California law gives restaurant workers the right to claim compensation when they are injured at their job. Working in a restaurant, caterer or food plant is dangerous, and the tempo is fast-paced and the workers often use dangerous machines and tools.
This is a recipe for injury, and 1 in every 20 worker’s compensation claims in California comes from those injured in a restaurant.
Should I Make a Claim?
When someone gets injured in food service, they often struggle with whether they should make a claim. In many cases, they decide not to and have to live with the consequences of their injury. If they heal up 100 percent, you could say that everything worked out ok, right?
However, you were the one that got injure and had to suffer the pain and deal with having to perform the same functions. You also might have gotten stuck with some of the insurance co-pays, or maybe you didn’t have insurance at all. These are expenses the law says your employer’s insurance is supposed to cover.
Reasons Why Restaurant Worker’s Don’t Make Claims:
- I don’t want to lose my job: Under California law, your boss can’t fire you or cut your hours or do anything detrimental to you because you filed a WC claim. If this happens, them they may have to pay you back pay and damages and then pay the state a hefty fine.
- I can’t afford to miss work: California WC law gives you benefits that equals roughly two-thirds of your weekly pay (about the same as you were getting after taxes) for any temporary disability. This will go on as long as you are out of work (up to 2 years) if it takes that long.
- I might lose my position: WC law requires that you don’t lose your position to someone else because you filed a claim. Your employer has to accommodate you during your injury time and then allow you to come back when healed.
- The accident was my fault: California WC benefits are not fault-based, so how you got hurt at work is irrelevant so long as you were at work (or on duty) and doing things in the course and scope of the business. This is true even if you lifted more that you were told to do, were running when you slipped, were goofing around throwing things at a co-worker.
- My injury didn’t seem that significant at first: Many injured workers don’t file or give their boss notice of their injury because they thought it was no big deal. Later they change their mind and wonder if it’s too late. Yes there are deadlines for giving notice of a claim, but the law also gives several exceptions. Don’t let this stop you, talk to an attorney to find out your rights.
Food Worker Injuries Covered
There are many ways food workers get injured. Many times, workers will wonder if their injury is covered and whether it’s worth reporting. Here are some of the most common injuries in food service:
- Strains/Sprains: Lifting, carrying, pulling, pushing and all sorts of physical activity leads to sprains and strains that may seem no big deal at first. Left untreated, they can become permanently disabling.
- Lacerations/Cuts/Punctures: Sharp knives, slicers, ice picks and other tools and machinery can produce serious wounds and significant damage.
- Burns: Burns are one of the most painful injuries a person can endure. Most of the time, they heal and everything is fine once the pain goes away. However, if the burn is severe enough, then the damage can be permanent and disabling.
- Slip and Falls: Falls are all too common in restaurants. People are in a hurry and liquid of every kind is often on the floor. Falls can produce sprains, fractures and other injuries.
- Overextension: These happen often when you slip but don’t fall and overextend an elbow or a knee. These can be debilitating and cause significant pain and lost time from work.
- Repetitive Injuries: Injuries that happen over time are also compensable under California’s WC laws. This happens when a job requires the same motion such as carrying, lifting or some other repetitive motion, and the affected area gets chronically inflamed.
Sacramento Workers’ Comp Lawyer:
Talk to an attorney. Your employer doesn’t need to know that you contacted an attorney and the consultations are free. This way you can find out your rights and make an informed decision. Sometimes your boss might be aware of your injury and will even take you to the doctor. But this doesn’t mean that they are going to give you all the benefits you deserve.
Talk to an attorney today who understands food service workers and what they are going through. Alice A. Strömbom is an experienced California Worker’s Compensation who can help you through your decision-making process, and then help you get the benefits that you have coming due to your injury. Call the Law Office of Alice A. Strömbom today to get started on your financial recovery.