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California Board of Legal Specialization | Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
Law Offices of Vincent J. Scotto, III, Attorneys & Lawyers Employment & Workers Compensation, San Mateo, CA

San Mateo Workplace Injury Law Blog

Learn about your legal options after a workplace injury

Even though most California residents spend more time at work than they do at home, they rarely consider the fact that they might get injured in the workplace. Whether working in an office or at a construction site, hazards of various types exist in the workplace and it is an employer's duty to ensure their workplace is either free from risks or that employees are aware of those dangers and how to avoid them.

Many injured workers hesitate before filing a workers' compensation claim. Some don't file because they don't know about their options. Others resist filing because they think asserting their rights will just cause them trouble at work. The truth is that recovering from a workplace injury costs money and time. Filing a workers' compensation claim is an injured workers' right and it is important to file it in a timely manner, otherwise the right might expire.

Construction site accident injures five

People are working especially hard right before the holidays begin, as it might lead to bonuses and overtimes. Families wait all year to spend the holidays together and work hard year-round so that they can save money to spend on loved ones during the festive season. When someone is injured in a workplace accident right before the holidays, it not only puts a damper on the festivities but also means added expenses and frustrations.

These are perhaps the sentiments family members of the five workers who were injured on the massive High Speed Rail project are feeling. A tower made of reinforced steel rods fell on the workers, according to state investigators. Five workers were injured, of which two required hospitalization. According to authorities, there have been about 1500 workers working on the project for the last three years.

Crowd management to limit workplace injuries during sales

Holiday season often mean bonuses for workers, and, if they are working at stores that have slashed their prices to attract customers, there is an added bonus of using the employee discount to get great gifts for loved ones. But, when a retailer does not take the necessary steps to protect their employees in crowded stores, the only gift a worker might get is a workplace injury and ensuing medical bill.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recognized the dangers a crowded store can pose for employees and has issued some safety guidelines for employers. California employers, similar to their counterparts across the country, adhere to the compliance requirements OSHA issues-if they are found violating OSHA standards, employers might be fined.

Are elderly workers more likely to sustain workplace injuries?

California residents may continue working for a number of reasons-some may enjoy their work while others may need to keep working because of economic difficulties. Given the current economic trend, more and more elderly people find that they have to keep working to make ends meet. Following the trend, the retirement age for people across the nation has gone past 65 years of age, which means a number of elderly people are working at a time when they are mentally and physically not as able as their counterparts. This could be the reason why there is a higher fatality rate in elderly workers than in younger people.

According to one study, even though the fatality rate has decreased over time, the rate of fatal accidents for workers over the age of 55 continues to remain high, in fact, it is higher than the average population. Where fatalities decreased by 22 percent between 2006 and 2015, the rate of fatal accidents was 50 percent to 65 percent higher for older workers during the same period.

Common causes of construction workers' accidents

Construction workers form an integral part of our society. We see them wearing hard hats and working away regardless of the weather conditions that surround them and rarely consider the dangers they are facing just to get a building completed on time. The reality is that they face a number of hazards while performing their work, which is perhaps why, of the 4,379 fatalities in the private sector in 2015, 21.4 percent were in the construction sector. This amounted to 937 deaths-one in five workers who died in 2015 were construction workers.

More than 60 percent of these deaths were caused by what the U.S. Department of Labor terms 'fatal four.' These leading causes have been identified as falling, getting struck by an object, getting electrocuted and getting caught in-between two objects.

Employer's duties to protect employees from illnesses

Some jobs expose workers to certain types of illnesses and make them more susceptible to contracting these illnesses. Employees such as janitors, housekeepers, nurses, dental assistants and people in similar jobs often find themselves exposed to certain infectious materials that could adversely affect their health. These employees should know that California employers are required to follow the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulations on bloodborne pathogen standard.

How do these employees come into contact with infected material? Because they are handling soiled sheets, first-aid equipment, tissues and medical or dental utensils that may contain contaminated blood or bodily fluids. Though the risk is very low to contract diseases, such as Hepatitis B, from their duties, it is still important to follow the requisite regulations to ensure the risk is zero.

Appealing a denied workers' compensation claim

Given how much time employees spend at the workplace, it is no wonder that most California residents, like their counterparts across the country, consider their workplace their second home. They treat their colleagues like family and expect the same treatment in return, which is why they might hesitate from reporting a workplace injury and claiming workplace compensation-they do not want to put their employers in a tough spot. But, filing a workers' compensation claim after one is injured on the job is an injured employee's right and one they should not hesitate from availing.

Additionally, it may come as a surprise when an employer or insurance company tries to dispute the claim, or, as mentioned last time, denies a claim. When one is injured during the course of their work, they expect the matter to be straightforward, but that is seldom the case.

Workplace accident in California kill one, injures another

Construction crews in California are usually at work year-round. They make roadway improvements, build new establishments and ensure that water and sewage pipes work correctly. These crews, which can be quite large and include heavy machinery, can work at a frantic pace, especially when emergencies arise. However, with so many moving pieces, workers on construction crews can find themselves at risk of being seriously injured or even killed in a workplace accident.

This tragically happened recently in Scotts Valley when a dump truck backed over a construction worker, killing him. According to reports, the crew was on scene to clean up a mudslide that had blocked part of Highway 17 when the accident occurred. Another worker was pinned under the truck, but was later extracted and taken to the hospital. He is expected to survive. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident to determine exactly what went wrong.

Appealing a denied workers' compensation claim

When a workers' compensation claim gets denied, it can be very disheartening. It means the claims administrator does not think the injury is covered by workers' compensation, but their word is not the final word-as mentioned in the last post, it is possible to appeal the decision.

As per the Department of Industrial Relations, there are 24 locations across the state to file a case objecting to the denial of the claim. Each office is basically a court where a judge, not a jury, decides the case. So, how does one get their appeal in front of the judge? Firstly, it is important to act quickly, as there are deadlines to file the necessary paperwork.

Why was my workers' compensation claim denied?

Most people, including California residents, want to do their best while working. Wanting to make a good impression, many work long hours and perform difficult, often dangerous and sometimes tedious tasks. Which is why a workplace injury may set them back both emotionally and financially-emotionally because they do not want to lose out on a project and financially because medical bills could end up being very high. However, workers' compensation is one way injured workers can get the compensation they deserve after a work-related accident with less stress.

However, when a workers' compensation claim is denied, it can leave the injured worker confused and frustrated. Firstly, because they do not understand why the claim was denied-they were after all injured and the injury took place at the workplace. Secondly, because they do not know what the next step is.

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The Law Offices of Vincent J. Scotto, III
700 South Claremont Street
San Mateo, CA 94402

Telephone: 650-375-2301
Fax: 650-401-6129
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The Law Offices of Vincent J. Scotto, III
706 Ferry Street Martinez, CA 94553

Telephone: 925-231-0726
Fax: 925-372 -4244
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