INJURED WORKERS, APPLICATIONS FOR ADJUDICATION OF CLAIM, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

In California, the Application for Adjudication of Claim is an important form for Injured Workers. Application form is used by Injured Workers to initiate a claim before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB.)

The Application is the first step for an injured Worker to have their claim litigated before a neutral party which is the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The WCAB provides  Judges who are capable of hearing disputes and rendering opinions, decisions, orders and awards.  Applications are important to file because WCAB cases have a statute of limitation with respect to the filing of cases.

This article will discuss the various Applications for Adjudication of Claim, and their purpose.

What is an Application for Adjudication of Claim Form?

The Application for Adjudication of Claim is a form which is currently used as the initiating document at  the WCAB.   An Application filed properly at the WCAB will be assigned a case number. These case numbers are commonly known as ADJ numbers.  In sum, the Application is the beginning for formal proceedings.

In essence, the Application document is similar to a Civil Court Complaint.

Is There are Charge for Filing an Application?

For injured Workers, there is no charge to file an Application.

Are There Different Types of Applications for Adjudication?

Yes. There are different Applications.   The most common Application is for injuries which do not involve the death of the injured worker.  The other Application is for death cases and it is to be used by the dependents of the deceased worker.

Do You Have to Be a Certain Age to File an Application?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age.  Thus, for underaged Injured Workers or Dependents, they must have a Guardian Ad Litem file the Application on their behalf.

Are Applications Difficult to Prepare? Can You Make Mistakes?

Applications are not difficult to prepare.   For Injured Workers without attorneys, they can fill the Application out the best was possible.   They should however, contact the Information and Assistance Officer to make sure that it will be filed properly and be assigned a case number.  Otherwise, Injured Workers can employ an attorney and they can file the Application on their behalf.

If mistakes are made on the initial Application filing or new information becomes available, an Application can be amended.

Is an Application Different from a Claim Form?

Yes. An Application is different than a Claim Form.  A Claim Form is the opening document for the claims administrator.   In other words, a claim form will initiate the insurance company to start investigating a claim of injury.  A claim form can trigger entitlement for the Injured Worker to collect benefits and receive medical treatment.   The claim form, however, is not the form used to initiate dispute resolution before the WCAB.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

HOME HEALTHCARE WORKERS AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Home Healthcare is an important field in California.  Many individuals require in-home services for a variety of medical conditions.  Home Healthcare Workers (HHCW) can be employed in a variety of ways including through the State.

This article will discuss Home Healthcare Workers, their tasks, and the occupational risks of HHCWs.

What Are Home Healthcare Workers? 

Per the United States Department of Labor, “[h]ome healthcare workers provide hands-on long-term care and personal assistance to clients with disabilities or other chronic conditions. These workers, who may be home health aides, personal/home care aides, companions, nursing assistants or home health nurses, are employed in patients’ homes and in community-based services such as group homes.”

What Tasks Do They Perform?

“Depending on their training and job duties, they help patients with activities of daily living such as meals, bathing, dressing and housekeeping, and may perform clinical tasks such as medication administration, wound care, blood pressure readings and range of motion exercises.”  USDL

What are The Home Healthcare Hazards?

Home Healthcare Workers are subject to a large variety of hazards.  They include bloodborne and biological pathogens, latex sensitivities, ergonomic hazards, violence, hostile animals, dangerous conditions and unhygienic conditions.

How Do These Problems Occur?

Bloodborne and Biological Pathogens: This can include saliva, urine and feces.  These can occur while performing injections or changing bags such as urostomy bags.

Latex Sensitivity: This can arise out of the use of gloves. Glove use can result in contact dermatitis.

Ergonomic Hazards:  This can arise from working at a patient’s home which is not set up in an ergonomic fashion.  For example, lifting may be required in an awkward position.

Violence: This most commonly arises in patients that suffer from dementia.  They have the capacity to act out in a violent fashion.  This can include being bitten, kicked, pinched, punched, scratched, or shoved.

