Construction sites are amongst the most dangerous workplaces within the labor industry. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states that in 2016 there were 991 construction work-related fatalities out of 4,693 work-related deaths in total. Construction workers are exposed to different construction site hazards such as handling heavy equipment and machinery that can end their life if an accident occurs. The Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys believe that every construction worker is entitled to immediate medical and disability benefits if he or she suffers a work-related accident.
Your employer or company is responsible for most on-the-job related injuries according to the California Workers’ Compensation Laws. If you are injured while performing a work-related task or you are within the “scope of employment”, you are entitled by law to receive workers’ compensation benefits while you recover. Workers’ compensation differs from state to state so it is crucial to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorney can help you file your claims to assure your benefits are processed and in your control without delay.
The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pertain to workers compensation injuries. If you would like more information you may contact 949-423-3212. We are ready to handle your case and answer any of your questions in person.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What injuries are covered by workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation ensures that in the event of a work-related injury the worker is treated with full financial and medical benefits. The workers’ compensation system exists to free the worker from medical and financial expenses and stress during his or her recovery. Most injuries that occur in the workplace are covered by workers’ compensation insurance so long as the accident occurred while on the job.
You are most likely covered by worker’s compensation if:
- You are injured while performing a work-related task. Workers who are required to leave their job site are covered by workers’ compensation insurance if they are injured performing a task while off the job site. For example, if you are off the job site picking up building material and on the way ride there you suffer a car accident, in this case, you would be covered by workers’ compensation insurance because you were injured while performing a work-related task.
- You develop a mental disorder as a result of psychological abuse from an employer, employee, or work-related stress. These cases require written proof from a professional such as a doctor or psychologist in order to file a strong workers’ compensation claim.
- You develop a disease or other disorders that are caused by being exposed to toxins in the workplace. Workplaces throughout the United States have toxins that go unnoticed for a very long time. If you are exposed to asbestos, over a period of time you may develop mesothelioma or other cancers. Your manager and company are required by law to provide a safe working environment and if they fail to do so you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.
- Your existing condition worsens as a result of your working conditions. If your working conditions have accelerated your back, knee, or neck pains you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
What injuries are not covered by workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers who have suffered an injury from an “accident”. You may not be covered by workers’ compensation if you are at fault for your injury. Most cases ensure that your own negligence is covered by workers’ compensation, however, there are situations where workers’ compensation may be denied. Your benefits can be denied if you are intoxicated or if your actions are violating your companies code of conduct.
In addition, your claim may be denied if:
- You inflict injuries on yourself
- If you are hurt while horse playing with another co-worker
- You are injured while intoxicated while climbing scaffold or performing other work duties
- You are committing an offense against the law or violating a company safety and workplace policy
- You suffer an injury that occurs outside the workplace while running a personal errand
Workers’ compensation laws ensure that honest workers and their families are protected from financial stress in the event of a work-related injury or death. You are advised to learn your company’s safety and workplace regulations so that you avoid violating policies that may prevent you from obtaining your workers’ compensation benefits. Remember that all work-related accidents that occur in a workplace are 99% covered by workers’ insurance. If you are being denied any of your rights, please contact our offices today.
How do I file a workers’ compensation claim?
When filing for workers’ compensation there are three simple steps.
- First, you should have gathered written records and proof of your accident so you can present your case. You should have pictures of your injury and of where it occurred. It is also advised to gather contact information from those who witnessed the accident.
- Second, ask your employer for a workers’ compensation form. If you cannot get one from your employer, you may download it from the CA.GOV or visit dir.ca.gov/dwc/FileAClaim.htm. Return it to your employer after you fill out the “employee” section.
- Third, your employer should fill out the “employer” section and then send it to the insurance company.
After your employer has submitted the claim form, the insurance company should send to your address a letter with a response to your claim no more than 14 days from the filing date.
What can I expect after I file for workers’ compensation?
Your employer has 90 days to accept or reject your workers’ compensation claim. In the meantime, you can receive up to $10,000 dollars in medical treatment one day after you filed your claim. If after 90 days your employer fails to respond to your claim, your claim is considered to be accepted and you should receive your insurance benefits.
What benefits do I receive if my claim is accepted?
Construction workers suffer injuries that in many cases disables them and puts them out of work for weeks or maybe months. In the event of a work-related injury, construction workers are able to claim the benefits provided by the workers’ compensation program.
