Leo H. Hernandez
Attorney at Law
Helping California’s injured workers since 1982.
© 2015 Leo H. Hernandez, Attorney at Law
Contact: 3330 Pico Blvd. Suite 2308 Santa Monica, CA 90405   (310) 452-1441 Fax: (310) 452-2075  
Hours of Operation  Mondays - Thursdays: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm  Fridays: 8 am - 5 pm  
How long will it take for my workers’ compensation case to be filed? Leo normally files his cases a week after your initial appointment. He personally files them himself at the courthouse to make sure they are done properly and timely.  
How long will it take for my case to be resolved? Each case has its own set of circumstances, so it’s difficult to give a fair, accurate answer without looking at your case specifically. However, generally speaking, cases are normally resolved within 9 months of being discharged by one of the agreed upon doctors, when you’re considered “Permanent and Stationary.” Permanent and Stationary (P&S) means that your condition has been stabilized and considered treated to the extent of current medical science. For some people, this could take a while, as everybody heals at a different rate, and no one’s injury or illness is quite the same. Some cases go on for years. The majority of our cases last at least two years, but it may not be so for your case.  
If I file a case, will I get fired? It is against the law to fire an employee for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Most law abiding employers know it is illegal to fire an employee because of his or her intentions to file a workers’ compensation claim. Still, there are some employers that do not know that it is illegal to fire the employee for this reason. If this happens, and the employee has a lawyer, many times all it takes is a letter from the attorney to the employer advising the employer of the prohibition for such wrongful termination. Therefore, the employee is reinstated with his or her job. Most times, employers that do fire a worker who has reported an injury (and/or filed for worker’s compensation) do so under the basis that the employee violated company policy somehow. (For example, they didn’t follow the safety guidelines in their company handbook, or didn’t wear safety goggles, etc.) If this happens, come speak with us right away so we can address the problem early.  
What if I am unable to return to work? If you are unable to return to work because of your disability resulting from your work related injury, then the next course of action is to apply for Social Security benefits. We can help you in this regard, as well. If you are able to work in some other field, the insurance company is required to provide you with funds to go towards learning a new trade to accommodate your new work restrictions.  
Will filing a workers’ compensation case affect my ability to get a job later? It is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant based on their worker’s compensation history. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) has outlawed this question on the basis that it is inquiring after the severity of any of the applicant’s potential impairments. With that said, potential employers do have the ability to check what’s available in the public record, and some of the WCAB’s proceedings are conducted in the public record. In order for them to access this information, they have to go through EAMS (Electronic Adjudication Management System) which is available online. They must submit a request as to why they need this information and details about themselves. From there, the Division of Worker’s Compensation will respond. The information they can give out is limited. Your address and social security number will not be given out. The only thing they can actually see on the EAMS is if you filed for workers’ compensation and against whom, as well as a short list of body systems injured. (For example, it may say psyche, respiratory, muscular.) It will note if the case is open or if it’s been resolved. If the potential employer does go through all this trouble, you will be notified that the Division provided such information. They will also send you this note: “IT MAY BE A VIOLATION OF FEDERAL AND STATE LAW TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST A JOB APPLICANT BECAUSE THE APPLICANT HAS FILED A CLAIM FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS.” (Labor Code 138.7.  
Who will pay for my medical bills? Your employer is required to have worker’s compensation insurance. The insurance company will pay for your medical bills and reimburse you for mileage.  
How much will this cost me? Leo charges the standard attorney’s fee of 15% of the winnings, so there is no direct cost to you. Rather, when the case is settled, the fee will be deducted from the settlement the insurance company pays. You don’t have to pay for anything out of pocket.  
Can I pick which doctors to go to? Unfortunately, no. The insurance company has a Medical Provider Network. They will offer a list of doctors they are willing to work with, and the attorney can strike one off the list. This is done to assure as much fairness as possible, since the doctor is the one who ultimately decides your PD (Permanent Disability). If you go to your own private doctor, that comes out of your own funds. There are also QMEs (Qualified Medical Examiners) that are selected by the Division of Workers’ Compensation.  
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