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How to help Spanish-speaking family members after work injuries

If you are a Spanish-speaking resident of California who is also fluent in English, you may have parents or other family members in the workforce. In many cases, such family members are not fluent in the English language -- especially if they are of the older generation. Unfortunately, these are often the victims of workplace injuries because of the communication problem. Their inability to understand English can jeopardize not only their safety but also their abilities to pursue workers' compensation insurance benefits -- many of which are denied.

If you are fluent in English, you may be of great help to your loved ones if they suffer workplace injuries. Unfortunately, several factors may prevent them from admitting to being injured -- especially those who work in production lines where invisible conditions such as repetitive stress injuries are prevalent. Factors such as education level, language proficiency, fear of being fired and being in a contract job may cause them to avoid reporting injuries.

What are the challenges they face?

Although you cannot change their workplace environments or the number of hazards they face, you may be able to influence the outcome of their injuries. You could help them to seek medical treatment, recover and get back to work without having to worry about the finances. With your assistance, they can secure legal counsel to pursue workers' compensation benefits. Here are some of the challenges non-English speaking employees may face:

  • Lack of support from supervisors and employers
  • Being blamed for their own injuries
  • Facing the wrath and anger of supervisors
  • Injury reports being disregarded
  • Being threatened with reprisal if they file workers' compensation benefits claims

What can employers do to help improve outcomes?

Employers who prioritize worker safety may increase production by avoiding injuries and lost work hours. Here are some of the manners in which businesses can assist with the difficulties faced by non-English speaking employees:

  • Allow quick access to medical care
  • Provide early contact with a claims handler or supervisor who can communicate in the injured worker's native tongue
  • Provide constant communication during recuperation to avoid an employee feeling isolated
  • Assign medical contacts to keep injured employees informed of their healing and recovery prognosis

As an English-speaking family member of injured Spanish-speaking workers, you may provide invaluable assistance by bringing them to the offices of experienced workers' compensation attorneys in the Sa Jose area. Whether this is to launch a new workers' compensation benefits claim or to appeal a denial, an attorney who is multilingual can take over for you and fight for the rights of your injured loved ones.

The denial of a workers' compensation benefits claim is no reason to give up. Your attorney can explain further options and assist in obtaining addition medical reports and other information to substantiate the claim. A skilled attorney can navigate the administrative and legal processes required to pursue compensation for medical expenses and lost income.

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