At the Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin, our skilled legal team focusses on helping workers across San Jose assert their labor rights. With more than 25 years of experience, we have taken on all sorts of employers, from small businesses to giant corporations. In our time fighting for workers’ rights, we have been asked countless questions about workers’ compensation law. In this blog, we answer the most common questions our clients ask us about workers’ comp.
Question: What do I need to do if I’m injured at work?
A: After a workplace accident, it is crucial for you to report the incident to your employer as soon as you can. Your workers’ comp claim can be denied if you don’t inform your employer about your injury within the statute of limitations for your state.
Even if you do not think you injury is serious, you should still report it to your employer. Sometimes injuries don't become apparent until long after the accident occurred. Report an accident as soon as possible and always report injuries once you become aware of them.
Question: Does workers’ comp cover work-related illness or injury not caused by an accident?
A: The answer is yes, workers' compensation covers work related injuries, such as repetitive motion injuries. Carpel tunnel syndrome is one example of a repetitive motion injury that many workers who spend a lot of time typing tend to suffer.
Workers can develop a variety of illnesses that are related to a work environment or their job duties. Employees who work in high stress environments might develop digestive disorders that are triggered by the stress they experience on the job. Workers who are exposed to a lot of different exhaust fumes on the job can suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning and other types of breathing problems. Depending on the particular hazard, work-related illnesses or injuries are covered under workers’ compensation law.
Question: Can I still get workers’ comp benefits if the accident was my own fault?
A: One of the biggest benefits the workers compensation system provides to injured workers is that they are not required to prove who was at fault for the accident. However, there are some situations where a worker won’t be able to collect benefits. This usually happens when the injury is determined to be self-inflicted or the injury was sustained while the employee was under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.
Question: Can I visit my own doctor?
A: Whether you can be seen by your doctor for a workplace injury will depend on your state’s laws and the requirements contained in your employer’s insurance policy. When you report your injury, ask your employer if you have to see a specific doctor, or if you have the option to choose your own physician. If your employer’s policy requires you to see a certain doctor, you might be able to get a second opinion after a certain amount of time has passed.
Question: What kind of benefits can I get through workers' compensation?
A: The kinds of benefits you will qualify for depends on the extent of your injury symptoms. If your injury keeps you from returning to work for more than the minimum number of days, you will qualify for temporary disability benefits, which is usually 2/3 the amount of your regular wages. The cost of your medical treatment should be paid for as long as it is needed, and you might be able to receive vocational rehabilitation if you need help getting back to your job or training for a new job.
If you have more questions about workers’ compensation laws, we can help you. Contact our team of San Jose workers' comp lawyers to set up you free case consultation today.