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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

What is the link between chronic injury and workplace injuries?

Feeling pain is inevitable-something as small as a paper cut or something as serious as a muscle sprain can cause pain in a California resident's life. Generally, we expect the injury to resolve itself and once one is healed, for the pain to subside. However, this is not always the case. In some instances, the pain continues for months and even years.

Chronic pain, as it is defined, is when someone keeps hurting, feeling pain for three to six months or more. Generally, when someone feels pain, it is coming from a series of messages that are going through the nervous system-an injury turns on pain sensors in the injured area. The sensors send a signal to the brain, which processes it and sends out a message that one is hurt. When the injury heals, the signal stops. But in chronic pain, the nerve keeps sending out signals long after it has apparently healed.

What does work-related mean?

California residents, like their counterparts in the rest of the country, pride themselves on their work. They work hard and dedicatedly, spending more time working than they do at home, which is probably why they expect to be taken care of if they are injured in a workplace accident.

Though workers' compensation programs do exist for this very purpose, the injury must be work-related. There is an assumption of work-relatedness for injuries and illnesses contracted in the work environment-the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines for what is excluded from this.

What are temporary disability benefits in California?

Just as in any other kind of accident, a workplace injury can vary in severity. Some workers suffer scrapes, bruises and cuts that hurt and are annoying, but have little to no impact on their ability to perform their jobs. Other injuries, though, leave individuals disabled and unable to work ever again. Since workers whose workplace injuries are severe enough to knock them out of work may be able to recover workers' compensation, the system differentiates between injury severity and, therefore, benefits that can be paid out.

Many injured workers, for example, fall into a category that is somewhere between being disabled and hardly suffering a scratch. For these individuals, pursuing temporary disability benefits may be right for them. If an injured worker is still able to work but earns less as a result of the injury, then temporary partial disability benefits may be recoverable. Those who are completely unable to work while they recover from their injury will receive temporary total disability benefits unless, of course, they are not expected to return back to work.

Occupational cancer and workers' compensation

Our blog has spent a lot of time discussing workplace injuries and how they can affect not only an individual's ability to work, but also to maintain financial stability. While many Californians find themselves in this situation, where they are overwhelmed by their lost wages and unexpected medical expenses, many others find themselves in just as dire of a condition, perhaps even worse, when they are hit by a workplace illness.

One devastating medical condition that can be contracted in the workplace is cancer. Cancer is diagnosed in nearly 13 million people each year, and the number is expected to grow as it continues to be the number one killer in developed countries. Although cancer can develop under any number of circumstances, one key factor is the environment in which an individual works. If he or she is exposed to cancer-causing agents while at work, then he or she may be more likely to contract the oftentimes fatal disease.

Aggressive advocacy for those seeking workers' compensation

If you've been injured on the job, then you know the difficulties you can face as you try to recover your health. There are, of course, the physical limitations that may be thrust upon you, as well as pain, thereby requiring extensive medical care. Yet, your injuries may also leave you unable to work, which means there may come a period of time where you run out of income and deplete your savings. This, in turn, can leave you in a dire financial position where you may struggle to keep the lights on, put food on the table and otherwise provide for yourself and your family.

The good news is that if your accident occurred while you were performing your job duties, then you may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. The bad news is that obtaining these benefits isn't always as easy as it seems. Employers and insurance companies may try to dispute your claim on various grounds, including that you were not performing your job duties at the time of the incident, or that your injuries are not as severe as you are making them out to be.

California construction accident leaves 13 injured

Construction work may seem inherently dangerous, but the truth of the matter is that, so long as employers follow the regulations put in place to ensure worker safety, then workplace accidents should be relatively rare. Regardless of whether regulations are followed, a workplace accident can leave a worker in a tough position with not only physical pain that can result in limitations, but also financial losses in the form of lost wages and medical expenses. These individuals may be able to recover compensation for their losses, though, so long as they can show that they qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

Many Californians are in this position now after a construction accident left them injured. According to reports, 13 construction workers were harmed when the scaffolding on which they were working collapsed. The workers fell to the floor below them, which was a drop of more than 10 feet. The exact cause of the incident is unknown at this time, and Cal/OSHA is investigating. The injured workers were taken to the hospital and treated for injuries ranging from bruises to back sprains.

Workers' compensation and returning to work

Being injured on the job can turn your life upside down. The work that may have once provided you with the ability to pay your day-to-day expenses can disappear, at least temporarily. This can leave you in a financial bind, but you probably qualify to recover workers' compensation benefits. Although recovering these benefits can be a challenge in itself, maintaining them for the period of time you need to recover and return to work can be just as difficult.

The reasoning behind this is simple: there are a lot of people who have an interest in you returning to work. Those who represent your employer want you to get back to work so that they don't have to keep paying out your claim, and your claim administrator and physician have a duty to protect a system of which they have become a part. For this reason, these individuals have a say in when you can and should return to work.

Office injuries may qualify for workers' compensation

There are certain occupations that are inherently dangerous. Construction workers, police officers and firefighters are put in harm's way on a daily basis. Yet, these are not the only workers who can be subjected to a workplace injury. In fact, even those who work in what many would consider boring office jobs can be seriously injured, leaving them with the need for medical care and time off from work.

There are many causes of office injuries. The most prevalent is falls. Although they may seem minor, falls lead to the most disabling injuries. Also, office workers are twice as likely to be hurt in a fall as those workers who operate outside of the office. Another cause of office injuries is heavy lifting. Whether it's moving a box of copy paper or rearranging furniture, lifting with the wrong technique can result in injury to the back, neck and shoulders. Such injuries can linger for a significant period of time, leaving a worker facing extreme pain and physical limitation. Workers can also be hurt by falling objects that have been improperly placed on shelves. Books can fall on and fracture feet, and more significant objects may even cause a head injury.

What is a qualified medical evaluator for workers' compensation?

Being injured on the job is no small thing. An individual may experience significant pain, incur a massive amount of medical debt and face the challenges imposed upon them by lost wages. Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits are available to most of these Californians who have been hurt in a workplace accident. There are some people, though, whose claims are denied for a variety of reasons. There may be disagreement about whether the accident occurred while the worker was performing his job duties, or about whether the claim was filed in a timely fashion. Yet, one of the most common reasons workers' compensation claims are denied is because the injury is not serious enough to keep the individual out of work. This can affect not only an initial claim, but also the amount of benefits received.

This issue often arises when an injured worker's medical professional has a different view on the injuries than the administrator handling the workers' compensation claim. When this happens and a question is raised as to whether the injury qualifies for workers' compensation, a qualified medical evaluator may be appointed to the case. The QME then analyzes the case and makes a final determination.

Bay-area firm fighting for injured workers

Going to work and performing your job duties should be a pretty straightforward process. For most Californians, it is. But for others, a routine day at work can pose many challenges that can prove injurious. Whether suffering harm in a construction accident, a warehouse incident or a repetitive motion performing what you might think of as a menial task, a workplace injury can leave you with serious damages. You might need costly medical care and, if your injury is severe enough, you may find yourself temporarily out of work, which means lost wages.

To recoup these financial losses, you will likely need to pursue a workers' compensation claim. As we discussed previously on the blog, the first step to claiming these benefits is having a medical evaluation. Oftentimes, these evaluations must be conducted by a medical professional who is approved by your employer's insurer. If you disagree with your diagnosis at that time, then you may be able to obtain a second opinion.

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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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