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Stanislaus County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How to file a workers' compensation claim in California

Suffering an injury on the job causes a lot of stress. Depending on the severity of the injury, you could miss quite a bit of time at work. When you are out of work, the bills will begin to pile up, including medical expenses, utility bills and even rent or mortgage payments. You don't want to find yourself in a precarious financial situation. Here's how you can file a workers' compensation claim in California.

Your employer should provide you with a form known as DWC-1 within one day of you reporting an injury. The only section of the form you are required to complete is the employee section. You will need to describe the injury you suffered in as much detail as possible.

How to prevent electrical hazards in the workplace

Electrical hazards can be found in any home, school or place of business. It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure that residents, visitors, students and employees are safe when it comes to electrical hazards or electrocution. More than 4,000 people are injured each year across the country from these types of hazards. Some 300 people die each year due to electrical hazards. Here's how to prevent them in the workplace.

One of the best ways to prevent an electrical hazard in the workplace is to wear all protective equipment that is provided by the employer. Protective equipment can include goggles, gloves, a hard hat, a full body suit and more. The equipment should be worn until the electrical hazard is removed or the project is complete.

How to protect against an unsafe workplace

You should never have to worry about getting injured when you go to work, especially if you don't work in an industry known for dangerous jobs. But, there are times when workplaces can be dangerous for employees. Most of the time, these dangers are prevented from the get-go by the rules and regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Here's how you can protect against an unsafe workplace in California.

If you come across an unsafe working condition on the job that your employer knows about and will not fix, you are within your rights to file a complaint with OSHA about the situation. At the same time, you are legally within your rights to refuse to work after reporting the condition.

Don’t put up with secondhand smoke exposure at work

Workplace injuries and illnesses of all kinds may qualify for coverage under workers' compensation. This applies in instances when a specific injury occurs in a work accident, but may also include exposure to toxic substances over time. Many employees may be surprised to learn that workers' compensation may even apply if an employee suffers from an illness because of secondhand smoke in the workplace.

While most workplaces in the modern world are smoke-free, this is not true in every instance. Sometimes, the nature of the business is such that smoking restrictions are difficult to enforce, while in other cases, the work may take place in a setting where smoking is allowed. If you believe that your circumstances may qualify your secondhand smoking injury under a workers' compensation claim, you must demonstrate to your employer's insurer that your claim is legitimate.

What if my workers' compensation claim was denied?

Imagine your workers' compensation claim was denied, but you're down and out and unable to work due to a broken leg resulting from an employment-related accident. You're convinced that you have the legal right to receive medical benefits and wage replacement benefits under the California workers' compensation system, but the insurance company disagrees.

The first thing to do is this: Don't panic. You might still have a chance to obtain the benefits you deserve.

What is included under vocational rehabilitation?

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, he or she may receive a number of benefits beyond monetary compensation for lost wages and the medical expenses of the recovery. In some cases, an employer may be responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation to the injured worker. Such assistance can meet a variety of needs the worker faces in the aftermath of an injury or illness.

Vocational rehabilitation is not a single remedy, but a broad term that includes many potential remedies, depending on the nature of the injury and the effects it has on the worker's ability to perform his or her job.

Reporting a construction site accident or injury

Working at a construction site is dangerous. You will likely be operating heavy machinery, working at heights, digging trenches, lifting heavy items and much more. Almost every task assigned to you will be a dangerous one. Employees can only do so much to keep themselves safe on a Stanislaus construction site. The supervisor of the site and the construction company also has responsibility for safety. Here's how to report an accident or injury at a construction site.

If you or a co-worker suffer an injury on the construction site in California, you must report it immediately. If medical attention is required due to the severity of the injury, this should be handled first. Once medical attention has been completed, you need to report the accident and injury in writing to a supervisor. It should include a medical report from the attending paramedic, EMT or doctor.

Could single payer healthcare undo worker’s compensation?

Workers' compensation is a complex system that protects both workers and employers from the financial fallout of work-related injuries. Professionals who deal with workers' compensation claims every day understand that the process of filing a claim and pursuing fair compensation after a workplace injury can be a lengthy process. That means that many opportunities for an injured worker to miss important benefits may be missed.

California lawmakers are now proposing a single-payer healthcare system that proponents hope may ultimately replace workers' compensation altogether. However, even the architects of the proposed law are cautious about raising California workers' hopes too high before the significant number of issues at hand in integrating workers' compensation with group health are dealt with thoroughly.

What benefits might workers' compensation offer?

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, workers' compensation steps in to provide immediate support and ensure that the worker receives the medical care he or she requires. Once the urgent medical needs of the worker are met, workers' compensation may cover a number of expenses while the worker recovers.

If you recently suffered an injury on the job, you may be entitled to many different kinds of benefits through your workers' compensation claim. Unfortunately, insurers who provide workers' compensation coverage are always looking for any way they can reduce payout, so it is important for you to understand what you may expect so you can push for full compensation for your injury and related expenses.

Seasonal workers on California farms face serious risks at work

When people think about jobs that entail a higher than average risk of injury or death, they likely think of careers in construction or transportation. One career path that carries a higher level of risk without many people realizing it is agricultural work. California has a large number of farms, growing everything from avocados to grapes. Many times, these farms employ seasonal workers, who may travel from area to area or even across multiple states, following the planting and harvesting seasons.

All too often, these workers face unnecessary dangers caused by employers. For example, failing to properly train workers on the safe use of pesticides and fertilizers could endanger people, causing illness or death. In some cases, they may fail to properly maintain machinery or require workers to perform these jobs in manners that clearly increase the danger associated with them. When employees end up injured or killed, farms could face accusations of negligence, as well as workers' compensation claims.

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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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