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Correctional Officers

Bakersfield Correctional Officers

Working in a correctional facility, you are exposed to many types of life-threatening situations. Bakersfield correctional officers risk their lives each day as they are put into harm’s way. When a correctional officer suffers an injury in the line of duty, he or she may be entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for his or her medical expenses and lost wages. There are several aspects of California’s workers’ compensation law that many people are unfamiliar with. Even if you have experience going through the workers’ compensation system, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney at Berry, Smith & Bartell for qualified help. We understand the dangers correctional officers face in the line of duty.

Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your claim during a free, no obligation consultation. We will carefully review your claim to help you determine if you were wrongly denied benefits for your injury. Senior Partner & Founder Wm. Todd Berry is a skilled attorney who has represented numerous types of workers’ compensation claims. Berry is a member of the Kern County Bar Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Our attorneys are determined to obtain the results you deserve. We only charge our clients if we help them recover benefits, so there is no risk in contacting us to find out if you have a case.

Call 1-800-848-6288 to find out how we can help you.

When Are Correctional Officers Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Correctional officers are required to work in a dangerous environment that places them at-risk each day of suffering a severe or fatal injury. This includes enforcing prison rules, making sure inmates are where they are supposed to be and patrolling areas of the detention facility.

Unfortunately, correctional officers’ required duties often place them in dangerous situations that may increase the risk of injury or death. Some of the most common causes of Bakersfield correctional officer injuries and illnesses include:

  • Inmate assault
  • Acts of violence
  • Contact with inmates, objects and equipment
  • Bodily reaction to physically-demanding tasks
  • Overexertion and repetitive-stress injuries
  • Auto accidents while transporting inmates
  • Fall accidents
  • Struck-by accidents

Correctional officers who suffer work-related injuries may be entitled to benefits for their medical expenses and loss of income. Berry, Smith & Bartell’s workers’ compensation lawyers in Bakersfield know the difficulties of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. If you are a correctional officer employed at Kern Valley State Prison, North Kern State Prison, Wasco State Prison, California City Correctional Facility, California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi, or another prison, contact us as soon as possible for qualified legal representation. We are ready to help you with every aspect of your workers’ compensation claim.

How Bakersfield Correctional Officers Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for injured employees’ medical expenses and partial lost wages. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system that employees can apply for if they suffered an injury in a work-related accident or during the course of their employment.

California has a strict workers’ compensation process that Bakersfield correctional officers must follow in order to obtain the benefits they need. This includes:

Reporting the Injury or Illness

If a Bakersfield correctional officer is injured or becomes ill as a result of his or her employment, the correctional officer must report the injury in writing to his or her employer within 30 days after the date of the injury.

Within one business day after reporting the injury, your employer should provide you with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). Completing this form and submitting it to your employer opens your workers’ compensation case. It also starts the process of pursuing all benefits you may qualify for under California law. You should use this form to describe the time, date, location and the events that led to you suffering an injury or illness.

Obtaining Treatment

Once you have reported your injury to your employer, you will need to receive medical treatment from a physician of your employer’s choice. For state employees, including correctional officers, the California Department of Human Resources will arrange treatment with the employer’s selected physician or medical facility within the Medical Provider Network, or with the employee’s pre-designated personal physician or medical group. However, you cannot use a pre-designated physician unless you provide the California Department of Human Resources notice before your injury. Additionally, the physician must have agreed to provide treatment for a work-related injury or illness.

Absence Reporting

After you have received medical attention, you must inform your employer of your health care provider’s diagnosis and recommended treatment plan. If your injury forces you to take time off from work, you must provide your employer with the Absence and Additional Time Worked Report form (STD 634).

You must also provide your employer a written statement from your treating physician each time you are seen regarding your work-related injury or illness. All physician statements must be attached to the STD 634 form and forwarded to the attendance clerk or the Personnel Office of the California Department of Human Resources.

Our attorneys are familiar with helping state employees navigate California’s workers’ compensation process. We will help you through every step of the process and work to ensure you obtain the benefits you need. We know benefits cannot change what happened, but they are a very important part of moving forward after an injury.

To get started, complete our Free Case Evalaution form

Benefits Available Through a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Bakersfield correctional officers who suffer a work-related injury may be entitled to the following types of benefits, depending on the long-term effects of their injury:

Medical Expenses

Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance will pay for the entire cost of any medical services related to your injury. This may include:

  • Doctor visits
  • Hospital services
  • Physical therapy
  • Lab tests
  • X-rays and imagining scans
  • Prescription medication
  • Medical assistive equipment

Temporary Disability Benefits

If you qualify for temporary disability (TD) benefits, you will receive two-thirds of the wages you earned at the time of your accident. TD benefits are paid every two weeks and may not exceed 104 weeks within five years from the date of your injury.

