January 18, 2014

Change of Condition in North Carolina Workers' Compensation Claim May Warrant Benefit Modification


In filing a Charlotte workers' compensation claim, the extent of a person's injuries or illness may not be fully realized right away. It's entirely possible that one's condition could worsen over time. gavel2.jpg

Benefits are based on the extent of a person's illness or injuries at the time the case is heard. But a worker may be justified in later seeking a modification to those benefits if it's proven their medical condition, resulting from an on-the-job incident, has significantly deteriorated.

Article 1, Section 97-47 of the North Carolina Workers' Compensation Act holds that any interested party to a case - the worker, the employer or even the North Carolina Industrial Commission itself - can initiate a review of the benefits previously awarded. A "change of condition" claim has to be filed with the commission within a two-year period. The end result of a review can be that benefits are increased, decreased or ended, depending on the ultimate findings of the commission.

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January 14, 2014

Your Workers' Compensation Claim: FAQ


Workers' compensation can get confusing. If you've got a question, there's a good chance that someone else has already asked it. For some questions, you can visit the North Carolina Industrial Commission's website.
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Our workers' compensation attorneys in Greensboro understand the stress loss of income puts on wage earners and their families. For this reason, it's critical that an injured employee takes the proper steps to make sure that they are adequately compensated for their injuries and losses associated with an on-the-job injury. Costs associated with these incidents can include medical bills, rehabilitation costs, travel, medication, loss of work and more. But what if your employer doesn't have workers' compensation and is trying to leave you with the bills?

The first thing you want to do is report the accident. You'll want to do this both in person and in writing. If you find out the hard way that your employer does not have workers' compensation then you should file a Form 18 as well as a Form 33. By this stage, you should have consulted with a law firm experienced in handling work injuries.

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January 12, 2014

What To Do After A Work Accident in North Carolina


If you are injured on the job, would you know what to do? Officials with the North Carolina Industrial Commission outline the process but speaking to an experienced law firm is always the best course of action when lost-time from work and medical treatment are required.
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According to the United States Department of Labor (DOL), there were more than 4,380 people killed on the job in the U.S. in 2012. Thousands more were injured throughout the year. Of these injuries, a majority (roughly 60 percent) occurred in traffic accidents, followed by falls, homicides and struck-by accidents. Of the traffic-related fatalities, 512 deaths (close to 30 percent) resulted from a roadway collision with another vehicle. Pedestrian
vehicular incidents constituted the second greatest number of transportation-related fatal injuries.

Our Rock Hill workers' compensation lawyers know the first thing you need to do if you were injured on the job is to make sure that you seek medical assistance. Typically, the treating health care provider must be authorized by the Workers' Compensation Board, except in an emergency situation. Your employer just might have a health care provider on your work site. If your employer wishes for you to see that individuals, present yourself to that health provider if appropriate. Depending on your circumstances, appropriate health care may be obtained from your family doctor or a hospital emergency room. You are also welcome to get second opinions on your condition.

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January 10, 2014

Protecting Workers in Wicked Winter Weather


Working in a cold environment -- whether it be cold weather, cold water, or an indoor freezer -- is part of the job for many in the Carolinas, especially during this time of year. One of the major hazards you face when working in the cold is losing your body heat. If your body becomes so cold that it can no longer produce more heat than it loses, you are becoming a victim of hypothermia, frostbite or trench foot.
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Hypothermia occurs when body heat is lost faster than it can be replaced and the normal body temperature (98.6°F) drops to less than 95°F. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F), particularly if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Our workers' compensation lawyers in Greenville know symptoms of these conditions are relatively similar to just being cold -- and that's why it's important that everyone on your job site be able to point out these conditions and know what to do. Early symptoms of hypothermia include fatigue, shivering, confusion, disorientation and loss of coordination. Later symptoms include blue skin, no shivering, dilated pupils, slowed breathing, slowed pulse and a loss of consciousness.

