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.
The ABC's of Workman's Compensation
Suffering from an injury is never a pleasant experience. This is especially true if you fall victim to a tragic hand injury as the result of your job. Workplace injuries can happen suddenly simply as the result of an everyday worksite interaction, no matter what field you are employed in. Because of this ever-present danger it is important you realize what steps you can take to prevent hand injuries on the job.
From carpal tunnel to torn ligaments there are many painful and potentially debilitating injuries that can impact your hand. Some steps you can take to prevent these accidents from occurring while working include the following:
- Always wear proper protective gear, such as gloves, when performing strenuous labor or heavy lifting with your hands. This is also particularly important if you are working with sharp materials.
- Use caution when working near moving parts and moving structures, as these can often present situations where it is easy to get your hand caught, resulting in a potential dismemberment of the hand or another serious injury.
- If you spend a significant portion of the workday performing repetitive motions, such as typing on a keyboard or assembling identical products, it is important you take measures for the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Never use tools or machinery you are unfamiliar with or unable to operate. This will help prevent tragic accidents and unexpected malfunction.
- Use caution when lifting heavy items in order to avoid slamming your hand between objects.
- Be careful when working near or with electricity and heat points. This will help you avoid painful hand burns.
If you do fall victim to a workplace hand injury it is important you seek the assistance of an experienced legal professional who can help you fight for the workers' comp benefits you deserve for the resulting pain, suffering, medical costs, and lost wages.
How to Properly Choose a Workers Compensation Attorney
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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