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Work Injuries and Your Labor and Industry Claim

Westcare Clinic can be a part of your injury claim team if you got hurt on the job. Washington’s Workers’ Compensation program can provide medical treatment for your injuries. We are proud to take workers’ compensation patients. Hard work is the backbone of our nation. When people work, inevitably, some of them will get injured on the job.

We handle workers’ compensation patients frequently, so we know how the claims process works for these cases. You do not want to get your claim denied because a health care professional somewhere else filled out a form incorrectly. We are here to help you, not cause bureaucratic headaches for you.

By providing all of the information the workers’ compensation program needs, we can help you avoid delays with your injury claim. Our experience in treating patients with workers’ compensation claims is to your benefit.

Types of Work Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 2.5 million Americans a year get hurt on the job badly enough to need treatment in the emergency room. This number means that 160 out of every 10,000 workers sustain severe injuries on the job annually.

The CDC says that the three leading causes of workplace injuries are:

Contact with objects and equipment Overexertion and bodily reaction Slips and trips without a fall

Workers age 24 or younger have the highest rate of emergency room-treated work injuries than any other age group. Nearly two-thirds of injured workers who need treatment in the emergency room are male. Almost one-fourth of all fatal work accidents involve motor vehicle crashes.

The CDC has a Traumatic Injury Prevention Program whose priority is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths from these work-related situations:

  • Performing job tasks by using industrial vehicles and machines

  • Falls

  • Motor vehicle collisions

  • Workplace violence

The Traumatic Injury Prevention Program is part of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). NIOSH researches health and safety issues in an effort to foster workplaces that are both safe and productive. You can find guidance on how to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries for specific types of work, like construction and agriculture, and particular circumstances, like highway work zone safety, electrical safety, and working in confined spaces.

Some common on-the-job injuries are:

  • Fractures. When a worker falls from a height, has a slip or trip and fall accident, material or equipment drops on or strikes him, has an equipment or motor vehicle accident, he can break bones.

  • Ergonomic issues. Workers can be at risk of soft tissue injury and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) because of poorly designed workspaces and tasks that take a toll on the body. Repetitive like typing for eight hours a day can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, a compression of nerves in the wrist. Sudden or ongoing exposure to vibration or force can injure a worker. Awkward posture because of work areas designed without the worker’s safety or health in mind can lead to degeneration of muscles and bones.

  • Back or neck injuries. People who perform heavy lifting, physical labor, sitting or standing for long periods at work are susceptible to sudden or chronic back injuries. We have multiple treatment options for job-related back or neck injuries.

  • Lacerations and burns. Jobs that involve working with heavy machinery or electrical items carry a risk of lacerations or burns severe enough to need treatment in an emergency room.

  • Traumatic brain injury. A person can suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) at work in a slip or trip and fall accident, a fall from a height, or a job-related motor vehicle accident, to name just a few examples. A TBI can cause life-long impairment and lead to excruciating headaches. Some people have severe headaches for many years after a head injury. We have multiple treatment options for headaches.

These are but a few examples of work-related injuries. You can call us to find out how we can help you get relief from the pain of your workers’ compensation injury.

Workers’ Compensation Can Cover Work-Related Diseases

Many people think of workers’ compensation as providing benefits when a person gets injured at work, but they do not realize that Washington’s workers’ compensation program can also apply to work-related illnesses and diseases. Some examples of these illnesses include:

  • Asbestosis. A person can get exposed to asbestos fibers on the job when performing repairs to equipment in older buildings, removing flooring or popcorn ceilings, and doing renovation work to commercial or residential property. Asbestosis can be extremely painful. We can perform nerve blocks and other interventions to improve the patient’s quality of life.

  • Cancer. Millions of people in America get exposed to carcinogens at work. Researchers estimate that between three and six percent of all cancer is the result of workplace exposure.

  • Throughout the workday, many people get exposed to infectious diseases. Sometimes a person merely catches a cold from workplace exposure, but unfortunately, a person can catch more severe diseases that have acute short-term complications and can develop into chronic impairments. Some of these conditions are painful. We have interventions available that can make a patient more comfortable both in the short term and long term.

Westcare Clinic is your one-stop pain management and treatment center.

Washington’s Worker’s Compensation Program

Our state has a Workers’ Compensation Program that provides these benefits for people with work-related illnesses or injuries:

  • Medical treatment

  • Vocational rehabilitation to help the injured worker get back to work after getting released by the treating doctor or transition into a different type of work because of lasting impairment from the work-related injury or illness

  • Lost wages, in the form of Temporary Total Disability (TTD) payments and Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) payments

  • Lost future wages, in the form of Permanent Total Disability (PTD) payments and Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) payments

  • Additional claim-related benefits or expenses, like reimbursement for mileage

If a person dies from a work-related injury or illness, qualified dependents can receive some compensation. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for additional benefits.

Key Points to Know

If a person has a work-related injury or illness and does not follow the strict rules of the Workers’ Compensation Program, the program can refuse to pay any benefits, even medical expenses and lost wages. It is vital to learn the regulations of the program immediately after an illness or injury on the job. Failure to do so could leave a person with a lifelong disability and a stack of unpaid medical bills.

Here are three things to know about workers’ compensation:

  • Notify your employer immediately. If a person does not provide timely notice to the boss and use the correct notification form, that alone can destroy his claim for medical and financial benefits.

  • Unless it is an emergency, only use the medical providers on your employer’s approved medical providers list or a medical provider that your boss approved for you. If your employer allows you to get treatment from someone not on the usual list, make sure that you get that authorization in writing. If you go to a doctor, hospital, or another medical facility whom your employer does not approve, you will likely have to pay those costs out of your own pocket. The workers’ compensation program and your regular health insurance will not pay those medical bills.

  • Cooperate with your employer and the insurance company your boss uses for workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes people get frustrated with the bureaucracy, so they push back by refusing to sign medical records releases, complete or sign forms, or provide evidence the insurance company needs to process the claim. The worker loses when this happens, because failure to cooperate can be grounds for the insurance company to legitimately deny your claim.

Of course, in the event of an emergency, a sick or injured worker should go to the nearest emergency room. Also, some employers will allow a worker to go to a doctor or facility that is not on the approved list if the worker makes a formal request and shows a convincing reason for the request. If there are not any doctors or facilities on the approved list who provide the type of treatment a worker needs, most bosses will be reasonable about authorizing “outside” treatment.

When a person gets sick or hurt because of something that happened on the job, there are a lot of different things to juggle. For example:

  • Jumping through all the hoops to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

  • Dealing with the pain and inconvenience of the illness or injury.

  • Trying to get well again.

  • Worrying about whether the person will heal entirely or having lasting impairment from the illness or injury.

  • Stressing about becoming unemployed while at home, recuperating.

Westcare Clinic can help with the pain at the time of illness or injury, as well as discomfort from treatments like physical therapy, and chronic pain issues. We can be a part of your treatment team for many work-related conditions. Illnesses and injuries often cause pain, and we can help restore your quality of life by reducing or eliminating your discomfort from a work-related disease.

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