The Most Common Work Injuries in California

It doesn’t matter how safe or unlikely you think your place of employment is. When it comes to suffering an injury at work, you should always expect the unexpected.

In 2020 California changed their laws reclassifying independent contractors as employees. If you suffer an injury while working your expenses must now be covered under workers’ compensation.

Work injuries include everything from an office worker slamming their fingers in a door to a shop worker suffering permanent trauma from machinery. In the state of California, OSHA requires employers to post an annual summary of work-related injuries in an area visible to employees. We are going to take a look at the most common work injuries in California.

Sprains and Strains

The most frequent claim for workers’ compensation benefits results from an employee suffering a sprain or strain. Work injuries often happen in moving, transportation, warehouse, and manufacturing.

When the tendons or muscles become stretched or torn, the result is a strain. Strains are frequent in the hamstrings, back, and shoulders.

The difference between a strain and a sprain is that ligaments are stretched or torn in a sprain. Sprains are most often found in the ankle and knee.

Both injuries usually require medical attention. This type of injury falls within workers’ compensation coverage in California. You must use the medical provider your employer instructs you to go to.

Fractures and Breaks

Every person experiences an average of two (2) broken bones in their lifetime. In the United States, about 2 million people experience bone fractures every year. Age and underlying health issues play into the likelihood of suffering broken bone injuries.

With the full retirement age of 67 for anyone born after 1960, there is a strong likelihood you will be working to an age where you have a higher likelihood of suffering an injury on the job. Employees suffer fractures and breaks in all lines of work.

Employee fractures and breaks can result from anything. This includes a librarian or retail employee falling from a ladder to a construction worker falling off scaffolding. The injury location can also be less obvious, such as a delivery person who falls off a porch, or a hi-lo driver backing into an employee, resulting in injury.

When you suffer a break or fracture, depending on your line of work, you may be unable to perform your duties for an extensive period of time. Your workers’ compensation attorney will make sure you receive all compensation you are entitled to, including wage loss and medical expenses.

Punctures and Cuts

Workers who suffer punctures and cuts are often found in the manufacturing, construction, and retail industry. Minor injuries do not qualify for workers’ compensation treatment. This applies if the injury requires only minimal treatment from the company’s first aid kit, such as cleaning the wound, applying antiseptic, and covering with a simple bandage.

If the puncture is deep or the cut severe to the extent it is likely to require stitches or other professional wound care, your employer must provide coverage under workers’ compensation.


A contusion is a fancy word for bruise. People incur minor bruises on a regular basis that do not need medical treatment.

Contusions of a severe nature often result from severe impact against the body. This can include deep damage resulting from a collision with equipment, impact from a falling object, or being accidentally struck with materials being moved by another employee.

Contusions often result from more obvious incidents, such as an employee being crushed by equipment that causes internal damage to the body. Even if not visible, unusually high pain in an area is an indication of the need for medical treatment.

Machine Injuries

Machine injuries occur when an employee becomes caught or crushed in machinery. This can happen if an employee does not follow safety protocols set in place, resulting in injury to themselves and/or another employee.

Machine accidents in outside industries include backhoe and loader accidents, chainsaw accidents, combine harvester accidents and grain auger accidents. In the restaurant industry, you may see meat grinder and slicer accidents.

General manufacturing accidents include drill press accidents, forklift accidents, injection molding machines, lathe machines, milling machines, and more.

Other Workplace Injuries

There is no limitation on the types of injuries you may receive while at work. What type of injury you receive will be relative to the type of work you do. Here are some other workplace injuries:

  • Burns
  • Hearing loss
  • Electric shock
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Exposure to biohazards
  • Injury from firearms
  • Assault by disgruntled customers, fellow workers, etc.

When you suffer a severe injury it impacts you and your family. Workplace injury that merits legal action covers a wide area. Do not second guess whether your injury justifies a lawsuit. Contact an attorney for a professional legal opinion.

Workers Compensation Coverage

California law requires the workers’ compensation administrator to pay all medical expenses “reasonably necessary” to treat and/or relieve the effects of your injury. It is illegal for a medical provider to charge you for treatment if you make them aware it is a work-related injury. Workers compensation provides benefits for:

  • Medical treatment
  • Wage compensation for the time you miss from work
  • Benefits for permanent disability
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits, which provide job retraining or skill enhancement if necessary to return to work
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Death benefits to dependent survivors in injury results in death

Workers’ compensation benefits have no provisions for pain and suffering, but such compensation may be available if there is reason to file a lawsuit. Your workers’ compensation attorney will advise you on the legal requirements.

Finding a Work Injuries Attorney

When you suffer from work injuries, you need to consult with an attorney who will review your file to make sure you are receiving all compensation you are entitled to. Workers’ compensation insurance companies often try to side-step their obligations.

The attorneys at Sweet Law have more than 40 years of experience and will make sure you receive all compensation you deserve. Contacting us is easy, simply text, email, use the form on our website, or call us at 800-674-7854.

We are available 24/7 and offer a 100% free consultation. You have nothing to lose because you pay no attorney fees unless we win!

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