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gilroy heat illness workers comp lawyerDuring the summer of 2021, California and many other parts of the United States have experienced record-breaking temperatures. This extreme heat has put many people at risk, especially those who work outdoors, around hot equipment, or in buildings without environmental controls. Employers are required to take the necessary measures to prevent heat illnesses for workers, including ensuring that they have sufficient water and access to shade. However, workers in high-risk occupations or others who experience extreme heat may still suffer heat-related injuries or illnesses. Whether this occurred because an employer did not take the proper safety precautions or for other reasons, employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits for any health issues that occurred because of the work they performed.

Common Heat Illnesses in the Workplace

Health issues resulting from extreme heat can vary in severity depending on factors such as the level of heat a person is exposed to and their underlying health conditions. These illnesses may include:

  • Heat stroke - If a person is unable to regulate their body’s temperature and cool off properly, they may overheat to temperatures of 106 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This can lead to confusion, slurred speech, seizures, and loss of consciousness. If the proper emergency medical treatment is not provided, this illness can lead to permanent disabilities or death.

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Workers Compensation Lawyer Gilroy, CAEmployees who are injured while working are eligible to receive workers’ comp benefits. Employers in California are required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance, which will provide coverage for the medical expenses related to an employee’s injury, as well as disability benefits that address a temporary or permanent loss of income. However, if an employer does not maintain the required insurance coverage, an injured worker may be unsure about their options for receiving workers’ compensation benefits. In these cases, a person will need to work with an attorney to ensure they follow the correct steps to receive the benefits they deserve.

Workers’ Comp Benefits for Employees of Uninsured Employers

If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, an injured employee can still receive benefits through the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund (UEBTF). However, these benefits are not provided automatically, and an employee will need to follow certain procedures when making a workers’ compensation claim through the UEBTF. They will need to do the following:

  1. File a workers’ compensation claim form (DWC-1, Employee’s Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits) with their employer. Three copies of this form must be mailed or hand-delivered to the employer, and the employee should keep a copy for their own records.

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gilroy workers compensation lawyerMost employees who are injured while working or who have suffered negative health conditions because of their jobs will qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits will ensure that a person receives the necessary medical care, and they can also help address a person’s loss of income due to a temporary or permanent disability. In addition to these benefits, union workers may have other options for receiving assistance, including payments made through a union welfare fund.

What Is a Union Welfare Fund?

Unions allow workers to utilize collective bargaining to ensure that they have certain rights and benefits. Collective bargaining agreements may address wages, work schedules, paid leave, and rules that apply to employers and employees. Workers who join a union and receive these benefits will usually be required to pay union dues. These dues may be put toward a union welfare fund that provides different types of benefits for union members.

Many union welfare funds provide health insurance plans, life insurance, and other benefits for workers. These funds may also provide disability benefits for those who have suffered workplace injuries or other health issues that affect their ability to work. An injured union worker may receive a stipend to help them address the loss of income due to an injury, or short-term or long-term disability benefits may be available to be paid on a weekly or monthly basis. In some cases, unemployment benefits may be available for union workers who are unable to return to their previous jobs after being injured, or a person may receive pension benefits if their injury forces them to take an early retirement. A union welfare fund may also provide benefits to the dependents of a worker who was killed in a work-related accident.

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santa clara workers compensation lawyerA workplace injury can affect a person in many ways. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits are available to provide injured workers with financial assistance while they are recovering, and workers’ comp will also pay for all expenses related to medical treatment for an injury. In many cases, a person can receive temporary disability benefits while their injury has limited their ability to work. Once they have fully recovered, they can return to work. However, if a person will be unable to return to their former position, they may be able to receive permanent disability benefits, as well as supplemental job displacement benefits that will allow them to find work that fits their limitations.

SJDB Vouchers and the Return-to-Work Supplement Program

If a work injury has resulted in a permanent partial disability that has caused a person to experience limitations on the types of work they can perform, and they will be unable to return to work for their former employer, they can receive benefits that will allow them to obtain education or training and pursue employment in a new position. 

Supplemental job displacement benefits (SJDB) are available if an employer does not offer regular work equivalent to their former position or modified work in alternative positions that fit limitations that apply to the person due to their disability. A person will qualify for these benefits if they do not receive an offer from their employer of a position that will last for at least 12 months and pays at least 85 percent of the person’s wages before their injury.

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morgan hill workers compensation lawyerWhen people suffer work-related injuries, they are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Medical costs related to a work injury, disease or illness contracted while working, or a health condition that was caused by the work a person performed should be fully covered. However, there are a variety of requirements that must be met during treatment, and some limitations may apply. Injured workers will want to make sure to understand their rights and the procedures that will be followed as they receive treatment, and they may need to work with an attorney to make sure they receive the medical benefits they deserve.

Medical Care Covered by Workers’ Compensation

When doctors or other medical professionals provide treatment covered by workers’ comp, this treatment must be evidence-based. It must be scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for the injuries that a person experienced while working or due to their work. The California Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) maintains a set of regulations known as a medical treatment utilization schedule (MTUS). This schedule provides guidelines for appropriate treatments for different parts of the body, including those related to post-surgery pain treatment and therapy, as well as acupuncture.

A DWC claims administrator must authorize all forms of medical treatment, and they will perform a utilization review (UR) to ensure that a planned course of treatment is medically necessary. The UR will determine whether treatment recommended by a doctor falls within the guidelines of the MTUS. If the recommended treatment is not included in the MTUS or goes beyond the guidelines, the doctor must provide evidence to the claims administrator showing why this treatment will be necessary and demonstrating its effectiveness. 

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