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San Diego Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Possible workplace injuries mean employers must carry insurance

The state has cited an employer of a truck driver who was killed fighting wildfires. The California employer was found not to be carrying required workers' compensation insurance for any of its employees. The man was injured when his truck rolled over and later died of his workplace injuries

Although several people died, the man was the only firefighter to die during the fires in North Bay. State law requires firms that hire contractors that supply heavy equipment to carry workers' comp insurance. The firm that had hired the deceased man was registered as an owner-operator, meaning that every worker has an ownership stake in the business or is a relative. 

Will you recognize a safety hazard when you see one?

Factories are hazardous areas, regardless of the products they make. If you are an employee who earns a living in an industrial setup in California, you have likely experienced near misses on numerous occasions -- or was the last one not a near miss but an actual workplace accident that left you injured and unable to return to work? Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers, but many of them prioritize profits, leaving employees to fend for themselves.

Safety advocates say specific hazards are prevalent in almost all industrial facilities, and although there will always be a chance of an industrial accident happening, most incidents are preventable. Authorities further advise that continuously being on the lookout for hazardous situations may prevent the need for disaster planning at a later stage.

Employee rights in the event of workplace injuries in California

One of the primary concerns most workers have is the potential hardship their families would have to suffer if they should be injured in an on-the-job accident. How will they pay medical bills and cope with personal financial obligations if they can't return to work for some time? Gaining knowledge about their employee rights may provide some peace of mind. Employers in California must provide workers' compensation insurance to cover all work-related injuries or illnesses.

The benefits cover reasonable medical care costs that include fees charged by doctors, hospitals, therapists, also cover X-rays, medical equipment, lab tests and even travel costs. Temporary Disability Benefits are paid to cover lost wages during the time of recovery, and Permanent Disability Benefits will come into play when occupational injuries cause permanent disabilities. In such cases, benefits might include vouchers for Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits to equip disabled workers with new skills. In the event of a fatal workplace accident, dependents may pursue claims for death benefits.

Disability benefits can come as both private and public aid

While every person understands the eventuality of his or her own death, not everyone expects a disability. This may be the reason why more people have life insurance policies than disability insurance policies. In California and across the United States, there is a public option for benefits if a person becomes permanently disabled. The program that provides these disability benefits is called Social Security Disability Insurance. 

Some workplaces offer optional private insurance to their workers in the form of long-term disability insurance. It is usually part of a package of little perks, right alongside life and pet insurance benefits. It is typically less popular than life insurance policies, and some have reported that average employee participation hovers around 40 percent. 

Disability benefits for victims of military sexual trauma

A military service person can expect to experience difficulties during his or her time of service. Post-traumatic stress disorder is one such effect, and it is often caused by combat-related events. Another type of trauma commonly experienced by military vets is known as military sexual trauma. Sufferers of military sexual trauma are eligible to receive disability benefits if their ability to work is affected by the occurrences. The psychiatric illness is widespread, and affects individuals from California and the entire United States.

An American Psychological Association study analyzed the experiences of two groups of female veterans, those who served prior to Sept. 11, 2001 and those who had served after. The group of individuals who served before 2001 experienced sexual contact against their will in nearly 50 percent of the cases. The post-911 group still experienced sexual assault 30 percent of the time. 

Does your company have a plan for a catastrophic accident?

Remember fire drills in school? They were exciting at first. When the alarm sounded, everyone hustled from the building with stern-faced teachers warning of the importance of single-file lines and closed lips. By the time you got to high school, however, it was hard to take such drills seriously. You and your friends may have strolled down the evacuation route, chatting about your plans for the weekend and happy to be missing chemistry.

As an adult, hearing stories of emergencies at schools or other California institutions may have reminded you of the careful planning your school administrators did to minimize the chances that someone would be hurt or worse. Preparing for such incidents in the workplace is just as important.

Workplace injuries at California Goodwill locations

Safety protocols are an essential part of an effective business. When dealing with employee safety, a business is responsible for providing and enforcing proper safety training. Without such practices, employees are vulnerable to workplace injuries. A chain of Goodwill stores in California is facing accusations of failing to provide a safe environment to its employees. 

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened three more investigations against the branch, and two lawsuits have also been brought against the retailer. The particular chain has a history of safety violations in greater numbers than any other Goodwill chain in California. OSHA has declined to report on the open cases, citing confidentiality concerns. A representative from Goodwill has claimed the violations were common issues that were quickly addressed. 

California auto maker accused of employee rights violations

Workers have long fought for fair conditions in the workplace. Unions were created in order to use the power of numbers to advocate for better working conditions. Labor unions have successfully increased worker wages and safety in the past. A new California auto maker has recently been accused of employee rights violations because of alleged union-busting tactics. 

The auto maker, new-age electric car producer Tesla, has come under fire when employees claimed that they were restrained from and threatened about forming an alliance with the United Auto Workers union. One employee claimed that he was physically restrained while attempting to pass out flyers on his own time at the plant. Another worker reported being told by a supervisor at a meeting that anyone attempting to pass out flyers would be fired. 

Guide to temporary pregnancy disability benefits in California

New parents may be asking themselves, what are my options for time off with my baby? In California, guidelines are already in effect that offer some paid and unpaid leave for new mothers and fathers. These temporary disability benefits are offered to employees based on several factors. Individuals who meet criteria for parental leave are offered benefits, which may be expanded under a proposed new law. 

The amount of time an individual has been employed by a company, whether the worker has paid into a state disability fund and the number of hours worked per week will determine whether an employee is eligible to receive parental leave. The size of the company, as far as the number of employees, is the next big factor when it comes to calculating benefits. Employers with greater amounts of employees will provide the greatest amount of benefits to expectant families. 

Did your job cause complex regional pain syndrome?

You may know that California workers who experience injuries in workplace accidents have the right to compensation through their employer's workers' compensation insurance. However, these benefits extend beyond just accident-related injuries, and may also be available for individuals who got sick or developed injuries as a result of their jobs.

Illnesses and physical conditions that develop due to your job, including complex regional pain syndrome, are grounds for a workers' compensation claim. If you are struggling with this syndrome, you need medical care and more. It can be frustrating to be a worker dealing with an illness that many people misunderstand, but you may seek support as you pursue rightful benefits.

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