Articles Tagged with work injury attorney

In today’s construction and manufacturing industries, moving large, heavy loads is critical to operations. There has been a great deal of technology developed for this purpose, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires both careful training and extensive workplace precautions on job sites that utilize cranes. This is imperative because cranes and other lifting devices can be extremely dangerous not just for the operators, but for those working within close proximity to them.crane

OHSA in 2014 updated its standards for operator certification for safe operation of cranes and derricks. The requirement is that by Nov. 10, 2017, all crane operators must be certified, and employers have a duty to ensure crane operators are competent to operate a crane safely. How much that will help improve crane safety remains to be seen, but safer operators certainly will mean safer workplaces.

Recently in Seattle, a crane mishap on a construction site caused major property damage, though amazingly no worker injuries.  Continue reading

The issue of workplace violence is one that affects employees in a vast array of industries, but it’s especially pervasive for those in the health care industry.medical doctor

Last month, the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a formal request for information on potential standards to prevent workplace violence, specifically in health care and social assistance settings. The goal is to collect as much detailed information as possible on a variety of topics so that the agency can help develop strategies that will be effective in lowering the risk of workplace violence. The deadline for submitting information is in April. The agency is also planning on holding a public meeting for those interested on commenting on the issue.

The move was prompted by a report issued by the Government Accountability Office in April that called on OSHA to improve the safety of health care workers, who reportedly suffer much higher rates of workplace violence. In fact, workers in this field suffer some type of violent incident at work at rates that are five times the national average.

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One of the best arguments one can make for securing uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is that it will provide coverage even if you aren’t actually driving or in a motor vehicle. For example, if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can seek coverage from your UM/UIM carrier to make up the difference. highway

However, insurance companies are free to write the terms of their coverage, so this isn’t a guaranteed benefit. In the recent case of Spiller v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Kentucky ruled that a worker who was not in his employer’s truck when he was struck by a negligent driver was not entitled to collect UIM benefits.

The underlying facts of this work injury lawsuit were that the plaintiff, employed by a contractor, was tasked with making certain repairs along  a four-lane expressway. In the course of doing this work, he was trailed by a large truck equipped with an arrow that flashed. This was supposed to alert rear traffic to move left because there was construction on the right. A few hours into his shift, a motorist slammed into that arrow board attached to the truck, pushing the truck into the plaintiff and causing him to suffer injuries.

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Often when we talk about a work-related injury, we think about a physical injury to a worker’s body. For example, someone falls and injures their back. waterpuddle03

However, one can also legitimately suffer a mental injury as a result of an extraordinary circumstance at work. In those situations, both in North Carolina and South Carolina, the Workers’ Compensation Act does provide an avenue for recovery of benefits.

In South Carolina, the law allows employees who suffer mental injuries that are “induced by physical injury… or by unusual or extraordinary conditions of employment.” In North Carolina, psychological injuries may be compensable if they are a byproduct or result of a physical injury by accident or occupational disease. There have also been some cases in which a psychological injury resulting in a disabling physical condition may be compensable (i.e., a sudden traumatic event at work causes an immediate physical reaction). Continue reading

A North Carolina teen was killed recently Gastonia on his first day on the job at a tree and stump grinding service. treecut

According to ABC-7 News, the 19-year-old was loading limbs of a tree into the wood chipper outside of a job site when the owner of the business and several other workers heard the machine start to get bogged down. Apparently, the youth was trying to kick a tree branch into the machine when his leg got caught and he was pulled in, resulting in fatal injuries. The business owner rushed over, hit the kill switch and put the machine into reverse gear. However, it was too late. Reports are that workers on site were so traumatized, they began ripping off their hats and gloves, while the owner immediately suffered a heart attack and had to be transported to a local hospital.

The tragic case is illustrative of the fact that young workers – especially those new to the job – are at heightened risk of serious injury and death, particularly when they don’t receive proper training and supervision from employers.

A worker advocacy group, youngworkers.org, reports every 7 minutes in the U.S., a worker is injured severely enough to require treatment in a hospital emergency room. There are an estimated 1.5 million teen workers in the U.S., with most of them employed in restaurants or other food service jobs. Annually, about 70 teens die in the U.S. as a result of work-related injuries. Another 795,000 are seriously injured. A total of 360 workers under age 24 were killed at work in 2009. Continue reading

Worker classification is central to the validity of a workers’ compensation claim. While those designated “employees” are protected by workers’ compensation law, those who are independent contractors are not. Independent contractors can sue the employer for negligence, but employees can’t. Similarly, certain companies may clearly be “employers” while others may simply be general contractors. boiler

However, in contract situations, there may be circumstances in which workers can be “employees” and companies “statutory employers” – even if that label was never affixed. That’s because courts consider many variables in determining whether a worker was an employee. The analysis considers much more than simply how the company labeled the relationship. It considers the level of control the company had over the work and the schedule, the way workers were paid and whether the worker performed this type of work exclusively for this one company.

In the recent case of Wright v. Excel Paralubes, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit was asked to determine whether a defendant company was a “statutory employer,” even though a master service agreement in a joint venture never expressly uses that terminology. The court ruled that in fact the company was an employer, as is the presumption. Continue reading

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