Thomas F. Martin, PLC, a leading workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County, CA, has been named in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America® for his professional accomplishments in the legal profession. Martin has received numerous awards from Best Lawyers in previous years for his leadership and expertise in the legal workers’ compensation field.
Winners are chosen through a survey completed by attorneys recognized in the previous edition of Best Lawyers. For the current edition, more than 12.2 million evaluations were analyzed, with only 5.3% of lawyers in the United States receiving recognition.
Best Lawyers CEO Philip Greer commented, “For more than 40 years our awards have garnered the respect of the industry as a reliable and unbiased resource to identify the top legal professionals, and we are proud to continue our globally respected purely peer-review methodology through these recognitions for lawyers at every level in their career.” Best Lawyers uses transparent methodology to identify the best qualified lawyers across the country and give them the honor they deserve.
“For over 30 years, I’ve had the privilege of protecting the rights of injured workers in Orange County, CA,” said Thomas Martin. “I’m grateful for the recognition I’ve received from Best Lawyers and strive to preserve the trust my clients and colleagues have placed in me.” Mr. Martin will be highlighted in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for his high caliber work in Workers’ Compensation Law – Claimants.
Thomas Martin represents clients who have sustained a range of injuries on the job, from spinal cord injury and chronic pain, to amputation and brain injuries. He also represents families of workers killed in a workplace accident to ensure they receive the compensation they deserve.
To learn more about Thomas F. Martin, PLC, visit www.thomasfmartin.com/about]https://www.thomasfmartin.com/about
When we think of workers’ comp injuries, we generally think of physical injuries like broken bones, tissue damage, burns, and lacerations. But workers’ compensation also includes psychiatric injury, which is a mental disorder determined to be at least 50% caused by the workplace.
How to claim a psychiatric injury.
To obtain compensation for a psychiatric injury, an employee must:
- Show employment for six months or longer
- Prove that work activities or the work environment were greater than 50% of the cause of psychiatric injury
- Prove the injury was not a consequence of physical injury
If the psychiatric injury was caused by a violent act, then the employee must show that 35-40% was caused by work. In addition, the six-month requirement doesn’t apply to injuries caused by a sudden and extraordinary event.
Can physical and psychological injuries be combined in a claim?
A psychological injury cannot be caused by a physical work injury. An injured employee can only add a psychological claim to the original injury if it was due to a violent crime or a catastrophic injury such as paralysis, severe burn, amputation, or severe head injury.
What is the difference between an injury and a permanent disability?
If the worker has not sustained a psychiatric work injury, then they will not receive any medical treatment, temporary disability, or permanent disability. If a physician does identify a psychiatric injury in a worker, then the extent of disability and evaluation of non-work-related factors will be determined on a separate basis.
How a psychiatric claim is rated in CA workers’ comp.
In California, a psychiatric work injury is rated using the Global Assessment of Function (GAF) scale, which is then converted to a percentage and adjusted up or down using the Permanent Disability Rating Scale (PDRS). A GAF rating below 70 is considered a permanent disability.
What to expect during a psychiatric injury claims process.
To determine a worker’s eligibility for compensation, the insurance company will ask questions about the workers’ relationship with friends and family, medical conditions, sex life, past abuse, and trauma. An injured worker should decide if filing a psychiatric claim is worth answering questions on such personal matters.
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.
The simple truth is that in California, undocumented workers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits because all workers are considered employees under California law regardless of immigration status or whether or not the employer is uninsured. However, certain job retraining benefits may be unavailable.
If an employer is unable to offer modified or permanent work based on an injured worker’s medical status, the worker may receive benefits. But if the employer is unable to offer work due to the employee’s immigration status, then the benefits may be unavailable.
This typically occurs after an injured worker is found to be undocumented. Under federal law, businesses are prohibited from hiring individuals who don’t have a legal right to work in the United States.
Once a business owner finds out that a worker is undocumented, they will no doubt take the position that they are required to terminate the employee. Under federal law, violation of laws governing work eligibility can be punishable by fines and criminal prosecution. The use of false employment documents by workers may also lead to fines and criminal prosecution for the worker.
