Our shoulder and elbow joints are easily fractured when performing tasks that require repetitive motions, heavy lifting, and pulling or reaching. Sometimes shoulder and elbow injuries occur instantly as a result of machinery malfunctions or slipping and tripping on wet surfaces. Whether your work-related elbow injury is a result of repetitive strenuous movements or of employer negligence, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation laws entitle a worker who has suffered a work-related injury to medical coverage, disability insurance, vocational rehabilitation, and in the worst of tragedies your family is entitled to death benefits and additional compensations.
Employees experiencing a shoulder and elbow injury are encouraged to file a report to their employer as soon as the pain starts. Shoulder and elbow injuries that result from repetitive motions may be attributed to other daily activities so it is important that you keep medical records so you can present a strong workers’ compensation claim. Most employers act in good faith when their employees are hurt while on the job. However, there are times when a workers’ compensation claim is contested especially in cases that involve injuries resulting from repetitive motions. Employers and insurance companies can deny your workers’ compensation claim if they can prove your injuries are from other activities.
The Orange County Workers’ Compensation Attorneys believe that workers’ hurt while on the job, are entitled to the benefits promised under the workers' compensation law. If your employer and insurance provider deny your workers’ compensation claim it is because the evidence you provided is insufficient for your case. If you suffer a shoulder or elbow injury, you should visit a private medical professional so that he or she can advocate for your claim. Company doctors and other medical professionals may be working with your company to deny you the benefits that are rightfully yours.
Recovery from shoulder and elbow injuries may require you to seek physical therapy or surgery. The medical bills can quickly add up in the state of California which is why you should seek workers’ compensation insurance immediately after your injury. In most cases, you are entitled to seek medical coverage and other accommodations at the workplace if your injury has led to a temporary or long-term disability. Your employer is obligated to accommodate disabled workers while they seek medical rehabilitation.
If your injury is a result of your employer violating the regulations established by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), you are capable of presenting a strong case for workers’ compensation and other accommodations at the workplace. To learn more about your rights as an employee who has suffered a work-related injury, please contact our law professionals at 949-423-3212. We serve the Orange County community in workers’ compensations claims to ensure our Californian workers are preserved and well represented in a court of law.
Repetitive Stress Injuries and other factors leading to an elbow and shoulder injury
More often than not, you may develop shoulder and elbow pain if you are performing tasks that cause great physical stress. Employees who are outperforming their own body’s recovery system, the natural reparation of muscle tissue, are at risk of developing a musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) otherwise known as a repetitive strain injury (RSI). Those who are prone to RSI/MSD that affect the shoulder and elbow joints are individuals performing:
- Repetitive activities such as hammering, typing, throwing baseballs/footballs etc., demolition.
- Inadequate posture while performing jobs that require you to sit for long periods of time or jobs that require unnatural mechanical movements.
- An intense physical activity for a long period of time without proper rest. Not allowing muscles to recover properly after physically strenuous labor can lead to different types of pains in your body.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) injuries that affect the elbow and shoulders can greatly affect your movement capacity. If you are suffering from an RSI that has temporarily/permanently disabled you, you are protected from discrimination in the workplace by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Employees suffering from musculoskeletal disorders are entitled to reasonable accommodations at the workplace under FEHA law.
Another factor contributing to shoulder and elbow injuries is working with or around heavy machinery. Heavy machines or heavy-duty vehicles can pose a great danger to workers. When machine malfunction, you may encounter broken bones and other damages to various parts of your body. Under OSHA law employers are required to provide safe machines that are regularly inspected for malfunctions.
Slips, trips, and falls at the workplace may also lead to shoulder and elbow injuries. In many cases, your workplace is required to have a maintenance program that follows the OSHA guidelines on safe walkways to avoid common STF injuries.
If you are suffering from a work-related shoulder and/or elbow injury, you are entitled to seek workers’ compensations benefits. Depending on how your injury developed, you will be entitled to different compensation packages. The following section will describe in detail the filing process for a workers’ compensation claim.
Filing a Workers Compensation Claim
Workers compensation in the state of California, promises a filing process that prioritizes the health and well-being of the injured employee. The workers’ compensation laws are guided by the “no-fault” principle which protects both the employee and employer from suing each other in the event of a work-related injury or death. In the past employers were able to defend against workplace injury compensation claims causing the employee great financial stress. The compromise of the workers’ compensation claim is that the benefits are fixed and you are prevented from suing for additional compensations. The “compensation bargain” of the workers’ compensation system allows workers to receive medical and loss wage coverage immediately after their injury without having the need to file a fruitless lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation provides wage replacement and medical coverage to employees who are injured in a work-related event. Whether you were at fault or not at fault for your injury the fact is you are injured and you need immediate medical attention. Workers compensation ensures that after your claim is submitted, within a day your employer is required to authorize medical coverage for coverage of up to $10,000. Injured workers who are in the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim do not need to wait for their claim to be authorized. If you need medical attention workers’ compensation is there to ensure you are freed from medical bills and costs.
