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gilroy workers compensation lawyerThere are multiple types of protections that apply to employees. Those injured in work-related accidents or who suffer health conditions because of their work have the right to receive workers’ compensation. A person will be eligible for these benefits no matter who was responsible for an injury. However, there are some cases where an employer or the company that provides them with workers’ compensation insurance may attempt to deny benefits by claiming that an injury was not work-related. If you have been injured in a workplace accident, or if you have suffered another type of work-related injury, you will want to make sure you take the correct steps to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation.

Steps to Follow After a Work Injury

  1. Report the injury to your employer - As soon as possible after being injured in a workplace accident or becoming aware of a work-related injury, you should inform your employer. You can notify a supervisor, a member of management, or a business owner. If you do not report an injury within 30 days after the injury occurred or after you discovered that work conditions affected your health, you may lose the right to make a workers’ compensation claim.

  2. Receive emergency medical treatment - Following an accident, you should go to an emergency room, urgent care center, or another medical provider to receive any immediate necessary treatment. When receiving treatment, you can inform the provider that your injury is work-related, letting them know that they should bill your employer for the treatment rather than requiring you to make payments.

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gilroy workers comp lawyerAnyone who has made an insurance claim is most likely familiar with the ways that a pre-existing condition can affect a case. Insurance companies may attempt to deny coverage because a person has previous injuries or existing health issues. This issue can also play a role in cases involving workers’ compensation insurance. An employer or their insurer may attempt to deny a claim by stating that a person’s injuries were not work-related but caused by a pre-existing condition. Injured workers will want to understand how to address these types of issues, and when they can make a workers’ comp claim based on the aggravation of a pre-existing condition.

Determining Whether an Injury Is Work-Related

Employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits for any injuries or illnesses that occurred due to the work they performed for an employer. In some cases, an employer or their insurer may claim that an injury occurred because of a person’s existing injuries or health issues rather than anything related to the work they performed. However, an injury or illness can only be considered a pre-existing condition if it was solely caused by an event that was not work-related or if it occurred outside of the work environment. If an injury or illness was partially caused by a pre-existing condition, the workers’ comp benefits a person can receive may be reduced based on the percentage of the injury that was related to their existing health issues.

Is an Aggravation of a Pre-existing Condition a New Injury?

If a workplace accident, an occupational illness, or the work a person performs causes a person’s existing injuries or health issues to become worse, they may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Typically, benefits will be available if the aggravation of a pre-existing condition is considered to be a new injury that occurred because of the work a person has performed. In general, a new injury must have led to temporary or permanent disabilities that are more serious than what a person had previously experienced, or new forms of medical treatment or changes to a person’s current treatment plan must be necessary to address the aggravation of a person’s condition.

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gilroy workers comp lawyerThere are many high-risk occupations where workers are at risk of being seriously injured. The agricultural industry is one of the most common sources of work-related injuries, and there are many ways that farm workers can suffer serious harm while on the job. Accidents involving tractors and other farm equipment can be especially dangerous, and workers who have suffered injuries in these types of accidents can work with an attorney to determine their options for receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Common Tractor Accidents and Equipment-Related Injuries

Tractors are one of the most frequent sources of serious or fatal injuries on farms. Workers who are operating tractors or who are working near tractors or other equipment, such as harvesters and combines, may be injured because of:

  • Rollovers/runovers - Tractors or other equipment may roll over for a variety of reasons, including driving at unsafe speeds, striking rocks or other hazards, operating a tractor incorrectly on steep slopes, or improper use of front-end loaders or other equipment attached to a tractor. Negligent operation of a tractor may also cause a worker to be run over. If a tractor rolls over on top of a worker or runs over a person, this may result in serious bodily harm, including damage to limbs requiring amputation or spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis. A tractor operator may also be injured in a rollover accident if a tractor did not have roll bars or other safety equipment meant to prevent injuries.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_599358509-min.jpgBeing able to hear correctly is crucial, and hearing loss can have a major impact on a person’s ability to perform work, as well as their daily life. As with other types of injuries, a person who suffers from work-related hearing loss may be able to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. In these situations, a person will need to understand when they will qualify for workers’ comp and the types of benefits they will be able to receive.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in the Workplace

Workers’ compensation benefits are available to those who suffered injuries or illnesses due to accidents in the workplace or because of the work they performed. In many cases, workers may suffer hearing loss because they are regularly exposed to loud noises while working. These issues may affect people who work around heavy equipment and machinery or in other noisy environments, including construction workers, factory workers, warehouse workers, agricultural workers, workers in the oil and gas industry, and those who are exposed to explosions or gunfire. 

Noise-induced hearing loss often involves damage to the hair cells in the inner ear that process sound vibrations and turn them into signals that are sent to the brain. When these cells are damaged, they will not grow back, and a person’s hearing will be permanently affected. The symptoms of this type of hearing loss may include difficulty hearing high-frequency sounds or understanding speech. A person may also experience pain in their ears or suffer from tinnitus, which involves ringing or whooshing sensations in the ears that make it difficult to hear other sounds.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_527706694-min.jpgThere are many different situations where a person may suffer work-related injuries. Accidents in the workplace, occupational diseases, or health conditions that a person experiences because of the work they have performed will usually qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. A worker who receives these types of benefits will have their medical expenses fully paid for, and they may also receive compensation to address part of the income they lost while recovering from their injuries. There may be some situations where a person is unsure about whether they qualify for workers’ comp benefits, including when they are involved in car accidents that are related to their work.

Car Accidents and Workers’ Comp Benefits

In almost any situation where a person is injured while working, they will be eligible for workers’ compensation. Injuries suffered in a car accident may qualify for workers’ comp if the person was working at the time of the accident. If a person was “on the clock” or was driving as part of their regular work duties, they will usually be able to receive workers’ compensation. However, workers’ comp generally will not cover accidents that occurred while a person was commuting to or from work, although exceptions may apply in some cases.

As with other types of work injuries, fault for a car accident usually will not affect a person’s eligibility for workers’ compensation. Even if a person was responsible for a collision, they will still be able to receive benefits that address a work-related injury. However, there may be some situations in which a person’s actions will make them ineligible for workers’ comp. For example, a person may not be able to receive benefits if they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of a collision.

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