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Does workers' comp cover repetitive motion injuries?

Whether you work in the finance, construction or hospitality industry, you have likely developed a repetitive motion injury. Repetitive motion injuries, which many also call repetitive stress injuries or cumulative trauma injuries, occur when a person puts stress on certain tendons, muscles or bones via overuse or repetitive motions. This strain causes extreme pain, discomfort or injury. Common injuries of this nature include tendonitis, carpal tunnel and bursitis. According to FindLaw, these types of injuries account for approximately 20 percent of all workplace injuries. If you sustained a repetitive motion injury, you may wonder if you can file a California workers' compensation claim for it. The answer is yes, absolutely.

To recover compensation for your repetitive motion injury, you must be able to prove that your work duties and/or the conditions in your workplace caused or aggravated your condition. For instance, if your doctor recently diagnosed you with posterior cervical dorsal syndrome, or "Computer Back," and if you hope to recover for the management of headaches, joint dysfunction and impaired breathing that are characteristic of the condition, you would need to show that you work at a computer all day. Proving cause is fairly easy if your particular line of work is associated with certain conditions. 

Excessive hours and the risk of a work-related traffic injury

Workplace accidents occur for many different reasons, but those who find themselves on the road due to their job responsibilities face an especially high chance of being injured in a work-related traffic wreck. Delivery truck drivers, those who drive tow trucks for a living, semi-truck drivers and taxi drivers are some examples of workers who find themselves in this position. Furthermore, the chances of an accident may be even greater when someone is working overtime or has been behind the wheel for a very long amount of time.

If your job responsibilities involve driving, it is imperative to watch out for yourself on the road. If necessary, you may need to speak up and refuse to drive if you are too tired to operate a vehicle safely. Some drivers feel pressured to work excessively long hours, especially during peak seasons such as the holidays. Many different risk factors are responsible for the likelihood of a job-related traffic crash, such as depression, anxiety and fatigue due to difficult shifts.

Can you get workers’ compensation for workplace violence?

As you and other California residents know, workers’ compensation is meant to compensate you for your medical expenses and income loss related to an accident or illness on the job. It is not uncommon to wonder if you are eligible for workers’ comp if you suffer an injury due to workplace violence.

Violence in the workplace, unfortunately, is not a rare occurrence. After all, people’s emotions and outbursts are not turned off the moment they clock in. Some of your co-workers can naturally be combative and difficult to get along with, while others may be pushed past their breaking point by a disagreement among staff or from stress in their home lives. As a result, you could be injured during an argument that becomes physical. Emotional violence is also not to be discounted. This could include the stress and anxiety you experience from being bullied by co-workers or threatened, intimidated and belittled by your boss.

How difficult is it to handle PTSD at work?

As a California worker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, you know how easily your PTSD symptoms could negatively affect your job should you be unable to control them while at work. This is particularly true if you work construction.

Unfortunately, the very fact that construction zones represent some of the noisiest places in the country can tend to increase your PTSD symptoms. Given that sudden loud noises can trigger a PTSD episode, it stands to reason that the loud machinery and equipment constantly all around you can make you overreact if and when you hear a particularly loud noise, such as that emanating from a nail gun or table saw.

Are first responders more likely to suffer from PTSD?

The job of a first responder is a difficult one. Whether you are one of the first to arrive on the scene of an accident as a police officer, EMT or firefighter, or you are an emergency room physician or a member of the military, you have probably seen some disturbing, tragic and frightening things during your career. You may even be exposed to dangerous and traumatic situations. You and other California first responders should understand the psychological risks that come with the job.

According to Psychology Today, first responders are highly likely to suffer from any number of psychological disorders, ranging from depression and anxiety to post-traumatic stress disorder. As you can imagine, psychological injuries can take a toll on your health, both mentally and physically. First responders often experience the following issues resulting from the stress of their jobs:

  • Worry, anger and guilt about what they may encounter next and how they react to it
  • Feelings of hopelessness, loss of interest in things they enjoy, flashbacks and sleep issues
  • Addiction to alcohol or other substances to cope with mental disturbances
  • Physical symptoms, such as high blood pressure, joint pain and heart problems

What type of benefits are available if hurt at work?

California workers know they may have a rightful claim to certain types of benefits in the event of an accident at work. Employers carry workers' compensation benefits for the purpose of meeting the needs of individuals who suffer injuries in work accidents or who are suffering from occupational illnesses. It may be in your interests to understand more about what benefits could be available to you. 

Injured workers often need time away from work to fully recover from what happened. It can be expensive to take time off, especially if you are also dealing with expensive medical treatment and possible long-term care needs. The benefits available to you can help you address both your financial concerns and physical care requirements during this difficult time.

Agricultural industry is near the top of the list for accidents

With bright sunshine, a mild climate and thousands of square miles of fertile land, California is known for its agricultural industry. Farming and food processing go hand in hand with the potential for devastating and sometimes fatal accidents, however.

Agriculture is one of the country’s most dangerous industries, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 100 employees in the farming industry across the country experience an injury every day that results in lost time from work. In 2016, 417 U.S. farm workers were killed in work-related accidents. Young people are not immune to the risk, as well; in fact, with many families working together on farms, youth are especially prone to being injured in farming-related accidents. About 12,000 minors were injured on U.S. farms in 2014.

Important information about occupational diseases

Californian workers fight hard to have a good and healthy environment to do their jobs in. Unfortunately, sometimes the workplace environment can pose as a health hazard despite one's best efforts.

FindLaw defines occupational disease simply, stating that it's any illness that comes from "the characteristic conditions or functions" of a person's place of work, as opposed to exposures that the general public faces. For example, someone who works in a plant dealing with toxic chemicals faces unique workplace-based exposures to danger that can, over time, impact their health.

What is mercury poisoning?

As you do your job in California, you may sometimes be exposed to mercury. If you are regularly around this substance, you may incur mercury poisoning.

You might develop mercury poisoning in many ways. According to Medical News Today, mercury is in some types of thermometers and health care machines. You might incur mercury poisoning if you work in an industry which brings you into contact with old paints. Additionally, some vaccinations contain mercury and this substance may also be in some dental fillings. You might also encounter this substance if you work in industrial processing.

How do you tackle your return to the workforce?

As a Californian who has been out of work for a while due to a work-related injury, you may find the readjustment period quite a challenge. The Law Offices of Hussain & Gutierrez are here to help you work through this adjustment and get back on your feet again.

You may be uncertain about many things when returning to work, along with having tons of questions. Are you actually ready to go back? Will you be able to work at your old capacity? What will you do if you're asked to do things that you feel you're currently incapable of doing? Should you even be back at all?

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