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Torrance California Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Rheumatoid arthritis may qualify you for disability

The pain and stiffness in your hands, knees or other joints may have been the first sign. Perhaps you couldn't shake the fatigue or just felt unwell. When your doctor finally diagnosed you with rheumatoid arthritis, it may not have been a surprise. Probably someone close to you, such as a parent or grandparent, also suffered from this debilitating disease.

Once you received a definitive diagnosis of RA, you may have felt as if the clock were ticking. About 35% of those who suffer from RA are no longer able to work within 10 years of receiving their diagnosis. For many, this means seeking financial assistance wherever they can, including applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. If you feel you may be close to the time when your RA will prevent you from working, you may have many questions about Social Security Disability Insurance.

Deadlines for workers' compensation in California

Almost all workers who have been injured when conducting work-related activities can benefit from workers' compensation. However, they will not automatically gain compensation. Instead, they must take action to report their injury to their employer and to file a claim within a certain amount of time.

Workers' compensation laws and deadlines can vary significantly between states. This is why you must pay attention to the rules specific to California if that's where your workplace is located. The following are some of the workers' compensation deadlines to pay attention to in California.

Why are ladder accidents so common in the workplace?

Construction workers, electricians and interior decorators commonly use ladders as part of their work. While ladders are ergonomically designed and must undergo rigorous safety testing before being sold, they are unfortunately a common cause of workplace accidents.

More than 90,000 people receive emergency treatment each year for ladder-related injuries, and elevated falls lead to around 700 occupational deaths in the same time period. Ladder accidents are preventable, but they continue to cause workers unintended harm. The following are the most common causes of ladder accidents in the workplace.

How an attorney can help you overcome a SSDI denial

Obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be difficult, no matter what your condition. The process is long, convoluted and confusing -- at best. The long wait to even get an initial decision makes it even more heartbreaking when you open up a letter only to find out that your claim is denied.

So, what's next?

Claiming workers' compensation for cumulative trauma disorder

It's common for workers to suffer from injuries that are caused by repetitive strains or motions. This is because a person's job might require them to take certain physical actions repeatedly and continuously over time. Those operating machinery, carrying out repetitive tasks or working at computers are particularly at risk.

If you have suffered injuries due to repetitive motions at work, you may be suffering from a cumulative trauma disorder. This will likely mean that your injury was not sudden, and your pain started to increase over time. This can make it more difficult to make a workers' compensation claim, but it is still possible to do so.

The role of pain in your Social Security Disability claim

Pain is a huge factor in many different medical conditions. For some people, it may be the number one symptom they try to treat or relieve. Yet, not every medical condition that leads to pain is easy to detect. In the past, that's often proven problematic for people with disorders like fibromyalgia or chronic daily migraines because they're conditions that aren't easy to document through lab tests.

So, how do you show examiners from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that your pain is real and very limiting? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Make pain a part of your conversation at every doctor's visit. Unless you directly address your pain, your doctor may not make a note of it at your visit -- and consistent documentation of your pain helps your case.
  2. Go for every lab test and every treatment -- even if that means going to physical therapy or going to a pain clinic. The more you show that you are doing everything you can to alleviate your pain, the more credible your complaints of that pain become. It doesn't matter if you're unsuccessful -- just that you keep trying.
  3. Document your limitations due to pain very carefully. When you fill out your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, give specific examples of how pain limits you. Are you unable to stand for more than 10 minutes because of your fibromyalgia? Explain how that limits your ability to do the grocery shopping, clean your house, go to social events, etc. Do your migraines lay you up four days a week? Talk about how that limits your life.

Do you know what to expect from a disability hearing?

When a physical injury or medical condition prevents you from working, you know that you need financial help from somewhere. For many individuals who are unable to hold gainful employment because of a disability, this help comes from Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, not everyone who needs this support is able to get it easily. 

If you applied for these benefits, you may find yourself facing the disappointment and stress that comes with a denied claim. While this is certainly a setback, it is normal. Many initial claims come back denied. This does not mean, however, it is the end of the road for you. There are things you can do to continue your pursuit of these benefits, and you may have to attend a hearing to fight for the support you need.

What is horseplay in the workplace?

When at work, employees should be engaged in the task at hand and be concentrating on the work that they have to do. If an employee becomes injured while engaging in a work-related task and damages occur, they will have the right to claim workers' compensation as a result.

Workers have the right to claim workers' compensation even if the reason why they became injured was that they made a mistake. However, if it is believed that the employee was engaging in horseplay when they became injured, they may not be able to successfully gain compensation.

Employer responsibilities regarding workplace safety

All employees have the right to expect a reasonably safe workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put standards in place that dictate safety regulations across industries. However, it is not always possible to prevent accidents from occurring, and injuries can still occur.

If you have been recently injured in the workplace, you may be disappointed by the way that your employer has handled the situation. After a workplace injury, you should make sure that you consider filing for workers' compensation, and make sure that you understand the responsibilities that your employer has toward you.

Is your disability case under review?

Qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits is not always easy. If you have certain medical conditions or difficult situations, the Social Security Administration may fast-track your application. For most people, however, the process of obtaining the financial help they need is long and frustrating. More than half of first-time applicants receive rejections.

Therefore, you may have been relieved when the agency approved your application for benefits. It still meant you had to wait the required time before your money began to arrive, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel during your difficult time. However, if you recently received a notice that the SSA is reviewing your case to determine whether to discontinue your benefits, you may have concerns about your future.

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