Being injured at work can take a toll on your life. Sure, you’ll have physical limitations while you recover from your injuries, but the financial implications of your injuries can be overwhelming, too. You might also struggle with the fact that your accident was preventable, causing you to feel anger and frustration.
Fortunately, your on-the-job injury may qualify you for workers’ compensation benefits. These payments, if successfully obtained, can help offset the costs of your medical expenses while also alleviating the impact of your lost wages. While there are certain limits on the amount of workers’ compensation benefits that you may receive, you should note that you can recover up to an additional 50% of your benefits amount if you can show that your injuries were caused by your employer’s serious and willful violation of an existing Cal/OSHA regulation.
Proving an OSHA violation in your workers’ compensation case
If your workplace injury was caused by a Cal/OSHA violation, then you need to take action to secure every dollar to which you’re entitled. But how do you even go about proving an Cal/OSHA violation? First, it’s important to realize what has to be shown. In order to demonstrate that an Cal/OSHA regulation has been violated, you have to show four things:
- That an Cal/OSHA-imposed standard was applicable to the situation at hand
- That an actual safety hazard existed
- That you were exposed to that dangerous condition
- Your employer either knew or should have known about the hazard and the violation
Additionally, depending on the facts of your case, you may to show that the violation was the result of serious and willful misconduct. This typically means that your employer had a reckless and absolute disregard for the possibility that a practice could cause serious harm. In some instances though, a mere violation of a Cal/OSHA regulation may be sufficient to get you what you want.
So where do you start in building your claim? There are a few steps that you can take to better position your argument for success:
- Obtain documentation from a Cal/OSHA investigation. If you were injured on the job, the accident should have been reported, and Cal/OSHA investigators should have conducted an investigation of your workplace. If Cal/OSHA’s records indicate that a violation occurred, then you’ve got a strong case to recover additional compensation.
- Request records from your employer. Your employer is required to generate a report to send to Cal/OSHA shortly after a workplace accident. This report should be fairly detailed, and by gaining access to it you can better determine if your employer was honest and whether additional investigation is needed.
- Speak to coworkers who can attest to the dangerous conditions at your workplace and whether supervisors at your place of employment were aware of the hazards.
- Familiarize yourself with the regulations. By knowing what regulations applied in your situation, you may gain a better sense of where to look for evidence. For example, if you feel like you were improperly trained on how to use machinery, then you might want to read up on Cal/OSHA regulations that apply and review the training materials that were provided to you to see if they conform with those regulations. If they don’t, then you may have a stronger case.
- Look at your employer’s history of Cal/OSHA violations to see if it has had knowledge of this issue in the past but has failed to adequately remedy it.
Build the strong workers’ compensation claim that you deserve
A successful workers’ compensation claim can give you the financial resources that you need to secure stability while you focus on your recovery. But if you ineptly navigate the process, then your claim could end up denied, leaving you in a precarious financial position.
That’s why law firms like ours stand ready to assist you every step of the way, from generating your initial claim to building your argument should you need to appeal a claim denial. It’s certainly not an easy process, but it’s also not one that you have to face on your own. So, if you think that you could benefit from having a skilled legal advocate on your side, then now may be the time to reach out to a legal professional of your choosing to discuss the matter further.