California Workers' Compensation & Qualifying Conditions & Reporting Your Injury
Are On-the-Job Injuries Covered By Workers’ Compensation in Los Angeles?
Employees who are injured on the job may receive workers’ compensation benefits in California if their injury or job-related illness qualifies for coverage. Since both injuries and illnesses suffered “on the job” are defined broadly under California law, many types of injuries and illnesses are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage.
In order to be covered by workers’ compensation, the injured person must be an “employee,” not an independent contractor or unpaid volunteer. Who qualifies as an “employee” is often based on the specific circumstances of that person’s job. If you have questions about your employee status, a knowledgeable Los Angeles workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine if you are an “employee” for workers’ compensation purposes.
Injuries That Are Covered By Workers Comp
Injuries covered by workers’ compensation include nearly any kind of injury suffered while on the job. The injury may be due to a one-time accident or event, such as broken bones from a slip and fall accident, a head injury from being struck by an object, or a burn suffered while working around hot equipment. Or the injury may have a long-term cause, like carpal tunnel syndrome suffered after years of typing or using hand tools on the job. Both types of injury are covered by California workers’ compensation law.
Many on the job injuries are the result of an accident. However, even non-accidental injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. For instance, if you are assaulted by another person while doing your job, workers’ compensation may still cover your medical bills and provide other benefits, even if the person who assaulted you acted intentionally.
Other types of covered “injuries” include the following:
- Damage to prosthetic devices, including hearing aids, eyeglasses, and dentures, if the event that damages the device also injures the person wearing it.
- Reactions or side effects to any treatments given to prevent injury or illness from some other on the job condition. For example, an allergic reaction to a vaccine given to a medical worker to prevent them from catching a certain disease from exposed patients.
- Mental health conditions, if the worker can show that his or her work conditions were primarily responsible for causing the mental health condition.
On the Job Illnesses
Illnesses caused by on the job conditions also qualify for workers’ compensation coverage in California, whether the illness was caused by a one-time event or by repeated exposure to a condition over time. For instance, sudden radiation poisoning from one exposure to a radiation source while on the job would be covered by workers’ compensation, and so would cancer caused by long-term exposure to smaller doses of radiation, if the radiation exposure can be linked to the cancer.
Not all illnesses suffered while on the job are covered by workers’ compensation. The illness has to be directly linked to your work in some way – not merely something you would likely catch just from going through daily life. For instance, if you catch a cold or flu from a sick coworker, these conditions probably won’t be covered. However, if you work with asbestos and you later develop mesothelioma, a type of cancer known to be caused by asbestos exposure, this illness will likely be covered.
It Is Very Important That You Tell Us And All Of Your Doctors About All The Consequence Of Your Injury
Workers’ compensation reform has brought changes to the process regarding evaluation of permanent disability. Under the new permanent disability rating system, the original injury as well as the persistent effects of the injury are taken into consideration. This way, certain long-term impacts, both physical and psychological, which were looked over before are now accounted for in the determination of one’s compensation award amount.
Some of the more common long-term complications caused by severe injuries include the following:
- Psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety triggered by pain or loss of ability to perform occupational and daily activities in a normal manner.
- Sleep issues caused by physical or psychological issues that in turn are brought about by the injury.
- Respiratory problems caused by prolonged exposure to bad air quality.
- Aggravation or acceleration of pre-existing medical conditions.
- Hearing problems caused by prolonged exposure to loud noise.
- Adverse side effects of medications or surgical complications.
You should receive a Review of Systems worksheet which you should keep and refer to periodically. You should also update it if you encounter additional health complications that were caused by the injury. Do not disregard any new developments or you may not receive the benefits you deserve.
It is Very Important that You Give All Doctors and Lawyers a Complete and Accurate History of Your Current Injury and All Prior Injuries and Health Problems
Avoid committing these common mistakes when dealing with doctors and lawyers for your workers’ compensation and personal injury claim case:
- Not informing the doctor or lawyer of prior injury claims and additional injuries which developed from the original injury.
- Providing the doctor with not enough details surrounding the current injury.
- Providing the doctor with incomplete or inaccurate information about prior injuries, claims, and current non-industrial conditions.
- Not informing the doctor about all issues caused by the injury in the early stages of the case.
- Providing inconsistent dates to different doctors regarding the injury incident.
The reports your physicians provide can have a significant bearing on the outcome of your case. It is important you always recount a complete and accurate history of your past claims and current injury to any physician you deal with. Even one piece of inaccurate data may cause the judge to dismiss the reports altogether. As a claimant, you must preserve your credibility before the court, or you may lose everything.
You should thoroughly research your past records in order to ensure that the information in the written reports for your current case is not false or inaccurate. The insurance company on the side of the opposition will most certainly conduct an investigation of your past, and if they spot any inaccuracies, they will use them against you.
Note: Success in this part of the claims process relies on you for the most part. Make sure to provide the correct information to your physicians and your case will be resolved in a more efficient and less stressful manner.
Effective Legal Counsel for Injured Workers in Los Angeles
Some injuries and illnesses are obviously caused by on the job conditions. Others, however, may be more difficult to link to your work. If you’ve suffered an injury or illness due to an on-the-job event or work condition, don’t hesitate to consult skilled southern California workers’ compensation attorney Kenton Koszdin. Mr. Koszdin has been named a “Rising Star” among Los Angeles attorneys for multiple years due to his dedication and experience representing injured California workers. Call Kenton Koszdin Law Office today for a free, confidential consultation.