March 10, 2014

Carolina Farm Injuries a Spring Risk


As spring arrives, there will be an increase infarming injuries throughout the Carolinas.

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Our Asheville worker's compensation lawyers know that as the warmer weather comes around it brings with it increased farming activity and the end result is more farm injuries.

The fertilizer industry in particular suffers a number of injuries. For this reason, the Agricultural Retailers Association is partnering with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Fertilizer Institute to attempt and reach over 7,000 agricultural producers, distributors, retailers, and other facilities in the fertilizer sector to caution employers about safety concerns.

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March 8, 2014

National Severe Weather Safety Week - Does Your Company Have a Plan?


In a combined effort, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has teamed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to institute national severe weather safety week. During the week two participants aim to encourage the public to prepare to respond in the event of severe weather.

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Our Asheville worker's compensation lawyers know that severe weather, such as tornadoes, can strike without warning and all employers should establish a plan for a severe weather emergency.

Severe weather can be deadly, particularly when there is no plan in place and workers are not equipped to handle the emergency. All businesses should develop an emergency plan that includes a number of basic and simple steps to implement procedures aimed at saving lives in the event of a severe weather emergency.

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March 4, 2014

Know Your NC Workers' Compensation Rights


It's not unheard of that a company, faced with a potential workers' compensation claim, will attempt to suppress that claim by discouraging the worker from reporting it.
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Not only is this unethical, it's illegal. Our Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys are staunch advocates for workers' rights, and we believe it's imperative that employees be informed about what to do if they're hurt on the job and how to respond to suppression tactics or retaliation.

A good example of this arose recently in Ohio, where the Occupational Health & Safety Administration alleges in a recently filed lawsuit that a phone company initiated more than a dozen unpaid suspensions in the course of two years to worker who reported on-the-job injuries. This kind of retaliatory action not only impacts the 13 workers directly involved, but it sends a clear message to anyone else thinking of filing a workers' compensation claim: Beware.

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March 2, 2014

NC Farm Worker Chemical Exposure Focus of New Proposed Rule


Work-related harm from hazardous chemicals sometimes extends beyond just the worker themselves. We've seen this in cases where those who worked closely with asbestos brought illness home to their families each night as loved ones breathed in the deadly fibers carried on work clothing. barbedcountryside.jpg

In 2007, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reported on the case of three North Carolina farm workers who gave birth to infants with congenital anomalies consistent with pesticide exposure. State investigators found numerous pesticide safety problems, but they were unable to prove any clear violations by the employers.

Farm workers in general tend to be some of the most vulnerable employees in the workforce, prone to high levels of heat stress, musculoskeletal pain, respiratory illness and injuries and illness due to work with dangerous equipment and exposure to toxins.

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February 27, 2014

Fighting for South Carolina Workers' Compensation Coverage


It is to be expected in filing Anderson workers' compensation claims that there is a high likelihood the company will challenge the assertion that the injuries involved are compensable. shoelace.jpg

In South Carolina, in order for a claim to be compensable, the worker must have suffered a personal injury or death by an accident that arose out of and in the course of his or her employment.

Basing an argument on this definition, many workers' compensation defendants will attempt to assert that the injuries were the result of a pre-existing condition - not a work-related accident. You should know, however, that even those with pre-existing medical conditions can still receive workers' compensation, so long as you can show that work complicated or worsened their condition.

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February 26, 2014

Court Rejects Contractor Liability for Subcontractors on Multi-Employer Work Sites


The Utah Supreme Court has issued a ruling stating that a federal law making general contractors at multi-employer work sites responsible to correct unsafe work conditions that could cause injury to subcontractor employees runs contrary to state law.
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The immediate impact on those seeking to file a Greensboro workers' compensation claim is probably minimal, as it is an out-of-state ruling and doesn't directly pertain to benefits. However, decisions by state supreme courts tend to be given a lot of weight when courts in other jurisdictions face similar issues. Plus, any action that erodes worker safety is likely to result in more workers' compensation claims overall.

By holding both subcontractors and general contractors on job sites responsible to ensure employee protection, the multi-employer work site doctrine, per Occupational Safety & Health Administration policy CPL 02-00-124, seeks to bolster protection for all workers. A ruling like this serves to undercut that purpose.

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February 24, 2014

Workers' Compensation Benefits for "Unexplained" Work Injuries


In order to prove that an injury is compensable under workers' compensation law, courts have typically held that you must prove that the condition occurred by accident "arising out of and in the course of the employment."
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In many cases, this means that you have to show that but-for the conditions and obligations of employment, the worker would not have been in a position to sustain the injury.

In North Carolina, the section of the law addressing the "arising out of and in the course of" is found in G.S.97.2-6 of the state's Workers' Compensation Act. Winston-Salem workers' compensation attorneys recognize that in cases where the injury may have happened at work but is unexplained, benefits may be tougher to secure - though certainly not impossible.

