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Injured Worker Clinics

Posted on Nov 3, 2009
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Worksafe provides assistance to legal aid organizations that serve low-wage workers through periodic legal clinics.

At clinics such as these, injured workers can seek assistance from experienced volunteer workers’ compensation attorneys, law students working under the guidance of such attorneys, and/or community workers who can assist with vital non-legal aspects of the clients’ cases. More and more injured workers are in need of services like these clinics due in large part to the broken workers' compensation system in California.

We have successfully supported injured worker clinics by developing written attorney guidelines, creating appropriate intake questionnaires, attending clinics to support clinic staff and volunteer attorneys when requested, recruiting volunteer attorneys for each clinic, and providing worker educational materials to be disseminated at the clinic.

Over the last 8 years, Worksafe has assisted the Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center with providing workers' compensation services during the workers' rights clinic at UC Hastings College of the Law. We recently set up a successful injured workers clinic with the Stockton Office of California Legal Rural Assistance, and we are currently working with additional legal services programs to explore establishing workers' compensation clinics in the Los Angeles area.

If your legal aid program is interested in starting a clinic to serve low-wage injured workers, or if you’d like to explore the feasibility of establishing a clinic, please contact us.

Testimony of a UC Hastings law student (now a lawyer) about her experience with Worksafe that developed from a Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center clinic:

“Working with Marcela on her Workers' Comp case taught me about the life cycle of a case. I had the opportunity to learn interviewing skills at the initial stages, when we talked about Marcela's story. We spoke of both what had happened to her on the job and all the small, seemingly extraneous issues impacting her life, which had popped up as a result of her injury. I learned how to prepare a witness for questioning and about the separate challenges presented by direct and cross examination.

The Worksafe attorneys working closely with me throughout the process gave me guidance about legal issues which I would not have been able to do without. They also gave me valuable mentorship that I have counted on over and over, well after the hearing was finished. Speaking with opposing counsel during the process was a wake up call that taught me a valuable lesson in not backing down and just how much overt, manipulative pressure the other side will attempt to use. The hearing itself brought to life rules I learned in textbooks on procedure, and invaluable practice in communicating with a judge. In sum, the experience was a positive, reciprocal relationship.

I gained legal skills and something concrete to discuss in job interviews, but I also helped make a difference in someone's life. Marcela, crying, hugging me, and calling me her angel will be a memory I'll take with me forever.”

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