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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Industrial accident causes amputation of man's leg

In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act requiring employers to keep the workplace free from known hazards that could lead to serious injuries or death. The agency born out of the law, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, devised rules and regulations that provide minimum standards for employers that are designed to meet that goal. Even so, that does not mean that every employer across the country, including some here in Arizona, will follow those rules and regulations, which could leave workers vulnerable to an industrial accident.

For example, a man working at a grain handling facility stepped into a steel grain bin and into an open auger well. His left leg was torn off in the incident. An OSHA representative from the area where the accident occurred said that the man never should have suffered such a life-altering injury. The woman goes on to say that following OSHA's guidelines and regulations could have prevented the harm done to this man.

Can diabetes affect your workers' comp claim?

The concept of workers’ compensation is often couched in terms of remedying physical injuries that occur in the course of employment (i.e. injuries occurring from falls, mechanical mishaps, etc). However, we may not consider how certain physiological issues may affect one’s ability to perform their duties.

Because of this, it is important for workers and employers to consider how diabetes may affect future workers’ compensation claims. A recent workerscompensation.com report detailed how diabetes has become a concern given the many complications that can follow a workplace injury. 

What happens when an employee pays covered medical expenses?

We all know that the purpose of workers’ compensation is to pay certain bills while the employee is unable to work due to a workplace injury. But like many types of insurance claims, the bills don’t stop just because a claim is being processed. This is especially true when there is a dispute between the medical provider and the employer as to who is responsible for paying for what. Because of this, there may be instances where an employee may pay medical bills out of their own pocket.

In these instances, what is an employee to do? This post will attempt to provide some insight. 

What employees should know about an employer's responsibilities

People universally go to work not expecting to get injured. So when they are unfortunately hurt while they are working, it should be expected that they may not know what to do when it comes to seeking benefits simply to keep the lights on and the rent paid. In industries such as construction, manufacturing and even law enforcement, employers have specific responsibilities with regard to providing workers' compensation insurance as well as other duties to protect employees.

This post will highlight a few. 

Injured employee snakebitten by employer on work comp claim

At its core, workers compensation is supposed to help injured workers make ends meet while they recover from injuries suffered from on-the-job accidents. In many of our posts, we have highlighted construction accidents, industrial site mishaps and even claims based on the excessive wearing of high heels. But should workers' compensation pay for medical expenses and time lost when an employee is a snake bite victim?

That is the question being posed as a woman reportedly bitten by a baby copperhead snake. The poisonous venom caused her foot to swell considerably, and she had to spend three days in the hospital while receiving two doses of anti venom. She was not readily able to return to work, so she filed a workers' compensation claim. In Arizona, if she was at work and in the course and scope of her employment, the bite should be covered.

More truckers injured than you may think

It is understandable that the construction industry will slow down in July and August, as these are traditionally the hottest months of the year in our region, but for the trucking industry, business is still robust. With how active truckers are, the number of them who are severely injured while working may still be a mystery.

Unfortunately, one in every six Americans killed in the course of their employment is a truck driver. The Bureau of Labor Statistics for the U.S. Department of Labor reports that in 2014, 761 truckers were killed in accidents. Many of those killed were behind the wheel when they met their demise and this number has steadily climbed each year for the past five years.

Are workers' with PTSD eligible for workers' comp benefits

In the many instances where we highlight workers' compensation benefits, it is because of physical injuries suffered during the course of one's work activities. Which begs the question, can a worker receive benefits due to psychological injuries stemming from a workplace accident?

In Arizona, workers are entitled to benefits for psychological injuries. There are stricter requirements to qualify than for physical injuries. We can help you determine whether you are eligible.

OSHA penalizes Dollar General again for safety violations

Among their many duties, employers must provide a safe working environment for their employees. Failing to do so may lead to the employer being held legally responsible for injuries suffered due to hazards that should have been remedied. Because of this, it is not uncommon for some injuries to merit both workers’ compensation benefits as well as monetary damages (money paid) from a personal injury lawsuit due to an employer’s negligence.

Before someone is seriously injured, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will attempt to deter such behavior by levying fines. The amount of the fines will vary depending on the severity of the violation and whether it is a repeat violation. 

More employees taking part in safety policy design

In our prior posts, we highlighted how the culture of fear may prevent injured workers from taking the proper rest or time away from work to heal from their injuries. Unfortunately, the same culture may exist in some companies and some worksites that prevent workers from reporting safety violations and hazards that could lead to serious injuries.

However, according to a recent businessinsurance.com report, this culture may be changing. Essentially, more employers are including their employees in the design and implementation of safety plans. For instance, employees are being engaged to help fix hazards such as machine guarding defects and are being trained to properly shut off machinery before maintenance is completed.

Three questions to ask when looking for an attorney

Wouldn’t it be great if all employers would provide continual monetary benefits to injured workers as they recover from their ailments? After all, for many employees, not being able to work is stressful enough because some workers believe that they will lose their jobs altogether. Combine that stress with the inability to earn a living to pay bills, and it is understandable that workers’ compensation benefits are necessary.  

Unfortunately, legal action is sometimes necessary to protect an injured worker’s right to workers comp payments. However, most people have never hired a lawyer and may not know what to ask in choosing an attorney. As such, this post will highlight a few questions ask prospective attorneys. 

Serving the Following Areas

Jerome, Gibson, Stewart, Stevenson, Engle & Runbeck, P.C., provides experienced representation for workers' compensation cases in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Avondale, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma, and throughout Maricopa County, Pima County, Pinal County and Yavapai County, and all of Arizona.

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