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Stanislaus County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Do not ignore safety if you are new to the construction industry

When younger workers acquire their first jobs in the construction industry, they often feel very lucky. Construction work pays relatively well, so getting a foot in the door can lead to greater pay and better job positions down the line. However, suffering injuries due to an on-the-job accident can stop a new career before it turns lucrative.

We have helped many in the construction industry get the workers' compensation benefits they need after an injury. As such, we have seen trends related to construction workers' accidents in California. One trend involves those new to the industry suffering injuries because they did not understand the safety protocols.

Why are some workers' compensation claims denied?

Aside from suffering a workplace injury in the first place, receiving notice that your workers' compensation claim was denied is one of the most frustrating events you can experience. You are already suffering and may be unable to work so the benefits you would receive from your claim are much-needed. Unfortunately, claim denials can and do happen.

Did you know that you can appeal a denied claim? In fact, it is your right to do so. However, the first thing you should do is to learn why your claim was unsuccessful. Below you will find some of the most common reasons for a claim denial.

  • Delayed reporting: In most states, you must report your injury to your employer right away. Failure to do so could result in denial.
  • Employer dispute: If your employer claims your injury occurred outside of work hours, you could face a claim denial.
  • Delayed filing: By waiting too late to file a claim, your efforts might be unsuccessful. This is why it is crucial to report the injury and file the claim right away.
  • No medical treatment: Nearly all workers' compensation claims require supporting documentation that the injury required medical attention. Be sure to see a doctor, and get a copy of your records.
  • Noncompensable injury: Some injuries like stress or mental issues are hard to prove. Fortunately, California looks kindly on stress-related conditions, but you still need to be able to prove your claim.

New changes to workplace accidents reporting procedures

During the Obama administration, a rule was enacted requiring most employers to submit annual electronic reports to the Department of Labor detailing workplace accidents and injuries. Earlier this month, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) struck down that rule. Now, employers must only submit annual summaries of workplace accidents and injuries instead of more comprehensive reports.

OSHA cited privacy concerns as the main reason for the change in reporting. The Administration stated that detailed accident reports revealed "descriptions of workers' injuries and body parts affected" in workplace accidents. OSHA also cited an attempt to "reduce the regulatory burden on companies and increase the efficiency of the agency's operations" as another reason for the change.

3 grades of muscle strain injuries

Muscle strains are common and painful injuries that can easily be suffered at work. You could strain a muscle while lifting something that is too heavy, while running or hurrying on the job site or while slipping and falling on the stairs -- just to name a few potential injury causes.

One important thing to remember is that the real toll that injury takes depends on what level of strain it is. There are three main grades used by professionals at Harvard University. They are:

  • Grade I: You suffer pain and tenderness, but you don't actually lose any strength. You can still perform your job, albeit with the pain. You have torn or stretched just a small amount of muscle fibers.
  • Grade II: This grade damages far more fibers, and the pain is more severe. You may not be able to work. The area becomes very tender. In fact, you may notice some swelling as your body tries to heal, and the area can bruise. Moreover, you will have reduced strength that could impact physical abilities.
  • Grade III: You feel a pop as you injure the muscle, and it tears completely. It may rip away from the tendon or rip in two. This is a serious injury. Not only do you lose strength, but you may lose function entirely. The pain is extremely severe. The area becomes discolored and tender. It swells up. In the worst cases, you can actually see the rip in the muscle as a dent below the skin.

Dealing with back pain after an injury? You're not the only one

You got hurt at work. It's been weeks, months or maybe even years; that back pain just will not go away.

You feel it every morning. You're stiff and sore and uncomfortable. You have trouble getting to sleep at night. You can't keep working in your chosen career; the pain is just too great. No matter how many times you go to the doctor or how many painkillers you use, it just does not get better.

Mental workplace distractions are more common than you think

You've heard of the dangers of distracted driving. You know that distractions in the workplace can also lead to accidents and serious injuries. Your boss tells you and the other workers to always keep your focus on the task at hand.

At first, you think that will be easy. You don't consider yourself an easily distracted person. However, if you sit back and think about it, you'll find that mental distractions may be far more common than you realize.

Experts say workers don't take dropped objects seriously enough

On a construction site, a dropped object can be deadly. Even so, some people believe that workers and employers really are not taking the danger seriously enough.

To start, let's look at some of the statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). They claim that people get hit by falling objects at the incredible rate of 50,000 people per year. It could be higher, as reports claim it's "more than 50,000." But even if that rate is perfectly accurate and it's not really any higher, that means that someone gets hurt on the job like this every 10 minutes in the United States.

How to help someone with a broken leg

A co-worker falls off of an unstable ladder at work and lands on the concrete floor six feet below. It's a relatively short fall and you know they're not in significant danger, but everyone on the floor hears their leg snap as they hit the ground. You run over, knowing they have a broken bone and need assistance.

But what type of assistance should you provide?

Top reasons for serious electrical accidents

An electrical accident on the job can be instantly fatal or it can cause serious injuries. It's a constant danger for construction workers on both commercial and residential jobs. All it takes is one small mistake for a serious event.

To help reduce the odds of such an error, let's take a look at some of the reasons for electrical accidents:

  • The worker does not have enough information. He or she does not know that the danger exists until the accident takes places.
  • There is a breakdown in communication. For instance, one worker thinks that a wire is live and another worker thinks that it isn't, but they don't communicate and discover the discrepancy.
  • Workers intentionally work on live lines. This is sometimes done simply to save time, despite the risk. It may even be done by experienced workers who think they can handle it.
  • The worker does not have the proper training. When people do not understand the risks or what they're supposed to do before being put on a job, they make mistakes.
  • The employer does not properly control and supervise the workers on the job. Many times, an experienced supervisor can spot mistakes and put an end to unsafe behavior before an accident.
  • The workplace does not have proper rules and procedures in place. No one has really thought through the safety side of things -- until after the accident, that is.

5 potential reasons for serious back pain

You get up in the morning and it takes all you have in you just to roll out of bed. You stagger down the hall, one hand on your back, to get your first cup of coffee. It seems like you're sore and stiff all the time when you wake up, and you wonder if you have a back injury.

Pain like this is far more common than a lot of people realize, and it may be related to things you do at work. You could have suffered an injury from a one-time event or you may be slowly damaging your back and spine over time. Either way, it's a serious issue that can impact the rest of your life. To help you know why it's happening, here are five potential reasons.

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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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