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.
Workers Comp and Catch 22's - It is Enough to Make You Sick
Yesterday a patient came in to the clinic to receive treatment for such severe pain that made it difficult for him to walk, work or sleep. He had just been to see yet another worker's comp attorney, who had informed him that the likelihood of him receiving permanent disability was next to nothing to the chagrin of the patient who was a personal comp lawyer himself.
He had fallen on a patch of ice on his way to defend a client who had fallen from a pole while fixing electric wires for the DWP. He was able to crawl to a bench and call an ambulance. At the hospital the doctors iced the injury, gave him some anti-inflammatory medication and sent him home. Over the next few months his pain proceeded to get worse, running throughout his spine and down his legs. His pain medication was increased. In order for him to endure a day up and about he needed to take so much medication that he could not function. The doctors suggested that he had perhaps impacted the spine in such a way that the nerves were being compressed. However, none of this was clearly showing on the X-rays and MRI's.
It was suggested by a friend that he see a chiropractor. The chiropractor began adjusting him every week which allowed him more leg mobility and less numbness, but the pain was still excruciating and at times led to collapse. By the time he began receiving Acupuncture, his right leg had withered. He had burning pain down both sides of his spine and legs. He had not worked in over a year and was living at home with his mother. He was on every kind of pain medication and would drink a lot of alcohol in order to sleep.
The clinic was able to diminish his pain for short periods of time, and stop the spasms, but they could do nothing to alleviate his fury at a government system that would not give him the help he needed unless he was practically bedridden. If he tried to work from home the courts said that he was able to work, therefore he was ineligible for permanent disability under the personal comp system in place. If his pain receded or he began to show signs of improvement, he was frightened that it would injure his case.
He knew how it all worked. Though he had worked as an attorney in this field for years, he had not understood until now the frustration clients were experiencing. He had not understood how difficult it was to fight for what was necessary when you were in mental and physical pain. After jumping through hoop after hoop and seeing lawyer after lawyer he finally quit fighting. Two years had gone by without any substantial relief from symptoms or signs of progress in his legal battles.
Because he was a committed patient the clinic kept seeing him for free. After giving up, his symptoms improved dramatically. He had pain free weeks. The burning subsided. He was able to sleep and drink less. He eventually was able to reduce his pain medication to be able to work again. He became an expert in personal comp law, with a gift for helping those in pain to understand the blessings of fighting as well as surrender.
Can You Receive Workers' Comp If You Work From Home?
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.
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