However, California workers’ compensation laws are not in conflict with federal immigration laws because these laws don’t address workers’ comp benefits. Thus, an undocumented worker may be eligible for:
– Temporary disability
– Medical treatment
– Permanent disability
– Future medical treatment
– Other workers’ compensation benefits
California is a “no-fault” state. This means that as long as the injury or condition happened while working, that injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Immigration status is irrelevant.
In some cases, an employer or insurer may (falsely) claim that immigration status is an “excuse” not to provide workers’ compensation benefits. An experienced work injury lawyer in Orange County can help undocumented workers injured on the job navigate the complex workers’ comp system and obtain the benefits they deserve. Don’t let them get away it.
Call Thomas F. Martin, PLC at 714-547-5025 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your rights.
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.
Anti-employee interests are always thinking about ways to “reform” California’s worker’s compensation laws in their favor.
Take, for example, the last few reforms, which assured increased profits for insurance companies and increased benefits for injured employees. Not surprisingly, the employees ended up on the losing side of the so-called “reforms”.
Recent reforms included changes to “apportionment,” which is a fancy word for discount.
When an employee suffers permanent injuries from work activities, like lifting heavy boxes or inhaling dangerous chemicals, the employee is entitled to money to replace the lost ability to work in the future. “Apportionment” simply means a discount on the money the employer owes for the permanent disability. So let’s call it what it is – a discount.
Now, one of the ways the employer tries to get a discount is to blame the injured employee’s age for the disability. If the employer can convince a doctor in the case that “age” is responsible for part of the permanent disability – even if the employee was able to do the work – then the employer gets a discount of by whatever percentage the doctor blames age.
So, for example, if the doctor says 90% of the reason an employee has back problems was due to “age,” then the permanently disabled employee will only get 10% of what they are owed – even if they were doing the job without any problems before the injury.
Where am I going with this? Simple. Science proves that the aging process can be accelerated by the type of work you do.
For example, a new study found an association between the time spent sitting at work and increased disability. The chance of suffering permanent disability increased by 57% for each sedentary hour at work. And, the increased risk isn’t just to your joints – prolonged sitting also increases your risk across the board – arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, lung disease, and risk of stroke. Think about that when you are spending countless hours working from home.
So next time a doctor blames “age” for some (or most) of your permanent disability, force the doctor and employer to justify the “junk apportionment.” Science-based medical studies have plenty to say about work-forced activities accelerating the aging process. Don’t let them get away with an unjustified discount on what you are owed in lost wages.
With more workers’ compensation “reforms” on the horizon, be on the lookout for even more efforts to limit or eliminate employees’ right to be awarded disability money for the cumulative effects of work activities such as sitting for hundreds of hours for work each month.
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.
Doctors and physicians often rely on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans to identify the true source of a patient’s illness or injury and decide what to do next. The technology is fast and effective, and it has been heralded as one of the leading causes of increased average lifespans, decreased need for exploratory surgery, and an overall reduction of lengthy hospital stays.
So why do workers’ compensation insurance companies resist authorizing them? Because some ration care at the expense of an injured worker’s health.
Back in 2000, Medicare clearly recognized the legitimate uses of MRI, CT, and other similar advanced scanning technologies. From that year to 2006, it’s spending on such treatments more than doubled, from $3.6 billion a year to $7.6 billion. But the more they were using advanced scanning, the more they were costing themselves. So in response to the raised costs, they began to reimburse less and less for each incident of treatment, putting more of the cost onto individuals. They also created intense review processes that required patients to be examined thoroughly before permitting an MRI or CT scan, hoping to only use it when it was medically necessary. Of course, the risk was a condition that could remain undiagnosed for longer and potentially cause delay in the healing process.
Simply put, workers’ compensation administrators followed Medicare’s lead.
