Workers' compensation benefits run out, but chronic pain persists

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently reported that California workers at the Amazon fulfillment center in Fresno appear to face exceptionally high injury risks. Analysis of OSHA records shows that 307 occupational illnesses and injuries were reported at that facility in the twelve months from June 2018 through May 2019. The agency further reports that the injury rate at this fulfillment center is triple the rate of injuries in this industry nationwide, which is reflected in the number of workers' compensation claims.

One source reported that workers feared job loss if they reported on-the-job injuries, which makes one question the accuracy of the reported injury statistics. The OSHA report lists the injury types, most of which are back, shoulder, wrist and ankle strains and sprains resulting from repetitive motions. Next on the injury list come bruises, fractures, crush injuries and skin irritations.

Several former workers reported that they continue to suffer chronic pain long after their workers' compensation benefits run out. A 31-year-old former worker says she received physical therapy for several weeks after a serious wrist injury. However, the fact that she is unable to lift anything with that hand makes it impossible to find another job, leaving her family dependent on food stamps and help from family members.

California workers who suffer workplace injuries are typically eligible for workers' compensation benefits. When injuries cause permanent total or partial disabilities, the victims might receive additional compensation and benefits, like vocational rehabilitation, to teach them new skills that will enable them to find alternate employment. An experienced workers' compensation attorney can assist with the navigation of the benefits claims in pursuit of maximum benefits.

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