Your San Diego and Imperial County Work Injury Law Firm
If you have been seriously injured on the job, we can help you get the full benefits you deserve.
An on the job work injury can drastically change your life! You can go in the blink of an eye from earning a good living to unemployed and hunting for work that pays much less than before your injury. It is very important that you understand your options' We have been representing injured workers in claims related to the following laws for over 30 years.
- California Workers' Compensation benefits
- Federal Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Insurance
- Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act
- Federal Defense Base Act - Sorry, we don't handle Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) cases.
An Overview of Our Practice
We offer comprehensive legal counsel to people with claims involving:
- Benefits under California or Federal Workers' Compensation laws for injuries suffered on the job — In over three decades in practice, we have handled workers' compensation claims in nearly every industry in the greater San Diego area. Longshore workers with employers such as NASSCO, Continental Maritime, and BAE Systems are covered under both federal and state laws. Any employee injured during new ship or vessel construction or ship or vessel repair needs an attorney knowledgeable of both federal and state compensation statutes. We often receive referrals from attorneys who only practice State of California compensation law. You need to do what they do — call us now if you have been injured working near the waterfront or upon maritime vessel. Any work injury that causes lost time needs legal advice to protect your rights. All initial calls are free of charge. Don't get lost in their systems!
- Compensation under the Social Security program for injuries or illness that prevent you from working — If you cannot return to your past work of the last 15 years due to chronic illness or traumatic injury, we will help you determine if you qualify for federal Social Security disability benefits. Always get an attorney to evaluate denial of your claim. Don't delay. There are strict appeal deadlines. Initial calls are always free.
Don't get left behind!
Imperial County and San Diego Workers Compensation Lawyers
Attorneys Stewart Atcheson and David Kepler have worked together, as a team, for more than 30 years helping injured workers and disabled persons use their legal rights to regain financial stability and medical heath. We place a premium on personal service and attention.
As a cllient, you will deal directly with an attorney at every stage of the process.
Many of our new cases come to us as referrals from former or existing clients, and from other lawyers. Be confident that if we accept you as a client, we believe we can assist you successfully close your case.
For your consultation, contact our office online or call us at (619)231-7074.
Our Workers' Compensation Practice
We assist injured workers at all stages of workers' compensation claims. We will take your phone calls from the hospital or emergency room. We will assist you at our office appointments, beginning with the preparation and filing of your initial claim for compensation benefits. We will help you obtain weekly temporary total disability payments. We will encourage your treating physician to appeal unfair Utilization Review denials. When you achieve maximum improvement from your injury, we will have you evaluated by a medical professional to determine the full nature and extent of your permanent disability and its financial value. In our years of protecting the rights of injured workers, we have handled cases in almost every industry in San Diego and the surrounding communities in Southern California. We protect the rights of people under state and federal compensation laws, including people hurt in all types of work accidents, including:
We protect the interests of people who have suffered any type of injury, from back, neck, knee and shoulder injuries to carpal tunnel syndrome, occupational disease or mental breakdown.
We provide consultations without charge. If we accept you as a client, you can feel confident in your future. You will be more financially secure. We will support your medical recovery. To discuss your personal situation, contact us by e-mail or call us at (619) 231-7074.
Permanent Disability Lawyers for San Diego and Southern California
Seriously Injured at Work?
If you or a family member or friend suffers a 'permanent disability' because of a work related accident or an occupational disease, as an injured worker, you have a right to pursue compensation for your financial support and medical recovery.
The Law Office of Stewart Atcheson includes well qualified attorneys who are ready to do what it takes to get proper results for your claim. We accept all types of on the job permanent disability cases, including those that involve:
- Quadriplegia, paralysis and permanent immobility
- Permanent and disabling back and lower extremity injury and pain
- Amputation or loss of use of limb, strength or, range of motion
- Brain or head injury, neurological and psychological consequences
- Upper and lower extremity injuries
San Diego Work Injury Attorneys Protecting Victims of Work Accidents
We offer comprehensive legal counsel to people who have been injured on the job. We help you take all the necessary steps to get full and fair compensation subject to the limits of the law. We will help you complete and file your initial application for compensation, so that you can minimize the risk that your request for benefits will be denied. We will also be your advocate, side by side, in hearings or proceedings, including appeals.