Hostile Animals: This most commonly relates to aggressive family pets who may bite or jump on workers.  Additionally, they can be tripping hazards as well.

Dangerous Conditions: These conditions can arise from physical defects on the premises as well as exposures to drug residues, infectious agents and cleaning chemicals..

Unhygienic Conditions: Unlike hospitals, home settings may not have proper disposal of biological waste. This can result in transmission of pathogens.

Travel: Home Healthcare Worker may service more than one patient in a day.  Thus, there duties may include travel from one location to another

Environmental Hazards: This can include second-hand smoke, exposure to asbestos, exposure to lead paint and exposure to allergens such as dust and mold.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

 

COMMON WORK INJURIES AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Workers’ Compensation System is a Risk Management System.  It is designed to payout benefits for work-related injuries.   Therefore, it is very important for the industry to identify what types of injuries and occupations have high risk of injury.

The US Government has a Bureau of Labor Statistics which identify both common injuries and what occupations are at risk for injury.  On 11/4/20, statistics were issued for the year 2019.

This article will discuss common work-related injuries, occupations which have high rates of incidence for work injuries and other information.

What are Common Worker Related Injuries?

In the Manufacturing Field, the Injuries Rates were:  Sprains, Strains, or Tears (28.0 percent), Soreness or Pain (14.5 percent), and Cuts, Lacerations, or Punctures (13.3 percent)

What Occupations Have Higher Rates of Injury?

In order of incidences, per the BLS report, the occupations with the highest rate of injuries are listed from highest to lowest:

Nurses Assistants

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

Laborers and freight, Stock and Material Movers, Hand

Light Truck Drivers

Construction Laborers

Maintenance and Repair Workers, General

Stockers and Order Fillers

Janitors and Cleaners, except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners

Registered Nurses

Retail Salespersons

Is There Other Interesting Data? 

Yes.

Elderly Workers:  “Private industry workers age 65 years or over had a median of 16 days away from work due to injuries and illnesses in 2019, compared to 8 days for all private industry workers.”

Male vs. Female Workers:  Men had higher injury rates that Women in 2019.

What Does This Data Mean to Workers?

Employers and Risk Management, knowing this data, will act upon these matter.   For example, Carriers may pay close attention to elderly injured workers due to the fact that they have extended periods of disability.  There may be some incentive to offer them modified work.  Further, for occupations that have high work injury rates, safety classes and other measures may be implemented to address lifting techniques and other techniques to prevent risk.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

THINKING TOO MUCH ON THE JOB CAN GET YOU INJURED: COGNITIVE STRESS AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Can thinking too much at work get you hurt?

A new study investigated this issued of Cognitive Stress.  Cognitive Stress is the term used for thinking.  Commonly, people describe the term as “multi-tasking.”

The study discussed the impact of cognitive load on an individual’s ability to perform secondary tasks.

This article will discuss Cognitive Stress, Cognitive Stress’ impact on Workers, and the “Monday Morning Effect.”

What Is Cognitive Stress?

Cognitive Stress can also be described as Cognitive Load.

For example, I can ask you to remember four numbers.  Then, I can ask you to remember eight numbers.  Then, I can ask you to remember sixteen numbers.   Each time there are additional items to recollect it gets mentally more difficult to perform.

One’s judgement can also be affected when subjected to cognitive stress. Bonsang, Eric and Caroli, Eve, Cognitive Load and Occupational Injuries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3794083

Thus, individuals may be decision when stressed that they would not make when not stressed.

How Does Cognitive Stress Impact Workers?

The study found that the “handling a large number of non-professional activities generates a threat for health at work for individuals in high-risk occupations and with a low level of education.”  The study suggested “that when an individual is employed in a high-risk job, distraction is a problem but that a high-enough educational level may help coping with the cognitive burden imposed by multi-tasking.” Bonsang, Eric and Caroli, Eve, Cognitive Load and Occupational Injuries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3794083

In sum, it appears that individuals with higher educational levels may be able to “multi-task easier than those with less education.

Is There a “Monday Morning Effect?”

