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Bill signed could aid employees injured from an OSHA violation

When a workplace injury is caused by an employer's inability to provide a safe working environment and is accused of an OSHA violation or negligence, the victim may feel anxiety and confusion on how to pursue a claim. Previously, an injured worker in need of physical therapy was typically required to first receive an exam by a doctor prior to seeking treatment. A recent California bill has passed that could aid employees injured from an OSHA violation or workplace accident by changing this.

In the past, workers' compensation patients that needed physical therapy usually had to get an official referral from their primary workers' compensation physician before they could begin the therapy. The new bill, AB 1000, allows these patients the ability to seek a physical therapist independently. This may benefit many injured employees by allowing immediate help, so delays in treatment do not happen. A person who suffered from an injury involving an OSHA violation or unsafe workplace may be able to take legal action should they be medically restricted by their employer in seeking therapy.

Reports state that both the California Medical Association and the California Physical Therapy Association supported the bill that the Governor signed. This law can allow an injured California employee the ability to seek treatment with a physical therapist for up to 12 sessions, or an expanse of 45 days, before having to visit a primary physician for the injury and to be examined. However, without a referral, the workers' compensation patient must pay out of pocket for the therapy.

A worker that suffers from a severe injury while on the job can be left with permanent disabilities or chronic pain. A person's right to seek immediate physical therapy in the event of a devastating accident could make a difference in their ability to recover. This new California bill could aid employees injured by an OSHA violation or dangerous place of employment by allowing them to decide their medical treatment. Even still, workers' compensation can be a confusing journey, and many may benefit from additional professional guidance.

Source: californiahealthline.org, Governor Signs Physical Therapy Bill, Bob Norberg, Oct. 8, 2013

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