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Undocumented, non-English speaking workers have many questions

Over the holidays, many California companies in counties such as Orange County, Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County employ temporary workers to cope with the increased workloads. Industries include agriculture, construction, warehousing, retail and more. The latter two may not seem like industries that could pose serious injury hazards. However, workers at all levels of employment regardless of their nationalities are entitled to workers' compensation coverage if they suffer on-the-job injuries.

Is my injury compensable?

Some confusion exists about the injury types that are compensable under workers' compensation. For example, if you worked in a restaurant where you were exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke, you may end up with lung cancer, and countless hours working on a computer can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are a temporary worker in a warehouse or retail store, you may sprain an ankle if you accidentally fall from a ladder while packing merchandise. Workers' comp covers all work-related injuries.

Is my injury work related?

You may not realize that workers' compensation covers the injuries you suffered in a crash when your boss sent you to get lunch - even if it happened off-site. If you have an accident while driving a company vehicle on a job-related trip, it is a work-related injury. This will also apply to injuries you suffered after having one or two drinks too many at a company-sponsored social event at which the company provided alcohol.

Psychological injuries can also be work-related. If you witness a catastrophic workplace accident, it might have left you suffering depression, anxiety or other mental damage. Also, if you had a pre-existing physical or mental condition that was exacerbated by your current job, it might be covered.

I am not a documented worker - am I covered?

In California, workers' compensation insurance covers all workers -- even if you are undocumented or an illegal immigrant. However, independent contractors may not be covered. Specific rules may apply to domestic workers, nannies and such -- related to the number of hours they work, and their incomes.

If you are a temporary worker in California who has suffered an on-the-job injury, you are entitled to claim benefits through the workers' compensation insurance system. Basic benefits include coverage for medical care, lost wages for the time you spend recuperating or permanent disability benefits if your recovery is not complete. In certain circumstances, retraining may be offered to provide new skills in the event of disability. Furthermore, if you should lose your life on the job, your family will be entitled to claim death benefits to help them cope with end-of-life expenses.

Any workplace injury can have serious complications, whether you are in a full-time position or a temporary or seasonal worker. Navigating a workers' compensation claim can be complicated -- especially if English is not your first language. Fortunately, help is available through experienced workers' compensation attorneys who also speak Spanish, Cambodian and Vietnamese.

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Law Offices of William W. Green & Associates
505 S. Villa Real
Anaheim, CA 92807

Phone: 714-464-6903
Toll Free: 866-543-7598
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