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b2ap3_thumbnail_gilroy-workers-comp-attorney.jpgA workplace accident or injury can lead to multiple types of difficulties that may affect a victim’s personal and professional life. While workers’ compensation benefits will usually be available to anyone who has suffered a work-related injury, there are some situations where workers may be hesitant to pursue these benefits out of fear that they will face consequences at their job. However, worker’s are protected against workers’ compensation discrimination, and they should be sure to understand their rights in these cases. This can ensure that they will be able to receive the benefits they deserve while preventing their employer from taking illegal actions against them.

What Is Workers’ Compensation Discrimination?

Every employee has the right to file a workers’ compensation claim and receive medical benefits, temporary or permanent disability benefits, or other applicable benefits following a work-related injury. It is illegal for an employer to penalize an employee for filing a workers’ comp claim, reporting a work injury, or otherwise asserting their rights. 

Workers’ compensation discrimination can take multiple forms, including:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_santa-clara-county-workers-comp-lawyer.jpgWhen a person is injured in a workplace accident or experiences injuries, illnesses, or other health issues that arose out of the work they had performed, they will usually be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Most of the time, these benefits will be available no matter who was responsible for an injury. An employee will not need to show that their employer acted negligently or otherwise caused them to suffer harm, and as long as they can show that their injuries were work-related, they will be able to receive medical benefits and temporary or permanent disability benefits. However, there are some situations where an employee may be able to receive additional compensation if they can demonstrate that they were injured because of “serious and willful” misconduct by their employer. 

What Is Serious and Willful Misconduct?

If an employer knowingly acted in a way that put their employees at a significant risk of harm, an injured employee may file a serious and willful misconduct petition with the Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). These types of claims may only be filed if a person has an open appeals case with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). If a person can show that their employer engaged in misconduct that was considered to be serious and willful, the amount of workers’ comp benefits they can receive will be increased by 50. For example, if the total amount of a person’s benefits for a work-related injury were calculated to be $100,000, their employer would be required to pay an additional $50,000 in benefits on top of the original $100,000.

Showing that an employer’s actions were considered to be serious and willful can often be difficult. While these cases may involve situations where an employer purposely acted in a way meant to cause a person to suffer an injury or other forms of harm, most of the time, an employee’s claims will be based on safety violations by an employer. There are multiple types of violations that may occur, and to show that a specific violation was serious and willful, an employee will often need to provide evidence that the employer violated regulations put in place by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA). 

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For people who are injured while at work, workers’ compensation can provide them with benefits that address the effects of their injuries. To ensure that they will be able to make a full recovery, medical benefits will fully cover all expenses related to the treatment a person receives. If a person will miss work or lose income because of their injuries, they may qualify for temporary disability benefits while they are recovering, or they may receive permanent disability benefits to address an injury that will affect their ability to work and earn income in the future. While these benefits will be available for injuries that are considered to be work-related, some confusion may arise about whether a specific type of injury is covered by workers’ comp.

Understanding Work-Related Injuries

Generally, a person will qualify for workers’ compensation if they suffer an injury that occurred while they were working. Work-related injuries include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1167692650.jpg Truck drivers and delivery drivers are an increasingly important part of our economy. The volume of trucks on the road has been increasing in California and is projected to continue to grow. If you drive for a living or driving is part of your job, you know the risks you run every time you get behind the wheel. You can face danger not just from other vehicles on the road but also from the repetitive stresses of driving and from loading or unloading cargo.

Types of Injuries Truck Drivers and Delivery Drivers Suffer

 Traffic-related accidents account for most of the serious work-related injuries and deaths of truck drivers. If you are involved in a traffic accident, your injuries may have a wide range of severity, including:

  • Minor cuts and bruises

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gilroy work injury lawyerWhen a person suffers a work-related injury, they will usually be able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Employers are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, and their policies provide coverage for all employees who are injured in workplace accidents or for other reasons that are related to the work they have performed. Workers’ comp provides multiple types of benefits, including medical benefits that pay for all treatment a person receives following an injury, as well as disability benefits that address their loss of income. In many cases, disability benefits are temporary, and they will allow a person to continue receiving pay while they are recovering from their injuries. However, in cases where injuries will affect a person for the rest of their life, permanent disability benefits may be paid.

When Will a Person Receive Permanent Disability Benefits?

While a person is recovering from a work-related injury, they may receive temporary disability benefits, and these benefits will generally pay two-thirds of the wages that they earned before they were injured. A person can receive temporary disability (TD) until they reach the point of maximum medical improvement (MMI) or their doctor determines that their condition is permanent and stationary (P&S). If the person’s injuries will continue to affect them after reaching this point, their doctor will submit a report to the workers’ compensation claims administrator stating that they have a permanent disability, and the person will be able to begin receiving permanent disability (PD) benefits.

How Are Permanent Disability Benefits Calculated?

After receiving a report of permanent disability, the Disability Evaluation Unit (DEU) will review reports from the doctor or another qualified medical examiner and determine the person’s PD rating, which will be used to calculate the amount of benefits they will receive. A PD rating is determined using multiple complex formulas, and these formulas will take into account the part of the body that was injured, the extent of impairment affecting that body part, how the injury will affect a person’s future earning capacity (FEC), the person’s occupation, and their age. If multiple parts of the body were injured, the ratings for each body part will be combined to determine a total PD rating.

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