Furthermore, workers’ compensation also provides wage replacement so that the individual is freed from financial stress. Your financial obligations such as rent, credit card bills, and other monthly payments do not seize to exist when you suffer a work-related injury that prevents you from working. Workers’ compensation claims ensure you receive up to 2/3rds of your monthly pay in a biweekly payment system. Be sure to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as your injury occurs so that your benefits kick in when you need them.
Employers are required to give employees a filing claim form so that they may begin the filing process immediately after their injury. The filing process is easy and can be completed in a timely manner (usually no longer than 14 days) if you follow the steps below.
- Seek immediate medical attention so a medical professional provides written a proof of your injury. In some cases you may be required to visit a company doctor, however, you may still visit your private doctor to receive an additional evaluation.
- Request a workers’ compensation claim form from your employer (if he or she does not respond in a timely manner you can download the DWC 1 form from here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html
- Fill out the employer section and return it to your employer. Your employer should fill out the employer section and then send it out to the insurance company.
- Gather all the data that pertains to your injury including:
- Pictures of the location of the accident where the accident occurred and pictures of your injury.
- The contact information of all employees or witnesses that can speak of the accident on your behalf
The insurance company should respond to your claim usually within 14 business days. If your claim is accepted, you should receive immediate benefits and compensations. If your claim is denied it is usually because of lacking evidence. You are capable of contesting any denial of your workers' compensation claim.
Employees who wish to contest a claim should fill out the “Application for Adjudication of Claim” which can be downloaded using the following link: www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/FORMS/EAMS%20Forms/ADJ/DWC1.pdf.
After you submit the form to your local DWC office you should be contacted with an ADJ number for your case. When you are ready to proceed and after you have gathered all the evidence and medical evaluations you need, you will fill out the “Declaration of Readiness to Proceed” form which can be found using the following link: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/FORMS/EAMS%20Forms/ADJ/DWCCAForm10250_1.pdf.
When you meet with the judge you will encounter your employer and their attorneys, you are advised to bring your own attorney so that your case is represented by professionals who can outline the details of your claim. Having legal professional representation during court proceedings will assure that your claim is presented with enough evidence to have your claim accepted.
To learn more about the filing process please visit the Department of Industrial Relations at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/injuredWorker.htm
Liability and Workers Compensation
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established safety workplace regulations that are to be enforced and regulated by your employer. Employers who fail to enforce safety regulations in the workplace are putting in danger the well-being of their employees. Under OSHA law, any violation of the regulations that mandate a safe working environment is a reason enough to pursue a workers’ compensation claim if employer negligence has led to a work-related injury.
If your employer liability can be proved if he or she:
- Fails to provide safety training to ensure all employees understand the OSHA safety codes of conduct. Employers should provide safety training to all employees in their preferred language to avoid confusion and ensure that the information was understood.
- Fails to provide a safe working environment free of chemical and other obstructions that can cause life-altering accidents
- Fails to provide a hazard and informational signs and posters around the workplace that inform employees of hazards and regulations
- Fails to provide safety programs that aim to maintain clean floors to reduce the number of slips, trips, and falls (STF) at the workplace.
- Fails to fix a hazardous condition after employees have reported the unsafe working condition.
OSHA provides an extensive set of laws that aim to protect employees working in various types of environments. If your employer fails to provide a safe working environment you are entitled to request an OSHA inspection. Your employer may not discriminate against you under the 'whistleblower clause' which protects employees seeking a workplace inspection. To learn more about the provisions and guiding principles of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration please visit: https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/worker/employer-responsibility.html
Employer negligence is failing to report unsafe machinery and equipment. Employer negligence is also failing to provide safe working environments that enforce the safety regulations of OSHA. OSHA aims to reduce work-related injuries by providing regulations that must be followed by all workplaces in the United States.
If you are suffering from a work-related injury and you are in the state of California, there are many ways that you can claim benefits and compensations. Your case is unique to your situation and workplace which is why you should consider speaking with an attorney to explore all the possible ways you can claim compensation for your injury. Whenever an injury occurs in the workplace there are usually many factors that can be at fault. To learn more details about your case please contact the Orange County Workers Compensation Attorneys at 949-423-3212.