Monday Mornings are controversial within workers’ compensation.  There are many within the workers’ compensation field that question the veracity of claims that occur on Mondays.   One main driver for this opinion is that a worker can get injured on the weekend and then claim that it occurred on the next workday.  Generally, the next workday is Monday.

Cognitive Stress theory suggests that Mondays are a time at which individuals get mentally reacquainted with their tasks.   Thus, there is a higher level of mental stress activity versus during the week.  Currently, the study did not have appropriate data to make such an analysis.   The study’s authors believe that their findings were definitely consistent with the possibility. Bonsang, Eric and Caroli, Eve, Cognitive Load and Occupational Injuries. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3794083

What Does This Mean?

In California Workers’ Compensation, since the system is “no fault” in terms of injury causation, this information may not offer most than an explanation as to how the injury occurred.   In a disputed case, this information, however, may explain how and why a disputed injury occurred.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

 

 

HEALTHCARE WORKERS, COVID-19’S MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT, AND WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Many California Healthcare Workers are in the frontline of treating COVID-19 treatment.  Treating pandemic patients can take an emotional toll on healthcare professionals.

A recent study looked into this psychological impact of COVID-19 on frontline healthcare workers. Healthcare workers who suffer emotional symptoms as a result of their work may need to seek medical attention.  If this is the circumstance, these emotional symptoms may give rise to a work injury claim.   As a result, a workers’ compensation case may be claimed.

This article will look into COVID-19’s emotional impact on frontline health care workers and how they can address this issue.

What are the General Mental Health Challenges of Healthcare Workers?

Irrespective of COVID-19, Healthcare Workers are at risk for emotional injuries, burnout is a common emotional problem. “Burnout in healthcare workers is widely understood as having three separate dimensions.”  It can include feelings of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and reduced personal achievement. (Freudenberger, 1974; Selamu et al., 2019). Deng D, Naslund JA. Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Frontline Health Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Harv Public Health Rev (Camb). 2020;28:https://harvardpublichealthreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Deng-and-Naslund-2020-28.pdf.

Studies have demonstrated prevalence of burnout to be as high as 70% for physicians and 50% for nurses in some high-income countries (Aiken, 2002; Lamothe et al., 2014). Supra.

How Can a Public Health Crises Impact the HealthCare Workers Emotionally?

 “Public health crises such as infectious disease outbreaks, in the form of either epidemic or pandemic, can often bring about high levels of acute and chronic stress in both the victims and frontline health workers. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 5th edition (DSM-5) as a constellation of emotional and behavioral changes in response to traumatic events. Individuals with PTSD often experience recurrent flashbacks, nightmares, and uncontrollable anxiety.” Deng D, Naslund JA. Psychological Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Frontline Health Workers in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Harv Public Health Rev (Camb). 2020;28:https://harvardpublichealthreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Deng-and-Naslund-2020-28.pdf.

Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Impacted Healthcare Workers Emotionally?

Several emotional conditions have been connected to COVID-19. Studies have found increase level of PTSD and Depressive Symptoms, Anxiety, and Insomnia among healthcare workers. Supra.

Are There Risk Factors with Respect to Healthcare Workers’ Emotional Reactions?

Yes.

Direct Contact With COVID-19 Patients: Healthcare Workers in direct contact with COVID 19 patients were found to have higher prevalence of emotional symptoms.

Work Experience: Workers with fewer years of work experience were found to be at risk of emotional symptoms.

Sex:  Female workers had a higher prevalence of affective symptoms than male counterparts.

Occupation: Nurses were found to have more emotional issues versus other medical staff. Supra.

What Can a Health Worker Do If They Are Having Emotional Systems?

First, they should seek medical attention. This can be done via Health Insurance, an Employee Assistance Program or Workers’ Compensation.   It is recommended that a Healthcare Worker consult with an attorney prior to deciding which route to initially take.

What If I Need Advice?

If you would like a free consultation regarding workers’ compensation, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, a Professional Law Corporation. We have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for over 28 years. Contact us today for more information.

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