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Law Offices of Bo Katzakian

San Jose Workers' Compensation Blog

Key points about workers' compensation medical examiners

California workers who are injured on the job or suffer a related condition or illness that prevents them from working will understandably want to receive workers' compensation benefits. Workers' compensation is important as it not only allows a worker to receive partial payment of their wages, but it can help them with medical treatment. For those who are facing the uncertainty of a work-related injury, these issues will be worrisome. Not all cases go smoothly with the insurer and the worker agreeing on the extent of the injuries. In some cases, the claim can be denied.

If the denial or disagreement is based on a medical professional's assessment, there are alternatives such as a qualified medical examiner (QME) or an agreed medical evaluator (AME). Understanding key factors about these evaluations is imperative. A QME is a physician with a license to practice in the state. They receive a certification by the Division of Workers' Compensation Medical Unit and are legally allowed to evaluate a case based on medical or legal issues. AMEs are physicians who are picked by the worker's legal representation and the defense. They also evaluate cases on a medical or legal basis when there is a workers' compensation claim. An AME is only used when the worker is represented by a lawyer.

Injured truckers' classification key for workers' compensation

When a California worker is injured on the job, the classification as to whether he or she is an employee or a contractor can lead to confusion when seeking workers' compensation benefits. For all workers, this can be problematic, but it is especially true for truckers. Industry insiders state that this issue is a growing concern for companies and drivers. When truckers are injured, the lost time on the job and medical expenses can cause them financial strife. To ensure they get the workers' compensation benefits they are entitled to, a law firm experienced in these issues can help.

In the last decade, there were major changes to companies using independent contractors and owner-operators rather than employing their drivers directly. This is done, in part, because workers' compensation had grown so costly to companies. Often, the motor carrier lets the owner-operator show evidence that they have workers' compensation or other insurance coverage like occupational accident insurance. Occupational accident coverage is considered a lighter version of workers' compensation insurance. This does not have the same overall coverage as workers' compensation, but it has more than basic health insurance.

Elevator workers suffer workplace injuries after fire

In San Jose and across California, building maintenance is an integral part of living in a municipality. To keep the residents and anyone else who enters a structure safe, there are certain jobs that must be done. One risky type of employment involves maintaining and repairing elevators. Since elevators can be dangerous in a myriad of ways, even the workers who are fixing issues with them will inevitably be put at risk. One of the biggest dangers in an accident on the job is if there is a fire. With the injuries that can accompany a fire and an elevator-related injury, having legal assistance to get the maximum in benefits is essential.

Two men were working on an elevator when a fire broke out and injured them. Emergency personnel were called before noon. The workers were taken to the hospital for treatment. The injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. It is still unknown how the fire began. It started in the elevator shaft and a mistaken mix with chemicals sparked the fire. The work was known as vapor guard to protect the shaft in case of water accumulation and other problems. The building was evacuated after sprinklers and fire alarms were activated. The investigation is continuing.

First responders seek workers' compensation for PTSD

When a California worker seeks workers' compensation benefits, there is often a misplaced belief that it can only be granted when there is a physical injury or an occupational disease. However, workers can get workers' compensation benefits for psychiatric issues too. Currently, the worker can only be approved for workers' compensation if the disorder results in disability or the person needs medical treatment for it. It is also necessary to prove that the experience on the job that sparked it were a substantial cause. By substantial cause, they mean 35 to 40%. With the continual struggles first responders are experiencing and the number of catastrophic incidents that are happening, a proposed new law is seeking to expand coverage.

With fires in the state breaking records and mass shootings that have been happening, first responders in law enforcement and firefighters are increasingly suffering from the emotional aftereffects of their experiences. Post-traumatic stress disorder is causing them problems as they try to focus on their jobs and are unable to do so. Some workers would prefer to take time off - with the benefits they get from workers' compensation - than leave their vocation entirely. With the proposed new law, that will be possible. The law would give workers' compensation for PTSD.

