Workers' Compensation Claims in the Eureka & Crescent City Areas
Updated: July 25, 2022
ArticleWorkers’ Compensation in the Eureka and Crescent City areas are very different than other areas of the State.
At the time of this writing, I am on the Executive Committee for the California Lawyers Association (CLA), Workers’ Compensation; in a meeting, I had recommended that CLA put focus on rural areas in California based on my experience with Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.
After that, our workers’ compensation Judge was interviewed this year by an organization called the California Lawyers’ Association, Workers’ Compensation Division on the challenges facing injured workers in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. In the article, our local Judge discussed the treatment challenges that injured workers face, because we really don’t have a lot of options for doctors in our area.
There isn’t a month that goes by when I am going to a hearing to get a doctor for my client that is out of the area, because the insurance companies and their attorneys do not understand why my clients have to drive hours to a doctor. Further, they don’t want to pay mileage, meals, and hotels which is reasonable in our situation.
Diagnostic testing is challenging, because most of the scheduling services that the insurance companies use on a state wide level do not have options in our area, therefore, my clients get useless customer service calls with no solutions for diagnostic testing. This often necessitates a unique handling of this process.
There is also an assumption that bigger employers such as the County of Humboldt, Pelican Bay State Prison, St. Joseph Hospital, Mad River Hospital, Sutter Coast Hospital, or the schools in both counties have better access to doctors. They have the same problem. It’s not a small employer issue; it’s our area that is an issue.
My point is that if you do not have an attorney who understands the unique challenges of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, then you are going to have a harder time in an already difficult system. Many people in our area will search the internet for a workers’ compensation attorney and end up with someone in Sacramento, the Bay Area or even Los Angeles. This will be a problem in most cases. Even a good lawyer in those areas won’t know how to approach the cases in our area.
I often get phone calls from potential clients frustrated with their current attorneys, and I ask them why they went outside the area and they say “because I thought an attorney from a bigger area would be better.” I can’t tell you how false that is. I handle cases in other areas that are CAL FIRE and Department of Corrections and I can tell that the good attorneys in our area fight as hard as anyone. The other reason I’m given is “I just searched the internet and didn’t realize I was hiring someone outside the area” or “I didn’t think it would matter.”
If you have a workers’ compensation claim in our area, my recommendation is to give my firm a call first; or if you have a recommendation from a friend with another firm in town, call them. Just don’t hire someone outside of the area.