Stockton, California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How brain injuries happen in the workplace

It doesn't take a severe knock to the head to cause a brain injury. Even mild concussions, especially when repeated over time, can develop into a serious problem.

In recent years, there's been a lot of attention to the effects of brain injuries on boxers and football players -- especially in light of the confirmed cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) among athletes who have suffered from early-onset dementia and death. But, boxers and football players aren't the only people at risk of serious brain injuries on the job. Many people in other professions, like construction workers, police officers, firefighters, hospital workers, miners and heavy-equipment drivers also end up suffering significant brain injuries on the job.

An overview of the most dangerous jobs in California

While most jobs carry a small risk of injury, workers in some fields face significantly more danger than others. These types of injuries can vary, ranging from mild bruises or sprains to life-altering wounds.

In California specifically, which professions have the highest injury rates?

Here's why it's smart to hire a workers' compensation attorney

If you were injured on the job, it seems like you should be able to get through the workers' compensation system without having to hire an attorney -- but looks, as you probably know -- can often be deceiving.

It only takes a simple mistake for a claim to be delayed or outright denied -- which can set you on a frustrating path that keeps you from accessing the medical care and supplemental income you both deserve and need.

Temporary employment can be hazardous to your health

This may not surprise anybody who has ever done a stint as a "temp" worker, but temporary work is hazardous.

People doing temp work are usually between jobs or trying to get their foot in the door at a company. They resort to placing themselves with agencies that match them with employers who have immediate openings for low-level workers.

Medical costs for workers' compensation drops in California

Insurance companies who cover workers' compensation medical claims in California have reduced their costs yet again -- but that's not necessarily a good thing for the injured workers the system is supposed to serve.

According to a recent report, the total combined costs for workers' comp insurance companies in 2018 dropped to $14.3 billion. That's down from $16.2 billion in 2017. Costs only equated to 82% of the premiums collected in 2018, which is an improvement over the 92% that was used in 2017. Insurers covered fewer medical costs in all categories of care -- with the sole exception being payments made directly to the injured. Those actually slightly increased from $1.34 billion in 2017 to $1.47 billion the following year.

Workers' compensation is failing the injured

Should you ever suffer a serious on-the-job injury, you probably expect workers' compensation to quickly step in and give you some medical and financial assistance. After all, that's why the system was designed, right?

Except that the system is struggling -- massively -- to live up to expectations. The injured workers in many states often find themselves doing without when workers' comp doesn't come through.

What does fighting wildfires do to your health?

Over the past several years, California’s wildfires have grown more frequent and more powerful. We’ve seen them pump out enough smoke to prompt air quality alerts in cities everywhere. And they’re even worse for the firefighters on the frontlines.

The firefighters who battle California’s raging wildfires often work 16 or more hours per day for as many as two weeks with no days off. They sleep under the skies, often in valleys where they inhale smoky air. Their bandanas are their only defense from the smoke. And all that smoke can wreak havoc on their health.

Can immigrants get workers' compensation in California?

Migrant and seasonal farmworkers are part of the backbone of California's economy -- and many of those workers are immigrants. While many states (about half) don't provide workers' compensation protection for seasonal agricultural workers, California does -- even to immigrants.

Here's what you need to know if you're an immigrant working in California:

Which jobs put you at the highest risk of spinal injuries?

Would it shock you to learn that back injuries are the second-leading cause of lost work days?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, back injuries affect more than one million people every year and account for 20% of on-the-job injuries. The only thing that costs more in lost work is the common cold.

Are undocumented immigrants eligible for workers’ comp?

Currently there are over 1.8 million undocumented workers in California. They make up 9 percent of the state’s total workforce. Many of them work in food service, in manufacturing, do construction or work on farms. These jobs all have inherent dangers, and many undocumented workers are uninsured.

In theory, immigrants without a working visa not supposed to seek employment at all. But this is far from our current reality. Many injured undocumented workers are fearful to file for workers’ compensation because they feel they may risk deportation. So, if an undocumented immigrant becomes injured at work, who’s on the hook?

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