Orthopedic work injuries are injuries that affect our musculoskeletal systems which affect our mobility and our ability to take part in daily life activities. In many cases, an orthopedic work-related injury is covered by workers’ compensation insurance if the employee can prove that the accident occurred while on the job or while performing a work-related task. In the event that you are put out of work as a result of work-related injury, you are entitled to wage compensation benefits and medical coverage.
Every industry experiences certain factors that can contribute to an accident if the employer fails to enforce safety regulations. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) your employer has the responsibility to keep you and other employees safe from hazards in the workplace. OSHA mandates that employees train all staff to work within their safety regulations so to reduce work-related injuries and accidents. Among the many mandates, employers have the responsibility to maintain a ‘safe-working environment’, failing to do so means the company is liable for any work-related injury the negligence might have caused. Suffering a work-related injury as a result of employer negligence or violation of OSHA regulations can be proof enough to file a workers’ compensation claim.
The Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys believe that workers’ compensation is a legal right that cannot be denied to workers who suffer an injury while on the job. We believe that any contested workers’ compensation claims can be challenged and re-evaluated so that you are provided with the coverage you deserve. Our attorneys are ready to help you process your workers’ compensation claim to ensure that your claim is processed correctly and with all the evidence required to successfully receive your benefits.
Suffering from a work-related injury that affects your mobility can lead to loss of happiness due to the inability to participate in daily activities. If you suffer a work-related injury you may find that multiple factors contributed to your injury. Employees in the past have been able to retrieve workers’ compensation benefits and additional compensations from third-party insurers. In addition, employees who are temporarily disabled are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The ADA and FEHA provide provisions that regulate employee and employer relations. Under their regulations you have the right to claim ‘reasonable accommodations’ and you are protected from discrimination in the workplace.
Employers are tasked with keeping you safe while at work and with providing reasonable accommodations to those protected by the ADA. To learn more about your rights and the regulations that govern the workplace, please call our trusted attorneys at 949-423-3212. If you are suffering from an orthopedic injury you are entitled to workers’ compensation and other benefits that can aid your recovery. We are ready to help you claim the benefits you deserve when you need them.
Orthopedic Injuries at Work
Orthopedic work injuries or injuries to the musculoskeletal system are injuries that can result in the employee's death or which can lead to permanently or temporarily disabilities. Depending on the severity of the disability, a disabled employee may claim the right to vocational rehabilitation so that he or she is capable of performing another trade or job. Orthopedic work injuries can happen to anyone working in any industry.
Orthopedic work injuries are injuries that affect the muscle and bone structure which occur due to a variety of factors such as falling, slipping on wet surfaces, or slipping on surfaces with obstructions, motor vehicle accidents, falling from a scaffold, falling from ladders, or being hit by equipment or machinery. People suffering from an orthopedic work injury may be suffering from:
- A repetitive stress injury (RSI) or musculoskeletal disorder (MSD)
- A broken or fractured bones or ligaments
- A knee injury
- A back injury
- A hand or wrist injury
Each orthopedic work-related injury is handled differently when filing for workers compensation. A person suffering from an orthopedic work-related injury may be suffering from a repetitive strain injury or may be suffering from back pain caused by slipping on a hard surface. Each injury differs in the number of factors that could have contributed to the injury. For example, you may find more complications in providing evidence for a repetitive stress injury than an injury that is visible. Repetitive strain injuries can occur from non-work related stress and can be questioned when filing for workers’ compensation. For either case, it is important to visit your medical doctor so that she or he can provide an evaluation of your injury. In some cases you may be required to visit the company doctor, however, you are entitled to visit your doctor for an additional evaluation.
Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI)
Repetitive stress injuries occur when a person is outperforming the bodies capabilities to repair its broken muscle tissue. When you perform repetitive tasks over a long period of time without a proper break for healing, you will develop a repetitive stress injury. You may experience an RSI if you are working with vibrating equipment, if you are working with poor posture, or if you are working in cold conditions etc. Repetitive stress injuries include but are not limited to:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: CTS occurs in the hands and causes swelling that makes it difficult to perform clerical and other tasks that involve hand motions. People experiencing CTS may require surgery to help relieve the pressure on the median nerve.
- Cubital Tunnel Syndrome: CTS occurs in the ulnar nerve (also known as the funny bone) after constant pressure or stretching is applied to the area. CTS may cause pain in the forearm or you may experience weakness in the hands.
- De Quervain Syndrome: DQS occurs after pressure is applied to the wrist affecting the tendons on the thumbs. DQS can cause weakness in the hands preventing you from moving your wrists or making a fist.
- Tendinosis: Tendinosis is a chronic tendon injury that results from swelling of a tendon. Tendinosis occurs from poor posture or putting severe stress on the tendons.