There are two types of temporary disability benefits you may receive:

  • Temporary partial disability (TPD): You may receive TPD benefits if you are partially restricted from working due to your injuries. Restrictions could include reducing the number of hours you may work each day or limiting the activities you can perform in your job.
  • Temporary total disability (TTD): If your physician determines that you are completely unable to work, or the restrictions placed upon you are so severe that your employer does not allow you to return to work, you may qualify for TTD benefits.

TD benefits stop when you return to work or when your treating physician determines your injury has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI).

Permanent Disability Benefits

If your treating physician determines that your injury has reached MMI and you cannot return to work, you may receive permanent disability benefits (PD). Unlike TD benefits, you may receive PD benefits for an extended period of time, however you may have the option to accept a lump sum.

  • Permanent partial disability (PPD): If you are suffering from a permanent disability and have reached MMI, you may qualify for PPD benefits. Your treating physician will assign you a percentage of disability based on the severity of your injury. Your percentage will be plugged into a formula to determine the amount of money you will receive.
  • Permanent total disability (PTD): You may only qualify to receive PTD benefits if your disability is rated at 100 percent by your treating physician. Injuries with a 100 percent disability rating may include the loss of use of both arms or loss of vision in both eyes.

During your free, no obligation consultation, our attorneys will carefully review your claim to determine the benefits you may be qualified to receive. If we find that you did not receive the proper benefits for your injury, or your benefits were prematurely terminated, we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

You may have legal options to obtain the benefits you deserve. Call 1-800-848-6288.

How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

When you suffer a work-related injury, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. Once a doctor has diagnosed your injury and determined the type of medical treatment you require, you should immediately begin filing your workers’ compensation claim.

However, there are several deadlines you must follow to receive workers’ compensation benefits in California. Regardless of the circumstances behind your injury, you must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of acquiring it. Failing to report your injury within the 30-day time limit may result in you being denied benefits.

After you inform your employer of your injury, you will have one year from the date of your injury to complete the DWC 1 claim form and begin the worker’s compensation claim process, according to CA Labor Code § 5405. If you do not file your claim within the one-year deadline, you will lose the right to do so and you will not be able to receive the benefits you need.

For this reason, it may be in your best interest to work with an attorney who understands California’s workers’ compensation laws. At Berry, Smith & Bartell, we know how to efficiently handle workers’ compensation claims. 

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Although filing a workers’ compensation claim may seem straightforward, there are several situations where working with an experienced attorney may benefit your claim. An attorney can help you by:

Gathering Evidence to Support Your Claim

This is particularly important when you are appealing a denied claim. An attorney will understand which kinds of evidence you need and can help you develop your case by:

  • Gathering medical records
  • Recommending or arranging treatment with health care providers
  • Obtaining a detailed medical opinion from your treating physician
  • Interviewing expert medical witnesses who can testify in support of your injury and the effect it has had on you

There are several other types of evidence your attorney may use to support your case. This may include:

  • Testimony from a vocational expert about your inability to perform your job’s physical requirements
  • Statements from your friends, family members and coworkers about how your injury has limited your ability to do daily activities 

Negotiating a Settlement

Another reason for hiring an attorney is that he or she will understand the true amount of benefits you may be entitled to through a workers’ compensation claim. To reach a fair settlement, your attorney may consider several factors, including:

  • The severity of your injury and how it has limited your ability to function
  • Your past, current and future medical expenses related to your workplace injury
  • The amount of income you have lost and whether your employer owes you temporary disability benefits
  • Your previous wages before suffering a work-related injury

Representing You During a Workers’ Compensation Hearing

If you are unable to reach a settlement, your workers’ compensation claim will likely proceed to a hearing. Your attorney will represent you during the hearing and defend your claim in front of an administrative law judge.

At the hearing, your attorney will present a case that supports your claim that your injury is work-related. Your attorney will also make opening and closing statements and examine witnesses.  

At Berry, Smith & Bartell, we understand that many people are unfamiliar with workers’ compensation claims. Whether you are a Bakersfield correctional officer working at a Wasco State Prison, Kern Valley State Prison, or California Correctional Institute, we will help you fight for the benefits you deserve.

Learn more about how we can help you. Call 1-800-848-6288.

Contact Berry, Smith & Bartell for a Free Consultation

All too often, employees are unfairly denied the worker’s compensation benefits they need due to mistakes or problems during the claims process, such as employers or insurers arguing that the injury is not work-related. When this happens, it may be in your best interest to seek legal help.

The workers' compensation lawyers at Berry, Smith & Bartell have the skills and experience you need to settle a workers’ compensation claim dispute. We are ready to fight for Bakersfield correctional officers who were wrongly denied benefits and will provide you with a free, no obligation consultation to find out if we can help you.

All of our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pay our attorneys if you recover benefits for your claim.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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