The Workers Compensation Attorney Group is a well known, highly-rated, and experienced firm in Orange County that excels in serving employees that are facing denied claims for work-related injuries. The vast majority of employees face claim rejection for numerous reasons. Our sole aim is to ensure that employees who suffer work-related injuries are rightfully compensated. We diligently work on these cases to ensure the claimant’s rights are exercised.

Who are Public Employees?

Employees working for the government are termed as public employees. Government employees are categorized in federal employees, state, and local employees, and there are also particular types of occupation. Working for the government comes with a bunch of benefits, such as a great job with security, payments for the days off, and high increased compensation benefits. However, it can be impossible to avoid unfortunate incidents, primarily if you work in a hazardous environment. As an employee suffering from an injury, you should be aware that you have the right to compensation.

Workers’ Compensation Overview for Public Employees.

A workers’ compensation is a program of laws stating the particular benefits an injured employee is entitled to, and the steps of acquiring such benefits. It is mandated that in every state, an employer MUST sign insurance covers that cater for the expenses of the employees who suffer work-related injuries. An injured employee might require to take some time off work, and due to the unexpected cut of income, the situation might result in severe privation in the employee's life and family. The insurance cover mitigates the situation in the victim's life, providing medical expenses and wage loss.

Government workers use a separate set of laws in terms of workers' compensation. The federal law regulates federal employees, the state or the local government employees use the state's workers' compensation or follow the particular state’s statutes. The regulations of the state govern how railroad, seamen, and other special types of employees receive compensation.

The Federal Civil Service Employees

Federal service employees are divided into three bodies, judicial, legislative, or executive. Federal workers have a contrast of programs in terms of workers' compensation benefits. The Federal Employee's Compensation Act (FECA) ensures that an employee who suffers a work-related injury that ultimately leads to disability or death is compensated. FECA is easily accessible, and it protects all federal employees regardless of the duration an employee has been working and the position they hold.

Every federal employee is under the program of the Federal Employee's Compensation Act (FECA).  The sole aim of FECA is to provide recovery for those employees who suffer job-related injuries that lead to disability or death. The benefits come in terms of medical bills and wage loss. Also, the victim’s who experience temporary disability are offered Vocational rehabilitation services.

The Office of Workers’ Compensation Program (OWCP) is in charge of the whole federal department benefits. The benefit is paid out through the employee’s compensation fund.

Who is Covered On The Federal Employee Compensation Act

All public employees that work in the US, excluding those that work in the armed services and police force fall under the program of FECA. There is a special program that facilitates coverage to:

  • Peace Corps and people who volunteer their services

  • Grand jurors

  • People who freely offer their service to Civil Air Patrol, Job Corps, Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadet, Youth Conservation Corps Enrollees, and Neighborhood Corps.

  • The officers who are non-federal but they must enforce the law in situations where illegal acts occur against the US.

What Injuries Are Covered In FECA

FECA covers most injuries, as long as the injury was an employment-related injury or an illness that was stimulated by the work. However, if the injured employee deliberately hurt themselves or someone else with the intent to result in death or injury, the claim is likely to be declined.

Prerequisite Of a FECA Claim

A FECA claim must meet the requirements such as:

  1. Medical report

    Which must consist of the following elements:

    • The time frame in which the claim was made must fit the time set by the FECA

    • The victim or deceased was under the FECA coverage

    • The victim must prove that the injury led to a medical condition

    • Must prove that the injury was work-related

    • Prove that ultimately, the medical situation leads to the claim

Time Frame for Reporting a FECA Claim

An injury must be filed in three years since the date of the injury. Although, if you don't report the claim within the time frame, there is a possibility for compensation if you did notify the jury with a written notice within 30 days. If the employer was aware of the injury within 30 days after an occurrence, you still have the right to benefits.

State and Local Workers

When it comes to state and local government workers, it is either an employee is under their state set of regulations, or they follow a different set of regulations. To ensure you are aware of the law that you follow, you can always check the workers’ compensation information posted at your workplace. Such kind of information is obligatory to be posted at a workplace where every employee can access it. The data contains every employee’s coverage and any other information they might require. However, if the information is unlocatable, you can reach out to your employer for more information.

Human resources or employee management department should have more information about the state workers’ compensation for employees who are employed by the state government. If you work in California,  get in touch with the California Department of Human Resources.

In Florida, you can get the data from the department of management service, which controls the state employee benefits. The same case applies if you are employed by the local county or working for the city government. You can contact the Human Resources Department or get in touch with the legal department. If you belong to union labor, contact the union official or representative.

