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Stanislaus County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Ski resort fined for fatal safety violations

Workers' safety is important no matter where you work, and state safety agencies bear great responsibility for ensuring that workers in every job sector remain safe. When an employee suffers an injury or dies on the job, these agencies investigate the scene of the injury to identify any safety violations on the part of the employer. When they do find safety violations, they have the power to levy fines against the employer, such as in a recent case involving a California ski resort.

While a ski resort may be a fun adventure spot for tourists, it can pose serious dangers to the workers who maintain the slopes. Tragically, a man who was working to maintain ski slopes died in a controlled demolition accident in January of 2017. After investigating, Cal/OSHA determined that the accident involved two serious safety violations that contributed to the man's death.

Older workers face greater threats in the workplace

Workplace injuries can happen to anyone, but many professions provide much more opportunity for injury than others. This is especially true of particularly physically demanding professions or those that involve heavy machinery. While no population is safe from the possibility of workplace accidents, the older a worker is, the more likely they are to experience some type of workplace injury.

This becoming a much bigger problem in recent years, as many workers choose to forego the recommended retirement age and continue working into their golden years. This course of action presents two very real threats. It goes without saying that as we age, our bodies unavoidably lose functionality and strength, and we become far more prone to accidents and injuries in all areas of living, even outside of work. The longer that an individual remains in the workplace, the more susceptible they are to any form of accident or injury.

What if my workers' compensation claim is denied?

When you suffer an injury on the job, you might think that you simply need to report the injury, file a claim and receive treatment for your injury. However, in some cases, a claims administrator may not approve your treatment. Workers' compensation does cover employee injuries to keep the employer from fielding too many lawsuits, but not every claim is automatically approved. If a claim administrator believes your claim does not warrant treatment, it may get denied. This may create tensions around how you'll recover from your injury and who will pay for the costs of that recovery.

If you need immediate medical care, you can request that your claims administrator approve the treatment temporarily while you wait to hear about the overall claim. This can grant you the treatment you need while giving you a little more time to sort out the logistics.

Can I sue my employer after an injury at work?

After a person suffers an injury in the workplace, the employer generally files a workers' compensation claim as soon as possible to enact the safeguards that protect them and resolve the issue for the employee quickly.

Workers' compensation works to protect employees after an injury on the job, but it also functions to keep employers from constantly fielding lawsuits. Workers' compensation has a unique function in that it ensures that an employee receives care but also creates a barrier of protection around an employer by keeping employees from suing them after an on-the-job injury.

Man receives $17 million award after workplace injury

When a person is injured in a workplace accident, the law provides ways for the victim to seek fair compensation for his or her injuries. However, it is rare to see as significant an award as the one handed down to a Riverside man recently. The man, who suffered a devastating forklift accident in 2013 finally prevailed when a judge awarded him $17 million.

The accident occurred several years ago, and the man has since had to endure a number of very serious difficulties. His injuries ultimately led to the partial amputation of his right leg, after his recovery suffered complications. In the wake of the initial injury, his injured leg faced several separate infections, resulting in 11 different surgeries and the eventual partial amputation. Even before these developments, the injury was fairly grizzly, involving a forklift crushing his leg and tearing the skin away from the underlying tissues. By nearly any metric, the man suffered more than most people may ever experience.

Do repetitive motion injuries qualify for workers' compensation?

On-the-job injuries come in all shapes and sizes, and each of them should be considered on its own merits. Many people worry that some injuries they suffer on the job may not qualify them for workers' compensation benefits, such as a repetitive motion injury. In many cases, a repetitive motion injury can qualify you for workers' compensation, but not always. If you have concerns about the validity of your claim, it is wise to consult with and experienced attorney before filing your claim — just don't wait too long.

Just like a broken arm or some other serious workplace injury, repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome may qualify for workers' compensation coverage. However, this assumes that the injury did in fact either originate from your current job, or some aspect of the injury occurred that was not present before you took your current job.

Federal guidelines promote greater safety on worksites

If you work in construction, then you almost certainly already know that falling is the most prevalent cause of death on construction worksites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes this huge issue in the construction world, and has launched a program to combat it. OSHA firmly believes that all or most of these deaths can be prevented with proper training, and aims to reduce construction fatalities from falling with its fall prevention campaign.

The campaign has three primary focuses to reduce construction falls. First, OSHA encourages employers to be mindful of employee safety when creating their construction plan, taking the safety of its workers into account from the ground up, rather than making safety and safety measures an afterthought in the design and planning stages of a project.

Understaffing nurses leads to increase in injuries

If you are a nurse working in California, you know that helping to heal and care for others does not preclude you from injuries, especially on-the-job injuries. While many hospitals maintain excellent standards to keep patients safe, they may bend the rules when it comes to keeping their own staff safe as well.

One of the most common ways that hospitals may endanger their workers is by understaffing. This regularly leads to poorer care for patients and increased risk of injury for overworked staff.

Understanding workers' compensation death benefits

When someone you depend on dies on the job, it is devastating. No one goes to work on a Wednesday and thinks to themselves "Well, this is it. No need to make plans for the weekend." Of course, losing a breadwinner in your household creates not only emotional burdens, but very real practical burdens.

While it is not tasteful to think in terms of silver linings to the death of a loved one, there is some comfort to be had in knowing that workers' compensation allows for death benefits to survivors in California. While this cannot undo your heartbreak, it can give you some room to breathe and create space for you to focus on healing from your loss rather than worrying about where you'll find your next meal or how to pay rent.

Do I have to cooperate with a workplace inspection?

If you have concerns about the safety of your worksite, then you should inform your superiors and give them proper opportunity to address the issue. However, in some cases, your complaints may trigger an inspection from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) representative, so you should know what that means for your employer and how to keep your interests protected in the process.

When OSHA representatives perform an inspection, your employer is placed in a delicate position. This agency exists to protect the safety of workers, especially on dangerous worksites, and employers generally get very defensive when an OSHA representative arrives at a worksite. In some cases, your employer may instruct you not to cooperate with an investigation, which can place you in a difficult position.

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Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to 5 years in prison or up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.

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