Workers Compensation for Machine & Equipment Injuries
According to the National Safety Council, a job-related injury occurs every seven seconds. Employees whose jobs rely on the use of heavy machinery and equipment, including manufacturing, construction, and transportation, are at an increasingly high risk. In fact, the NSC reports that 25 percent of reported accidents involve machinery. No matter how stringently safety precautions are followed, there is a constant risk that a piece of machinery could malfunction, leading to injury or even death.
What to Do if You Are Injured in a Machinery Accident
The first thing you should do in any type of accident is to seek emergency medical attention if you need it, and then immediately report the injury to your supervisor. Assuming you are eligible for workers compensation, you will not have to pay anything out of pocket for hospital or medical expenses. Workers compensation benefits will cover the costs of your recovery.
Types of Machinery Accidents in the Workplace
No matter how careful you are, and no matter how carefully safety procedures are followed, accidents are bound to happen. In fact, studies show that an estimated 12,300 workers are injured on the job every day. Incidents relating to machinery and equipment account for the second highest percentage of those injuries.
Although a great variety of things can go wrong in terms of accidents involving machinery and equipment, some of the most frequent reported incidents include:
Being struck by or against an object or equipment
Getting caught in or compressed by equipment or objects
Being struck, caught, or crushed in a collapsing structure, equipment, or material
Some common machinery-related injuries include amputations, crushed fingers, lacerations, concussions and electrical burns.
How the Workers Compensation Program Can Help
If you are injured in a machinery or equipment accident, you have a right to receive workers compensation benefits. These benefits will pay for medical treatment and a portion of lost income. They will also provide compensation for any permanent disability caused by the accident, including vocational rehabilitation and job retraining.
What to Do Following a Machinery Accident
After reporting your injury and seeking emergency medical treatment, your employer should provide you with a claim form (DWC 1). If for some reason your employer does not give you the form, you can download one from the California Department of Industrial Relations website (https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html). The form must be completed and returned to your employer within 30 days of your machinery accident.
A delay in returning the form will result in a delay of receiving your benefits, so be sure to fill it out as soon as you possibly can. If you mail the form to your employer, use first-class or certified mail, and it is a good idea to follow up with a phone call to ensure your employer has received it.
Seeking Medical Treatment in Workers Compensation Cases
The law requires your employer to be sure you have access to emergency medical care within one working day from the time you report your accident. For non-emergency care, a claims administrator will authorize treatment within one working day after you file your claim form.
After your emergency room visit, you might assume that you will follow up with your regular doctor. That may not be the case, however. The workers compensation rules state that you may only follow up with your regular doctor if you have pre-designated your physician for job-related injury treatment in writing, prior to the injury. If you did not pre-designate your doctor, you will see a physician from your employer’s medical provider network (MPN). Your employer will provide you with the MPN, and you may select any doctor on the list.
Be sure to keep all of your doctor appointments and follow your physician’s recommendations to the letter. If you don’t, it gives the claims administrator a reason to further investigate or even deny your workers compensation claim. If you disagree with how your doctor is handling the case, however, you have a right to get a second opinion or even switch to another physician on the MPN.
The Workers Compensation Claims Administrator
Within a few weeks of your accident, you will receive written notice either accepting or denying your claim. If for some reason you do not hear from the claims administrator, you may contact him or her directly. Upon approval of your claim, temporary disability benefits will begin within 14 days of your physician’s report stating that your injury prevents you from doing your job.
After the first payment, subsequent payments continue every two weeks as long as you remain eligible. If your doctor determines that the injury from your machinery accident prevents you from ever returning to your prior job, you may be able to receive either permanent disability benefits or a voucher to pay for retraining to a different job.
Contact a Workers Compensation Lawyer
The workers compensation process can be overwhelming at times. Seeking the assistance of an experienced workers compensation lawyer can be a real lifesaver in terms of determining what benefits are due to you, and how to move the process forward so that you can receive the treatment you need. Our lawyers have decades of experience helping employees injured in machinery related accidents to get the benefits they are entitled to.
Long Beach Workers Compensation Lawyers
If you were injured or made ill in the workplace, we recommend that you speak with an experienced workers comp lawyer immediately. Even if you are currently receiving workers comp benefits, it is a good idea to get some legal advice to protect your rights going into the future.
An experienced workers compensation lawyer can help you identify minor issues before they become major problems – and make sure that you not only receive your benefits now, but for years to come.
Your consultation with our workers’ comp lawyers is 100% confidential, and neither your employer nor your insurance company will be notified that you requested a consultation with us. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and work tirelessly to ensure that you receive the maximum workers’ comp benefits for which you qualify.
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