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January 9, 2014

NC Work Injuries: OSHA Safety Plans and New Regulations for 2014


Evaluating current safety protocols and procedures is important in determining whether they are effective. OSHA is currently making plans to make critical changes to worker safety rules and regulations to improve conditions for workers and to prevent future accidents. According to Safety News Alert, OSHA released plans for 2014 so that both workers and employers know what to expect as they enter into the New Year. While employers will have to implement safety protocols and procedures, employees can benefit from maintaining awareness and understanding best practices in the workplace.

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Safety in the workplace is critical to preventing accidents, injuries and fatalities. Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping North and South Carolina workers collect compensation in the event of an accident. We are also committed to raising awareness in workplace safety and in following OSHA developments that may be beneficial to Carolina business owners and employees.

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January 6, 2014

CNC Construction Injuries: OSHA's "Fatal Four"


Dangerous industries, including construction, account for the majority of workplace injuries every year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, out of 4,000 worker fatalities in 2012, nearly 800 or approximately 20% of these injuries occurred in the construction industry. The leading causes of worker fatality on construction sites were falls, getting struck by an object, electrocution and the caught-in/between accident. In this post, we will explore the "Fatal Four" construction injuries and identify ways that OSHA is seeking to reduce or eliminate these accidents in the workplace.

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Construction sites pose some of the most significant and serious dangers to workers as well as to individuals in the vicinity, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Our Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping workers collect full compensation for their accidents and injuries. We are also dedicated to raising workplace safety awareness and in helping to reduce the number of workplace related injuries and deaths in North and South Carolina and nationwide.

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January 3, 2014

North Carolina "Shoot Out" Injury: Theme Park Cited for Safety Violations


Generally, when we think about workers' compensation claims, we turn to notoriously dangerous work environments: construction sites, factories, farms, manufacturing facilities, and ships are usually considered the most common sites of workplace accident and injury. Remember that any injury sustained while in the course of performing work-related duties could entitle you to workers' compensation benefits. In addition to these dangerous work environments, other workers in healthcare, business, and hospitality can also be exposed to workplace injury. In a North Carolina case earlier this month, an actor was shot and the theme park employer was cited for safety violations.

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The owner of a North Carolina theme park has been cited for workplace safety violations after gunfire in a theatrical show lead to the actual shooting of a performer. This case sheds light on the diverse nature of workers' compensation claims. Our Raleigh workers' compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping workers collect compensation after an accident. We will take the time to review your case, help collect documentation of any injuries and aggressively pursue the full compensation you are entitled to. In addition to helping victims recover compensation, we are committed to raising workplace safety awareness to prevent future accidents and injuries.

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December 31, 2013

Charlotte Work Injuries Cause Extensive Worker Absence: Report


North Carolina workplace injuries and illnesses result in a substantial number of days missed from work, according to a new report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. casco.jpg

The agency reports that the rate of non-fatal occupational illnesses and injuries requiring days away from work was 112 cases for every 10,000 full-time workers. That was last year, representing only a slight dip from the rate of 117 cases per 10,000 full-time workers that was reported in 2011.

Collectively among workers employed by the private industry, state and local governments, the total number of days away from work dropped by an incremental 2 percent during that same time frame, down to roughly 1.2 million days.

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December 26, 2013

Workplace Injury a Daily Risk for North Carolina Firefighters


As we all settle in for the holidays, let's remember our safety workers, who remain on the job.

Being among the first to respond in the midst of an emergency or disaster, the risk of North Carolina firefighter injuries is ever present. bluefirehydrant.jpg

Just recently, a volunteer firefighter out of Robeson County reportedly died on duty of what the department is describing as a "sudden illness." The incident remains under investigation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that approximately 100 firefighters die annually in the line of duty nationwide. For every one of those, there are dozens more who suffer a serious illness or injury resulting from their work. Collecting compensation for those incidents is unfortunately not always a straightforward process. In some cases, former employers will even ruthlessly attack the character of the person who was once a loyal worker.

