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.
Injury Compensation: A Simple Guide
An individual may suffer harm at the workplace for any number of reasons. One of the most common reasons, though, is employer negligence. Employer negligence refers to an employer's failure to uphold his or her duties to his or her employees, putting them at risk for harm.
Generally, the employer's duty to his or her employees is to provide a reasonably safe work environment. Since different jobs have different levels of occupational risk, the standard of what is considered a safe workplace is not generally defined.
In spite of this, there are some basic measures that employers in any field should address. These safety measures are properly training employees to do their jobs, providing employees with the necessary tools and equipment to perform their tasks, and providing access to safety equipment.
Employers who fail in one of these basic duties may be guilty of negligence. This is troublesome because these conditions may make workplaces less safe for employees. As such, employees may be at greater risk for suffering harm at work.
Depending on the injury a worker suffers, he or she may be unable to return to work for several weeks or months. This time off of work can amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in lost wages. On top of the lost wages, individuals will also have to pay for expensive medical treatment.
During this period, individuals may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits help keep an individual financially stable at times when they are unable to work because of an injury suffered on the job.
The ABC's of Workman's Compensation
In the unfortunate event you should suffer an injury on the job, you may find comfort from co-workers who send their sympathies. You would hope, too, that your employers would understand your need to recover and the time involved. Sometimes, though, some workers have found that their bosses are more concerned about time and money lost to the company because of your injury. You may have done everything right with regards to filing for Workers Compensation, but depending on the nature of your injury you may discover your relationship with superiors is altered.
It's important to recognize that your company can dispute your claim if your bosses feel there is no cause to cover your injury. You work for a business, and as such you are responsible for helping your business remain solvent and profitable. When you become hurt on the job and are removed from the workplace, the company risks losing money and productivity, and should it be determined that your compensation claim is legitimate more money is spent to cover your bills. As more claims are paid out, your company may end up paying higher insurance premiums. Therefore, there is the chance that your workplace may challenge your claim if:
- They feel your injury is not as serious as you claim it to be.
- They feel your injury occurred as a result of a pre-existing illness or injury that happened outside of work.
- They feel you do not require too much time to recover in hospital or at home, and can return to work.
What do you do? You may feel hurt or discouraged, and equate a challenge to Worker's Comp claim as an inference that you have not been truthful about your injury. One thing you do not want to do is arouse your employers' suspicion or ire, especially if you plan to continue working for the company. You will want to remain calm and consult with a personal injury lawyer with regards to your next steps:
- Verify your injury through physician reports and X-rays where applicable.
- Your lawyer may wish to meet with co-workers who were witness to your injury in order to support your claim.
It is important, while your claim is still under consideration, to remain professional in the workplace and around supervisors and co-workers. If you are able to return to work before the claim is accepted or denied, perform your tasks to the best of your ability and try not to discuss your situation. Listen to your attorney, too, for he/she is there to help you get the compensation you need.
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