We have handled work injury claims related to nearly every industry in San Diego and Imperial County. We have protected the rights of workers under state and federal laws, and have taken on some of the area's largest and most powerful employers, including County of San Diego, City of San Diego, State of California, NASSCO, SDG&E, AT&T, General Dynamics, Solar Turbines, Continental Marine and BAE Systems. Our client's occupations have included:
- California Highway Patrol and other law enforcement officers
- Firefighters and other safety officers
- Plumbers, pipe-fitters, sheet metal workers, ship fitters
- Electricians, iron workers and construction laborers
- Assemblers and machinists
- Hotel and restaurant workers, bartenders, waiters, waitresses
- Truckers and Teamsters, Heavy Equipment Operators
- Grocery workers, Retail Clerks
- Nurses and other health care professionals
- Office workers, secretaries, typists, clerks
Contact Our Office
We provide a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced San Diego work injury attorneys, contact us by e-mail or call us at (619) 231-7074.
El Centro Workers' Compensation Attorneys
Again this January 1st, the firm of Stewart Atcheson renewed its yearly commitment to assist the Hispanic injured and disabled in Imperial County. California workers' compensation benefits are extremely unfair to the Hispanic workers of Imperial County. Many workers are employed only on a seasonal basis. When they are injured, the compensation law pays benefits on a seasonal part time rate even though they have sustained a permanent full time injury.
The availability of quality medical care in El Centro area is limited. Workers injured on their job receive minimal care. The insurance adjuster will quickly deny the treatment requested by your doctor.
El Centro Social Security Attorneys
There are many fine physicians in San Diego who practice part time in El Centro who also perform Agreed Medical Evaluations (AME). It is our job to make quality medical care and evaluation available to our clients. Always discuss your situation in advance with a lawyer. Never use the workers' compensation QME panel process in the Valley. We will get you an excellent treating physician and evaluator for your case. If the seriously injured Hispanic worker is a citizen or resident alien with proper papers, we investigate whether the injured worker is also eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance based on his work record while in the United States.
In addition to this SSDI benefit, most injured Hispanic workers in Imperial County are also eligible for SSI benefits due to the low pay and seasonal work cycles in Imperial County. The average education for Hispanic workers in Imperial County is limited. Many have no more than 6 years of education in Mexico's elementary school system.
We encourage seriously injured or medically disabled persons to apply in person at the Social Security Administration office at 2345 South 2nd Street for SSDI and SSI benefits. If denied, and many are denied unfairly, call us immediately so that we can help you meet the appeal deadlines and win your benefits.
Most people who live full time in the Valley know both injured workers and medically disabled persons in need of our legal help. Tell them about our law office and encourage them to call for a free, no-obligation consultation.
No Fee unless we win your case!
Call (619) 231-7074.
San Diego Longshoreman Workers' Compensation Lawyers
We are your federal workers' compensation lawyers for representation concerning
- Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act [LHWCA]—Jr In San Diego, we are representing injured workers involved in new ship construction and ship repair usually near or at NASSCO shipyards.
- Defense Base Act—In southern California, this may involve Chaldean Iraqi interpreters injured in a combat zone such as Iraq or Afghanistan.
- Non-Appropriated Funds Act—An example of an injured employee includes workers at Navy and USMC Exchanges.
Chula Vista Longshore and Harbor Worker Injury Attorneys
Longshore Benefits for NASSCO employees and other employees injured working on or near navigable waters — If you are injured building or repairing a Navy vessel, you need an attorney. You are eligible for both state of California and federal LHWCA workers' compensation benefits. Your attorney works to get you the best benefit possible under the state and federal laws. You have plenty of chances to make HUGE mistakes without an attorney to guide you.
