WELCOME TO THE LAW OFFICE OF MARK A. VICKNESS
The Vickness Law Firm is one of the leading firms in Northern California representing people injured at work. Founded by Mark Vickness, the firm is dedicated to providing the highest quality representation to injured workers. Our small firm strives to maintain a high level of personal service for our clients.
The information presented on this website is for general information only. Nothing contained in this site should be considered legal advice. All visitors to this site are urged to speak to an attorney about your specific questions or concerns.
When someone dies as a result of a work-related accident, illness or injury, that person’s dependents may be entitled to a death benefit. Minor children may receive the equivalent of temporary disability every two weeks until their eighteenth birthday. Claims for death benefits are routinely denied by insurance carriers. Establishing dependency can be a difficult process. Often times, a number of relatives may claim dependency. In one case, we represented a four-year-old and his mother living in Germany after his father died while working as a California Highway Patrol officer. Eight other people claimed to be dependents including an aunt and uncle living in Spain who flew to Sacramento for the trial. Ultimately, we succeeded in getting full death benefits for our client which included temporary disability payments until he reached the age of eighteen.
Our firm specializes in representing people with work-related catastrophic injuries. Injuries resulting in paralysis and/or ventilator dependency require specialized knowledge and experience. Medical treatment for this type of injury is a complex issue. Nursing care, home health care, housing needs and home modification, wheelchair access, special transportation needs, and training for family members who desire to participate in providing care are just some of the issues that must be addressed. Making sure our clients have all of the treatment they need is of paramount importance. Beyond that, taking care of the family’s financial needs is critical. We have handled numerous cases involving paraplegia, quadriplegia, tetraplegia, severe burn injuries, loss of limbs and other catastrophic injuries.
PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS
Public safety officers (such as police and firefighters) are entitled to special benefits and protections under workers’ compensation law in recognition of the dangers they routinely deal with on behalf of the public. Mr. Vickness did his initial training in workers’ compensation with Yale Jones, Esq. (now retired), one of the pre-eminent specialists in representing public safety officers in California. As a result, Mr. Vickness has represented many public safety officers. He has a comprehensive understanding of – and sensitivity to – the issues that are critical to most police officers and firefighters such as the ability to return to work, retirement issues (city, county or PERS), and the potential for discrimination as a result of sustaining a work-related injury. In addition to workers’ compensation cases, Mr. Vickness has represented public safety officers in retirement and social security disability trials.
In one case, Mr. Vickness litigated on behalf of a police officer whose case was denied by the employer claiming that the officer’s injury had been intentionally self-inflicted. Mr. Vickness took that case to the California Court of Appeal and won, getting the denial reversed, full benefits for his client and a published, precedent setting decision that helps all injured workers in the future who face this type of denial. See Smith v. WCAB (2000) 79 Cal. App.4th 530; 65 CCC 277. In another case, Mr. Vickness represented a police officer whose case became much more complicated because the claims supervisor handling the case relentlessly tried to build a fraud case against the officer. The case ended well for the officer and very badly for the claims supervisor when Mr. Vickness turned the issue around and brought a fraud action against the claims supervisor.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INJURED WORKERS
There are several laws in California that prohibit employers from discriminating against people who are injured on the job. Unfortunately, despite these laws, employers frequently do just that. Mr. Vickness has brought many actions against employers in California. He has gone after the largest national employers, cities, counties and smaller companies as well successfully obtaining penalties and lost wages for his clients. Prior to specializing in workers’ compensation, Mr. Vickness litigated employment discrimination cases in superior court. Many workers’ compensation attorneys will not bother to pursue employers for discriminating against their employees because it takes a lot of effort to develop the evidence to present at trial. Mr. Vickness vigorously pursues these actions for his clients.
Workers’ compensation is an extremely technical area of the law. Mr. Vickness has over twenty years of experience litigating workers’ compensation cases. He has been certified by the California State Bar as a specialist in workers’ compensation law since 2002. He has lectured at numerous conferences and taken many cases to the California Court of Appeal. But expertise in the law only goes so far in this business. Workers’ compensation has its own culture and its own community. The personal relationships Mr. Vickness has developed over the years with doctors, defense attorneys, judges, translators and vocational experts is essential for getting results. A client of this firm will never be passed off to a junior associate.
• Mark A. Vickness
You can see some of Mark’s writings in our Articles section.
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