Stockton California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

GAO report: SSDI claimants more successful with representatives

In California, it's not workers employed in manufacturing or construction who run a higher risk of workplace injuries. Rather, those employed in health care actually are at greater risk for workplace injury than construction or manufacturing workers. Fortunately, health workers may be entitled to compensation if they become ill from an incident on the job or suffer a workplace injury.

When people think of workplace accidents, they probably conjure up images of construction sites, manufacturing plants, or fishing boats. But in Connecticut and elsewhere, folks who work in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care facilities than those employed in construction or manufacturing jobs. The incidence of injury is similar across all types of health care facilities, public or private, union or nonunion.

GAO report: SSDI claimants more successful with representatives

In Stockton, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants who need one can wait as long as 15 months for a hearing, while other Californians are seeing wait times that are stretching as far out as 24 months. With such long waiting periods - it has been estimated that as many as 10,000 people died last year while waiting for an SSD hearing - it's crucial that claimants leverage every possible advantage they can. A recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has identified one factor that seems to give some claimants an edge over others: a representative, such as an attorney.

The GAO report found that those who appeared at an SSD claims hearing with an attorney or other representative were three times more likely to receive SSD benefits than claimants who attended without representatives. The report offers no explanation as to why represented claimants were more successful, however it illustrates how crucial having a representative can be in the claims process. It also illustrates how inconsistent the Social Security Administration's (SSA) administrative law judges have been in rendering their decisions.

These ladder safety tips are a must to follow

Depending on your profession, you could be the type of person who uses a ladder day in and day out. For example, painters are always working on ladders. Just the same, roofers and construction workers use, sometimes extremely long (!), ladders to reach the tops of buildings.

There is no doubt that using a ladder can make life much easier on the job site. Unfortunately, it also could increase the risk of being part of an accident.

Even with financial help, many disabled wind up on streets

As this blog has reported previously, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a benefit available through the Social Security Administration to disabled Californians. Usually when a person is seeking SSI, their disability is serious enough such that they have little to no work history and thus do not qualify for disability benefits based on their work.

These disability benefits are no doubt helpful, and residents of Stockton who need them and are eligible to receive them should not hesitate to start the process of applying for them. However, according to a recent report, they are not enough, standing alone, to ensure that a person suffering with a permanent disability will be able to find adequate housing.

Social Security helpful in permanent disability cases

California's workers' compensation system is very helpful when a Stockton resident gets hurt on the job. However, they are most effective when a person is laid up only temporarily, as the benefits will cover a good chunk of the worker's lost income and also reimburse their medical expenses.

Unfortunately, given the way workers' compensation is set up in this state, a person who winds up permanently unable to return to work because of a workplace accident may not be able to get everything he or she needs to maintain a livelihood. In these cases, a worker may need additional financial help to cover their expenses.

When might I not be able to get workers' compensation?

As this blog has mentioned in the past, California's workers' compensation system is a broad "no fault" system, meaning that an employee who gets hurt on the job does not have to prove his or her employer was responsible for the injury or illness. Indeed, the employee may share some of the blame for the workplace injury and still have full access to workers' compensation benefits.

However, as is the case in other states, there are some exceptions to the general rule that everyone who gets hurt on the job is entitled to workers' compensation. In California, many of these exceptions relate to what type of work the employee was doing and what the status of the relationship between the employee and business was.

OSHA appeals court's decision on citation practices

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is appealing an administrative law judge's decision regarding how it chooses to cite employers for safety violations.

Stockton, California, residents should keep a close eye on the case, as it could have far-reaching implications for how the federal agency regulates workplace safety, particularly with respect to thousands of federal employees working in this state. The decision could have a trickle-down effect on Cal/OSHA and other state-level workplace safety agencies as well.

Can I get disability benefits if I have an addiction?

Many people in the Stockton, California, area work hard and have families, yet quietly struggle with a drug addiction or with alcoholism. As such habits have a tendency to do, however, they eventually can take a toll on one's body and leave a person suffering with a debilitating medical condition that, quite frankly, they might not have developed had they not had a struggle with drugs or alcohol.

While drug addiction and alcoholism are not themselves going to qualify a person for disability benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, a Californian can and should seek out the benefits they need if they are facing a physical health problem that keeps them out of work, even though the problem is related to drugs or alcohol.

Representing workers with gradually developing injuries

In many cases, it is quite obvious that a Stockton, California, employee suffered a serious injury while on the job. Although there may be other issues with getting workers' compensation benefits, there is rarely any way to deny in good faith that the injury took place at work, which is one of the prerequisites for getting benefits.

However, many times, employees in California develop workplace injuries only over time. Such is the case frequently with repetitive motion injuries and other problems with joints like the back or knees. Over time, the activities are person must do to perform his or her job wears down the parts of that person's body to the point where they can no longer work.

Do you have to worry about a workers’ compensation denial?

If you suffer an injury on the job, there is nothing more important than obtaining immediate medical treatment. The last thing you want to do is assume that you can treat the injury on your own, as this can lead to more harm than good (in many ways).

While you may not realize it up front, you need to concern yourself with a workers' compensation denial. There are times when workers believe they will receive benefits until they are able to return to work, just to find that nothing could be further from the truth.

Contact

Law Office of Ronald M. Stein, Attorney at Law
4521 Quail Lakes Drive
Stockton, CA 95207

Phone: 209-751-4370
Fax: 209-957-3005
Stockton Law Office Map

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