Workers Comp Claim Types
There are two main types of workers’ comp injuries: Specific Injury and Continuous Trauma (CT) claims. A specific injury occurs on a distinct date and time, and usually a distinct event. For example, an injured worker will suffer a specific workers comp injury when he or she slips and falls at work, causing a workers comp injury to her back and knee. The injury is said to have occurred on a specific day and time, and is therefore a specific injury.
CT Claims Versus Specific Injury Workers Comp Claims
A continuous trauma (CT) workers comp claim is a bit different, but can relate to a specific injury. For example, many injured workers suffer from carpal tunnel due to repetitive stress on their hands, fingers, wrists, and so on. This can be caused by work that requires using one’s fingers, like someone who types every day, or uses his or her hands to sort products on an assembly. After a while, the injured worker starts to notice that his or her hands, wrists, fingers, are really starting to hurt. This injury did not arise on a specific date, but arose over time, and is thus called, the CT claim. Sometimes an injured worker suffers a specific injury, and continues to work with that injury left untreated. The injured worker will more than likely have two workers comp injuries, specific, and continuous trauma.
Orthopedic Injuries Workers Comp Claims
The bones, muscles, and soft tissues of the human body are very prone to injury. Many employers understand this concept, and happily pay their workers’ compensation premiums. I once heard an employer tell me that workers comp insurance was the best investment he had made for his businesses, and expected many of his workers to file workers comp claims because of the type of work he required them to do. A majority of workers’ compensation cases involve physical (or orthopedic, to some extent) injuries. That is, the injured worker hurt his back lifting, or had his foot crushed by an object, and so on.
These workers comp injuries generally have a workers comp settlement value. It is very difficult to ascertain the value without understanding all of the particulars of a case. It would be unwise to say that every workers comp knee injury is worth $30,000.00, or anything to that extent. One can estimate the value of a physical workers comp injury for settlement, but that takes into account all the particular benefits the injured worker is or will be entitled to.
One very important aspect is that many physicians are not trained to deal with finer orthopedic injuries due to work trauma and workers comp. You need to ensure, for certain types of injuries, that your workers comp doctor is adequately trained and experienced to deal with your type of injury. Surely, a general practitioner will lack the same experience as an orthopedic surgeon. Generally, for soft-tissue type injuries, sports medicine physicians and those who deal with these injuries are better equipped to help the injured worker make a speedy recovery.
Most of the time, the employer sends the injured workers to health clinics, who many times, wont listen to or touch the patient. It seems as if many of these clinics only have one goal, to defeat the workers’ comp claim and return the injured worker back to work as soon as possible.
Labor Code 132a Workers Comp Claims
Many times, and employer will retaliate an injured worker who seeks workers compensation benefits. This can include wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, etc. It is illegal for the employer to do this to an injured worker. Labor Code 132a allows for an injured worker to increase their benefits by 50%, up to $10,000.00, and also receive back-pay, reinstatement, and other benefits. This is a separate claim within the workers’ compensation case.
Serious and Willful Workers Comp Claims
Sometimes the employer violates a safety order, or recklessly or intentionally ignores a known risk and injured workers suffer. I have had cases where the injured workers lost fingers to presses where the employer removed the safeties to increase production. This is unacceptable. In these types of scenarios, your benefits can be increased up to 50%. Additionally, the employee can commit a serious and willful.