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.
Workers Compensation and Acupuncture
Every day, all over the UK people are injured in work related accidents. According to the Health and Safety Executive, in 2008 180 workers were killed at work, a rate of 0.6 per 100,000 workers. 131,895 other injuries to employees were reported by RIDDOR: Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, with the Labour Force Survey announcing 246,000 reportable injuries.
The HSE report identified that the most commonly occurring accidents are musculoskeletal disorders (mainly bad backs and damage to upper limbs and the neck) and stress. Stress alone accounted for 57% of total working days lost.
As well as accidents many people have suffered from the consequences of long term industrial illnesses such as vibration white finger, mesothelioma (2156 people died of mesothelioma in 2007), asbestosis, pneumoconiosis and silicosis, repetitive strain injury, hearing and eyesight problems. The report suggested that thousands more died from other occupational cancers and lung diseases.
Public administration, transport and health and safety work recorded the largest proportions of workplace illness whilst agriculture, transport and construction were shown to have the greatest number of accidents.
In 2008/09, a total of 329 offences (breaches) were heard, resulting in 309 convictions, a rate of 94%. Organisations found guilty of health and safety breaches received fines totalling £1.73 million, giving average penalties on conviction of £5,607 per breach, which relates to £12 466 per case.
In addition to fines levied for safety breaches, an estimated £10 billion a year is being paid out in compensation. If you have suffered a work related accident or injury through no fault of your own, you may well be entitled to claim compensation. There are no set figures for workplace claims as no two cases are the same. The amount you may be entitled to will of course relate to the nature of accident and its impact on your life and livelihood.
The guidelines in place split the compensation into two amounts. The first, called General Damages takes into account your pain, the suffering you have endured (or are enduring) and what's called the loss of amenity. Perhaps you have lost hearing or the vision from an eye. The amount of General Damages that you are entitled to essentially boils down to three essential factors:
The severity of your injuries.
How much your injuries have prevented you from carrying out your normal activities.
Ongoing pain and suffering.
The second part of the compensation equation is called Special Damages. This relates to:
Lost earnings. The cost of private medical treatment.
Travel and prescription expenses.
Any other relevant expenses.
By way of compensation guidelines and examples, you could expect the following levels of compensation award:
£1500 - £7000 for a minor head injury. £155,000 - £255,000 for brain damage. £8,000 to £15,000 for a permanently damaged shoulder. Up to £6,000 for a minor ankle injury. £35,000 for a severely damaged ankle. £110,000 or more for mesothelioma.
It's vital to take expert advice from a specialist work injury claims solicitor. Your solicitor will help prepare the case to support your claim for general and special damages and work to ensure that you are properly compensated.
Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Work Injury Compensation Claim
If someday you become the victim of an accident where you work, things might get really messy. Asking for a work injury claim is quite normal, if you can no longer give 100% doing your job, because of injuries and possible disabilities that can follow. Getting back to full health is a matter of time, and meanwhile your colleagues could change the way they interact with you, because of your health problems.
Some will decide that it's you who is slowing down the activities, and others will maybe accuse you that the only problem is that you're just faking that you have problems, when in fact you don't want to work at all.
The conclusion is that it may very well happen that you no longer feel good at work, even if you know you have done nothing wrong. You just happened to be the victim of an accident. It happens in lots of places and the unfortunate victims have no blame for it. There are many bad things that can follow, like cuts from your paycheck, losing the opportunity of being promoted, and ultimately you could even get fired for good.
Are You Going To Get Sacked?
But the good part is that you can easily make a work injury claim. Of course there is the possibility that you will be accused of trying to rip-off the company and take undeserved money, which can deteriorate relationships with your colleagues. However a work accident claim can make your life easier in more than one way. Most important thing is the money you will earn, and money is of course why we work in the first place.
A specialist will analyze the seriousness of your injury and how much your bodily functions are compromised and with that he will determine the amount of your compensation claim. Also, this will make the respective company more aware of the danger menacing its workers, and this leads to an improvement of work conditions and prevention of accidents.
Furthermore, the medical assessment can act as indubitable proof to your colleagues that you weren't in fact lazy and you did want to work. So if you've been the victim of an accident that was not provoked by you, the company should pay for it, because they certainly didn't follow the proper Health and Safety Regulations.
And because, obviously, your health conditions don't influence only your efficaciousness at work but also has a lot to do with the way you live your personal life, a workplace accident claim is a great way to make you feel better.
I Had An Accident At Work - What are my options?
If you want to do a proper claim for a workplace injury then you must follow certain steps and make everything right First thing's first. Soon after the accident, it should be put down in the company's accident book. This item should be there if your company has over 10 people hired.
Given the case that the book doesn't exist or it can't be used for any reason then you should talk with your boss and tell him in detail about what happened and what injuries you got. Provided you have witnesses, you should bring them too and let them add more details.
The normal thing your employer should do is to tell you to put it all on paper, it's much better than just talking about it. This way the details of the accident remain written down, and you eliminate the possibility of forgetting some of them. A good idea would be to snap some pictures of the zone involved and add them to your file.
After that, the medical assessment made by your doctor is a thing you absolutely must do. The worst cases are when the injuries are so serious that some people can't work at all. If this happens to you, you must organize your statutory sick pay with your boss. You may find that useful for your accident injury claim to at least recover your lost money.
Anyway, you will need to talk to an accident solicitor in order to make sure you get compensated. This person will tell you everything you need to know about how to properly make a claim. But beware of the solicitors that ask you for fees before helping you, because the ones that really do their job well usually go with the 'No Win No Fee' slogan, which can guarantee that you won't lose any money, no matter the result.
And if your claim is successful, you receive 100% of your workplace injury compensation. If you have uncertainties about how you should act in such circumstances then contact a solicitor. But can you see any reason why you shouldn't use a professional and a 100% free based service that can bring you compensation for your accident at work?
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