Other Special Employees

These types of employees include railroad workers and seamen. Workers from this sector can submit their claims for federal workers’ compensation benefits under some federal acts. For instance, if you are a railway worker who has suffered from a work-related injury while transporting either people or goods from one state to another, you are privileged to recovery from the federal employer’s liability act.

The Seamen recover from the Jones Act while the Longshore and harbor workers' compensation act are accounted for the same benefits to workers who serve their time in marine activities. Other programs that protect other employees compensation needs are the Defence Base Act which accounts for the compensation needs of the workers who work on defense bases or any project financed and owned by the government but carried out outside the US. The Outer Continental Shelf Land Act and the Death on the High seas Act.

Railroad Employees

In a railroad company, they are numerous jobs. Construction, transporting passengers to their intended destination, transporting goods to the interstate. There is a role of train crew members who are a liability for serving passengers and ensures their movement is safe. Workers like the brake operators, Locomotive engineers, and conductors work hand in hand in case of any new information regarding the state of the train.

No matter the kind of job an employee does in a railroad company, getting hurt in the line of duty is inevitable. Sadly, the railroad employees are faced with a much higher risk due to their working conditions. As a result, in 1908, the federal government facilitated the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) with the provision of some rights and protection to railroad employees. One of the most significant rules that FELA  issued is that railroad institutions are obliged to enforce safety conditions for its workers. The railroad company is also required to supply specifics and proper training and management. Under FELA act railroad companies are hindered from giving unrealistic demands to the employees.

If a railroad company or an employer violates the laws under  FELA, and eventually, an employee ends up suffering from an injury, the worker can submit a claim at FELA against the company or the employer.

Common Injuries for Railroad Workers

The most common dangers on the railroad companies are electrocution, falling off from a going or a moving train, hit by a going train, injured while on construction or while repairing. These kinds of accidents can result in back, neck, and bone injuries in most cases, causing death.

Background Information on FELA

In 1908, during the industrialization period at the start of the 20th century,  a law was created to enact FELA to protect railroad employees due to the extreme rate of injuries and death. FELA also wanted to supply employers and railroad companies with a uniform law that was of liability standard in terms of safe working conditions and the safety of an employee.

Unfortunately, until now, the railroad employees face huge risks of both injuries and death while working compared to other employees in any other department. For instance, not so long ago, the statistics indicated that railroad employees were faced with the highest chance of being injured or getting killed while on work than all the private employees. Sometimes the rate of death of railroad employees escalates to thrice the average rate across working institutions.

FELA's Employer, Prerequisite.

As stated above, railroad workers face a higher chance of injuries and death than any other working institution. Therefore, FELA requires employers to ensure:

Safe Working Conditions

  • The employer is required to provide a safe and reasonable working environment. This includes having sufficient safety tools.

  • If there are any dangerous conditions for employees, the employer must warn the workers prior before, resulting in an injury.

  • The employer ought to ensure the workplace is inspected of any wittingly or unwittingly dangers. If an employee suffers from any injury due to the dangerous condition, under FELA, the employer might be held responsible.

Teaching, Supervision and Safety Rules

Under FELA law, the employers and railroad companies should ensure all workers are fully equipped according to the tasks assigned to them. The obligation includes ensuring:

  • The employee is provided with the proper training concerning the assigned task. This will see to it that the employee is performing their assigned job safely.

  • Every work project and work state should be properly supervised to lessen any chance of an employee facing a work-related injury. The obligation of inspecting of any dangers in the workplace as (mentioned above) is met when an employee is injured solely due to a lack of providing proper and adequate supervision.

  • Any company has job rules and regulations, which must be adhered. So, apart from the duty of complying with federal safety standards, any railroad company must obey the workplace terms and conditions. Failure to that, the railroad company is held responsible under FELA.

FELA Claims

For a successful FELA claim, it must be filed within three years from the time of the injury. This kind of claim comes a little different from the other Workers' Compensation claims; a FELA claim will require the injured employee to have evidence that the employer was negligent, unlike the other workers' compensation claim whereby you need to prove that the injury is work-related.

Also, FELA differs from workers' compensation claims in a way that the victim might benefit from pain and suffering while in workers' compensation claim the victim does not receive any pain and suffering payments. A successful FELA claim can fetch the victim with more money, unlike the workers' compensation claim.

Under FELA, when the employer is negligent is when there is a limited supply of precaution equipment.

Other Railroad or Employer’s Duties

The railroad company or the employer must make certain:

  • To come up with practical methods of ensuring the employees are free from any malicious acts, crime, or intentional acts that are caused by other employees or third parties.

