“Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy. American workers are not looking for a handout or a free lunch. They are looking for a good day’s pay for a hard day’s work. They just want to go to work, provide for their families, and get home in one piece.”
– Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Workers Memorial Day speech April 26, 2012
Most employers and commercial business owner’s today work to assure the safety of their workers in factories, construction sites, offices, service businesses and retail establishments. However, employee accidents still happen in a business environment, and employees still become ill because of conditions encountered in their workplaces.
4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011, and the cost of workplace injuries is estimated to have exceeded $169 billion in 2008.
In many of these cases, the injured person can pursue a lawsuit with a California Workers’ Compensation Attorney like Jacoby and Meyers. Contact Jacoby & Meyers if you have question or would like a free consultation about your workplace injury. With their 40 years of experience, Jacoby & Meyers has demonstrated their effectiveness in pursuing and winning claims for workplace injuries.
Types of California Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Workers’ compensation injuries can include a wide range of injuries: amputations, broken bones, poisoning, electrical injuries, burns, head and neurological trauma, spinal cord injuries, and many other conditions.
Illnesses caused by workplace conditions are also considered workplace injuries for the purpose of workers’ compensation.
The following list identifies the most common causes of workplace injuries caused by violation of OSHA standards:
- Fall protection
- Hazard communication
- Respiratory protection
- Control of hazardous energy
- Electrical, wiring methods, components and equipment
- Powered industrial trucks
- Electrical systems design
- Machine guarding.
The most common causes of workplace fatalities are traffic accidents, falls, falling objects, moving objects and homicides. Non-fatal injuries in the workplace commonly occur because of falls, overexertion in lifting and moving objects.
What to Do if You Are Injured in Your Workplace
- Immediately report the accident to your supervisor or safety officer.
- Make a written report.
- Get the names of anyone who witnessed the accident
- Get medical care. If you were seriously injured, get assistance immediately. Otherwise, be sure to see a doctor soon after your accident.
- File a workers’ compensation claim.
- Complete all required paperwork for your employer and workers’ compensation as soon as possible.
- Keep track of all records of your injury, paperwork and application for workers’ compensation.
- Contact a California workers compensation attorney immediately to determine if you have a reason to pursue an additional legal claim beyond workers’ compensation.
Prompt action is essential in any workers’ compensation claim. As with most government agencies, there are time limits and filing requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the compensation.
Employers are required by law to assure safe working conditions and to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. In California, most work-related accident claims are limited to the reimbursement provided through workers’ compensation. This is called the “exclusive remedy rule.”
The workers’ compensation system was created to assure that people injured in the workplace received compensation for their injuries without having to take their claims to court. Any employee injured on the job can receive workers’ compensation without proving that anyone was liable or at fault in the accident.
However, workers’ compensation claims are normally limited to medical expenses, disability compensation and a cash award if the injury has caused a permanent disability. Disability limits and cash awards usually have caps. Periodic disability payments are modest and often are significantly lower than the workers’ earnings at the time of the accident.
Workers’ compensation also does not completely provide compensation for pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of future earning capacity, property damage and some medical expenses.
A California workers’ compensation lawyer like Jacoby & Meyers has the experience and resources to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. A lawyer with that firm can answer your questions and tell you what workers’ compensation you are likely to qualify for.
Exceptions to Workers’ Compensation
Under certain circumstances, however, a person whose injury or illness has been caused by workplace conditions can pursue and win a personal injury lawsuit, in addition to workers’ compensation.
People pursuing a lawsuit with a California workers compensation lawyer can qualify for workers’ compensation benefits while pursuing legal action.
Intentional misconduct. The employer knew about an unsafe condition or problem, did nothing and did not inform employees of the risk.
For example, employers knew about the toxic effects of asbestos, but continued using it without instituting safety measures or informing employees. An estimated 43,000 people in the United States died of asbestos-related conditions between 1979 and 2001.
Employers who remove safety devices or eliminate safety practices to improve productivity. This is called the “punch-press exception” because it originated when employers removed guards on punch presses in order to increase production. This action increased the amputation of fingers and other major injuries among punch-press operators.
Accidents caused by third parties on the work site. Employees who have an accident that produces a serious injury can sometimes file a claim against a third party. A “third party” is a business that produces products purchased by your employer or provides a service to your employer.
Workers’ compensation sets limits on benefits for workplace injuries. One of these third-party legal claims can assure that a person receives reimbursement for pain and suffering, long-term disabilities, lost earning capacity, and other losses that workers’ compensation may not adequately cover.
One example of a typical third-party claim involves a defective product. If your employer bought a defective product (like a tool or machine) that caused your injury, you may pursue a product liability lawsuit.
The same is true if a company hired by your employer created unsafe conditions while working at your job site. For example, if someone is injured by a tool or piece of debris falling from scaffolding, that third-party contractor could be liable for the injury. If a contractor failed to follow normal safety standards during a repair or installation, that company might also be liable for injuries caused by their neglect.
Any type of additional legal claim in a workplace accident requires the service of a skilled and experienced California workers’ compensation attorney. A law firm will know about complicated lien, right of reimbursement and other avenues for pursuing these claims.
An experienced California workers’ compensation attorney will be familiar with all types of California worker compensation injuries and the best strategies for pursuing those claims.
Contact Jacoby & Meyers to find out your rights in your workers’ compensation claim. They have demonstrated time and again that they have the knowledge and experience necessary to pursue these complex claims for the long periods that may be required.
Jacoby & Meyers: California Workers Compensation Attorneys
Lawsuits based on injuries in the workplace require extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation and of the circumstances that allow a lawsuit for those injuries. As an experienced workers compensation attorney in California, Jacoby & Meyers can determine the complex issues that relate to a specific claim and build a winning legal strategy.
Contact Jacoby & Meyers to discuss your workplace injury and workers’ compensation. The initial consultation is free.