What is Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s Compensation (or workman’s comp) is a crucial part of the stability of our modern day workplace. In California, without a good compensation program in place, worker’s could be left out in the cold after an injury incident.
Workplace Injury in California
If you are on the job 8 hours-a-day 5 days-a-week, there is a definite risk of getting hurt. After all, your job takes up the bulk of your day! Worker’s compensation is an overarching program that gives employees the right to covered medical care or financial relief.
A stronger definition: “Worker’s Comp is a form of insurance that provides compensation medical care for employees who are injured in the course of employment, in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence. While plans differ between jurisdictions, especially in California, provision can be made for weekly payments in place of wages (functioning in this case as a form of disability insurance), compensation for economic loss (past and future), reimbursement or payment of medical and like expenses (functioning in this case as a form of health insurance), and benefits payable to the dependents of workers killed during employment. General damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages for employer negligence, are generally not available in worker compensation plans.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers_compensation
For worker’s compensation to take effect, an injury or illness has to occur during the course of standard employment.
The Catch with Workman’s Comp
As you may have noticed in the above definition, employees are often waved of their right to sue for negligence when participating in a worker’s compensation program. This allows companies to protect themselves from larger more detrimental settlements.
Punitive damages, or those incidences caused by neglect and negligence of an employer, are generally not a part of worker’s compensation cases.
The Importance of State
When it comes to workman’s comp, every state has its own set of rules and statutes.
One of the first things you have to do when considering workman’s comp is recognizing which state you are legally working in. From their, it is critical to acquire a skilled personal injury lawyer familiar with your state’s system.
As with any form of insurance, companies will often try to find any and every reason not to pay you. Sometimes they may be correct under the letter of the law, but to get your fair chance at financial or medical relief you need to come prepared with a competent attorney. At the very least, have one look over the details of your case. Most good attorney’s will provide you with a free legal consultation.
Work Related Injury Compensation
Getting injured on the job can be a traumatic situation. Workplace injuries can cause an injured worker not only to be seriously hurt but also create a financial hardship. Workers' compensation laws vary from state to state. As such, any person that has suffered a workplace injury should consult with a workers' compensation attorney.
Workers' compensation was designed to provide remedies for an employee that has been injured on the job. Injured employees may be entitled to receive medical care, lost time, and even permanent disability benefits. In return for assured benefits employees do not have the legal right to file a lawsuit for an award from the court.
Although injured employees give up their ability to sue their employer they still have the right to obtain workers' compensation. Not all employees injured on the job will be approved for workers' compensation benefits. If an employee is denied or does not receive benefits that are appropriate for their situation they have the right to an appeal. A worker's compensation attorney specializes in workers' compensation laws and they can help an injured worker fight and obtain benefits.
Any attorney can choose to practice in the area of workers' compensation law. However, an employee that has a workplace injury will want to find an attorney that is experienced in this area of law. One way to find a reputable and experienced workers' compensation attorney is through the state bar association. The bar association will can help in locating attorneys in good standing as well as those who specialize in certain areas of law.
You can also find a reputable workers' compensation attorney by checking your local yellow pages. Many attorneys advertise in the yellow pages and this will give you a good starting point in locating a number of candidates. Attorneys that advertise in the yellow pages generally highlight their specific area of law so this is also a good way to narrow your search for an attorney who practices specific aspect of law.
Once you have selected a few candidates you will want to do an evaluation during your initial consultation that will help determine your selection. Your evaluation of the workers' compensation attorney should be based on a few factors. These factors are how well the attorney listens, their understanding of your situation, explanation of law as it applies to your case explained in laymen's terms, and your level of confidence in their representation of you.
You may also want to ask for references so that you can evaluate the workers' compensation attorney's work on previous cases. Former or current clients are good sources of references but attorneys may be reluctant to divulge client information because of its confidential nature. The next best sources of references are other attorneys.
It is extremely important to be prepared for your initial consultation with the workers' compensation attorney. It may be wise to prepare a summary of the facts and events surrounding your injury in chronological order before your consultation. The summary should include important information such as the date of your accident, exact name/address of employer, and details of your injury.
You may also want to bring any medical records, employee handbook, and if possible any witness statements. This will help your meeting go smoothly and also help in selecting a workers' compensation attorney.
What is Worker's Compensation? Can I Get It?
Acupuncture is an accepted medical option for treating a work related injury. In 2007, the California Department of Industrial Relations made revisions to current workers compensation laws and deemed acupuncture to be a covered medical modality for injured workers. What this means to injured workers is an increase in treatment options and less reliance on pain medications and muscle relaxants. Natural relief from work related injuries is now an option and all of California workers need to be made aware that this amazing medicine is available to them.
Dealing with a work injury can not only leave you in pain, but also confused about your treatment options. Often, companies are contracted to send their employees to specific medical facilities when they're injured. As long as it's not an injury requiring emergency medical care, the employer sends the employee to someone within their Medical Provider Network (MPN), a group of preassigned health care professionals set up by the employers insurance company. If you are unhappy with the provider you are sent to, you can request another provider from the network. If the thought of going to an unknown provider is unsettling to you and you are already a current acupuncture patient, you can sign a form pre-designating your acupuncturist as your primary health care provider in case of a work related injury. To ensure you can use the acupuncturist as your workers compensation provider, your employer must offer group health coverage, you must have been to the acupuncturist before, the acupuncturist must have those medical records and, prior to the injury, you must have signed the letter of pre-designation.
Due to many medical providers abusing the workers compensation system, limitations have been put in place. No longer are medical providers granted unlimited treatments of patients. Chiropractics, physical therapists and occupational therapists have been limited to only 24 treatments. When using acupuncture, functional improvement is expected within 3-6 treatments, with the patient being treated 1-3 times a week. Typically, the expected duration of treatments is from 1-2 months, but treatments can be extended with documentation of continuing functional improvement.
Acupuncture can get employees back to work faster and can be done in conjunction with other healing modalities. If you're already using acupuncture for health care, make sure to fill out a pre-designation form allowing you to use your acupuncturist in case of a work related injury. Our goal is to get you feeling better as soon as possible, getting you back to work as soon as possible and enjoying life pain-free once again.
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