Most employees spend at least 40 hours per week in the workplace, completing tasks in conditions that range from safe to downright dangerous. From construction sites and manufacturing plants to restaurants and office buildings, employees face a range of health hazards that may lead to an accident and injury.
Though employers are required by law to take steps to protect their employees, accidents happen and workers sustain injuries requiring medical attention and even hospitalization. In some cases, workers may need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Orange to ensure they get the benefits they deserve.
Common Workplace Injuries
One of the most common workplace injuries employees sustain is strains and sprains. A sprain occurs when a ligament, which is a band of tissue that connects two bones in a joint, is stretched or torn. The ankles and knees are the most common parts of the body affected by sprains.
When a muscle or tendon is stretched or torn, then it’s called a strain. Tendons connect muscles to bones and when they’re strained, workers can experience pain in the lower back, upper back, hamstrings, and shoulders.
Though any job can pose risk of strain and sprain, manufacturing, transportation, and warehouse jobs are most likely to cause injury to muscles and connective tissue.
Common causes of strains and sprains include:
- Lifting heavy weight
- Pushing, pulling, or carrying more weight than a muscle can handle
- Twisting muscles in awkward positions
- Twisting ligaments
- Collisions that apply pressure on a ligament
- Slipping or falling
- Repetitive motion
Cuts and punctures are another common type of workplace injury, particularly in construction, manufacturing, and retail. Though minor cuts don’t qualify for workers compensation benefits, puncture wounds that become infected and require hospitalization may restrict an employee’s ability to return to work. In these cases, they may be eligible for compensation.
Contusions, or bruises, may cause difficulty walking, bending, sitting down, climbing stairs, and completing other workplace tasks. If the contusion was caused by equipment, falling objects, or another employee accidentally striking the worker with a tool, there may be damage to organs and internal bleeding that requires medical treatment. A workers’ compensation attorney in Orange could help injured workers receive the financial assistance they’re legally entitled to.
Workers who sustain broken or fractured bones may need weeks and even months to heal. Falls, equipment malfunctions, traffic accidents, falling objects, and impact with equipment can cause serious injury to employees working in retail, construction, manufacturing, and transportation.
Some types of fractures don’t completely restrict employees’ ability to work, while others may lead to complications that result in permanent impairment. Workers should schedule a consultation with a workers compensation attorney in Orange to find out what kinds of benefits they’re entitled to.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Orange, California
The four main types of benefits in California are medical care, temporary disability, permanent disability, and job displacement benefits.
- Medical treatment
Medical treatment benefits are paid to cover the care workers need to recover from their work-related injury. An injured worker must be treated by a doctor in the Medical Provider Network (MPN). Doctors in this network follow medical treatment guidelines that govern the frequency, duration, and appropriateness of all medical care for injured workers.
MPN doctors go through a process called Utilization Review (UR) in which medical treatment requests are approved, modified, or denied by an independent physician. Once the worker has been treated according to the network’s guidelines, the physician will write a Permanent and Stationary Report.
Injured workers may also receive mileage reimbursement for travel to and from medical appointments and pharmacies. A workers’ compensation attorney in Orange can help injured workers file the necessary paperwork to receive this type of benefit.
- Temporary disability
Temporary disability benefits cover wages lost due to a work injury. These benefits are only paid after the insurance company agrees that the injury is work-related. To qualify for temporary disability, an injured worker must have a doctor state that the injury is limiting the kind and amount of work that an employee can do, and the employer must be unable to offer modified or light duty work as an alternative.
- Permanent disability
Permanent disability benefits cover a worker’s loss of future earning capacity due to the permanent effects of the injury. Permanent disability is rated from 0 to 100%. A 100% disability means the worker is permanently totally disabled. This means the worker is entitled to weekly payments at the temporary disability rate for the rest of their life. If the disability rating is between 70% and 99%, then the worker qualifies for a life pension.
- Job displacement
Some workers may qualify for a $6,000 supplemental job displacement voucher. To avoid paying the voucher, the employer must offer the injured worker regular, modified, or alternate work that is at least 85% of the salary of the previous position, within a reasonable commuting distance from the worker’s home, and lasting at least 12 months. Employers must send the offer within 60 days of receiving a medical report stating the injured worker is permanent and stationary.
Workers who receive the voucher may use it for licensing and examination fees, computer equipment, tools for a training program, and career placement and resume services.
How to Choose a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Orange
The California legal workers’ compensation system is complex and difficult to navigate for those without a legal background. That’s why injured workers should consider hiring a workers’ compensation attorney.
When looking for a workers’ compensation attorney in Orange, the first thing to consider is the lawyer’s area of expertise. Some attorneys practice across a wide range of legal fields, while others specialize in one area of law. It is in the best interest of injured workers to choose an attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation since this means they are focused on serving the specific needs of their clients.
It’s also important to read past client reviews and research the attorney’s professional background before signing the contract. What clients and colleagues have to say about an attorney will speak volumes about how the attorney will treat you and your case.
If you’re searching for a workers’ compensation attorney in Orange, there’s nobody more qualified to represent you than Thomas F. Martin, PLC. Recognized by Best Lawyers in America for his expertise in California workers’ compensation law, Thomas F. Martin is a name clients and legal professionals trust and respect. Call his office today to schedule a consultation about your work injury.