The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that musculoskeletal injuries, also known as orthopedic injuries, are responsible for more than one-third of all missed days of work and account for more than a third of all workers’ compensation dollars awarded to injured workers throughout the United States. Suppose you recently suffered an orthopedic injury from a workplace accident or developed a musculoskeletal condition because of your job duties. In that case, you need to know how the California workers’ compensation system may assist you.
The California workers’ compensation attorneys at Leviton, Diaz & Ginocchio Inc. have the resources and professional experience necessary to guide our clients through the most challenging workers’ compensation claims. Orthopedic injuries caused by physical labor often entail painful symptoms and typically require long-term medical treatment. In addition, some orthopedic injuries result in permanent medical complications that lead to adverse long-term effects. We can help you navigate your workers’ compensation claim with confidence.
The musculoskeletal system experiences constant stress and wear and tear, even in the bodies of people who do not have physically demanding jobs. This is because your muscles and bone structure support your entire body. When you engage in demanding physical labor, you can quickly develop micro-tears in your muscle and micro-fractures in your joints. Over time, these minor injuries heal, but if you repeatedly overwork your body with physical labor, these small injuries gradually evolve into much worse problems.
Physical labor is a common job duty in many statistically dangerous industries, such as construction. Some of the most commonly reported orthopedic injuries from physical labor in California include:
This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible orthopedic injuries an individual might sustain through physical labor.
Orthopedic injuries are some of the most straightforward injuries a person might sustain from physical labor at work. Still, despite the ease with which most of these injuries can be treated, they often entail long recovery times and difficult long-term symptoms. As a result, every employer in California is legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Any employee who suffers an orthopedic injury while performing their job duties has the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
The California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) is the state agency responsible for processing and administering workers’ compensation claims. The DWC will review a claim and the claimant’s medical condition to determine their eligibility for benefits. For example, when you sustain an orthopedic injury at work, you must visit a doctor approved by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This doctor will perform a medical examination and assign you a disability rating based on the severity of your orthopedic injury and whether you are likely to experience long-term medical complications from it.
Your disability rating determines what type of benefits you are eligible to receive and how long you may receive them. Typically, the California DWC will limit disability benefits to 104 weeks, but this can be spread over five years. Weekly short-term disability benefits usually amount to roughly two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wage. Permanent benefits are possible for claimants who develop permanent disabilities from their workplace injuries that prevent them from working in the future.
The process of filing your workers’ compensation claim may sound straightforward, but in practice, the process is more complicated than many injured workers realize. It is especially difficult for an injured employee struggling with a painful orthopedic injury and inability to work. However, a California workers’ compensation lawyer can help their client complete all their necessary claim paperwork and gather the supporting documentation they may need to submit along with their claim.
An experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can also be an invaluable asset when an injured worker encounters issues with their claim for benefits. For example, some employers may illegally interfere with or delay their employees’ claims due to increasing concerns about their workers’ compensation insurance premiums. In addition, the DWC may cite procedural issues with a claim or deny a claim for seemingly unfair reasons. Ultimately, having an experienced California workers’ compensation lawyer on your side not only makes the entire claim process much easier to navigate but also ensures you have the legal support you need if you encounter issues like these after an orthopedic injury at work.
The attorneys at Leviton, Diaz & Ginocchio Inc. each have more than 20 years of experience handling complex workers’ compensation claims on behalf of our clients in the Santa Ana, CA, area and surrounding communities. We understand the pain and stress an orthopedic injury from physical labor can cause and the economic pressure a workplace injury can create for the victim and their family. If you require assistance with your workers’ compensation claim, we can help. Contact Leviton, Diaz & Ginocchio Inc. today to schedule a consultation with an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney.