Working in an office may not seem like a hazardous occupation, but at the Law Office of Joseph Kritzer, we know how dangerous office work can be because we regularly represent injured office workers in their California workers’ comp claims. If your office injuries have resulted in medical bills, lost wages, and other damages, we can help you file your claim, negotiate your settlement, and represent you at work comp hearings.
If you are concerned that your employer will fire you or otherwise take adverse action against you and your employment, we understand that fear, but you do have employment protections under California and federal laws. As an employee who sustained injuries at work, you have a right to file a work comp claim, and your employer is prohibited from retaliating against you.
Retaliation can involve termination, demotion, denying a promotion, or creating a hostile work environment. If your employer retaliates against you, you may have a separate claim for workplace discrimination. We will help you file your work comp claim and address any reactionary measures taken by your employer.
Types Of Office Worker Injuries
According to the National Safety Council, the most common workplace injuries resulting in lost workdays are overexertion, contact with objects and equipment, and slip and falls. These and other types of injuries are common in office settings. Office injuries can be caused by a particular accident or event, or they can develop over time due to repetitive movements. Common office injuries are described below.
- Many of our clients come to us after suffering injuries from a fall in their offices. Slippery floors from mopping and spills, tripping over cords and poorly maintained floors, dark stairwells, cluttered hallways, and other hazards often lead to falls and injuries.
- We also see clients who have suffered back, neck, and other injuries caused by heavy lifting and moving. Office workers frequently lift and move office supplies, furniture, computer monitors, and other equipment.
- Office workers also have equipment accidents such as injuries from paper cutters, shredders, and copy machines.
- Musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, and other types of back and neck injuries often develop over time. Those injuries are usually caused by repetitive movements or ergonomic issues due to spending long hours seated at a computer.
Office work-related injuries can be caused by a specific event or accident, or they can gradually develop after many years of working in an office. Common office work injuries involve slip and falls, heavy lifting and moving, equipment accidents, repetitive movements, and ergonomic issues.
Seeking Medical Treatment For Your Office Work Injuries
After you have suffered an office injury, it is important that you get the medical care that you need. If you delay getting medical care, your injuries may get worse and potentially become permanent.
Medical treatment will also help to determine what type of long-term impacts your injuries will have on your day-to-day life, including your ability to work. After examination and treatment, your doctor should also be able to know whether or not you will need ongoing and future medical care.
Medical opinions and records from your treatment will be used to help prove your injuries for your workers’ compensation claim. Failing to seek medical treatment could be detrimental to your claim. Your insurance adjuster would use your lack of treatment as evidence that you either were not injured or that your injuries were minor and not entitled to compensation.
When you see a medical professional, you should inform him or her that you believe your injuries are work-related. For a successful claim, you must be able to show that you were injured at work and not at home or somewhere else to collect compensation. Injuries are considered work-related if an event or exposure in the work environment caused or contributed to your injury, or significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness.
Seeking medical treatment is important after you sustain an office injury so that you can recover, and so that your injuries do not get worse from lack of care. Evidence of your medical care will also be used to prove your injuries for your work comp claim.
How A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
Although the California Department of Industrial Relations provides self-help fact sheets and guides for injured workers, an attorney can help you in the following ways:
- We will make sure that your claim is timely filed and that it contains all of the necessary information to prove your claim. California has strict claim deadlines and requirements, and if you miss any of them, you may lose your right to collect your benefits.
- Some people do not make work comp claims because they do not know how to prove that their injuries are work-related. We will help you secure medical opinions and other evidence to show that your injuries are work-related, the extent and severity of your injuries, and how they will impact your life in the future.
- We will help with settlement negotiations in your case. Work comp adjusters rarely start off with an offer that fairly compensates you. We will value your claim based on the evidence we have gathered and present that evidence during negotiations.
- If your workers’ comp claim is wrongly denied, we can help you appeal that decision, and if your disability rating was improperly calculated, we will help you challenge your rating.
Although you do not have to have an attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim, collecting compensation is easier when you have an attorney advocating for your rights. An attorney will help you through settlement negotiations and proving your claim.
Compensation For Your Injuries
Workers’ compensation benefits are based on a complicated formula related to the severity of your injuries, future medical care needed, and how your injuries will impact your ability to work in the future. If you qualify and are eligible for work comp benefits, depending on the type and extent of your injuries, the following benefits may be available:
- Medical care for work-related injuries that are paid for by your employer
- Temporary disability benefits for lost wages when you cannot work while you recover
- Permanent disability benefits if you are never expected to fully recover from your injuries
- Supplemental jobs displacement benefits for retraining or skill enhancement
- Death benefits for spouses, children, and other dependents when work injuries are fatal
As mentioned above, calculating workers’ compensation benefits is a complex process based on medical opinions and diagnoses, formulas, and calculations set forth in California statutes. The calculation process can be somewhat subjective, and adjusters often try to save money by using calculations that favor their pocketbook instead of yours.
This puts injured employees at a disadvantage when they do not have an attorney to make sure that the calculations address the totality of their injuries and damages.
Depending on the facts in your case, your work comp benefits may include medical expenses, temporary disability, permanent disability, supplemental job displacement benefits, and death benefits for dependents after a fatal work injury. A workers’ compensation attorney will help to make sure that your benefits are fairly and accurately calculated.
California Workers’ Compensation Specialist
If you have been injured in your position as an office worker, you should get your injuries treated and evaluated and then meet with an attorney as soon as possible. Sometimes what may seem like a minor injury ends up being quite significant and life-altering, especially if you delay getting treatment.
If your injuries are serious, medical bills and lost wages may lead to a significant financial burden for you and your family. As mentioned above, if you fail to timely file your claim, you may lose your chance to recover benefits for your injuries and financial losses. A successful work comp claim will help you get the medical and financial resources that you deserve.
Workers’ comp specialist Joseph Kritzer will meet with you to discuss your injuries and evaluate your claim. Fill out the contact form below and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible. We will not collect attorneys’ fees until you succeed in your workers’ compensation claim and receive your benefits.