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Stanislaus County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Does workers' compensation cover repetitive stress injuries?

As an employee, you may be eligible for workers' compensation if you suffer an injury on the job. You may even have grounds to file a workers' compensation claim for a repetitive stress injury (RSI), which can occur in very low-labor work environments, such as content writing, accounting, food service and any number of other jobs where you repeat the same sequence of actions or motions many times.

If you hope to file a claim for an RSI, you must first determine whether or not you qualify to receive workers' compensation at all. In some instances, workers such as subcontractors or employees of very small businesses may not qualify for workers' compensation because their employer is not required to carry that coverage, or because they are not classified as employees.

Can I claim workers' compensation for emotional injuries?

When people discuss workplace injuries and workers' compensation, they generally refer to physical ailments and injuries brought on by work conditions or accidents. However, not all painful injuries are purely physical. In some cases, an employee may suffer emotional or mental harm in a work environment. While these injuries are more difficult to diagnose and understand, they are still very much real injuries, and should be addressed as such.

In some cases, emotional injuries may serve as grounds for a worker's compensation claim, but the employee filing the claim must meet a few standards. First, it is important to demonstrate that the injury itself is actually work related. An attorney can help you better understand the specifics that apply in your circumstances, but you'll need to prove that some particular aspect of your job is actually to blame for your emotional harm.

Poorly rested workers cost many industries heavily

The Sleep Matters Initiative at Brigham Health for the National Safety Council (NSC) recently released data gathered through their Fatigue Cost Calculator, and the results are fairly undeniable — lack of quality sleep for employees is not good for business.

Some employees, especially those who work night shifts, report regularly sleeping less than six hours a day, on average. According to the Fatigue Cost Calculator, poorly rested employees cost their employers more than $400 billion each year across all job sectors.

Does my boss have to hold my job if I go to rehab?

For many of us, a time comes when we realize that our behavior is not healthy and we need to seek professional help to overcome destructive patterns through a rehabilitation program. Of course, when most people realize they have a problem (or are informed by concerned family and friends), it is never a convenient time, especially if the person in question holds a job. The individual considering rehab may worry that if he or she goes to rehab, he or she is forfeiting their job. If a person chooses to seek treatment in rehab, is an employer forced to hold a position open for them?

This is a tricky issue that may play out a number of ways. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, those who struggle with alcohol or drug abuse are considered disabled and may expect "reasonable accommodation" when they choose to pursue rehab. However, an employer is not obligated specifically to hold a job for such a person. While the employer does have to make reasonable accommodations, that may not include holding a job indefinitely.

Employers' responsibilities to employees injured on the job

If you suffer a work-related injury, your employer has certain responsibilities toward you. Unfortunately, some employers need a little encouragement to fulfill their responsibility. While the law is generally on the side of the injured worker, enforcing the law may require getting some professional help.

If you believe that your employer is not responding properly to your work-related injury, you may need to brush up on what exactly their responsibility is to you. You may also want to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you understand the finer points of your claim and build a strong strategy to pursue full compensation.

What if my employer claims my injury is not work-related?

The concept of workers' compensation insurance is one that is thrown around in conversation or mentioned on television regularly, but not all workers properly understand it, especially when it comes time to file a claim. If you have concerns about a workers' compensation claim, or if your employer balks at covering an on-the-job injury, you can take steps to understand and protect your rights as a worker.

The first thing to determine is whether or not your injury is work-related. In some cases, this is easy to assess, but not always. For instance, an injury may be work-related if you were operating in your job's capacity when the injury occurred, even if you weren't technically at your workplace. For instance, if you were driving or riding in a work vehicle when you experienced a car accident, this is generally considered compensable under workers' compensation.

Don't allow your employer to place you in danger

One of the best ways an employer can boost overall employee productivity is by maintaining a safe workplace. While this may seem counterintuitive -- because of the time required to maintain safe practices and educate employees --employers who skimp in these areas suffer from financial and productivity losses when employees get injured and can't do their jobs. Ultimately, protecting workers from injury pays dividends to employers in the long run.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, injuries in the workplace accounted for a cumulative loss of nearly $60 billion for employers in 2014. Of those losses, the top three most common injuries accounted for half of them. These are simple, avoidable injuries, such as overexertion or falling while at work.

Tesla faces accusations of poor safety training

Even with companies at the very cutting edge of technology, it is still possible for employees to have safety concerns. Elon Musk's revolutionary automaker Tesla recently came under scrutiny for a number of complaints from employees about the company's policies for handling certain chemicals.

According to some of the complaints, workers in the plant stated that the process of making Tesla's cars requires handling many exceptionally dangerous chemicals. Still, workers claim they received very little training on how to properly handle these chemicals and what to do if chemicals got on the employees' skin or in their eyes. Considering the effects of some of these chemicals, this is very concerning.

Types of workers' compensation benefits

When a person is injured on the job, workers' compensation is called upon to make the situation right again. This arrangement does offer protection to employees, but it also protects employers. Without some strong representation, many employees find that the compensation the employer offers them is far less than they actually deserve. Workers' compensation benefits can cover a number of areas, depending on the nature of your injury.

The most prevalent type of workers' compensation benefit is medical expenses. If you suffer an injury on the job, it is fairly clear that your employer should pay of the costs of medical treatment for the injury, as well as the costs of working toward recovery. However, your employer may push you to only seek treatment through a certain few medical care providers. You may need help getting approval to use the doctor you prefer.

Rehabilitation rights for workers injured on the job

If you suffer an injury on the job, then your employer's workers' compensation coverage usually covers the expenses related to your injury and compensates you for other forms of loss caused by the accident.

However, with most injuries, even with proper medical care at the time of the accident, the healing process still takes a long time, and may take longer than your employer prefers. When you are eventually able to return to work, you may find that you cannot perform the same tasks that you could before the injury.

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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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