Injuries Covered Under California Workers’ Compensation Law

Situation:

A typical scenario we encounter is an injured employee coming to see us and who says the following “I have severe pain in both shoulders. I have been an oil field worker for more than 20 years. I am required to lift heavy objects frequently throughout the day. I’ve been told by others that I can’t file for workers’ comp because I didn’t get hurt in an accident. What should I do?”

Specific injuries covered under workers’ compensation law:

A common misunderstanding is the types of injuries covered under the workers’ compensation laws. A “specific injury” is the type most people easily grasp. Workers’ compensation law covers “specific injuries” that occur as a result of a work-related accident. For example, a painter falls off a ladder and lands awkwardly causing a tear in the knee. The painter’s injury would be considered a “specific injury.”

Cumulative trauma injuries covered under workers’ compensation law:

The more obscure injuries are those sustained from constant, repetitive motion. For example, bakers may develop severe arthritis in their hands due to the many hours and years of molding and shaping dough. Or as described in the scenario above, an oil field worker who lifted heavy objects frequently throughout the day for years, may develop torn tendons in the both shoulders. These types of injury are known as “cumulative trauma injuries” and may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance if a doctor connects the medical condition(s) to the job duties as they were performed.

The takeaway:

For that reason, it is critical for employees and employers to not only recognize and report “specific injuries” but also “cumulative trauma injuries” to the workers’ compensation carrier as soon as possible. Immediate reporting benefits everyone involved – employee and employer – because the injured employee will receive proper medical care and will be returned to the workforce sooner.

For more information:

To find out more about workers’ compensation benefits, contact us at (661) 324-5911. We offer a free consultation and we don’t get paid unless you receive benefits. NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

Misunderstandings about Workers’ Compensation – Scenario No. 1

Situation:

A typical situation we come across is an injured employee coming to see us and says the following, “I got hurt on the job but I’m afraid to file for workers’ comp. I’ve worked for my boss more than 10 years now. He’s a good guy, a friend even. I don’t want to file a lawsuit against him or his company, but I’m hurting real bad. What should I do?”

Is your employer affected?

Workers’ compensation is a maze of laws, ever-changing and often misunderstood. As implied in the situation above, most injured employees are under the impression that by filing for garden-variety workers’ compensation benefits, they are then filing a lawsuit against their employer, who may be friends or family.

I want to make sure employees and employers understand there is no lawsuit per se. Rather, filing for workers’ compensation benefits is no different than filing a claim with your own personal insurance. Hence, the employee is simply filing a claim for benefits with the employer’s mandated workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Exceptions:

Now, there are situations that may call for a claim against the employer directly, but that comes into play only when the employee was injured due to the employer’s serious and willful conduct – a law that carries a high standard and the burden of proof is on the injured employee. However, in most cases, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier handles the allocation of all benefits rightfully owed to an injured employee and thereby leaving the employer out of the picture.

End Result:

Thus, this idea of an employee vs. employer showdown, framed as a lawsuit, is incorrect and employers should dismiss this notion among its employees, as it only benefits everyone to get the injured employees proper medical care, healthy again and returned to the workforce.

To find out more about workers’ compensation benefits, contact us at (661) 324-5911. We offer a free consultation and we don’t get paid unless you receive benefits. NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.