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Stanislaus County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Why would a workers' compensation claim in California fail?

It is safe to say that most workers in California find comfort in knowing that workers' compensation benefits are available after a workplace accident. However, just because an employer complies with the law to provide workers' compensation coverage does not necessarily guarantee that a claim will succeed.

Workers' compensation claims can fail for a wide variety of reasons. As such, it is wise for employees in the state to learn about the requirements when filing a claim. Making even a small mistake can delay or invalidate your benefits. The following sections contain examples of several barriers to successful claims:

Medical professionals in California could easily hurt their backs

The injuries you can suffer at work range from minor scrapes and abrasions to serious injuries, such as joint damage. Back injuries are some of the most common and difficult to treat of all potential occupational injuries.

People often have inaccurate ideas about who is most at risk for a back injury. While there are certain professions that are highly dangerous, that doesn't mean that only those in high-risk environments can hurt themselves on the job.

Filing a successful workers' compensation claim in California

Suffering an injury on the job changes your life in many ways. It can take you away from your job and your income and it can lead to expensive medical bills. In severe cases, a work accident can result in temporary or permanent disability or even death.

We realize that you already know about workers' compensation and how it can provide for your financial needs in the wake of an injury. However, not all of these claims receive approval. Sometimes, claim denials occur because of errors you make. We want to talk about how you can improve your odds of success by following the simple tips outlined below.

Workplace accidents involving taxi and ride share drivers

Taxi drivers in California can make enough money to provide their families with a good life, as can rideshare drivers. It is a fast-paced industry that is growing quickly across the nation as more people choose not to own personal vehicles. The earning capacity of such employment is seductive, but these drivers must understand that they may not have full protection when workplace accidents occur.

When you think of a workplace accident involving a taxi or rideshare driver, you probably envision a vehicle crash. This is certainly one of the most common injury risks these drivers face, but we want you to know that drivers can suffer injuries in other ways as well. For example, drivers can suffer from repetitive stress injuries because they make the same movements over and over throughout their work shifts.

Does the construction industry expose workers to toxins?

Toxic or hazardous substances are often a factor in many industries, and the field of construction is certainly no exception. Unfortunately, many construction workers are not aware of the toxic dangers associated with the construction industry. As you might expect, exposure to such substances result in many unforeseen construction workers' accidents and/or injuries.

The information in this post serves two main purposes. First, it brings awareness about the dangers of toxins to California construction workers. Second, it helps workers identify whether a toxin is responsible for any unusual symptoms they may experience. Below are some toxic substances that commonly appear in the industry.

  • Asbestos: Despite widespread knowledge about its hazards, asbestos exists in many construction materials. Exposure can lead to pulmonary illnesses and mesothelioma.
  • Flame retardants: Many textiles and thermal insulation boards contain flame retardants. Exposure can lead to cancer and disruptions in the endocrine glands.
  • Formaldehyde: This substance appears in products such as polyurethane foam insulation, carpeting and plywood. Exposure can lead to serious respiratory illnesses and may even cause cancer.
  • Silica: A known toxin, silica appears in concrete, bricks and glass. Inhaling silica dust can cause severe or fatal lung conditions such as cancer and silicosis. In some cases, it may also lead to kidney cancer.

Facts about work-related hearing loss

It is safe to say that most California workers have a good understanding of how and why workplace injuries occur. For example, they know that falling from a ladder might result in significant injuries or even death. As such, they take precautions to enhance their safety when working on a ladder. Unfortunately, some workplace injuries can occur without the employee ever being aware of the danger.

Hearing loss, for example, often takes a slow and steady approach. By the time most workers notice that they cannot hear as well as they once could, it may be too late to reverse the damage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occupational hearing loss is a common occurrence. Here are some other facts about hearing loss published by the CDC.