- Under LHWCA you are entitled to select a physician of your choice. This is the good news. The bad news is that you only get to choose one time. Exactly how many doctors does the average injured worker know? Not enough to make an educated choice. Under California workers' compensation law you need to treat with a doctor in the Medical Provider Network established by the insurance carrier. Once you have selected a treating physician for your injury, you may not change doctors without the permission of the employer or insurance carrier or the federal Department of Labor Office of Workers' Compensation adjuster assigned to your case. The doctor that you choose to treat you may be the second biggest decision you make, other than choosing your Longshore lawyer. Medical treatment includes all medical surgical and hospital treatment and other medical supplies and services required to treat your job injury, as well as the cost of travel and mileage to receive your treatment.
- Amount and Duration of Compensation --— Under the Longshore Act you are entitled to receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage if you are unable to perform your usual and customary job and your employer will not offer you part time or modified work while you are healing.
- When you are at maximum medical improvement and permanent and stationary status as determined by your treating doctor, the employer will hire an outside vendor to contact a Labor Market Survey to determine whether you can return to your past work and whether you can now perform lighter work. Lighter work is usually an Unskilled Sedentary or Light Work job, like a security guard or cashier. Your retained ability to work factors into the amount and duration of your Permanent Disability benefits, especially if your injury involved your neck or lower spine or either shoulder. An injury to these parts of the body entitles you to receive Unscheduled Permanent Disability benefits based upon wage loss expected in the future as projected by the Labor Market Survey. This phase of your case is the most controversial and contested. At NASSCO many workers are Hispanic with limited education and commute from Mexico to NASSCO each day to work. These workers may now be highly skilled welders, shipfitter or riggers. After an injury they are unable to return to their regular job. It is difficult for them to find new occupations. Many injured Hispanic workers never return to gainful employment after serious injury for a Longshore employer. They need a skilled attorney to advise them.
- What happens if you only injure your knee or an elbow or hand? These are Scheduled injury parts of the body. Your permanent disability is first described in your treating doctor's final report. Your doctor uses rules set out by the American Medical Association to establish your percentage of disability. The Longshore Act tells your adjuster how many weeks of compensation you will receive.
- You can receive Scheduled benefits and Unscheduled benefits. After the scheduled benefits are completely paid, you may be eligible for unscheduled benefits, possibly for life, if you have incurred serious injury to your neck, spine, shoulder or psyche. In California, these benefits are compared to what you are entitled under the state workers' compensation laws. Your lawyer will make sure you get paid the correct settlement amount under either the State or Federal Longshore rules. It is very complicated.
- If your employer's insurance company schedules a medical appointment for you with a doctor you don't know, you have to go to the appointment. If you refuse to go your monetary compensation may be suspended. The suspension may last for months.
If you are injured on the job, immediately inform your supervisor. Write down the names of other workers who may have witnessed our injury. Obtain Longshore Form-1 from your medical clinic. This will authorize you to seek medical treatment from the physician of your choice. Now call our office. You should not pick a treating physician without the assistance of your lawyer. Do not let your employer or claims adjuster trick you into picking their doctor!
Your lawyer will the necessary claim forms for compensation. 'These are Longshore Form LS-203 and for the state of California laws, form DWC-1.
We have Spanish interpreters available.
San Diego Workplace Back and Neck Injury Lawyers
We promise to guide you through this complex workers' compensation legal process. This will allow you the time that is necessary to heal and get better.
Don't start your case playing catch up by allowing the claims adjuster to convince you that he is there to help you and you don't need an attorney. It won't take long for you to figure out they are low balling your case and underestimating your medical problems. Your treating doctors' prescriptions will often be denied by the Insurance Company. Insurance carriers often hire a nurse case manager to tell your doctor what treatment will be denied even before he prescribes it.
Don't take any chances with your life and financial welfare. We know how difficult it is for an injured worker and their family after a serious work injury.
Chula Vista Neck and Shoulder Injury at Work
For over 30 years the Law Office of Stewart Atcheson has been assisting the injured and disabled in Southern California. We are ready to help you immediately.
We ask questions. We want to know how your accident has affected your life and those closest to you. The more we know, the stronger we are. We focus on the details so you can focus on your recovery.
We will discuss all aspects of your case in easy-to-understand language and advise you of your options and involve you in the decision- making process about your case, your medical treatment, and your ultimate negotiated settlement and possible trial. We know how to listen.