- Trigger finger: Trigger finger occurs after repetitive gripping or performing duties that involve the finger muscles. Trigger finger is when your finger is stuck in a certain position until it is bent back to position. There are severe cases of trigger finger where the finger is bent permanently
When an RSI develops as a result of a working condition, you are entitled to seek medical and wage loss coverages under the workers' compensation law. Though you are entitled to seek compensations there are times when RSI cases are contested. If your employer or insurance provider believes your RSI is a result of another daily activity you may not receive full workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you are filing a workers’ compensation claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), your employer may contest that the CTS developed from online gaming or a side job that requires the use of the hands. There are many ways your insurance provider and employer can provide proof that your CTS developed from an outside of work activity. If you developed CTS or other RSI due to work-related conditions and you find that your workers’ compensation claim is denied, please contact the Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys. There are laws that protect you if your working conditions have advanced an existing injury. If your claim is denied there are certain steps you should take in order to have your case re-evaluated.
Damaged Soft Tissue and Broken Bones, STF, Motor Vehicle Accidents
Damaged soft tissue and broken bones are more visible than RSI injuries which is why these injuries are rarely contested if they were a result of a work-related accident. These injuries can occur from slipping, tripping, or falling (STF), through motor vehicle accidents, or through other work-related factors. These injuries can cause pains to the ankle, knees, and other important joints that give us our mobility. Damaging the important tendons and joints that allow mobility can result in losing a job or losing access to other life activities.
If you’re an employee suffering from a work-related orthopedic injury (anything from shoulder pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, back injuries, wrist pain, knee injuries, or other injuries that affect your physical well-being), you are entitled to seek workers’ compensation insurance from your employer. Your workers' compensation coverage will highly depend on the severity of the injury. Most times the employee is covered by workers’ compensation benefits until he or she is fully recovered and ready to go back to work. Filing a workers’ compensation claim is easy, but it is recommended to speak with an attorney to determine whether you can claim additional benefits.
Filing Your Workers Compensation Claim
An orthopedic injury resulting from employer negligence or from a violation of a workplace safety regulation entitles the injured employee to a DWC 1 form from their employer so they can file their workers’ compensation claim. The DWC 1 has two parts: the employer section and the employee section. After filling out the employee section, your employer should fill out the employer section and then send it off to the insurance company. The insurance company will contact the employee no later than 14 days with an acceptance or a denial of the claim. If your workers’ compensation insurance is honored, you are entitled to:
- Medical Coverage: ensures that you receive medical attention and provides coverage of medical expenses such as medication, rehabilitation, and other factors.
- Wage Loss Compensation: provides the employee with a 2/3rds of their monthly salary in a biweekly payment system.
- Permanent Disability Settlement: provides long-term wage benefits for employees with severe injuries.
- Vocational Rehabilitation: provides the employee with an opportunity to learn a new trade usually providing paid training or university aid. Check your local state law and speak with an attorney to see if you qualify for vocational rehabilitation benefits.
- Death Benefits: in the worst of tragedies your family is provided with compensations that differ depending on the severity and factors that led to the employee's fatality.
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to assure that the employee is allowed to recover without experiencing financial stress. The workers' compensation insurance has a “no-fault” policy that focuses the attention of the claim on the employees' injury rather than on the liability of the accident. This policy prevents both the employee and the employer from suing each other meaning that the employee does not need to file a lawsuit to gain compensation.
To file a successful workers’ compensation claim you need to provide reliable evidence that the injury occurred while on the job or while performing a job-related duty. When filing a workers’ compensation insurance claim you should gather all the evidence of your accident such as the contact information of those who witnessed the accident, photographs of the exact location of the accident, and photographs of the injuries. Having these at hand along with a written evaluation of your injury from your medical provider will help advance the filing process so that you receive your benefits as soon as possible.
If you are denied your workers' compensation rights, you are entitled to have your case re-evaluated by a judge and an attorney present. When workers’ compensation claims are denied it is because there is a lack of evidence. To ensure that your claim is processed the second time around, please contact a law professional to learn about the re-evaluation process. Avoid having a negative final judgment on your case by speaking with a trusted attorney who knows the laws that guide the workers’ compensation system.
Your employer cannot deny your right to the DWC 1 form, but if they do you may download a copy using the following link http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html
Employees suffering from an orthopedic injury must understand that their conditions can prevent them from enjoying the activities of life. The loss of happiness in life is a serious claim that can be the basis for a workers' compensation claim. In any case, you are entitled to seek compensations and other benefits to assure your recovery is accommodated. To learn more about your rights as an injured employee please call the Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys at 949-423-3212.