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February 23, 2014

Workers' Compensation and Asbestos-Related Illness


There is no question that asbestos-related disease is one of the biggest job-related cancer concerns in the U.S. today, comprising one of the largest percentages of occupational deaths and related costs.
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That said, the question of whether asbestos disease sufferers should file a Charlotte workers' compensation claim is one that should be approached carefully. One of the general principles of workers' compensation law is that by filing for these benefits, workers give up the right to sue their employer for their occupational injuries.

In general for a lot of people, the trade-off is worth it because they don't necessarily have to prove that the employer was negligent or at-fault for the injury, only that the injury occurred at work or arose out of the conditions of employment. Workers' compensation claims also tend to be less costly than civil litigation and are generally not as drawn-out of a process. Legislators have designed it to be this way for workers to quickly receive benefits, recover, and hopefully return to the workforce as soon as possible.

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February 22, 2014

Report: North Carolina Hospital Staffers Risk Work Injury


For most people, hospitals are supposed to be a place of healing.
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However, for those who work there, it can be an extremely dangerous place. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently released a report indicating that hospitals are one of the riskiest places to work, with some 255,000 work-related injuries and illnesses reported in 2011.

Bear in mind, those were only the reported instances of illness and injury, and that broke down to about 7 work-related illnesses and injuries for every 100 full-time workers. Our Winston-Salem workers' compensation lawyers recognize that this is about double the rate for the private industry as a whole.

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February 18, 2014

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Claims Must be Timely Filed


With very few exceptions, workers' compensation claims in Greensboro must be filed within two years. workers.jpg

Failure to do this will usually result in a worker forever forfeiting the right to pursue benefits. Per North Carolina G.S. 97-58, which covers the time limit for filing workers' compensation claims, workers have either two years from the date of injury or illness (or the date they learned of the injury or illness) to initiate the process.

The only exceptions are for occupational disease like asbestosis or mesothelioma or silicosis or lead poisoning, where the worker might not know he or she has been sickened until years or even decades later.

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February 15, 2014

Workers' Compensation Benefits After Maximum Medical Improvement Finding


In South Carolina workers' compensation claims, temporary total disability benefits are generally payable until such time that a physician deems the injured employee to have reached a point called "maximum medical improvement."
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The phrase maximum medical improvement has both medical and legal significance. Medically, it means that curative medical treatment has ceased, and the injured party is essentially as good as he or she is going to get.

A determination from one physician could be disputed by another, though. For example, an orthopedic doctor could release a patient from care, but the neurologist may still be continuing treatment. There could also be disputes between an authorized treating physician (chosen by the patient) and an independent medical evaluation.

From a legal standpoint, Rock Hill workers' compensation claims will be heavily determinant on the date of maximum medical improvement, but there are also be considerations regarding the person's work history, skill sets and the employment market. There may also be consideration for whether there is permanent partial disability. In other words, the state will consider whether there are lifelong effects from the injury.

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February 12, 2014

Insurance Bad Faith Claims & Rights of the Injured


A recent court case addressed the issue of whether a worker could recover additional tort damages after his employer's insurer wrongfully, and in bad-faith, refused to pay worker's compensation due to him.

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Insurance companies and employers may pull out all the stops to avoid paying an employee in the wake of an injury claim. OurSpartanburg worker's compensation lawyers can help review your situation and determine the proper course of action.

The district court which reviewed this case initially erroneously determined that the insurer had only committed a breach of contract when it refused to pay the plaintiff's worker compensation claim.

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February 10, 2014

Carolina Construction Worker Killed at Manufacturing Plant


Construction work continues to be a dangerous way to make a living. According to a recent article on foxcarolina.com a construction worker was killed while working at a manufacturing plant construction site.

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Our workers' compensation lawyers in Charlotte know construction work is consistently ranked among the most dangerous occupations.

The worker was killed when a 10-inch pipe fell and hit him in the head, the report stated.

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February 8, 2014

Third Party Liability Cases in Aftermath of Employee Injuries


A recent court decision reveals some ofthe challenges involved bringing a third-party liability case.

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Our Asheville worker's compensation lawyers know employers are often immune to such lawsuits via the state's workers' compensation laws.

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February 5, 2014

NC Work Injuries Decline, Still Too Many Employees Hurt on the Job


Last year, there were 23 people who were killed on the job in North Carolina, according to the News Observer. While that's down from the 38 fatalities experienced by North Carolina workers in 2011, it's still far too many. The N.C. Department of Labor points out that all of the workers who were killed on the job last year were men and they were classified as "laborers". The average age was 44.
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"I believe North Carolina is benefiting from increased awareness of safety and health in both private industry and the government, but we must do better," said Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry.

Our Charlotte workers' compensation lawyers understand that these numbers only include workplace fatalities that fall under the Department's jurisdiction. The fatalities that occur to those who are self-employed and the fatalities that occur on the job in motor-vehicle accidents do not fall under this jurisdiction. Last year, there were more than 10 workers who were killed when they were hit by a vehicle or by a falling object. There were six who were killed in falls. Three of them were killed after being caught in machinery, one was electrocuted and two inhaled toxic fumes.

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