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Contra Costa County and Tri-Valley Workers' Compensation Blog

Workers' compensation claims for HAVS might be challenging

Employees in the landscaping industry in California face multiple safety hazards, one of which is the frequently overlooked threat of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). This occupational hazard threatens workers in all occupations in which they use vibrating power tools such as chain saws, grinders, drills and jackhammers. If HAVS are not treated timely and left to develop fully, the harm will be irreversible because there is no surgical procedure or other cure for it. If HAVS can be proved to be work-related, affected employees might be eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

HAVS is an occupational condition that develops gradually, at a rate that depends on the exposure level. Initial symptoms typically include numbness or tingling sensations in one or more fingers or the hands, and exposure to the cold could cause them to go white. At first, these sensations will likely last only minutes at a time.

Police officers have very serious risks on each shift

Police officers have a very dangerous job that includes a variety of hazards. It is imperative that these public servants have the tools and training they need to remain safe. The department they work for should ensure that all employees are prepared for a safe shift, but officers also have to receive training on what to do if there is an accident, assault or injury.

Here are some important facts to know about police officers, injuries, fatalities and accidents:

Workers' compensation: DUI driver crashes into construction zone

Workers in construction zones on California roads face multiple occupational hazards. Along with the dangerous nature of their work, and the heavy equipment on the work site, these workers have to deal with the threats posed by negligent drivers who travel through the work zone. Many workers' compensation claims involve injuries caused by distracted, impaired or otherwise careless drivers.

On a recent Sunday evening, two workers in a freeway work zone were injured by an alleged impaired driver. Reportedly the driver also hurt himself when he lost control of his vehicle shortly before 11 p.m. A California Highway Patrol report indicates that a 24-year-old driver was southbound on Interstate 15 when he drove through the obstructions and struck the rear of a pickup truck in the construction zone.

Can personal injury award ever make up for pain and suffering?

A slip-and-fall accident can happen in the blink of an eye. However, the pain and suffering after such an incident can last for years. When consumers in California slip or trip while out shopping, they could suffer one or more of a variety of injuries. If this happens due to the negligence of the store owner, the victim likely has grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Anyone who slips will likely fall backward or sideways, and if he or she trips, the fall will typically be forward. For this reason, the type of fall accident will determine the injuries that might occur. While any kind of fall could cause a whiplash motion of the head and neck that might cause neck and back injuries, forward falls can cause fractures and other damage to the knees. Because people instinctively put out their hands or grab something like a railing to stop a fall, hand, wrist, arm and shoulder damage can follow both slip-and-trip accidents.

Personal injury lawsuits might follow crash that injured veterans

Workers on California highways will always be vulnerable, whether they are doing road maintenance or picking up litter. Some drivers pay little or no attention, regardless of the number of signs put out to warn motorists of the presence of workers. Many personal injury cases in the state's civil courts involve injured workers and distracted drivers.

The California Highway patrol reported such an accident that occurred shortly before noon on a recent Tuesday. The accident report indicates that three members of a contracted veterans' work crew parked their Caltrans van and its attached trailer on the shoulder of Interstate Highway 80. Their task was to control vegetation and clear away litter along the side of the westbound lanes of the highway.

Teachers risk violence from students and their parents

California teachers today face a host of hazards with which teachers in past generations never had to cope. In fact, the students themselves pose significant risks to their teachers, according to a report titled "The Dirty Little Secret."

It was written by a member of the Fresno Teachers Association (FTA) and details the enhanced risk of physical violence to teachers who work with the special-needs student population.

Personal injury: Man loses mother and grandmother in crash

When a loved one dies in a car accident, the trauma that surviving family members suffer could be severe. This is also the case for a California man who is struggling to deal with the fact that he lost his grandmother and his mother in a suspected DUI crash on a recent Friday. A wrong-way driver reportedly caused the personal injury that led to the deaths of both.

A preliminary crash report indicates that the two women and one other passenger were traveling along the 91 Freeway as they headed home from a casino in the early morning hours. Their trip came to an abrupt end when a wrong-way driver smashed head-on into their vehicle. A man -- who was one of several good Samaritans who stopped to assist -- described how he struggled to get one of the rear windows open.

Chemical exposure victims might file workers' compensation claims

Exposure to hazardous chemicals can have severe consequences. Workers' compensation claims in California frequently follow such exposure, and victims might suffer long-term health effects. At least 40 people were affected by an unknown chemical hazard in Los Angeles County. The incident occurred at a facility that manufactures specialty defense industry and aerospace products.

Reportedly a cloud of hazardous materials could be seen when paramedics arrived at the scene shortly before 11 p.m. on a recent Monday. When they realized the severity of the situation, more ambulances were requested. A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Fire Department says firefighters, HazMat crews and paramedics responded, and many of them remained on site until the following morning. Some of the deputies who responded came from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station to help where necessary.

Workers' compensation benefits denied for firefighter with cancer

The fact that firefighters can develop cancer as a result of their employment has been established. Under California laws, the state's workers' compensation insurance program regards cancer as a compensable work-related disease for firefighters. However, most such claims are said to be initially denied.

A 69-year-old retired firefighter is fighting the denial of his benefits claim. He believes his 30 years of fighting fires caused the cancer he now suffers, and he seeks benefits to provide financial relief. The city rejected his application for benefits, suggesting there were other causes for him contracting the dreaded disease.

Workers' compensation: Forklift driver dies in construction zone

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health will likely launch an inquiry into the death of a construction worker in Pomona. The agency typically investigates fatal workplace accidents to determine whether there were safety violations committed. However, regardless of the findings of such an inquiry, the surviving family members of a deceased worker can pursue financial assistance through the workers' compensation insurance system.

The California Highway Patrol says the incident occurred at a road construction site along eastbound San Bernadino Freeway. Emergency workers responded to the scene at approximately 9:40 a.m. on a recent Friday. They arrived to find the worker trapped underneath a forklift. Sadly, he had already succumbed to his injuries by the time of their arrival.

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