Increased Suicide Rates: Compensability and Prevention

occ news Nov 28, 2018

Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide, a compensable workers’ compensation condition.

It has been reported that from 1999-2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases of up to 30%.

In 1981, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that an employee’s death by suicide is considered compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act of New Jersey where the suicide is shown to be the result of the employee’s becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind caused by the employee’s original work-related injury and its consequences, including severe pain and despair, which are of such severity as to override normal, rational judgment.

Relationship problems and losses have been reported as having a significant impact on suicides. A physical health problem existed in 22.3% of reported suicides. Additionally, a job...

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The Spoon Theory

occ news Nov 27, 2018

Do you know about the spoons? Because you should.

Written by Christine Miserandino, a well-known patient advocate, The Spoon Theory tells the story of a girl with lupus explaining her disease to a friend using 12 metal spoons late at night in a diner. The analogy she illustrates is a perfect example of how physical or mental illness can change your entire way of viewing the world and how you cope with daily life choices.

“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.”

She goes on to explain, “Most people start the day with an unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons...

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Mental Health and Injured Workers

occ news Nov 25, 2018

With World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day approaching next month (October 10th and 11th), we wanted to discuss what mental health means when it comes to injured workers. As we all know, many people who have suffered the misfortune of a workplace injury face the prospect of being out for work for an extended period of time. During this time, other challenges emerge (loss of income, lack of physical activity, inability to pay bills, prolonged periods of pain, anxiety, and so on). Not surprisingly, one of the big concerns injured workers face is the increased likelihood that they could become depressed.

Depression is insidious and misunderstood. We want to shine a light on the many ways that depression manifests itself in people so that it can be detected and addressed early. We want people to recognize when someone they know may need help. Depression has a profound impact on general health, individual and family quality of life, activities of daily...

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How to Market Yourself While Unemployed

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

You should be able to get a job you are qualified for based on your skills and value, but fair or not, if you have been unemployed for longer than six months, your chances of getting a job decrease significantly. Because of this, you need to learn to market yourself as employable. See the tips below to up your chances of a successful job search.

Prove to your future employers that you keep up with your industry by updating your skills, volunteering, or attending networking events. Even when you aren't employed, you can show that you're still working.

If you are not finding a perfect position and time is ticking away, be flexible to change by considering a new city, a switch of field, or a lower-level position. Once you have a job secured, you can plan your next steps.

If you get a lot of interviews but haven't been hired, you may not be showing off your value in person. Practice your interview skills before you meet with an employer. Create a list of common interview questions and...

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Off-Limits Interview Questions Every Injured Worker Should Know

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

You got the interview! Congratulations! Wondering which questions you’ll be asked? You should expect the usual ones, such as “What’s your greatest weakness?” You may get something more original like “If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?” Regardless of what your interviewer wants to know, there are several interview questions you should never be asked. Be aware — questions about several subjects are a violation of your rights.

Don’t assume that an employer is asking discriminatory questions on purpose. Often they are just trying to see how you will fit the position. However, it is important that you understand and protect yourself from illegal interview questions and the legal alternatives used to get the same information from you. Be prepared and know your options by understanding examples of legal versus illegal questions.

In short, the following topics are off-limits:

...
Age Race
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Increased Suicide Rates: Compensability and Prevention

Uncategorized Sep 19, 2018

Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide, a compensable workers' compensation condition.

It has been reported that from 1999-2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases of up to 30%.

In 1981, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that an employee's death by suicide is considered compensable under the Workers' Compensation Act of New Jersey where the suicide is shown to be the result of the employee's becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind caused by the employee's original work-related injury and its consequences, including severe pain and despair, which are of such severity as to override normal, rational judgment.

Relationship problems and losses have been reported as having a significant impact on suicides. A physical health problem existed in 22.3% of reported suicides. Additionally, a job or financial problem existed...

Continue Reading...

The Spoon Theory

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2018

Do you know about the spoons? Because you should.

Written by Christine Miserandino, a well-known patient advocate, The Spoon Theory tells the story of a girl with Lupus explaining her disease to a friend using 12 metal spoons late at night in a diner. The analogy she illustrates is a perfect example of how physical or mental illness can change your entire way of viewing the world and how you cope with daily life choices.

“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.”

She goes on to explain, “Most people start the day with an unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to...

Continue Reading...

Mental Health and Injured Workers

Uncategorized Sep 04, 2018

With World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day approaching next month (October 10th and 11th), we wanted to discuss what mental health means when it comes to injured workers. As we all know, many people who have suffered the misfortune of a workplace injury face the prospect of being out for work for an extended period of time. During this time, other challenges emerge (loss of income, lack of physical activity, inability to pay bills, prolonged periods of pain, anxiety, and so on). Not surprisingly, one of the big concerns injured workers face is the increased likelihood that they could become depressed.

Depression is insidious and misunderstood. We want to shine a light on the many ways that depression manifests itself in people so that it can be detected and addressed early. We want people to recognize when someone they know may need help. Depression has a profound impact on general health, individual and family quality of life, activities of daily living, and...

Continue Reading...

Is your employer responsible for medical expenses after an on-the-job injury?

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2018

When you have had a work injury, the last thing you need to worry about is how your medical bills will be paid.

In such a situation, the California State Constitution grants you the right to medical treatment at the employer's expense. In fact, the employer must pay for IMMEDIATE medical treatment for ALL claimed injuries. If the employer denies responsibility for all or part of your injuries, you have the right to get an opinion from a physician to determine if the injury or condition is work-related. If the employer (or its adjuster) refuse or neglect to provide treatment, under specific circumstances, you may be able to select a doctor of your choice without any cost to you.

Many injured workers hope they will get over an injury without treatment, but if your injury or condition becomes serious, delay in reporting it to your employer may be a big mistake. You do not want to further damage your health or your legal rights.

If you have suffered an injury or...

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Uber and Lyft Drivers Need to Know

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2018

As the “gig” economy continues to grow in California, companies like Uber and Lyft may claim that their drivers are “independent contractors,” and therefore not entitled to workers compensation benefits when they are injured on the job.

Fortunately, the California Supreme Court has issued an important decision about the potential rights of Uber and Lyft drivers when they suffer an injury on the job.

The California Supreme Court

Some companies have created phone apps to facilitate jobs, and claim that because of this modern technology, the employee is magically transformed into an “independent contractor” rather than an employee. However, a worker may be an employee regardless of what the employer thinks. On April 30, 2018, the Court announced its landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. vs The Superior Court of Los Angeles County. 4 Cal. 5th 542, 573, 411 P.3d 528 (2018).

Simply put, the Court issued clear guidance on how...

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