Workplace Accidents: California Labor Laws and How They Protect You

A recent report made public by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that approximately 4 million people are involved in a tragic workplace accident which irremediably impacts their physical condition and welfare every single year, all across the US. Fortunately, the legal framework offers the best support to employees who have to deal with such a dramatic episode that triggers considerable financial losses and unimaginable pain and suffering.

Workers’ compensation laws were created and implemented to help employees cope with the negative consequences of a workplace accident, usually involving unpredicted expenses in the form of medical bills, lost wages, monetary benefits and so on. These laws provide a stable financial compensation to the victims of workplace accidents. In case the worker dies in a tragic accident at work, or loses his/her life as a result of a serious work-related illness, the family of the deceased is entitled to financial compensations.

Financial compensations for workplace injuries
California’s Workers’ Compensation Act was implemented to help employees recover after a serious workplace accident, but it also provides a certain level of protection to employers and other staff members, limiting their liability. All in all, the California Labor Code section 4600 (a) clearly indicates that the employer has to cover the expenses associated with medical services (hospital treatment, surgery, chiropractic treatment) and essential medical supplies (crutches and prosthetic devices are included in this category) guaranteeing a full recovery for an employee who has suffered a workplace accident.

Coping with temporary or permanent disabilities

 Unfortunately, some workplace accidents trigger permanent or temporary disabilities which will inevitably stop employees from earning a living. In this case, the California Labor Code section 4650 (a) stipulates that the first compensatory payment should be made no later than 14 days after the employer has been notified of the workplace injury which caused the temporary disabilities. If you want to profit from all the benefits that you are entitled to in this situation, fill out the DWC 1 claim form that you should receive from your employer one day after reporting your accident. You should receive financial compensations for your temporary disability (TD) every 2 weeks. Payments should start as soon as your doctor reaches the conclusion that you can’t perform your normal duties for more than 3 days and should end when you go back to work.

Support for the family of the deceased in case of a workplace fatality

According to a report issued by OSHA, approximately 4600 employees were killed on the job, in different circumstances, all across the US in 2011. Workplace fatalities are not a rare phenomenon and always affect the families of the deceased workers, both emotionally and financially. Fortunately, the legal framework in California offers them a certain level of protection. According to the California Labor Code section 4700, accrued and unpaid compensations will go directly to the deceased’s dependents. Also, section 4701 reveals that, apart from providing financial compensations to the grieving family, the employer will also have to provide financial support meant to cover funeral expenses (up to ten thousand dollars for workplace injuries taking place after January 1st  2013, according to section 4701 (3) ). Last, but not least, the dependent is entitled to a death benefit, which should be provided by the employer when he/she “leaves any person dependent upon her or him for support”.


Kinds of Auto Accidents Damages that Are Acceptable in Court

If you have been involved in an incident, have been harmed and are looking to pursue a claim for damages, there are many options available.

In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, you and your lawyer will have to prove without a doubt that: 1) the other driver had a duty of care, in other words, they had a responsibility to avoid the incident; 2) the other driver exhibited signs of sheer negligence; 3) you were injured or suffered some sort of damage.

Speaking of damages, these are directly related to the kind of compensation you will receive. In some cases, state laws will allow you to get an additional compensation for punitive damages, which means your attorney will have to prove that the other driver exhibited clear signs of negligence before the accident occurred.

The main types of damages acceptable in court and paid by insurance policies are:

1)      Medical expenses

Auto accidents can cause minor injuries but they also can bring about major ones that will cause disability, even death. Even if you make a full recovery following such an incident, you can request compensation to cover your past, present and even future medical expenses, including surgery, consultation and therapy. You may want your physician to assist in calculating the extent of treatment you may still need, in case of a longer period recovery process.

Additional costs may entail the services of a nurse, cleaning service, therapist or recovery assistant for temporary or permanent disability.

2)      Damage to property

These costs may involve car repair fees as well as other personal property replacement or repair costs. A specialized lawyer will be able to assist in putting together a list with all the damaged goods as a result of your car accident.

3)      Loss of employment and/or wages

If the injuries you suffered as a result of an auto accident have prevented you from going to work, you may file for loss of wages. Even if you were unemployed at the time of the incident but you can provide proof of how much you could have earned in that time, you are entitled to compensation. Additional costs can be calculated if you had to take time off for doctor’s appointments or therapy sessions.

4)      Personal pain damages

A good lawyer will have to be able to prove that you have suffered not only physical pain as a result of an incident, but that you were also subject to psychological pain, anxiety, stress and humiliation. Also, in the case of physical afflictions, the longer the full recovery takes, the bigger the claims can be.

There are also additional damages, such as loss of affection, when you have lost someone in a car accident. In this case, you or your family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Loss of life compensation is calculated in conjunction with insurance companies and a court specialist and based on a number of factors, such as the dead person’s age, earning potential and so on.

If you are wondering how much compensation you actually deserve, you should first consider the type of damage that was inflicted upon you. A reliable attorney with a long line of winnings in such auto accidents claims will be the best ally on your corner, in this case.