Proper representation during a workers’ compensation lawsuit is essential to protecting your rights as a California worker and critical in ensuring both fair treatment from your employer and insurance providers. A recent workers’ comp case is another example that, often times, little is done to protect our state’s workforce.

Nicolas Mercado, a southern California resident and proud grandfather, remains trapped in a care facility in Garden Grove miles away from his San Bernardino home. Due to him being unable to navigate his wheelchair throughout his home, Mercado has no choice but to stay at the care facility until his home is made suitable for wheelchair access.

A court order was issued for the state to cover the home modifications for Mercado but, up until this point, they have refused to follow through.

Mercado became a quadriplegic in 2011 when the big rig he drove for work crashed and left him permanently injured and in a wheelchair. Nearly four years later, the state has yet to provide any modifications to his home and he is unable to return because of this.

He had only this to say to NBC4 reporters: “I just want to be at home,” he said as his wife wiped his tears away. “I just hope nobody goes through what I’m going through.”

Mercado’s attorneys place the blame on the California Insurance Guarantee Association, whom have attempted numerous times to appeal the court order for Mercado’s home modifications. Despite their appeals, the CIGA has provided financial support for Mercado’s medical expenses but even CIGA Executive Director Wayne Wilson agrees that they haven’t done enough.

The California Applicants’ Attorneys Association (CAAA) President, Bernardo de la Torre, stated that:
Insurance carriers deny three and a half million treatment recommendations a year, many of them for home health care support for patients who don’t want to be in an institution, but at home. Insurers use the system of delay and denial to avoid paying for legitimate, necessary medical treatment and support for patients. As there are no meaningful penalties for insurer misconduct, they continue to mistreat people like Nicolas Mercado. This must change.
Without a workers’ compensation attorney at your side, anyone can become a victim to the manipulation of insurance providers. If you or anyone you know has been injured in the workplace, please call the Law Office of Joseph Kritzer at (310) 373-6821 so we can assist you in protecting your rights.