If the insurance adjuster is denying a request for an MRI or CT scan, consider calling us for a free consultation. We have been assisting people injured on the job for over 25 years.
The consultation is always free. 714-547-5025.
In California, individuals who sustain injuries in a home, public place, or workplace may have the right to pursue legal action. How the injury occurred and the location of the accident will determine the type of claim: personal injury or workers’ compensation.
Personal injury cases are classified as either strict liability or intentional wrong.
- Strict Liability
Strict liability pertains to the consequences of the actions of a certain individual or party. For example, a car accident, faulty product, or an action that didn’t intend any harm or criminal intent could be categorized as strict liability.
Other types of strict liability include:
- Harm caused by owned animals
- Accidents due to negligence or carelessness
- Selling alcohol to minors
- Intentional Wrongs
Intentional wrongs can include obvious altercations between two parties; for example, a physical fight where the other party was liable. In such cases, it’s important to prove that one party intended to cause harm to the other.
Other types of intentional wrong include:
- Defamation or slander
- Assault and battery
- False imprisonment
Workers’ compensation claims refer to injuries or illnesses that are job-related. If an employee is unable to work as a result of a workplace injury, they can file a claim. Injured employees may be eligible for assistance with medical bills, lost wages, and psychological counseling.
An experienced work injury lawyer in Orange County could help injured workers determine the type(s) of compensation they are entitled to.
- Physical Injury Claims
Repetitive injuries, for example, are caused by doing repetitive activities such as bending or lifting, or as a result of improper workplace training. Common injuries caused by repetitive activities include carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back strain, bulging discs, amputation, and nervous system damage.
- Mental Injury Claims
The workplace could also cause mental injuries such as anxiety, stress, and depression. These injuries may occur if the workplace is plagued by bullying, employee isolation, and threats of contract termination.
Injured workers should call the best Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer Thomas F. Martin, PLC to schedule a consultation and begin their journey to obtaining compensation.
Workers in a wide range of industries are at risk of sustaining specific injuries that could require extensive medical treatment.
Workers can also sustain injuries described as “wear and tear” or “cumulative trauma” injuries over time.
A specific injury occurs on a particular date and time, like falling off a ladder or lifting something that hurts your back.
“Wear and Tear” or Cumulative Trauma injuries / Occupational Disease
Physical injuries – Workers in occupations involving repetitive motions, like lifting, bending, or typing, may be at risk of developing “wear and tear” or cumulative trauma injuries. The symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years to develop. A physician should provide an opinion that supports a relationship between work duties and the condition.
Internal injuries – Other injuries and diseases can occur due to various exposures at the workplace. Exposure to periods of prolonged stress can contribute to high blood pressure, heart problems, or even aggravate diabetes, for example. Exposure to dust, chemicals, dust, or fumes at work can cause damage to the lungs. Unfortunately, workplace exposure can even contribute to certain cancers.
Hearing loss – A common injury for workers who work around loud noise, like airport workers, heavy equipment operators, farmers, ambulance drivers, manufacturers, and factory workers are all at risk. An explosion at work would be work-related as well.
Skin conditions – Rashes and thermal burns can be caused by exposure to harmful chemicals and lead to pain and scarring. Occupations at risk for these skin injuries include:
- Lab workers.
- Farmers who use pesticides.
- Working around radiation.
Brain injuries – Exposure to dangerous chemicals and even infections like West Nile Virus and viruses like Covid -19 can cause severe and lasting damage to the brain.
The above are only examples. If you suspect you have been exposed to harmful circumstances at the workplace, consider consulting with a work injury lawyer in Orange County to gather the evidence necessary to present to a workers’ compensation Judge.
How To File A Claim For Occupational Illness
Unfortunately, the California workers’ compensation system is complex, particularly when gathering evidence of serious injuries. To document a specific, cumulative trauma injury, or occupational illness, consider a free consultation with our Award-winning Orange County workers’ compensation lawyer, Thomas F. Martin, PLC.
For over 30 years, Tom has assisted injured workers to secure the financial and medical benefits they deserve.