He has been recognized as one of the “Best Attorneys” by esteemed publications like The Orange County Register, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, and Orange Coast Magazine. Additionally, many professional organizations have acknowledged his experience in work injury law.
Mr. Martin’s dedication extends beyond his legal practice. He has served as the President of the Orange County Chapter of the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, and he has been involved in various committees and the Board of Directors for various organizations.
His knowledge in the workers’ compensation field is valued, and he is often invited to speak at events, sharing insights on the latest laws and trends, and even training other lawyers.
If you need help with a work injury claim in Orange County, choosing a skilled attorney like Thomas F. Martin is crucial to ensure you receive all the benefits you deserve. Call 714-547-5025 or contact us online to schedule a free and private consultation.
In the California Workers’ Compensation system, TTD is an abbreviation for “Temporary Total Disability”. TTD benefits are available to injured workers who are, according to a qualified physician, are temporarily unable to work as a result of their work-related injury or illness.
TTD benefits provide temporary wage replacement to workers for up to 104 weeks at the rate of 2/3 pay, subject to a certain maximum weekly rate.
To be eligible for TTD benefits, an injured worker must first report their injury or illness to their employer and file a workers’ compensation claim. The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will then investigate the claim and determine if the worker is eligible for TTD benefits.
It is important to note that the workers’ compensation system in California can be complex, and injured workers may benefit from seeking the assistance of an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation law to help them navigate the claims process and ensure that they receive the TTD benefits to which they are entitled.
If you believe you may be entitled to TTD benefits due to a work injury or illness, contact us at 714-547-5025.
Though safety laws have helped reduce the rate of injury at work, accidents still happen. When they do, workers need to know what steps they should take to ensure their injury is properly documented and treated.
- Seek emergency medical treatment
If the injury is life-threatening, workers should seek emergency medical care. Let hospital staff know the injury or illness is job-related and when you’re in a stable condition, contact your employer for further instructions.
- Report the injury or illness to the employer by filing a claim form
It’s important to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation company as soon as possible to ensure your injury or illness is covered. Request a claim form from your supervisor and fill out the “employee” section of the form. Sign and date the form, submit it to your employer, and keep a copy for your records.
The employer will then complete the “employer” section and forward the completed form to their workers’ compensation insurance company. They should also give you a copy of the completed form for your records. The insurance company then has 14 days to mail a letter providing the status of the claim.
- Check the status of your claim
If the claim was denied, workers have the right to challenge the decision. But it’s important to file a dispute as soon as possible. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney could help increase the odds of a successful claim. In California, workers must file an Application for Adjudication of Claim at the DWC office in the county where they live or the county in which they were injured.
Once the form has been filed, the DWC will send a notice confirming the form has been filed and provide a case number.
- Attend all medical appointments
While the claim is being processed, workers need to attend all medical appointments. Missing an appointment could give the insurance company a reason to deny the claim and withhold benefits.
- Hire a workers’ compensation attorney if your claim was denied
Certain factors make it difficult for injured workers to secure benefits. In these cases, they may need the expertise of a workers’ compensation attorney.
If you’ve been injured on the job, contact Thoms F. Martin, PLC, the best workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County, for legal representation.
Regardless of whether you work at a desk or operate heavy machinery, the workplace poses safety hazards that could lead to injuries. To stay safe and avoid injuries, here are a few tips every employee should keep in mind.
- Use equipment, machinery, and tools properly
Don’t think that you can figure out how to use equipment properly on the fly. No matter your experience level in the industry, it’s important to approach every new piece of machinery with caution. Take the time to learn how the equipment works and take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others.
- Report unsafe conditions immediately
If you see unattended machinery, loose cords, cluttered spaces, broken glass, spilled liquids, broken lights, or uneven surfaces, report these safety hazards to your manager or supervisor.
- Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated helps you stay alert and focused. Keep a bottle of water nearby to remind yourself to drink water regularly.
- Practice good posture
Whether you’re sitting for long periods of time or lifting heavy objects, it’s important to use the right posture. Use an ergonomic desk and keyboard to minimize strain on the wrists and arms. Remind yourself to sit up straight and keep the shoulders in line with the hips when moving objects. A habit of poor posture will strain the back, neck, and shoulders, leading to serious injury.
- Take regular breaks
Working nonstop may seem noble, but in fact it’s counterproductive. Without regular breaks, employees tend to get distracted, careless, and fatigued, which increases the risk of injury. Take short walks and avoid using your phone during your breaks.
- Be aware of surroundings
If you’re working in a busy environment with many moving objects and people, it’s important to look out for the following:
- Signage indicating hazardous areas and materials
- Emergency exits and procedures in case of a fire, flood, or earthquake
- Unsecure railings
- Items blocking hallways and passageways
- Avoid shortcuts
If you’re running behind schedule, you may be tempted to skip a few steps to catch up. But those steps could be the difference between safety and an injury. Don’t take shortcuts and always follow instructions for using tools and machinery.