Some of the benefits include:
- Temporary disability benefits: provides a wage system while the employee is away from work. Usually, 2/3 of your monthly wage is divided into biweekly payments.
- Permanent disability benefits: provides wage payments for a much longer time and in some cases, individuals qualify for additional payments
- Medical attention and medical expense coverage: provides coverage of all medical expenses and treatments.
- Death Benefits: provides family of the employee with financial and additional benefits
- Supplemental job displacement (SJDB) or vocational rehabilitation benefits: provides the employee an opportunity to learn a different trade so that they may continue to work for their company.
What should I do if my claim is rejected?
If your claim is rejected it is usually because you need to provide additional proof of employer liability. In these cases, a workers’ compensation law judge will hear your objection and then determine a final judgment. For these cases, it is recommended that you have an attorney by your side so that your case is represented by a professional.
Can I file for additional compensations other than those provided by workers’ compensation?
Construction workplaces bring together workers from different industries in one place. Each worker has their own set of tasks and their own equipment and machinery to handle. Construction sites hold factors that can contribute to a work-related accident which means that an accident is usually the cause of various independent factors. In the event of a work-related injury or death, you may pursue third-party claims for additional benefits.
If you are handling faulty equipment that causes an injury, you may file a lawsuit against the manufacturer and claim additional benefits. If you are looking for additional compensations for an injury that resulted from machinery malfunction or other equipment malfunction, please call us today to learn if pursuing a lawsuit is in your best interest.
What should I do if I think my workplace is unsafe?
Under OSHA regulations your employer is required to set and enforce safety and workplace regulations that are aimed at keeping all employees free from hazard. If you feel that you are working in an unsafe environment, you may contact OSHA at 800-321-6742 and request an inspection of your job site. OSHA mandates that all employees follow their safety regulations and can provide fines of up to $100,000 depending on the type of violation.
Before calling OSHA, you should provide your employer with a complaint. If the hazard goes unfixed, then proceed with a complaint to OSHA.
For additional information, you may visit: www.osha.gov
What are OSHA safety and workplace regulations?
OSHA believes that an employer can avoid work-related injuries and deaths be enforcing and practicing safe work habits. Employers are required to train all of their employees to assure that they are aware of the safety hazards of the workplace from the beginning of day one. Employers are also mandated to provide enough supervision in a workplace to ensure that all employees are following protocol and to provide correction to any habit that may result in a work-related injury. In addition, employees should be provided with safety posters so that they are constantly aware of the safety regulations and other practices of the workplace. Finally, employers must provide or enforce safety equipment to be used while on the job.
OSHA provides different regulations for all the different labor industries. To learn about the most common regulations please visit: www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/employer-responsibility.html
What are the OSHA and Scaffold regulations?
The scaffold is a temporary metal and wooden plank structure that is used by nearly 65% of all construction workers. OSHA reported that in 2016, 384 deaths occurred from falling off of buildings and scaffold structures. For this reason, OSHA has an extensive list of regulations to assure that each scaffold structure is safe.
Among the many regulations, employers should ensure that:
- Their scaffold can hold the intended weight
- Every employee receives training on how to climb and operate on a scaffold structure
- The scaffold is inspected daily before each work shift
To learn about the regulations put in place by OSHA with regards to scaffold please visit: www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3150/osha3150.html
How long do I have to wait for my compensation benefits?
Workers’ compensation ensures that you are covered financially in in the event of a work-related injury. After an injury occurs you should immediately submit a workers’ compensation claim form to have your claim processed as soon as possible. After the claim is submitted the insurance company will respond to your claim with a check within fourteen days.
How do I determine Liability?
In most cases, your employer or company is liable for any injuries that occur in the workplace while performing work-related tasks or other duties that are in your “scope of employment”. Your employer has the obligation to assure that all employees are in a safe working environment and that all employees are trained to work heavy duty equipment to avoid accidents. In addition, employees are obligated to provide enough supervision so that tasks are completed without any OSHA or workplace violation.
In addition, through vicarious liability, your employer is responsible for the negligence of all employees. The employer has the responsibility to hire employees who will follow the safety regulations of the workplace. If an employee is hurt while at work the liability usually rests on the employer or company.
If you have additional questions regarding construction injuries or workers’ compensation, please contact Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorney at 949-423-3212. Our attorneys are ready to hear your case and assist you in any legal court in California.