader asks one of our sponsor legal experts about a work-related issue. These building trades law professionals respond in an Organized Labor exclusive. This month’s expert is Alison Karp of The Veen Firm.

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I was injured on the job when my boss got angry and shoved me. I fell backwards and hurt my shoulder pretty bad. I have not been able to get the treatment I need through worker’s compensation. How can I get treatment now if I can’t afford to pay for it out of pocket?

You should contact an attorney immediately. You may be able to bring a claim outside of the workers’ compensation system. If so, you will not be limited to the treatment approved under the work comp system, but will be able to seek referrals from your primary care physician and other specialists if appropriate. Treatment outside the work comp system may be billed to your health insurance or, in some cases, performed on a lien basis.

Generally, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for employees who are injured on the job, but there are a number of exceptions. One exception is when an employer intentionally inflicts injury to an employee or ratifies an assault by a co-employee. In these situations, the employee can bring a civil lawsuit against the employer for the harm caused by the assault.

Any treatment you receive in the work comp system must be approved, and you may be limited in which doctors you can see. If you are able to bring a civil claim, you can use your health insurance to obtain treatment. If you win your civil case most insurers require you reimburse them from your recovery, but often they will accept a discounted amount. If you do not have health insurance, some medical facilities will provide treatment on a lien basis.

For additional advice regarding what to do in your specific situation, you should consult attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims as soon as possible. There are strict time limits in which you must act to protect your rights.

-Alison Karp, The Veen Firm, PC, San Francisco, CA

“Interaction via “Ask the Expert” does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any advice given is neither legal advice nor does it serve as a replacement for hiring an attorney. In addition, any case results mentioned or discussed are not guarantees of similar results.”
Alison Karp

This Month's Expert; Alison Karp

Alison Karp is an attorney on the St. Phalle trial team at The Veen Firm, PC in San Francisco. Ms. Karp represents people who have suffered serious life-changing injuries. Her practice is focused on civil litigation involving negligence, products liability, and industrial accidents.

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