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...
Skeptics of cumulative trauma injuries try to discount the integrity of an entire class of hard-working people. They insist that due to a few “bad apples,” all such claims are invalid.
But it's obvious to most people that heavy physical work overtime can easily take a toll on your body, and medical studies confirm it.
The bottom line is that a skeptic doesn't wake up with pain every morning. You do.
Take the largest joint in the body – your knee.
Many work activities require heavy use of your knees, and some workers eventually experience pain, swelling, “clicking” or popping in one or both knees. The diagnosis could be:
Treatment for these injuries may include surgery, prescription medication, physical therapy, heat/ice, steroid injections, knee braces, and even total knee replacement.
Learn Your Workers’ Compensation Rights
When I was injured I had no high school diploma. I was married and raising three young children. I had been a legal secretary for over a decade and it had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to keep on working at that job. When I learned that my injury would not allow me to continue that work, my future looked pretty dismal. I could not find any other position that would pay me what I needed unless I gained some new skills.
1. No Education, No Future
If an injured worker does not receive the $6,000 training voucher to learn a new way of making a living, they are being deprived of a future where they can thrive. When they can no longer perform their previous job, it is critical that they are offered a way to learn new and profitable skills. If they cannot get an education to learn something new, how can they make a change? How will they survive? It is incredibly difficult to remain hopeful when you can’t see a way out. An education is the key to creating a...
There are seven best practices that OCC is committed to utilizing in helping our clients. We hope that attorneys and other counseling services will adopt these practices to get more of the money into the pockets of injured workers and to prevent the misuse of these funds.
1. The Ability-to-Benefit (ABT) test has recently been used to discriminate against injured workers without much past education. The test is required to receive financial aid by most US public colleges that admit students without a high school diploma or the certificate of equivalency. The previously uneducated are not marked as eligible for education. We firmly believe in improving the quality of people’s lives by pulling them up, not throwing them away. We step up and tutor our clients to pass the ABT. If we all band together and create systems and support injured workers, we will be able to help them thrive.
2. Many injured workers are not receiving the tools, including computers that have been approved...
While many people are trying to figure out how to live life to the fullest, injured workers often have the benefit of eventually seeing their retraining as a “reset” in life so they can really appreciate what life has to offer. It’s as if after a period of darkness, the lights have been turned on to new possibilities.
When Viktoria came to OCC, she had suffered a traumatic head injury. While working as a jewelry specialist at a department store, a large piece of machinery fell on her, injuring her head, back, and shoulder. Viktoria often dealt with confusion, blurry vision, and difficulty concentrating. She was not sure that any type of retraining would be possible for her.
Together, Viktoria and her OCC counselor considered many different options. Together they learned about the best ways for her to improve her attention and concentration. Viktoria was able to plan for success by removing distractions, focusing on one task at a time, and taking breaks when she got...
This July OCC’s sister organization, Angels for Injured Workers is on a mission to raise $10,000 to turn the lights back on for 60 injured workers and their families. Electricity and water are essential to keeping life going. Utility bills are necessary, so they should be a priority every month, but if it comes down to buying groceries for your family or paying a utility bill, it is easy to see how shut-offs can happen.
When you are struggling financially, the stress of everything gets turned way up. Having your utilities turned off makes it 10 times harder. It is so disruptive. I know firsthand how devastating this can be. In my upcoming book, The Mastery of Miracles*, I detail times when my family went without. When I was growing up we frequently had our utilities turned off due to non-payment. “There was about a month when we didn't have gas to heat our apartment. We had to go to our neighbors’ apartments to heat food or take showers. When neighbors...
Most of us don’t think much past the next 15-30 days. We don’t plan for losing our jobs.
I was a graphic designer for 20 years. One day, the owner of the company I worked for asked me to help unload a truck. I was helping a co-worker when I was injured, it wasn’t part of my job. The company owner didn’t have insurance and when I told him about my injury, he had a very weird way of showing me how much he appreciated my work—he fired me. So I ended up without a job, injured, and with no idea what I was going to do with my life.
I got very depressed. Not only had I lost my job and the way I made my living to support my family, but I also lost my friends. When you are the person who is injured and fired, the people you used to work with don’t want to associate with you. They think it will make them look bad.
One day in the middle of this deep depression and with no work coming to me, I was at my desk with my son playing video games beside me. I looked...
We Need to Do More for Injured Workers
According to a recent Rand Corporation report, more than 28,000 permanently disabled workers in California received a $5,000 check from the Return-to-Work Supplement Program created by Senate Bill 863. However, according to the report, this represents only slightly more than half of those who are eligible. In looking at all injured workers who received the voucher (without consideration for whether it was redeemed), Rand found roughly half of those in its sample would have been eligible for a payment from the $120 million fund.
“Given that these workers can obtain a $5,000 payment by completing a short online application that is designed to take around 20 minutes, we suspect that many workers do not understand what they stand to gain from completing the Return-to-Work Supplement application,” Rand stated in the report. “The failure to take up the RTWSP was not associated with any indicators of socioeconomic vulnerability or...
Let's pretend you play the lottery now and again. Let's pretend you played last night on your way home when you stopped at the gas station.
Let's pretend you completely forgot about the ticket until two minutes ago. You reached into your wallet to pay for your Starbucks triple grande mocha latte upside down with extra caramel and whipped cream. You pull out the ticket and decide to check the numbers on your phone.
The first number matches! You feel the excitement in your stomach. The second number is a match!! The excitement builds and you feel as though you already drank your souped-up drink. Then, it's a blur. Match, match, match!!!! You just won $5,000.
What are you going to spend it on? Disneyland passes for the whole family? Summer vacation in Cancun? New iPad for your daughter? Those cute Jimmy Choo shoes or Louis Vuitton belt?
Sometimes life can seem like winning the lottery--even for an injured worker.
Mary woke up to another average, hot day. She made her way to the mailbox...
It’s a sad fact that workplace and public shootings have become all too familiar in the United States. This means we should have some idea of what to do if we ever find ourselves in the line of fire.
According to an FBI study, most active shootings end in 2 minutes or less, which is not enough time for law enforcement to arrive. So if you hear screaming and gunshots, you don’t have much time to think about what to do. Would you have time to run? If so, where would you go? Do you know where the exits are? Visualize your plan in as much detail as possible.
The Department of Homeland Security offers these response guidelines:
EVACUATE: If at all possible, run no matter what others are doing. If you can convince them to run too, great, but get out of the area immediately if you can. Leave your belongings behind. As soon as you get to safety, call 911. Don’t assume someone already has.
HIDE OUT: If you can’t run, find a secure place to hide. You want a place...