California Workers' Compensation FAQ

What is a work-related Injury?

A work-related injury can be a very complexed and difficult situation to go through. One reason your claim for California workers’ compensation benefits could be denied is that the employer or insurer does not believe you have suffered a “compensable injury.” If this happens to you, don’t despair. Many perfectly valid claims are initially denied on this ground and later granted after a Los Angeles workers’ comp lawyer gets involved.

Let’s take a look at what “compensable injury” means.

What is a compensable injury?

California workers’ compensation law defines “injury” as an injury or disease arising out of your employment. The law describes three types of injuries:

1. Specific Injuries

 These occur as a result of one incident or exposure. These types of traumatic injuries encompass:

  • Trips, slips, and falls.
  • Cuts, burns, and electrocution.
  • Getting hit with moving or falling objects.
  • Getting caught in machinery.
  • Back injuries due to lifting too much weight.
  • Motor vehicle accidents

2. Cumulative trauma injuries. 

These occur as a result of repetitive physical or mental activities extending over a period of time, the combined effects of which cause disability or need for treatment. These types of injuries can include:

  • Arthritis and degenerative disc disease.
  • Tendonitis and bursitis.
    Nerve entrapment conditions, like carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome.
  • Muscle strain and spasm.

Workers in any jobs that require repetitive forceful movements or jobs that require remaining in one position for long periods are at risk for these injuries.

3. Occupational Diseases. 

An occupational disease is really a type of cumulative trauma injury. It occurs as a cumulative effect of the continual absorption of small quantities of harmful substances from the work environment. Examples include lung diseases (asbestosis, silicosis, occupational asthma) from inhaling dust, fumes, and other irritants present at the workplace and skin diseases (eczema, urticaria, skin cancer) from contact with chemicals.

Arising Out of/in the Scope of (AOE/COE)

To be compensable under workers’ compensation law, an injury must both arise out of (AOE) and occur in the course of (COE) the injured employee’s employment.

  • “Arising out of” means that your injury must be caused in some way by your employment activities or work environment.
  • “Course of employment” usually refers to the time and place where the injury occurred. In other words, your injury must have occurred while you were performing activities required by your job. You don’t have to literally have your work tools in your hand. Most acts that occur on the work premises during normal working hours will be covered, such as, for example, injuries occurring during breaks and restroom visits.

These are both slippery concepts, with a lot of gray areas. If your claim is denied for either of these reasons, you should consult a Los Angeles workers’ comp lawyer. A seasoned workers’ comp attorney can analyze your case and formulate the technical and sophisticated arguments necessary to give you the best chance of success.

Pasadena Workers' Compensation Attorney

At Robert M. Harman & Associates, we care committed to protecting your rights and your future.  We have the knowledge and experience to help you obtain the most compensation possible.  We will work diligently and will keep you updated throughout the whole process.

Providing Workers' Compensation Services to the Greater Los Angeles Area since 2002

YOU CAN COUNT ON US TO BE AGGRESSIVE ADVOCATES FOR YOUR RIGHTS