The Industrial Revolution brought many changes to the workplace that accelerated production but also increased the risk of injury and even death. Dangerous work conditions led to the creation of workplace safety laws that continue to shape working conditions today.
- Employers Liability Law
The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) was passed in 1908 to protect railroad workers supporting the rapid expansion of the nation’s railway network. Under the law, employers could be held liable for worker injuries and death on the job. Employers were also required to compensate injured workers and their family members. However, employees were required to prove employer negligence to receive benefits.
- Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation insurance was created in Germany in 1870 and spread across Europe in the late 19th century. The first comprehensive workers’ compensation law in the US was passed in Wisconsin in 1911. In 1948, workers’ compensation insurance was available in all states. The workers’ compensation system gave injured workers access to medical care and wage replacement benefits.
Today, workers’ compensation insurance is regulated at the state level and most employers are required to provide coverage.
- Safety Agencies
Throughout the 20th century, many government agencies and non-governmental organizations were established to monitor workplace safety and enforce compliance. The three main safety agencies in operation today are:
- The US Department of Labor (DOL)
The DOL offers resources and training for job seekers and retirees and sets wage standards. Its mission is “To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.”
DOL oversees numerous offices, agencies, and program areas to fulfill its mission.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Part of the DOL, OSHA was established in the 1970s to enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act. OSHA sets workplace safety standards and enforces policies to keep employees safe and healthy. The administration also provides training, outreach, education, and signage to employers.
- The National Safety Council (NSC)
This non-governmental, non-profit, member-driven organization promotes health and safety by providing safety training, conducting research, and offering tools to mitigate risk. NSC also engages in government advocacy across national and local levels to drive awareness and create policies that support workplace safety.
In the US, workers’ compensation is regulated at the state level. This means states have widely differing workers’ compensation laws. In most states, with the exception of Texas, employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Depending on the state, employers are required to make regular payments to a private insurance company or a state fund. These payments help cover the benefits paid out to injured employees. Benefits may include compensation for lost wages, medical bills, disability, and even death.
Typically, employers covered by workers’ compensation insurance must file a claim with the insurance company and forfeit their right to sue the employer in most cases. To avoid lawsuits, fines, and criminal charges, employers are required to know and understand local regulations governing employee rights.
How Workers’ Comp Laws Differ Across States
Generally, the differences between workers’ comp laws across the US can be broken down into the following questions:
- Is workers’ compensation coverage required or optional?
- Which employees must be covered by workers’ compensation?
For employees working in high-risk industries like farming and construction, workers’ compensation is generally required. Some states, like Wisconsin and Montana, distinguish between low-risk and high-risk industries to determine workers’ compensation requirements.
Other states, like Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, and Mississippi, only require workers’ compensation for businesses that have at least five employees. In some cases, the five employees must be working full-time.
States like California, New York, and Connecticut allow employers to exclude high-level workers from workers’ compensation insurance as long as they provide the correct documentation. Corporate officers, directors, and LLC members may be excluded from workers’ compensation coverage.
States also treat general contractors and sole proprietors differently. In most states, sole proprietors aren’t required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
California’s Approach to Workers’ Compensation Requirements
California has few exceptions for workers’ comp coverage, compared to other states. For example, every employer with at least one employee is required to carry workers’ comp coverage.
The state also doesn’t distinguish between high-risk and low-risk industries to determine coverage requirements. However, insurance companies will assign different rates to determine the insurance premium based on the risks in the workplace.
The length of time it takes to investigate a workers’ compensation claim varies depending on the type of injury reported, the circumstances surrounding the accident, witness availability, the extent of the medical conditions, the availability of documentation, and the cooperation and availability of all parties involved.
California bill SB 1127 would reduce the investigation period for claims in which workers have a presumption of compensability to 75 days from the employer notification of the injury. In other claims, the investigation period would remain at 90 days.
Challenges With Workers’ Comp Investigations
The California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI) conducted a study that found potential problems associated with reducing claim investigation time frames; these include:
- Litigated and denied claims require significantly more time to gather reports and documentation from outside sources. Only 49.2% of litigated claims that are eventually denied have a compensability decision at 75 days.
- Employers are currently liable for up to $10,000 of medical treatment for a claimed injury during the investigation period, regardless of the insurance company’s final decision. Reducing the time frame would reduce the amount of time workers whose claims are eventually denied have to receive $10,000 worth of medical care.
How Workers’ Comp Investigations Proceed
A workers’ comp investigation looks at video surveillance, online social media channels, interviews, and medical reports to determine whether the claim should be approved or denied. The insurance company’s claims team is checking to see if the injury is fake or exaggerated if the injury is job-related, and if the employee is still working.
