What is Worker’s Compensation?
Worker’s Compensation (or workman’s comp) is a crucial part of the stability of our modern day workplace. In California, without a good compensation program in place, worker’s could be left out in the cold after an injury incident.
Workplace Injury in California
If you are on the job 8 hours-a-day 5 days-a-week, there is a definite risk of getting hurt. After all, your job takes up the bulk of your day! Worker’s compensation is an overarching program that gives employees the right to covered medical care or financial relief.
A stronger definition: “Worker’s Comp is a form of insurance that provides compensation medical care for employees who are injured in the course of employment, in exchange for mandatory relinquishment of the employee’s right to sue his or her employer for the tort of negligence. While plans differ between jurisdictions, especially in California, provision can be made for weekly payments in place of wages (functioning in this case as a form of disability insurance), compensation for economic loss (past and future), reimbursement or payment of medical and like expenses (functioning in this case as a form of health insurance), and benefits payable to the dependents of workers killed during employment. General damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages for employer negligence, are generally not available in worker compensation plans.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workers_compensation
For worker’s compensation to take effect, an injury or illness has to occur during the course of standard employment.
The Catch with Workman’s Comp
As you may have noticed in the above definition, employees are often waved of their right to sue for negligence when participating in a worker’s compensation program. This allows companies to protect themselves from larger more detrimental settlements.
Punitive damages, or those incidences caused by neglect and negligence of an employer, are generally not a part of worker’s compensation cases.
The Importance of State
When it comes to workman’s comp, every state has its own set of rules and statutes.
One of the first things you have to do when considering workman’s comp is recognizing which state you are legally working in. From their, it is critical to acquire a skilled personal injury lawyer familiar with your state’s system.
As with any form of insurance, companies will often try to find any and every reason not to pay you. Sometimes they may be correct under the letter of the law, but to get your fair chance at financial or medical relief you need to come prepared with a competent attorney. At the very least, have one look over the details of your case. Most good attorney’s will provide you with a free legal consultation.
How to Prevent Workplace Hand Injuries
In my opinion, our justice system should not be abused by people who are just looking at to make a quick buck. However, there are times when people get injured and really deserve money for their injuries. I know because I was crippled on the job. I would be penniless today if not for my workers compensation settlement.
In my state, the worker's compensation commission is notoriously pro business. Those who are in charge of the commission avoid giving decent workers compensation settlements whenever they can. I was offered a pittance when a broken machine chopped off my hand. For my troubles, I was only offered $10,000 dollars and an early retirement.
The commission in charge of the settlement workers compensation in my state refused to even acknowledge the fact that my boss was negligent. After all, the factory I worked for did not have the necessary safety equipment. I had no choice but to hire a lawyer. I was a bit hesitant at first because I did not want the trouble of a lawsuit. However, it seemed like the only way that I had a chance of getting justice. Fortunately, it turned out that I was right. I never would have gotten a decent workers compensation settlement if I had not hired a job injury attorney.
It was a good thing that the juries tend to be pro-worker when I was trying to get a workers compensation settlement through the courts. The average members of a jury probably know what it is like to work under a negligent boss because they are usually taken from the working class. This means that they are more receptive to workers compensation settlement claims.
The opposing lawyers will usually try to scare you into settling out of court. They will argue that they are the best lawyers, which they are. Nevertheless, it is still possible to get a good workers compensation settlement through the courts, even if you are against very good lawyers.
You should not give in to whatever the industry bosses might say because you have a right to a workers compensation settlement for your injury. There is a good chance that you will get a settlement that is more generous than anything you would be offered if you have been wronged and you have a decent attorney. You have to make sure that you get a fair settlement if you choose to settle your claim outside of court.
What To Do Following A Workplace Accident
Private investigators and surveillance equipment aren't just in spy movies. There are many occasions during a legal claim that may require surveillance in order to validate an injured person's statements and intentions. For example, if a person says that they suffer from severe back pain as a result of an on-the-job accident, but they are seen doing extensive work on their car in their driveway, they might be stretching the truth. Insurance companies and employers want to make sure that the claim is valid because they might stand to lose a lot of money and a good reputation if the injured worker is lying about their pain.
Workers compensation claims can be simple or complicated, and the length of time it takes to resolve the claim usually depends on its complexity. Employees injured on the job could be left dealing with the effects of the injuries for the rest of their lives in some cases. To help make up for the financial toll of a life-long impairment, workers' compensation insurance carriers sometimes pay benefits according to the employee's impairment rating or disability. These benefits are in addition to those that help offset lost wages and medical bills.
An injured worker's claim for workers compensation can potentially be worth a lot of money. If the employee is truly injured, they may need every dime that is paid to them. But if the employee isn't telling the truth about their injuries or pain, then the insurance company may become suspicious. High-value cases, whether they are based on truth or fiction, may alert the insurance company to pursue surveillance of the claimant.
Injured workers file a claim for benefits with their employer's workers compensation insurance company. Because they have a serious interest in the claimant's condition, the insurance company may be the party that hires the private investigator to conduct surveillance. Private investigators must be licensed by the state if they want to work in Florida. Additionally, Florida law states that someone can take your picture, but cannot record your voice, without your consent. So if you see a private investigator taking pictures of you as you work in your yard, they may be within their rights. If you have questions about your right to privacy, contact an attorney. There may be a thin line between surveillance and invasion of privacy, so understanding your legal rights is important.
If you are going through a workers compensation case, you may be under strict orders from your doctor not to do certain activities, such as bending or lifting. Make sure to follow these orders. The doctor's professional advice helps you heal more quickly, but you need to follow their advice to help protect your claim as well. Even if you ignored the doctor's orders briefly, it can be hard to argue with photographic evidence.
Beyond fighting for benefits, workers compensation claims can get complicated. If you are dealing with an at-work injury, contact an attorney. They may be able to help you understand the process and your rights.
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