  • Industries such as construction and mining are especially hazardous to hearing
  • Nearly one-fourth of worker hearing problems occurred due to workplace exposure
  • Approximately 22 million workers suffer hazardous noise exposure each year
  • About 19% of American "noise-exposed" employees experience a hearing impairment affecting their daily lives
  • Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace can also cause loss of hearing
  • Examples of chemicals hazardous to hearing include organic solvents and heavy metals
  • Exposure to asphyxiants like carbon monoxide can also impact the ability to hear

Follow these 5 forklift safety tips at all times

If you operate a forklift in Modesto or work in close proximity to these vehicles, it's imperative to follow a variety of safety tips to avoid an accident that results in injury or death.

Even with proper safety training, it's easy to fall into a comfort zone if you're comfortable and experienced operating a forklift. This, alone, can lead to an accident, such as one that results from striking another person or dropping a load.

Could your workplace be making you ill?

Exposure to chemicals and other toxins in your California workplace can endanger your health, sometimes for the rest of your life. In many cases, workers and even employers are not aware of toxic dangers. This can make it difficult to know whether you are simply sick or if your symptoms arose because of exposure to toxic substances in the workplace.

It is critical to uncover the reason for your symptoms for several reasons:

  • If you are ill because of workplace toxins, workers' compensation will cover your medical expenses and replace some of your lost wages.
  • The earlier you seek treatment for your symptoms, even if they are not related to your job, the greater your chance to make a recovery.
  • Identifying potential toxic hazards in your place of work will protect you and your coworkers going forward.

Reasons ladder-involved workplace accidents occur

Almost every occupation in the state of California requires the use of a ladder at some point, even if only to reach a file folder on a high shelf. They come in many shapes and sizes from small step-stools and rolling ladders to enormous extension units and folding platform ladders. Don't let those innocent-looking ladders fool you! These useful mechanisms are full of hazards that could leave you with broken bones or brain damage. In some cases, falling from a ladder may even result in death.

How do workplace accidents involving a ladder occur? In many cases, it is the fault of users who have become too complacent about safety. Other times, the ladder may have been defective in some manner. Below are other common reasons ladder-related accidents happen.

  • Skipping steps: Many ladder accidents happen because workers miss a step when descending. For safety reasons, make it a point to descend ladders carefully and never skip any of the steps.
  • Wrong ladder: There is a ladder for every type of job. Make sure you always choose a ladder of the right shape and size for whatever work task you are performing.
  • Overreaching: Although it is tempting to go ahead and reach over to access another area, it is unwise to do so. Descending the ladder and then moving it into the proper position will prevent a ladder accident.
  • Insufficient contact: Safety experts recommend maintaining three points of contact when using ladders. This means two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand should always be on the ladder.
  • Uneven ground: To keep the ladder from tipping or falling, make sure the area underneath your ladder is even and clear of debris at all times.

What are the most dangerous California occupations?

Any job can be dangerous. Even office workers might trip over a piece of frayed carpet, bang their heads and suffer a brain injury, for example. However, some jobs are far more dangerous than others and people in them are more likely to suffer workplace injuries. While it may be possible to obtain compensation for an injury, it is better to know where danger waits so that you can avoid tragedy altogether.

California is an ideal location for many different types of industries. Do you know which of these possible work opportunities present the most danger to employees? Following are the most dangerous jobs in the state.

  • Piloting: Thirty California aircraft pilots died on the job between 2012 and 2016.
  • Trucking: With 295 deaths between 2012 and 2016, the trucking industry is one of the state's most dangerous occupations.
  • Construction: More than 110 California construction workers perished between 2012 and 2016. It is reasonable to conclude that hundreds more suffered workplace injuries.
  • Logging: Between 2012 and 2016, 15 loggers in California lost their lives while working. In fact, logging is the nation's most dangerous occupations.
  • Tree trimming/grounds maintenance: These workers are often at risk of suffering workplace injuries or death. Between 2012 and 2016, 86 grounds workers died while performing their duties.
  • Farming: Just over 115 California farm workers died on the job between 2012 and 2016.
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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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