Stockton, California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How dangerous is fatigue on the job?

Most Americans are running on less sleep than they actually need -- and that's a big problem that can lead to unnecessary workplace accidents.

According to researchers, an employee who has gone just 15 hours without sleep is already functioning like someone who has been drinking. They're also almost three times as likely to end up in an accident than their nonfatigued co-workers.

What makes a 'bad' workers' compensation claim?

From your perspective, any workers' compensation claim you have to file is a "bad" claim -- because that means that you're injured, hurting and unable to work. You may just feel lucky that your accident happened on the job -- and is, therefore, covered under the workers' comp system.

Your company's insurer, however, likely has a very different idea of a bad claim. By that, they're looking for signs that a claim is somehow false or designed to "cheat the system." The only problem is that it doesn't take much for an insurance company to decide that a claim is so bad that it outright stinks.

Predesignation helps you see your doctor after a work injury

No one wants to imagine a future in which they suffer a severe injury in their workplace that requires medical attention and a workers' compensation claim, but people in California at a wide range of jobs get hurt at work every day.

The smartest approach to workplace injury is to be proactive about your own safety. Your employer will likely have safety rules and equipment in place, ranging from protective gear to ergonomic chairs. Understanding common risk factors for your profession and trying to always adhere to safety best practices can reduce your risk of getting severely hurt at work.

How do you prove that a repetitive strain injury is work-related?

Repetitive strain injuries are common in many different industries. Caused by small, cumulative traumas to a worker's joints, muscles and tendons, the effects of repetitive strain injuries can be seen on factory workers and office employees alike.

Contrary to popular belief, injuries to your body caused by overuse are not just the product of age. More than likely, they're related to the work that you do, which means that you potentially have a valid workers' compensation claim.

Know when to hire a workers' compensation attorney

When you've been injured at work, you naturally want to get the financial benefits you need to stay afloat and the medical benefits you need to recover.

Your employer and the insurance company, on the other hand, want something very different -- something that's directly at odds with your goals. Your employer and the insurance company simply want to cut their losses.

The role of fatigue in the workplace

What role does fatigue play in workplace accidents? Probably more of one than you'd expect.

In general, America is a nation of sleep-deprived people. Shift work, poor sleep schedules, over-caffeinated diets, busy social lives, second jobs and family obligations often leave people sacrificing the one thing they think that they can: their sleep.

Study examines workers' compensation approval rates in California

According to the California Workers' Compensation Institute's newest study, 94.1% of medical services requested or performed on behalf of injured workers have been approved since the 2018 changes to the system. The majority, 92.5%, were approved without modifications.

The changes to the Utilization Review (UR) process and the Independent Medical Review (IMR) system were the focus of those changes. Based on specific guidelines and a prescription drug formulary, certain drugs and treatments were exempt from URs in an effort to streamline the workers' comp process in general. The exemptions allow a time-saving workaround when requests for treatment can be approved without moving to a UR.

The difference between temporary and permanent disability

Getting hurt on the job can mean that you need to take time off to heal. Some injuries will eventually get better provided that the people suffering from them receive adequate care and follow medical advice. There are other people who may do everything their doctor orders who do not get better over time.

You can get hurt at just about any job, and the severity of your injuries and how they impact your life will vary depending on your age, health and many other factors. What could be a permanently disabling injury for some people may only cause temporary disability in others, which is one reason that workers' compensation offers more than one kind of disability benefit.

Are you at risk for an on-the-job assault?

Workplace assaults are far more common than many people probably believe. People sometimes react to their frustrations or disappointments by lashing out in anger at the closest person available.

How likely is that to be you? Your odds of being injured by a customer or co-worker may be directly tied to the type of work that you do. Data from the United States Department of Labor indicates that the following factors increase your chances of suffering violence at work:

  • You handle a great deal of money or cash exchanges with the public, which may leave you vulnerable to robbery.
  • Your work requires you to interact with highly unstable people (such as drug addicts or alcoholics).
  • You work alone or in an isolated area where someone may be less inhibited about attacking you.
  • You provide personal services or care for others, which means that you may be working with people who are hurt, upset or confused.
  • You work where alcohol is served.
  • You work in a location that is dangerous or work late at night.
  • You're a delivery driver or you drive passengers for a living.
  • You guard valuable property.

California eases workers' compensation rules on PTSD

First responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental disorders have been given new rights regarding workers' compensation benefits in California. Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 542, which creates a rebuttable presumption that a first responder's PTSD or similar mental health disorder is job-related.

This is a significant change in the way that job-connected mental health issues have been regarded in the past. Previously, first responders had to prove that their mental illness was at least 50% job-related. This now flips the script, making it presumptive that a condition like PTSD, for a first responder, is essentially a recognized job hazard. In order to deny the claim for workers' compensation benefits, the insurer would have to prove that the worker's condition was unrelated to their job.

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