Michael Burgis & Associates, P.C.

Workers' compensation: Did your injury happen at work?

The insurance premiums that California business owners have to pay are directly tied to the number of claims they file for occupational illnesses and injuries. For this reason, some employers attempt to avoid filing workers' compensation benefits claims, and some workers fear retaliation if they report work-related injuries. Unfortunately, the risk of even more serious injuries is exacerbated by allowing an injured or ill worker to continue working without medical treatment.

What happens if a worker is injured on his or her own time? This can also adversely affect a company's bottom line. The injured employee may have to take some of his or her vacation days or sick days, and the employer might have to get a temporary worker to avoid production losses. This, and the fact that the replacement worker will not be as experienced as the injured worker will cost the company even more.

An employer is not legally required to accommodate or provide alternative duties for a worker who returns to work after an off-the-job injury. However, if such a worker returns to full duties immediately upon return, the pre-existing injury might be aggravated. When that happens, the injury becomes work-related and eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

California workers who have questions about their eligibility to file benefits claims can consult with an experienced workers' compensation attorney. A lawyer can assess the circumstances of the injury and also the manner in which the employer handled the employee's return to work after the injury. The help of legal counsel increases the chances of obtaining maximum benefits.

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