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.
Accidents at Work
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.
Workers Compensation and Acupuncture
Acupuncture is an accepted medical option for treating a work related injury. In 2007, the California Department of Industrial Relations made revisions to current workers compensation laws and deemed acupuncture to be a covered medical modality for injured workers. What this means to injured workers is an increase in treatment options and less reliance on pain medications and muscle relaxants. Natural relief from work related injuries is now an option and all of California workers need to be made aware that this amazing medicine is available to them.
Dealing with a work injury can not only leave you in pain, but also confused about your treatment options. Often, companies are contracted to send their employees to specific medical facilities when they're injured. As long as it's not an injury requiring emergency medical care, the employer sends the employee to someone within their Medical Provider Network (MPN), a group of preassigned health care professionals set up by the employers insurance company. If you are unhappy with the provider you are sent to, you can request another provider from the network. If the thought of going to an unknown provider is unsettling to you and you are already a current acupuncture patient, you can sign a form pre-designating your acupuncturist as your primary health care provider in case of a work related injury. To ensure you can use the acupuncturist as your workers compensation provider, your employer must offer group health coverage, you must have been to the acupuncturist before, the acupuncturist must have those medical records and, prior to the injury, you must have signed the letter of pre-designation.
Due to many medical providers abusing the workers compensation system, limitations have been put in place. No longer are medical providers granted unlimited treatments of patients. Chiropractics, physical therapists and occupational therapists have been limited to only 24 treatments. When using acupuncture, functional improvement is expected within 3-6 treatments, with the patient being treated 1-3 times a week. Typically, the expected duration of treatments is from 1-2 months, but treatments can be extended with documentation of continuing functional improvement.
Acupuncture can get employees back to work faster and can be done in conjunction with other healing modalities. If you're already using acupuncture for health care, make sure to fill out a pre-designation form allowing you to use your acupuncturist in case of a work related injury. Our goal is to get you feeling better as soon as possible, getting you back to work as soon as possible and enjoying life pain-free once again.
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