Workers' Compensation Injuries & Illnesses Coverage
From office buildings to construction sites, every workplace poses its own set of dangers—ways in which workers can be injured or become ill while performing the duties of their job. An on-the-job injury can leave an employee unable to work—temporarily or permanently—and in need of medical care.
California's Workers' Compensation laws provide injured workers with benefits designed to help them receive the medical treatment necessary to recover from the work-related injury or illness and partially replace lost wages. Injuries that qualify as "industrial" are categorized as specific, those that result from a specific event, or cumulative, trauma that occurs over time.
Injuries Not Covered by Workers' Compensation
Not every injury that occurs at work is considered a Workers' Compensation injury. The following are examples of what is not covered by the system.
- Stress or other psychiatric disorders not associated with a specific event or other injury.
- Self-inflicted injuries.
- Injuries caused by fighting or horseplay.
- Injuries that were incurred while committing a crime, while under the
- influence of drugs or alcohol, or while violating company policies.
What Qualifies as a Workers' Compensation Injury?
The Workers' Compensation system was developed to cover a range of work-related injuries and illnesses. Below is a list of representative hurt-at-work accidents and health hazards the program encompasses. If you're not sure if your workmen's comp injury is covered, it's important to talk with an attorney; click here.
Injuries and Illnesses Eligible for Work-Related Injury Compensation
Back and Neck Injuries on the Job
Injuries from lifting or moving heavy objects, or other activities during the course of performing work activities are considered workmen's comp injuries. Back and neck injuries also may be caused by cumulative trauma (see below).
Cumulative Trauma Is Considered a Workers' Compensation Injury
Jobs that entail repetitive motions can lead to physical trauma, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or other injuries stemming from prolonged standing, lifting or other work activities; these are covered in California's Workers' Comp system.
Alvaro Lizarraga is an excellent workers' compensation attorney. Not only does he fully understand the law, but he was also able to explain it to me in a way that I could understand. He was very responsive, patient and organized. I would highly recommend Alvaro to anyone in need of an attorney who will really fight for you if you get hurt at work.
Occupational Exposure Can Cause Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses
The conditions under which one works can cause injuries. Examples include hearing loss, allergic reaction, asthma, lung disease and cancer. Exposure to toxins such as gases, fluids, chemicals and molds can lead to these conditions.
Heart Attack and Stroke on the Job Can Qualify as Workers' Comp
People often ask if having a stroke or a heart attack at work is covered by the Workers' Compensation system. Workers' Compensation claims may include heart disease, hypertension or conditions that lead to strokes and other medical problems caused or aggravated by the job. This could also include weight gain subsequent to a physical injury.
Assault at Work Can Be a Workers' Comp Injury
If you have been struck, shot or physically attacked by co-workers or customers while on the job, you should file a Workers' Compensation claim. The same is true if you were the victim of a violent crime at work, for instance in the course of a robbery.
If you have been injured while driving between work sites, in route to training or work-related meetings, or performing work-related errands, you may be eligible for Workers' Compensation benefits. Injuries caused by accidents during regular commuting generally are not covered, although there are multiple exceptions.
Leg Injuries Related to a Specific Event or Occurring Over Time
Work-related leg injuries can be caused by a specific event, such as a trip and fall, or can happen over time, usually due to repetitive or prolonged "motions." The latter can be caused or aggravated by prolonged standing at work, and can cause phlebitis, knee or hip problems or varicose veins.
Communicable Diseases Can Be Contracted at Work
These include diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis, TB or valley fever, if it can be proven that the infectious source was work-related.
Slips, Trips and Falls at Work
A slip, trip or fall at work can lead to severe injuries, even death. Walkways, sidewalks, floors, parking lots, etc. may not be clear of debris or liquids or may have minor or major cracks or crevices that can lead to a workplace injury.
When work conditions cause or contribute to the cause of death by accidental injury, exposure or illness, including heart attack or stroke (as above), a worker's dependents may qualify for compensation.
I am so fortunate that Amy Leung was my Workers' Compensation attorney. She was professional, kind and knowledgeable, and was on top of my case every step of the way, which was particularly important when it came to my medical treatment. She listened to and answered all of my concerns. It was refreshing to receive prompt and professional service, and I am very happy with the settlement. I would wholeheartedly recommend Amy to family and friends.
Psychiatric Injuries Stemming from Work
Some psychiatric conditions due to stress may not qualify as a workmen's comp injury. For psychiatric injuries due to stress occurring after July 16, 1993, the law requires that, with few exceptions, you must prove your job was the "predominant" cause of the injury. Injuries from stress due to lawful and good faith personnel actions do not qualify for Workers' Comp. Although there are some exceptions, you may not qualify for benefits unless you worked for your employer at least six months, or if you wait to report an injury until after being notified of job termination.