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Law Offices of Bo Katzakian

San Jose Workers' Compensation Blog

Does workers' compensation law allow a change of physician?

For various reasons, when a California worker is injured on the job or suffers a condition because of the work they were doing, they might want to change the physician they see for treatment. Workers' compensation has certain rules and regulations that determine what a worker can do in terms of treatment and it is important to understand this before moving forward with such a change. Failure to adhere to the rules can cause a problem with receiving the maximum in workers' compensation benefits. It can even cause the loss of workers' compensation. Having legal assistance when getting the benefits and adhering to the law is important.

The employee can request one change of physician during the workers' compensation process. This request can be made at any point. When the request is made, the employer or insurer has a limited amount of time to provide the new physician. The injured employee does not necessarily need to ask for a new physician as he or she can request a chiropractor or an acupuncturist. This must be allowed within five workdays of the request. If it is a serious case, the employee can ask for a consulting physician or other care provider and the employer must pay for it.

What risks do you face as a waste collector in California?

Following several work-related fatalities in the California waste collection industry, you might have questions about your safety if this is your line of work. It is a challenging occupation, and receiving adequate safety training, the necessary tools, and personal protective equipment are crucial. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires your employer to protect you from known safety hazards.

These hazards include ergonomic and musculoskeletal threats, chemical poisoning, vermin and an endless list of dangerous, discarded objects. Safety authorities regard waste collection as one of the most hazardous occupations in the country.

Fatal construction accident results from trench collapse

Construction work can be lucrative and provide hard working people with regular employment. With the amount of building and maintenance throughout California, it is no surprise that there are so many people who work in the construction industry. Still, despite the benefits of the work, there are still natural dangers that workers and their employers must be cognizant of. When there is a work accident on a construction site, there can be serious injuries and fatalities. For injuries, workers' compensation is important. If there is death, understanding how to recover survivor benefits is key and legal help is often needed.

A trench collapse led to a construction worker's death. The accident occurred as the crew worked on a residential project. He was in the front yard of the residence when he became stuck in a hole. It is not known if he was in the trench or if he fell in and was then buried. He was around 10 feet in the hole when dirt wedged him inside. Emergency crews were called. After approximately 40 minutes, emergency personnel determined that the man's life could not be saved due to the weight on the victim. Being caught under dirt can cause serious internal damage and inhibit breathing. Eventually, the man's body was freed. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) is investigating the accident.

Fatal work-related accident kills waste facility mechanic

Any job in California can lead to injuries and even fatalities. While many carry a certain level of danger to the workers who perform them, there are certain types of work - construction, law enforcement, firefighters, transit workers and waste collection - that are riskier than most jobs. People who are required to be around large vehicles, heavy equipment and must go toward a difficult situation instead of away from it can face injuries and death. The workers and their families are aware of this, but it is still a shock when the worst happens and there is death of a worker in the course of employment. For maximum compensation, having legal advice can be beneficial.

An early morning accident claimed the life of a worker at a waste facility. The accident happened at around 5 a.m. According to the investigation, one employee was operating a loader. He backed up and hit another employee who he did not see. The employee who was hit died in the accident. The man was employed as a mechanic and was 55. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is moving forward with an investigation into the fatal accident. It will assess the situation to see if violations had been committed that led to the incident.

How will you care for your family after a disabling work injury?

The California workers' compensation system settles the medical bills for work-related injuries and illnesses. If your injury causes temporary disability, the program pays a portion of lost wages after three to seven days. However, if your on-the-job injury or illness causes an impairment or disability with lasting consequences, wage replacement for permanent total or permanent partial disability will form part of your benefits.

Current workers' compensation laws require employers to accommodate workers with permanent disabilities by offering alternative or modified duties. However, if that is not possible, you might receive a supplemental job displacement benefit (SJDB) to provide the means to learn new skills that will enable you to return to work.

How safe are you as a government employee?

It has only been four years since 13 county employees died in a mass shooting in California, and only weeks since 11 city workers in another state lost their lives in another shooting incident in a municipal center. How safe do you feel at work? Does your employer take responsibility for the safety of you and your co-workers?

