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Phoenix Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Asbestos is still responsible for work injuries

Even though it is highly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, asbestos continues to be a problem at many construction sites throughout the country, including many here in Arizona. Work injuries due to asbestos exposure often do not manifest right away. It could take years for symptoms of exposure to appear, and the results are often deadly.

Construction jobs that involve demolition, renovation or repairs could expose workers to this dangerous substance. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can damage lung tissue, which causes a buildup of scar tissue, called asbestosis. Lung function will then begin to degrade, and ultimately, an individual becomes permanently disabled before dying. Exposure could also lead to mesothelioma, which is a cancer that is almost exclusively caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers and is nearly always deadly.

Workers' compensation benefits are available for gradual injuries

Arizona workers are not only eligible for workers' compensation benefits after being wounded in a catastrophic and sudden accident while at work. They are also eligible for benefits when they suffer from gradual injuries that develop over time. Due to the fact that it can takes weeks, months or even years for these injuries to reach an intolerable level, the insurer and employer might attempt to either reduce the benefits you receive or deny your claim all together.

Gradual injuries are also referred to as repetitive stress injuries. The initial injury could have been small and perhaps even barely noticeable. Through time and repeated use, the injury worsens.

Training and equipment are essential to preventing a work injury

Most Arizona companies take the safety of their employees seriously and provide them with the training and equipment they need to keep from being hurt on-the-job. However, other companies fail to follow the regulations and laws enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). They fail to acknowledge that the proper training and equipment are essential to preventing a work injury.

OSHA recently proclaimed that a company could have prevented an accident that injured one of its workers on July 13. The man was servicing a tire when it exploded. The rim hit him in the head and caused serious injuries.

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.

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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1001 North Central Avenue, Suite 701
Phoenix, AZ 85004

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