  • They should prevent giving an employee any unreasonable amount of work all in the name of a tight deadline, time, or production.

  • The railroad company or an employer must ensure that they provide sufficient help in cases where some assignments might surpass an employee’s capability in terms of skills and physical limitations.

Benefits Covered By an Injured Railroad Under FELA

Under FELA, a successful claim will be compensated for:

  • The injured benefits from past and future loss of income,

  • The injured benefits from previous and future medical bills and

  • If the injured experiences pain and suffering or mental distress, they are entitled to compensation

In a worst case scenario where the injury leads to death, under the FELA act, the spouse or the children are the recipients of the benefits. If the employee has no spouse or kids, the compensation is received by parents or any immediate family relative.

The Seamen Under The Jones Act

The jones act which is also known as the merchant marine act of 1920 was created to protect the mariners who got harmed at the sea since they would not fit in the workers’ compensation under maritime law. The merchant marine is a name referred to a group of ships that  transport both imports and exports from one country to another when there is peace in the country and in the time of war they act as a vessel to deliver soldiers and war tools for the country, mostly these ships are ordered by the government of US.

Who is Covered Under The Jones Act

Some private seamen carry out an import and export business and are termed as merchant marines. The terrestrial law does not cover anyone on the sea; however, with the Jones Act, an employee might get a chance to sue their employer in case of any harm.

The jones act covers the captains, ship officers, and the crew team that dedicate a minimum of  30 percent of their time on vessel navigation. Mainly they help in ensuring the ship does not float, in operation and ensures the ship is movable on navigable waters. However, there are cases where a crew member does not meet the 30 percent necessity to fall under the Jones Act. Therefore, they will be under the Federal Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.

How the Jones Act protects Seamen

All shipping companies or the employers are obliged by Jonas Act to provide marine employees with a safe working condition. If the captain, ship officer, or any other ship employee is negligent and causes another employee’s injury, the employer is held responsible for the outcome and can be sued by the victim. Some of the negligent that may cause an injury include:

  • Lack of relevant training for either a captain or a crew member

  • Lack of adequate tools

  • An injury provoked by another employee either by assault or negligent

  • A slippery ship deck due to oil or other substances can cause an injury

  • Using the old and poorly maintained tools

Filing a Claim Under The Jones Act

The claimant is required to prove that the employer was negligent. It doesn’t matter how minor the injury was. The following are the steps to follow:

  • If injured, report the injury within seven (7) days to your superior such as the captain

  • The injured should file an accident report stating the injury and who is at fault

  • The injured should seek medical treatment; the best part is that the medical report can be used to support the claim

Reasons Why Workers’ Comp is Denied

  • Injury reported late

    Every state has its own law; generally, the injury must be reported as soon as possible to your employer or supervisor

  • Claim filed late

    Every state law determines the period of filing for a claim, mostly it goes from 30-90 days

  • Employer disputes the claim

    Your employer might have a different version from yours; they can claim the injury was not work-related or might have another reason that can disqualify the claim

  • Injury not qualifying for compensation

    It is close to impossible proving job-related emotional distress claim

  • No medical treatment

    Getting medical attention is one of the steps you take immediately after suffering the injury. The medical report help in proving the claim

  • Not enough evidence the injury is employment-related

    It is hard to identify if the injury happened at work, especially if there is not enough evidence

What to do When a Claim is Rejected

A rejection of a claim is a possible outcome of your case. The most important thing is to know after the claim has been denied, what should be the next step. When a claim is denied, the injured has the right to present the case to a judge. First, you are required to file an Application for Adjudication claim with the necessary documents. You must also notify the other parties and eventually file for the Declaration of Readiness to Proceed. The case is planned for a mandatory settlement conference. If the case is not settled, you are required to prepare documents explaining about the dispute, putting together all the necessary details to present and noting down the witness who will testify.

Filing a claim might be a daunting task to a victim who has no idea of the pieces to pick. A professional attorney might come in handy to ensure all the facts are evaluated and put together to present an indomitable and robust case.

Contacting a Orange County Workers Comp Lawyer Near Me.

Our Attorneys are well versed with the strict guidelines of workers’ comp laws, and we are here to simplify this process for you to ensure you are able to navigate these laws and be fairly compensated. Call 562-485-9694 to speak to a professional who can file your claim correctly to ensure compensation. The Workers Compensation Attorney Group has aggressive, ethical, and knowledgeable attorneys who have nothing but your best interests in mind. Call today!