Workplace violence has become a significant concern, and you would likely be one of many public employees who fear to report for work. If you work in an understaffed correctional facility, psychiatric hospital, youth detention center or another job that involves social services, the risks of being the subject of workplace violence are significant.

Most common dangers for workplace injuries listed by OSHA

For some jobs in California and throughout the U.S., there is a natural risk with the duties workers must perform. Any job can result in workers being injured, but some types of employment is riskier than others. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is tasked with ensuring workplaces maintain as safe an atmosphere as possible. When there are workplace accidents, OSHA conducts investigations into how and why they happened. Employers can be cited for lapses. OSHA recently released the most common violations of workplace safety protocol in 2018. This information is important for workers as is considering a legal filing after they have been hurt.

Workers should be protected from the possibility of falling. Often, this is linked to construction work, but other types of workers need to climb too. A ladder fall can cause severe injuries and death. For those who are on roofs or are on platforms, it is important that there are guardrails and other protective devices. Hazard communication involves making certain there is safety information regarding chemicals and it is readily available to workers. A scaffolding is commonly needed for various tasks and a scaffolding fall can lead to major injuries.

Potential workers' compensation change sparks ride share proposal

Worker categorization and how it affects independent contractors in California is continuously discussed in the context of workers' compensation because the situation is a fluid one. Employers who prefer having independent contractors derive multiple benefits from such an arrangement. One is that they are shielded from needing to pay for workers' compensation insurance. Recent laws that have passed in the State Assembly have raised the level of urgency for employers who are seeking alternatives to so-called "gig" employees being labeled as employees. This is a concern for these workers when they are injured on the job and they should keep track of changes as they happen.

The ride share companies Uber and Lyft are set to be impacted by the new laws if they pass. To blunt the possibility of classifying contractors as workers, the companies propose that they will make certain concessions to avoid workers being considered employees. The concessions include offering a basic wage with various benefits provided they can continue to classify them as independent contractors. There are certain calculations that will determine what the base pay will be and workers will have the right to pick and choose which benefits they want.

Workers' compensation disputes and a medical evaluation

California workers who have been injured on the job will often need workers' compensation benefits to provide them with various benefits as they recuperate. However, not all cases are clear and there are frequently disputes between the employer, the insurance company and the worker. For many, the determination as to whether there should be an approval for workers' compensation benefits will need to be made via a comprehensive medical evaluation. Understanding what the law says about this is key when preparing for the case. This law applies when the employee has legal representation.

Either side can ask for the medical evaluation, completed by a three-member panel of qualified medical evaluators. They will evaluate the person's injuries to determine how to settle the dispute. It is up to the party that requests the evaluation to designate the medical evaluator's specialty, the specialty of the medical evaluator the other party has requested if it is known to the submitting party, and the treating physician's specialty.

Gig employees could soon be eligible for workers' compensation

There is a growing number of Californians who are not typical employees and are considered contractors. Increasingly, they are being included in the "gig" economy and becoming injured on the job has opened a host of concerns as to whether they should be eligible for workers' compensation benefits. This issue and other work-related rights has been debated frequently, especially with the growing popularity of remote jobs, Lyft and other ride share services. Perceived attempts on the part of employers to avoid the cost of having a worker classified as an employee is also a problem.

Now, the state Assembly has passed a law that grants employee rights to many workers who were previously categorized as contractors. For those who have been injured or are working in these types of jobs and are concerned as to what will happen if they are injured, understanding the law and having legal assistance is critical. The bill is heading for the state senate. It will define if a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. If the new law passes, only workers who are not under direct control or supervision of an employer in the general course of business will be an independent contractor. The goal is to shield workers from various abuses and grant them benefits they otherwise would not have.

Reach Out To Us And Get Started On The Road To Recovery

We provide experienced workers' compensation representation to clients throughout California. Tell us about your case today by calling one of our convenient locations or fill out our quick contact form.

  • San Jose: 408-624-8420
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  • Santa Cruz: 831-222-0855
  • San Luis Obispo: 805-475-3890

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