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San Jose Workers' Compensation Blog

Man cutting branches off tree dies in workplace accident

For California workers who do the jobs that few see until they are completed, danger is everywhere around them. Many of those who fall into this category are, of course, emergency responders. But others face dangers in their jobs as well. This includes people who work at great heights in construction and maintenance. A fall is a major cause of injury and death on the job. Those who are working in high risk occupations and are hurt in an accident, or have a loved one who suffered a wrongful death, should know what to do in the aftermath of the incident to attempt to recover compensation for what they have lost.

One family may need to consider their legal options now, after an accident claimed the life of a 35-year-old tree worker. The incident occurred at around 10:45 a.m., and emergency crews were immediately called. The construction company had employees doing work on the trees, where the victim apparently fell approximately 80 to 100 feet to his death, despite the fact that he was wearing his climbing gear. Fellow employees heard him from up above. When they looked up, he was falling, eventually crashing into the pavement below. Although the victim had vital signs when emergency crews arrived, hee died before he could be airlifted to the hospital.

Why was your workers' compensation claim denied?

As a member of the California workforce, you might have found comfort in knowing that the workers' compensation insurance system will have your back in the unfortunate event of an on-the-job accident. However, when after the unfortunate incident, your benefits claim was rejected. Now, you are unsure of why this happened and how you will cope with mounting medical bills and other financial obligations due to your inability to return to work for a considerable time.

You may have the right to appeal the denial of your claim, but this is where the process can become complicated. There will be a deadline by which time you must file your appeal, and then the process will involve multiple administrative and legal procedures.

California workers cannot be fired for workplace injuries

California workers who are injured in workplace accidents will have a litany of concerns that must be addressed. An accident on the job can leave a person and his or her family wondering about the future and how to handle various issues. Although workers' compensation is in place to give assistance and provide protections to people who have been hurt while working, there are other laws and potential benefits that also protect workers. Understanding these other options is essential after a work accident, as they can further assist in the recovery process.

Often, workers are worried that they will lose their jobs because of their injury. People who have been hurt should be aware that this is illegal. It is also illegal for an employer to punish a worker in any way for filing a workers' compensation claim after an on-the-job accident. Workers who testify on behalf of an employee who was hurt are similarly protected from retaliation.

Telecommuting may become a hassle if you trip over your dog

Are you fortunate enough to have a work-from-anywhere job? Many California companies benefit from having telecommuting employees who are based all over the world while remaining connected 24/7. This culture allows employees to work from any location they choose while it provides companies with a broader scope for attracting talent. It also lowers fixed costs, and different time zones can give 24-hour productivity. However, is there any workers' compensation protection for employees?

Neither you nor your employer may realize the risks that exist in home offices, and you might be wise to confirm workers' compensation coverage with your employer. If your home is your work premises, then the hazards you encounter will be the hazards of your employment, despite the fact that your employer may have little control over the safety of your work environment.

OSHA details top construction workplace dangers

Californians who work construction will often have to do so at great heights on ladders and scaffoldings. This can lead to risk of falling. These workers will also perform their duties in trenches, and with large pieces of equipment and heavy tools. These factors can lead to a litany of different accidents. When there is an accident on the job, a victim can suffer severe injuries and death. Equipment hitting them, the collapse of a trench, and a ladder fall, just to name a few types of accidents, can cause substantial damage. Researchers are consistently examining workplace accidents to determine how and why they occur and find methods to put a stop to them. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has studied construction falls and has found them to be one of the most common causes of safety violations.

For 2017, fall protection is one of the biggest issues with which OSHA seeks to deal. This stems from rankings devised by the National Safety Council (NSC). That organization found that the four violations that arise most frequently in the workplace include inadequate fall protection, failure to have guardrails on scaffoldings, improper ladder use, and a lack of training in fall-protection. The full list will come later in the year, but substantive changes to the current results are not expected. Fall protection is a new addition to the top 10 in the list.

Legal help with workers' compensation for health care employees

California healthcare workers have difficult jobs rife with dangers. While it might not seem to be as risky as other jobs like law enforcement, emergency personnel, and construction workers, there are inherent factors that place healthcare workers in as much, if not more, jeopardy than people in other industries. For example, healthcare employees are constantly on the move, especially when they must lift people who are unable to lift themselves. These individual also work with medications, sharp needles, and in areas where they can be exposed to dangerous substances.

Back injuries are another common occurrence for healthcare workers. Frequently, those who suffer this injury will feel pain when lifting a patient or an object. Yet, oftentimes these workers continue performing their duties in part because they think they must and in part because they are unaware of how severely they have injured themselves. This can make the situation worse. A back injury can be debilitating, limiting an individual's range of motion. Back injuries can be difficult to prove, though, especially since many times there is no injury observable to the naked eye. Workers' compensation claims adjudicators and insurers might therefore call such an injury into question. When this is the case it is imperative to have legal assistance.

Understanding a utilization review under workers' compensation

While California workers are protected from long-term loss of income and can be compensated for medical care through workers' compensation if they have suffered workplace injuries, there are always certain underlying aspects that must be accounted for. One is the utilization review (UR). An injured worker will want to be informed about this process and know what to do if it presents a problem for them.

UR is when the claims administrator makes sure that the treatment the injured worker is receiving is medically required. This assessment is not done by choice, but rather is required under the law. The UR is used to decide whether to approve a treatment plan from an injured worker's doctor. There are certain rules as to how the UR is handled. A worker who believes that there was a violation of any kind can file a complaint with the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC).

Workers' compensation: understanding disability ratings

After suffering an illness, condition or injury at work in California and being approved for workers' compensation benefits, there might be a question as to whether the injured worker can receive permanent disability benefits. The key to this determination is the rating. The rating formulates a percentage of how much the disability affects the person's ability to work and how much work can still be performed. This rating is then used to decide the value of the permanent disability benefits.

There are several factors that are used to determine an injured worker's rating. These factors include the medical condition as it is described in the permanent and stationary (P&S) report, the date the injury occurred, the age of the person when he or she was injured, the occupation involved, how much of the disability was caused by the work in comparison to other factors - also referred to as "apportionment", and the multiplication by an adjustment factor.

How safe is your workplace environment?

Company owners in California must provide workplace environments that do not threaten the health and safety of employees. Every year, your employer may spend large amounts of money on workers' compensation and workplace injury-related expenses. Not only does this adversely affect the bottom line of his or her business but also the financial stability of you and any of your co-workers who suffer workplace injuries.

Reportedly, a significant percentage of on-the-job accidents that lead to injuries involve falls. While there may be a lot of awareness of the fall hazards that construction workers and others who work at heights face, the risks of slip-and-fall accidents in the workplace must not be disregarded.

The importance of a P&S report when seeking permanent disability

Californians who suffer a workplace injury that is severe enough to prevent them from returning to work might be able to get permanent disability (PD) through workers' compensation. While it is preferable for a worker to recover well enough to get back to work, it does not always happen. If the treating doctor assesses the patient and says that he or she will not recover or is forever limited in the work they are able to perform, then the injured person might be able to receive PD.

It is not required for the person to have lost his or her job to get PD. It must also be remembered that if the person loses income due to PD, workers' compensation might not cover all lost income. When maximum medical improvement (MMI) is reached, the treating doctor will write a "permanent and stationary" (P&S) report. This is important to a finding of PD. P&S is a juncture in the treatment where the person's issues are not getting better, but not getting worse.

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