Could the chronic pain in your hand be carpal tunnel syndrome?

Do you feel weakness, numbness and tingling in your hand, and do you feel the need to shake out your wrist and hand when you wake up in the morning? If you do, you might be wise to ask your doctor's opinion sooner rather than later. It might be carpal tunnel syndrome, which will require surgery if you do not treat it in the early stages.

According to the California Department of Public Health, researchers have determined that the rate of carpal tunnel syndrome in workers in the state is exceptionally high. Analysis of workers' compensation claims allowed researchers to identify causes and prevalence by occupation and industry.

Environmental workplace hazards can cause career-ending injuries

The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act mandates that employers nationwide, including California, must provide safe workplaces. They must address all known risks. Employers must protect workers from suffering serious personal injury or death that environmental hazards could cause.

Under federal law, your employer must protect you from environmental hazards that include harmful lighting, noise, surrounding hazards like uneven floors, dust, cold and heat stress, and more.

Workers' compensation and average earnings for people under 18

When a Californian is injured on the job and is set to receive workers' compensation benefits, there will frequently be questions about how much will be paid and the methods used to calculate how much the person will receive. Since being a work accident victim will not only mean medical treatment for the injuries or conditions that result from it but also mean concerns about income, this is a critical issue. Understanding how the state determines the average annual wages with workers' compensation is important for every injured worker and his or her family.

With workers' compensation benefits, one of the most impacted demographics is people who are under 18-years-old at the time of the injury. If the injury is of sufficient severity, they could have limitations or be outright unable to work for many years if not the remainder of their lives. Given the potential costs and necessities for these individuals, knowing what state law says about the calculation of their average earnings is imperative.

Construction accident results in injury and worker death

There is always a great deal of construction work throughout California. This is beneficial for the economy and provides people with jobs. However, the danger of construction work is inherent. People are around heavy machinery, work at great heights and are placing their trust in others following safety protocol. Accidents happen and there can be injuries and fatalities because of them. When people have been hurt on a construction job, workers' compensation can be imperative to make ends meet and to get medical treatment. When there is a fatality, the family will want to seek the maximum in survivor benefits. In either case, legal help is beneficial.

A crane collapsed on a construction site injuring one worker and killing another. The accident happened in the afternoon at around 1:40 p.m. When it fell, it hit a carpenter, 54, and killed him. When emergency services arrived, the man was declared dead. A second worker, said to be in his 50s, suffered hand injuries in the incident. According to the fire department, the crane was lifting a concrete wall and collapsed. California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) is investigating the case.

Do you know the hazards of your job as a ranch worker?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says about 100 workplace injuries happen on farms and ranches nationwide each day, including California, and some of them are fatal. If you are an agricultural worker, you might be smart to not rely on your employer to protect your health and safety. Although the California Division of Safety and Health prescribes strict standards with which employers must comply, employee safety is often not the primary focus.

Although there is an endless list of potential safety hazards when it comes for farm and ranch work, safety authorities say vehicle rollovers and grain bin accidents make up a significant percentage of workplace accidents in the agriculture industry. However, an often-ignored hazard is noise exposure. Your job will expose you to various loud noises, both high and low frequencies that can cause hearing loss.

Music festival accident leads to worker death in California

In California, there are many public events taking place. With the good weather in the state, it is common for these events to be outdoors. This requires logistical planning to prepare spaces for them. If it is a music festival, there is a significant amount of construction necessary. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and lead to injuries and worker death. For people who have lost a loved one in a fatal workplace accident, it can be helpful to have legal advice to determine the next step and if a wrongful death lawsuit is required to secure sufficient compensation.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was the site of a fatal accident in which a 49-year-old worker fell from the staging area. Emergency services were called at approximately 9:30 a.m. with a report of a traumatic injury. A witness stated that the worker was approximately 60 feet in the air and was heading up the scaffolding of the stage when he fell. He was declared dead at the site of the accident. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) was notified and an investigation into the work accident will take place.

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