We are a small law firm providing personalized service. We know that our clients have been seriously injured. We know they need help. Our clients never imagined that a sudden injury would take them out of work. They are worried and most are financially strapped week to week with money needs for rent, mortgages, food, school supplies, health bills and all the other needs life serves up. Your insurance adjuster is not going to lose any sleep about your problems. We keep calling the adjuster until the correct decision is implemented on your case.
Don't make important decisions without legal advice. Get answers to your work injury questions. Hire the right type of attorney. You are not going to get a do-over when you make uninformed decisions.
Contact Our Office as soon as possible.
Gather up all the important papers on your case. This includes your most recent payroll stubs, copies of recent medical reports by your doctor, any time-off slips, your injury claim form and letters from your employer or insurance adjuster.
CALL TODAY. Ask for Stewart Atcheson. Call (619) 231-7074. We need to talk.
San Diego Social Security Disability Attorneys
Welcome to our Social Security Disability law office. Relax; you have come to the right place. We know you're hurt or disabled and worried about your future. Applying for SSDI and SSI (anchor link to Supplemental Security Income accordion text) is overwhelming. The appeals are daunting and will be delayed. Sit down with us and we will wait with you.
We are proud to have assisted thousands of Southern California residents regain financial stability through Social Security Administration [SSA] Disability. We understand your struggle.
What is SSDI? What is SSI?
These are two SSA programs that pay "disabled" people. The 'disability test' is the same for each program. The test is that you must have either a medical or mental 'impairment' that lasts a year or more and prevents 'substantial and sustained employment,' limiting income to generally $500 a month or less.
SSI is 'Supplemental Security Income' and it is an entitlement program paid to disabled people who have no work record or history for the last 5 years. There is an asset limitation on what you own and have in the bank. There is also a household income limitation assessed monthly. SSI recipients get Medi-Cal health coverage. SSI is a needs- based program.
SSDI is 'Social Security Disability Income' which pays disabled people based upon their work history over the last ten years. You must have worked and paid SSA payroll tax for about 5 out of the last 10 years before you became disabled. It is not uncommon for disabled recipients to get an SSDI and SSI check every month. SSDI recipients get Medicare health benefits 30 months after disability onset. Recipients under 50 years of age often have their cases reviewed to establish continued disability entitlement.
What do we do for you?
Our lawyers handle cases at all levels of the application and appeal and review process. We have been involved in this area of the law for over 20 years. It is intimidating. The process is frustrating. We will protect your rights and guide you through each step of the process. You have our support.
Understand that if we take your case, we expect to win! No fee is paid unless and until you win. SSA deducts the fee from only your retroactive benefits and pays us directly. All fees are set by Congress and must be allowed by a Judge in advance. Fees are 25% of the net retroactive benefits. The fee cannot be more than $6,000. SSA expects that you 'prove' your disability and entitlement to benefits. We help provide the proof for your case in many different ways.
Contact the Law Office of Stewart Atcheson:
Call us at (619) 231-7074 for a free initial consultation with an experienced San Diego Social Security Disability attorney. We will ask you tough yet friendly questions to determine your eligibility to be our client.
Learn more about our Social Security practice at www.disabilitylawyersandiego.com.
San Diego Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyers
We make sure your appeals are filed on time. We assist you with the SSA questionnaires that will bombard you. We help you obtain your doctors' records and request letters from your doctor to help you with your case. .
Our staff keeps your claim running smoothly and moving forward for your day in court. For cases initially denied, 95% of them later require a hearing with a judge. We understand medicine. We understand your impairments. Claims can be won based on one particular medical problem. Most often, claims are won due to a combination of medical problems.
Vocational factors matter. SSA rules change when claimants become 50, 55, 60 and older. SSA pays for medical and vocational experts to attend your hearing. We help the government's experts understand the mental and physical requirements of your past work and why you cannot return to that type of work due to your medical problems. SSA pays a medical doctor to review your file and tell the judge about your medical problems. Many of the medical experts are elderly and retired from private practice and have a conservative opinion on the extent and severity of your 'impairments.