Investigators will watch employees coming and going from home and doctor’s offices. In addition, they will review the injured employee’s online posts, tagged photos, status updates, and other online activities. Investigators will also interview employees over the phone or in person to see if the injury is valid and work-related. Workers’ comp claims teams may also interview the injured employee’s relatives, close friends, coworkers, and neighbors to learn more about the employee and identify potential fraud.
Legitimately injured workers don’t need to worry about the claims investigations process. Hiring an experienced work injury lawyer in Orange County, CA will help ensure they have a solid case and receive the compensation they deserve. Call Thomas F. Martin, PLC today to schedule a consultation.
Competition for customers in the hotel and restaurant industries, particularly as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, is intense, and the pressure on workers to get work done puts workers at great risk for injury and repetitive motion conditions.
Working in a restaurant and/or hotel is incredibly physical. Prolonged weight bearing, pushing and pulling carts, making beds, cleaning rooms and bathrooms, lifting and carrying heavy items, high risk of slip and falls, vacuuming, and burns are unfortunately common activities that can cause injuries. Repetitive motion injuries – also known as cumulative trauma injuries – are also common. Injurious conditions can include:
– Back and neck damage
– Wrist and hand conditions ( such as carpal tunnel syndrome)
– Chemical exposure/lung injury
– Knee injuries
– Shoulder and elbow injuries
Thomas F. Martin, PLC has helped many hospitality workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits for their injuries.
Your free and confidential consultation is available by calling 714-547-5025.
Losing a loved one is difficult for everyone. Especially when it happens suddenly on account of an unforeseen accident, it is more painful to know that the person could have had a great life ahead. Such accidents are avoided by many but sometimes the worst happens. Workers in construction, factories and shop floors are the most vulnerable to such accidents. Whenever a worker dies, it is the duty and moral obligation of the company to provide his or her dependents with workers’ compensation death benefits. Here is some more information on death benefits included in workers’ compensation.
Why does one receive death benefits?
When a person dies at work, ANYONE who was dependent on them for financial support may be entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits.
Who is eligible for the death benefits?
People who were partially or totally dependent on the deceased may be entitled to death benefits. By law, some relatives are automatically considered to be totally dependents and these are:
· A child under the age of 18
· A child of any age who is physically or mentally challenged to be able to work or earn a living
· A spouse who earned less than $30,000 in the 12 months before the deceased’s death.
· Other individuals qualify for being total dependents or partial dependents but in general, they must be a part of the household, a relative by blood, marriage, or adoption. And if a person relied on the worker in full or partial, they become a dependent entitled to benefits.
What amounts are included in death benefits?
· Burial Expenses: The Workers’ compensation insurance company has to provide expenses incurred by the family for the funeral. Burial expenses up to $10,000 is provided as compensation.
· Death Benefits: Generally (there are exceptions) the benefits are: One total dependent, $250,000; two total dependents, $290,000; for three or more, $320,000 is paid by the insurance company. This amount is released in installments but not less than $224 per week, and under certain circumstances awarded in a lump sum.
· A partial dependent may receive four times the amount they received from the deceased as financial aid.
Thomas F. Martin is an experienced attorney working for workers injured on the job and has worked in the field for over 25 years. If you need any help or information on workers’ compensation, call us for a free case evaluation today.
Your on-the-job training should cover some safety precautions about how to avoid workplace accidents and injuries. But, if your workplace is like many others, it will only brush upon what to do after an on-the-job injury and your rights as an injured employee – if at all. We have compiled a helpful and easy-to-follow list of steps that should be taken after an accident or injury that occurs either in your workplace or while you are performing work-related duties.
Hurt in a workplace accident? Consider these general steps:
- Get help: If your injury is severe enough to require immediate medical attention, get it as soon as possible. Some people hesitate to call 911 or be taken to a doctor because they do not know if the medical treatments needed will be covered under workers’ compensation law or insurance benefits. Please do not jeopardize your own health. Always call for help when you need it, no matter the circumstances.
- Tell your supervisor: Every state has its own guidelines as to how long you can wait before telling your boss, supervisor, manager, or superior about a workplace accident as soon as possible. Generally, the longer you wait to report the injury, the more challenges to the claim can arise. If you do not have a chance to immediately tell your supervisor, then you should tell a trusted person to do it for you, and follow up when you can.
- Double-check with your employer: Even though you are the one who was injured and who filled out an injury report for your company, your employer should report it to its workers’ compensation administrator. You should be given paperwork that confirms that the injury was reported.
- Follow-up appointments: Comply with your doctor’s orders while recovering from your injuries. If you have questions, ask the doctor.
- If you are being ignored, get help.
Thomas F. Martin, PLC – an Orange County workers’ compensation firm – has been fighting for the rights of injured employees for more than 25 years. Call 714.547.5025 to schedule a free consultation today.