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Stanislaus County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

What are my employer’s obligations to my safety?

As a worker, you have a right to a reasonably safe workplace. However, even when an employer meets their obligations, accidents can still happen. If you have concerns about the safety of your workplace, it is helpful to know what you can reasonably expect from your employer under their duty to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In general, your employer must keep your workplace clear of any recognized hazards. In some cases, the workplace is innately dangerous and it is not possible to completely eliminate all the hazards from the worksite. This is especially common in construction or manufacturing jobs, and other manual labor-intensive fields. In these cases, the employer must ensure that all employees have proper safety equipment and that the tools they use are safe for use.

Protect yourself from heat injuries on the job

Summer is in full swing, which means that increased temperatures pose very real risks for those in construction and other outside occupations. If you or someone you love works in construction, be sure to take proper care to keep safe in case of dangerously high heat.

If you think that high heat is not a real threat, think again — the Center for Construction Research and Training recently released data showing that at least 17 construction workers lost their lives to heat-related injuries in 2015.

What types of benefits does workers' compensation offer?

If you suffer an injury on the job, or even if you are tragically killed while at work, workers' compensation insurance provides a number of different benefits to you and possibly your loved ones. Understanding all of the available types of benefits you might receive in a workers' compensation settlement can help ensure that you don't receive less than you deserve.

Benefits from workers' compensation generally divide into two categories — medical expenses and income. When you suffer an injury on the job, you should expect your employer's coverage to take care of your medical care and see you through to a full recovery. Under no circumstances would an on-the-job injury overwhelm you with medical bills.

What benefits should I receive from workers’ compensation?

When you suffer an injury on the job, your employer's workers' compensation policy is in place to cover many kinds of needs and expenses. However, your employer's insurance provider's primary concern is not your best interests or ultimate health and well-being.

In order to get everything you deserve out of a workers' compensation claim, many people find that it is useful to enlist the guidance and representation of an experienced attorney who understands the nuances of the workers' compensation system in general, as well as standards of care and benefits you should expect in Modesto.

Construction collapse injures 9 workers

An Oakland construction site narrowly missed what could have been a huge disaster recently, resulting in nine injured workers and, thankfully, no fatalities. The accident occurred when the structure collapsed while workers were pouring wet concrete for the second floor, sending more than 30 workers tumbling down to the ground level.

Many workers were trapped in the wet cement after falling from as high as 15 feet. The crew sprang into action before the emergency crews even had time to arrive, working together to find other workers in the debris and dig them out from the cement. Some of the workers were also suspended from scaffolding and had to be carefully helped down when the police and emergency crews arrived.

Hospitality workers face specific injuries on the job

California is often on the forefront of protecting the rights of workers, which is a great point of pride fro the state. Recently, the California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) took up the responsibility of exploring how best to create guidelines to protect hospitality workers. Hospitality workers often face great danger of several kinds of injuries, which might be avoided with proper training and protocols for employers.

The issues most commonly suffered by those working in the hospitality industry usually have to do with repetitive motion injuries and long-term incremental damage from overexertion. The routines that housekeepers in hotels must undergo for hours at time can absolutely devastate a person's body.

Are you in danger of a work-related back injury?

A huge number of adults in America suffer from some form of lower back injury throughout their lifetime, and if you have yet to do so, you should consider yourself lucky. According to recent studies, nearly 80 percent of adults throughout the country experience a lower back injury of some kind at one point or another, totaling more than a million back injuries each year. Back injuries are incredibly common in the workplace, and make up about 20 percent of all workplace injuries, most of them in manual labor occupations.

Some occupations are statistically very likely to incur lower back injuries, such as tractor-trailer truck drivers, maintenance workers, nurses and nursing assistants, janitorial staff and freight and material handlers. If you work in any of these industries, you must be exceptionally aware of the extra risks your job presents to the health of your lower back.

What is employer negligence?

There are many ways that an employer may act negligently, and in many cases they may be helped legally liable for such negligence. If you suspect that your employer is guilty of some form of negligence, don't hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney to help you understand the finer points of the law as it may apply to your experience.

An employer's negligence can take many forms, and they begin at the hiring process. If your employer hired an individual whom they should reasonably have known posed some form of threat to fellow employees, then the employer may be guilty of negligence. Similarly, if an employer learns that an employee poses a danger to others and fails to take effective, timely action to correct the issue, this may also lead to legal liability.

Worker’s compensation denial leads to suicide

For many workers across America, their job is hurting them just as much or more than it is sustaining them. The pressure to produce at a high level can be crushing, causing many people to reconsider if working for one employer or another is truly worth the drain on their personal will just because the paycheck is substantial. To make matters worse, just because a job comes with a significant salary doesn't mean that the company will treat employees fairly.

This heartbreaking truth recently came into sharp focus when a young man working for a very well-recognized transportation company took his own life after suffering psychological harm in the harsh work environment. Sadly, the man tried to play within the rules and filed a workers' compensation claim to seek proper medical attention for his extreme job-related anxiety. However, the company denied the claim on a technicality. Because psychological benefits typically only kick in after six month of employment, and the man had worked for the company less than five months, the claim was denied. Shortly after having his workers' compensation claim denied, and confiding in friends that his job had completely crushed him, the man took his own life.

A high-cervical nerve injury on a worksite changes everything

Each year, hundreds or even thousands of construction workers throughout California suffer serious injuries on the worksite. One of the most serious injuries that a worker might sustain is damage to the high-cervical nerves (HCNs), which can leave you without some or any functionality in your entire body. Whether your injury occurred when you slipped and fell, because a falling object struck you, or some other way, your injury can change your life indefinitely.

Even in the face of very serious, life-changing injuries, you cannot always trust an employer's insurer to do the right thing and truly take care of all of your needs. Injuries to the HCNs often mean that you cannot work any longer, and you may also struggle to perform many everyday tasks and bodily functions.

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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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Law Office of Rockwell, Kelly, Duarte & Urstoeger, LLP

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Modesto, CA 95354

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Fax: 209-526-7898
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