Remember that when you walk into the hearing in front of the judge, you have to change his mind. You have to prove they are wrong in denying your claim up to that point. Your best witness is your treating doctor and he can't afford to come to your hearing and testify. What do we do? We get the best possible written evidence directly from your personal treating physicians.
We represent many injured or ill persons living in Chula Vista and SouthBay.
We have your doctor complete a Questionnaire especially tailored for your medical and mental impairments.
If a person cannot return to his or her former work, the next question for the judge is whether your residual abilities will permit sustained performance of any other job, full time 8 hours a day, available throughout the nation. Your treating physician's opinion on your remaining abilities is perhaps the single most important part of your medical evidence. The questionnaire has to be filled out correctly and completely.
You need a lawyer with you for your hearing. There are magic words. The single biggest mistake a claimant makes is believing that a simple note from their doctor saying they are 'disabled from work' is enough to win disability benefits. Your judge will remind you that it is his job to decide whether you can work and may point out that you walked into the hearing and sat down and maybe there are jobs you can do that only require that level of ability.
Contact the Law Office of Stewart Atcheson:
Call now if you have recently been denied. Time is of the essence. You don't want to begin the process all over. We talk to clients or potential clients all day long. We are happy to talk to you! We ask tough questions. If we take you as a client, we expect a successful resolution of your problems.
Call our office at (619) 231-7074. You are lucky you found our web site. Call us today.
Our San Diego Supplemental Security Income Attorneys
The SSI program is a needs- based entitlement program for disabled persons who generally have no monthly income and few personal assets. The challenge is that they frequently have no medical insurance or source for medical care. Many claimants are homeless and have mental illness, compounded with past or present alcohol or drug use. Most of our SSI clients are referred to us by a friend or family member who understands their plight. Give us a call to discuss the situation. No fee to chat.
Social Security Disability law concerns whether a person is able to do full time work on a predictable, consistent and productive basis. Ability to work some of the time or on a hit or miss basis is not enough. Our office will work with each client to be certain that all the medical evidence is prepared ad presented to the judge in the best possible way to achieve success.
You need a lawyer for your case. There are devastating backlogs at every level of disability claims throughout the nation. The situation will not get any better any time soon, and you won't notice it in your case. Life can be fickle, and you can't afford a do-over.
We help disabled persons from National City, Chula Vista, and San Ysidro.
There are some of the 'biggest' mistakes we see people make in applying on their own for SSDI or SSI benefits:--
- Not applying soon enough — -Many months of eligibility are lost. This is particularly true if a claimant has a workers' compensation claim. Seriously injured workers may also qualify for federal SSDI benefits in addition to their workers' compensation benefits. Call us for more information.
- Taking no for an answer! — Not appealing a denial!
- Missing appeal deadlines Read the notices: 65 days maximum to appeal.
- Not verifying that all medical evidence is in the file — After you request a hearing, the SSA does not continue to seek out your current medical evidence from your doctors. As much as a year may be missing!
- Filling out claim forms or online applications before talking to a lawyer
- Not knowing that in California you can be eligible and receive workers' compensation checks, California EDD State Disability benefits (SDI), VA benefits, Long Term Disability benefits and other private insurance program checks at the same time as Social Security Disability SSDI payments.
- Any disabled veteran you see may also be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. This is concurrent eligibility, and it is often missed.
- Believing that a simple note from your doctor that you are 'disabled' is enough to win. This belief is a source of endless heartache for claimants proceeding without lawyers to their hearing. You don't get a do-over!
- Not considering that their depression is an aspect of their illness.
- Recall that for SSDI and SSI disability eligibility, a person must be unable to work full time. Persons whose work capacity is episodic or who can only work on a very limited basis may still be eligible.
- Thinking you can't afford a lawyer: Fees are paid if you win.
Contact Our Office
Call us at (619) 894-8559 (toll free (877) 470-3408) ask for Stewart Atcheson. It is a free consultation. If you have recently been denied SSDI or SSI, call right away. If you wonder whether you, or a family member or friend, could benefit from a Social Security Disability program, call us for a free, no- obligation phone consultation.
Learn more about our Social Security practice at www.disabilitylawyersandiego.com.
Everybody knows someone who is disabled.