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santa clara county workers compensation lawyerThere are multiple types of injuries that a person may suffer in the workplace or because of the work they have performed. Back injuries can be very painful, and they can limit a person’s movements and their ability to bend over and lift objects, affecting the work they can perform. Because of this, workers who suffer back injuries will want to determine whether they can receive workers’ compensation.

Common Types of Back Injuries

An injury may affect a person’s backbone and spinal cord, or they may experience injuries to the muscles and ligaments in the back. These injuries may include:

  • Strains and sprains - Back muscles and ligaments may be injured because a person attempted to lift an object that was too heavy, because they twisted their back into an unnatural position, or due to ongoing strain to the back muscles. In many cases, these injuries require a person to rest and refrain from strenuous activities for several days. A person may also need to take anti-inflammatory medications.

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santa clara workers compensation lawyerIn California, employees who are injured on the job are entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses and part of their lost income through workers’ compensation. With some exceptions, anyone who is hurt while performing work tasks is eligible for workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp.” However, some workers’ compensation claims are denied. If you or a loved one applied for workers’ compensation and were denied, a workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help.

When is a Worker Not Entitled to Workers Compensation?

California workers’ compensation is extensive and covers most individuals. However, there are some exceptions to this generality. For example, if you work in exchange for housing or other aid instead of wages, you do not qualify for workers’ compensation. Individuals who are employed by their parent, spouse, or child in a family business may also be excluded from workers’ compensation. You do not qualify for workers’ compensation if the injury was not related to your job or it occurred when you were off the clock.  

Only workers who are classified as employees are entitled to workers’ compensation. So, if you are an independent contractor, you may not receive reimbursement for your medical expenses or lost income. That being said, many workers who are classified as independent contractors should be classified as employees. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine if you have been misclassified.

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CA job injury lawyerIdeally, workplace accidents would never happen. Unfortunately, even the safest workplaces experience employee injuries. If you were hurt in a workplace accident, you may have questions about your ability to get reimbursement for medical bills and lost income through workers’ compensation. You may wonder, “Can I get compensation if I caused my injury?” Typically, workers’ compensation coverage is “no-fault” meaning that an employee is covered even if he or she was at fault for the accident or injury. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Criteria for Workers’ Compensation Coverage in California

To know if you can get financial reimbursement through workers’ compensation, you must first determine if you qualify for workers’ compensation coverage. Employers with one or more employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance per California law. Full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees are covered by workers’ compensation. If you are an independent contractor, you most likely do not qualify for reimbursement through workers’ compensation.

Circumstances of the Injury

Another factor that determines whether you get compensation through workers’ comp is the circumstances of the injury. Normally, fault does not influence an employee’s eligibility for workers’ compensation. If your own mistake caused the accident or injury, you are most likely still covered. However, the injury must have taken place while you were performing work duties.

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Santa Clara County workers compensation attorney

When most people think of workers’ compensation claims, they picture a worker suffering from a broken leg or a back injury. While physical injuries do make up the majority of workers’ compensation claims in California, many workers also suffer from psychiatric injuries caused by traumatizing work incidents. Firefighters, police officers, and other first responders are at an especially high risk of psychological injuries. These workers are often witness to extremely upsetting situations involving gruesome injuries, death, and other tragedies. However, psychological injuries can occur to workers in any profession.

California Workers’ Compensation Law Regarding Emotional or Psychological Harm

Employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Employees who suffer an on-the-job injury are typically entitled to compensation for medical bills and a portion of their lost income. California workers’ compensation covers physical injuries as well as certain work-related emotional and psychological injuries.

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Morgan Hill workers' compensation lawyerCalifornia law requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance is designed to cover medical bills and partial lost wages for workers who are hurt on the job. California law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who have filed a workers’ compensation claim. Employers cannot fire or otherwise discriminate against a worker simply because he or she filed for workers’ compensation. Victims of workers’ compensation discrimination may be entitled to job reinstatement, additional financial compensation, and reimbursement for lost wages.

What Actions Are Considered Discriminatory?

Some employers are irritated by an employee filing a workers’ compensation claim – even when the employee has a legitimate work injury and is rightfully entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The employer may take out this frustration on the employee by treating him or her differently than the other employees. Not only is this practice unethical, it is also unlawful. Employers who discriminate against an employee because of a workers’ compensation claim, settlement, or award are guilty of a misdemeanor criminal offense.

Examples of actions that may constitute workers’ compensation discrimination or retaliation include:

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Hollister workers compensation attorney

Unlike in many other states, workers' compensation is mandatory for all employers in California. It does not matter if an employer has hundreds of employees or only one. It also does not matter if the injured employee was working full-time or part-time. Typically, self-employed individuals are not covered by the hiring entity’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, workers who have been misclassified as independent contractors may actually fall under the category of employee, which means that they would be entitled to coverage through workers’ compensation.

Individuals Who Are Not Covered by Workers Compensation in California

California has wider-reaching workers’ compensation coverage than many other states. However, there are still some individuals who are not covered by workers’ compensation, including:

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Santa Clara County workers compensation attorney death benefits

Losing a relative in an unexpected work accident is a devastating experience to go through. If your spouse has recently passed away due to injuries he or she sustained on the job, you may still be figuring out what to do next. In the midst of your grief, you may also be trying to determine how you will make ends meet without your loved one’s financial support. In California, if a worker is injured in an on-the-job accident, the worker is typically entitled to financial compensation through workers’ compensation. If an employee is killed in a work accident, the worker’s dependents are usually entitled to compensation called death benefits. However, obtaining the compensation you need and deserve after losing a loved one in a work accident is often more complicated than many expect.

Workers’ Compensation Death Benefits in California

The compensation available can be for family members who were totally or partially financially dependent on the deceased worker. Some individuals are considered total dependents of the deceased worker. Minor children, disabled adult children, and surviving spouses with an annual income under $30,000 are automatically considered totally dependent on the worker. Stepchildren, spouses who make above the income threshold, grandchildren, parents, siblings, and other family members may qualify for death benefits. However, they will need to provide evidence that shows that they were partially or totally dependent on the deceased worker.

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