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December 24, 2013

Welder Injuries in North Carolina Often Substantial


The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration not long ago released a report indicating that welders are at serious risk of an on-the-job injury.
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Burns were among the most common injuries, though fume damage to lungs, UV light damage to eyes and noise damage to ears also occurred with frightening frequency.

The fact that we are well aware of the kinds of welding-related injuries to North Carolina workers make it all the more upsetting when employers fail to make safety a top priority. Yet that's reportedly the case at a large welding firm in Connecticut, where federal OSHA officials have fined the company nearly $170,000 for violating a host of workplace safety regulations.

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December 22, 2013

Study: Nurses, Clinicians, Vulnerable to Workplace Injuries


While we all rely on the invaluable experience and healing hands of nurses and clinicians when we have been ill or injured, a new study reveals that these health care workers are highly vulnerable to workplace injuries.
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Nurture by Steelcase recently released its 2013 State of Clinicians and Nurses report, which relied on more than 300 online surveys conducted during the month of August by Business Research Group. Respondents were required to have at least one year of experience with patient care, and included RNS, LPNs, nursing managers, occupational therapists and physical therapists in the U.S.

What they found was that more than one-third of all nurses and clinicians had reported suffering at least one on-the-job injury in the last year. Another 25 percent had to modify their activity over the course of at least one shift in response to that injury.

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December 19, 2013

Fewer Work Injuries in NC Reported - Despite High Risks


Our Charlotte workers' compensation lawyers are pleased to finally report some good news: The North Carolina Department of Labor has just released a report indicating that the number of workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses last year dropped significantly over the pervious year. tractor1.jpg

The figures indicate that there were 35 workplace fatalities in 2012, compared to 53 in 2011. With regard to injuries and illnesses, the rate dropped from an incident rate of 3.1 for every 100 workers in 2011 down to 2.9 in 2012.

As compared to 1999, these rates represent a significant improvement. Also, North Carolina was ranked as one of the top 10 safest states in which to work, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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December 17, 2013

Proving Causation of Musculoskeletal Work Injuries


A recent case out of Illinois, Caterpillar Logistics, Inc. v. Soli, arose from a worker who alleged her musculoskeletal injury was the result of the repetitive motion required by her work duties.
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While our Asheville workers' compensation attorneys recognize that the core issue in this case was whether the company properly reported the injury to the Department of Labor, as required for any work-related injury, the back-and-forth in the courts illustrates how complex it can be to demonstrate the source of an injury. This is particularly true when the injury is chronic, as opposed to acute.

For example, a worker who suffers an on-the-job fall that results in a broken leg can fairly easily file a claim. The source of the injury is rather straightforward.

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December 15, 2013

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition Covered Under Workers' Compensation


In order to obtain workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina, employees must prove the source of their injury or disability stemmed either in whole or large part from their job functions. backinjury.jpg

In some cases, it's a singular, traumatic incident, such as a slip and fall or a motor vehicle accident. Other times, it may be a chronic condition that is aggravated by duties carried out on the job.

In the recent case of Myers v. Ben Mynatt Chevrolet Cadillac, reviewed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the court weighed an appeal from an employer who argued that a worker's compensation claim stemmed from a prior injury that was not work-related.

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December 12, 2013

Proving Extent of Injury Key in NC Worker Compensation Cases


A North Carolina appellate court recently ruled in Hollifield v. Commc'ns Installations Specialists that proving injuries are compensable is not enough to establish full disability.
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In other words, a plaintiff alleging a work injury in North Carolina must establish not only the source of those injuries but the extent, if he or she hopes to collect longer-term disability benefits in addition to costs for immediate medical expenses and lost wages. This maximizes the amount of benefits one can expect to collect.

Effectively proving the extent of one's injuries means immediately reporting the injury after it occurs, as well as attending any and all follow-up appointments as recommended.

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