Workers Compensation Attorneys: Types of Workers Compensation Cases
Workers’ compensation benefits, which are typically provided by the employer’s insurance company, are designed to help injured employees recover from injuries sustained on the job. Under California’s workers’ compensation law, the benefits provided to injured workers include medical expenses, death benefits (to families that have lost loved ones), lost wages and cost of rehabilitation services. Any business with at least one paid employee is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
No one wants to be injured or even expects to suffer injuries in the workplace. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to educate employees on safe practices in addition to revamping their facilities to meet safety codes. However, accidents in the workplace do occur. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that more than a million injuries occur each year in the workplace. Each employee takes more than a week on average to recover from his or her injuries.
Common Workplace Injuries Resulting in Workers’ Comp
Here are some of the most common workplace injuries that result in workers’ compensation claims:
- Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall: Slipping on wet floors or tripping on broken stairs or other defective conditions are among the most common workplace injuries that result in workers’ compensation claims. Construction workers, security workers, janitors, store clerks, restaurant managers – these are just a few examples of employees who could fall victim to wet floors or other trip-and-fall hazards.
- Overexertion injuries: This type of injury occurs when an employee lifts, pulls, pushes or throws something, causing injury. This is common in factory jobs, construction, or other types of jobs where physical labor is necessary. According to the Department of Labor, this is the most common injury seen in the workplace. Overexertion causes sprains, strains and pain. Most of these are injuries to the back or joints.
- Falls to lower level: This could happen when a worker falls off a ladder, roof or falls down a flight of stairs. This could affect anyone from an ironworker working on a skyscraper to a worker installing solar panels on the roof of a home. Falls from lower levels could result in catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. Examples of injuries include head injury, spinal cord trauma, multiple broken bones and internal organ damage. These are the types of injuries that could result in workers being unable to return to their jobs or even earn a livelihood.
- Struck by an object: This injury occurs most commonly when something falls off a shelf or when things are dropped by another worker on to a lower level. Office workers along with restaurant and retail workers are all in danger of being struck by objects. In the construction industry, this is considered one of the “Fatal Four” or the four most common causes of fatal injuries in construction sites.
- Car accidents: When a vehicle accident occurs on the job, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation benefits for the injuries and damages sustained. In addition to seeking workers’ compensation benefits, you may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Traveling business representative, police officers, truck drivers, delivery employees are all vulnerable to suffering injuries in traffic accidents on the job.
- Machinery accidents: These are typically reported in cases where large, heavy machinery has injured a worker. These injuries can be devastating. Workers could suffer crushing or even disfiguring injuries such as amputations in accidents involving machinery. These are most commonly seen in factories or construction sites. California has laws that require training for employees before allowing them to operate equipment. There are also maintenance requirements for machinery. Machines that could pose amputation dangers should have guards and mechanisms to safeguard the worker against these hazards.
- Repetitive motion injuries: These could be harder to prove because the injuries stem from doing the same motions over and over again. Examples of repetitive motion that could cause injuries include using a mouse, sitting, lifting boxes and working on an assembly line. Some of the most common repetitive motion injuries are tendonitis, carpal tunnel and bursitis.
- Workplace violence: Unfortunately, this type of danger has become extremely common. This could range anywhere from a convenience store clerk assailed by an armed robber to a disgruntled employee or former worker walking in to a place of business and harming people. Some professions are more vulnerable to these violent incidents such as police and security officers, nurses, hospital attendants, janitors and truck drivers.
Benefits Available for Injured Workers
Workers’ compensation benefits usually include medical benefits such as hospitalization and other procedures that are necessary to identify and treat your injury or illness. In general, workers’ compensation benefits cover all medical expenses including but not limited to doctor visits, medication, surgeries and medical equipment. In some case, workers’ compensation may also cover other necessary services for your recovery such as massage therapy, acupuncture, counseling and pain therapy. You may need to initially go to a doctor specified by the insurance company.
As part of your recovery process, you may also be able to access rehabilitation benefits that pay for medical and therapeutic care such as physical therapy. They also cover the care and training necessary for you to regain the skills and abilities you need to return to work. If your injuries are so severe that you cannot return to your former job, rehabilitation benefits might pay for evaluation, retraining, tuition and other expenses associated with helping you become qualified to work at a different job. If you have become disabled as a result of the accident, you may also be able to seek benefits for temporary or total disability, depending on the nature and severity of your injuries.
Contacting an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, it would be in your best interest to contact an experienced Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer who will remain with you throughout the process and help you secure the benefits and compensation you need during this difficult time. Call the ODG Law Group to find out how we can help you.