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Settlement of a workers’ compensation claim should only be entered into by workers who have had time to consult with an experienced attorney. The reason is settlement agreements are binding contracts, and signing off on one may prohibit any future claim for injuries, even if the injury or illness worsens. cooking

Careful review of these documents is imperative so that the affected worker isn’t cheated out of future benefits to which he or she may otherwise be rightfully entitled.

A settlement may result in:

  • No more weekly benefits.
  • Continued medical payments.
  • A lump sum damage award.

All agreements must be approved by the state workers’ compensation board. Continue reading →

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In Georgia, as in most other states, almost all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, which provides coverage to employees in the event of a work-related injury. The guideline here is that all companies with three or more employees must capaintingthesetrry this coverage.

There are state-issued penalties for companies that fail to comply with this order. However, these businesses sometimes aren’t identified until a work injury happens. So where does that leave the worker?

A couple of options may be available. The first is to petition the state board to issue an order mandating the company pay for medical expenses, lost wages, attorney’s fees and other civil assessments for violation of the law. The second is to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. Although employers are typically protected from litigation via the exclusive remedy provision of workers’ compensation law, those who break the law by not carrying insurance don’t have that protection. The caveat is that worker has to be able to prove the company was negligent in causing the injury. Finally, there may be an option for third-party litigation if some other person or entity was liable. Continue reading →

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Local news reports from Euharlee, about 1.5 hours northwest of Atlanta, indicate a contractor at the Georgia Power plant suffered injuries to both arms in an electrical accident.energytransfer

A spokesperson for the company said the worker was conducting off-line maintenance when an electrical arc occurred between two pieces of equipment. The worker suffered burns on both arms, and emergency crews immediately responded to transport the worker to a local hospital.

Plant Bowen, where the incident occurred, is the ninth-largest power plant in the country in terms of net electricity, and it provides energy to a substantial swath of the Southeastern U.S. It was the same site where two years ago an explosion occurred during a planned maintenance outage. Two people were injured in that incident, it also resulted in significant property damage to equipment and facilities. Continue reading →

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A global floor mat manufacturer has been fined more than $50,000 after a worker was seriously injured while working in the company’s Calhoun plant, about an hour north of Atlanta. hand

According to a news release by the U.S. Department of Labor, the 42-year-old maintenance worker experienced enormous pain and had to undergo surgery and the placement of a shunt inside his hand after the incident. Reports are the worker had his left hand injected with fluid from a hydraulic line that was leaking. He had been performing maintenance on a machine at the time of the incident.

He was rushed to the hospital, where he was admitted and had to undergo surgery. A shunt was placed to drain the fluid and bring down the extensive swelling. While the Occupational Safety & Health Administration was investigating the incident, investigators learned of at least nine major safety violations at the company. Continue reading →

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It’s not highly unusual that a 16-year-old boy would inflate his athletic ability or academic prowess at some point. However, those alleged statements by one teen in Idaho appear to have cost him a higher disability rating that could have led to a greater sum of workers’ compensation benefits. teenwork

That’s because the state hearing officer and the courts took into consideration his credibility when weighing his work injury case. He was hurt in 2004 when he slipped and fell on a patch of ice while taking the garbage outside of the fast food restaurant where he worked at the time.

More than 10 years later, in continuing to seek permanent partial disability benefits, plaintiff appealed a whole body impairment rating of 3 percent to the Idaho Supreme Court in Fairchild v. Kentucky Fried Chicken. The state high court took note of the fact that plaintiff “appeared prone to exaggeration” with his doctors, had inconsistent testimony and seemingly was untruthful regarding the reason he was fired from the chain after his injury. Continue reading →

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The surviving family of a deceased worker may still collect workers’ compensation death benefits, even though he tested positive for marijuana.marijuanabud1

An appellate court in Louisiana ruled the family was entitled to benefits after the warehouseman for the Atlanta-based Georgia-Pacific pulp and paper company was injured and killed while working the night shift. According to records of the case, the worker had been operating a truck lift, loading various materials onto trailers.

At some point past midnight, decedent suffered fatal injuries, though no one saw what happened. Based on evidence from the autopsy, it appears the worker sustained blunt force injuries to his head and chest. Investigators suspect decedent’s injuries may have been the result of being struck by the rear of one of the trailers he was loading. Continue reading →

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The question of whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee is a critical one in many Atlanta workers’ compensation cases. truckdriver1

While employees are entitled to the protection of workers’ compensation benefits in case of a job-related injury, independent contractors are not. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous employers wrongly classify employees as independent contractors in order to avoid paying for the insurance. This can leave injured employees in an extremely tough spot, and it could result in severe fines and penalties for the employer. Still, some continue to do it because they are hoping to get away with it.

In the case of Max Trucking LLC v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Corp., a dispute arose between an employer and an insurance company regarding the classification of nearly two dozen truck drivers based in Michigan. The insurance company insisted the workers were employees and increased the company’s premium. Continue reading →

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A poultry processing plant in Delaware is facing allegations that it violated safety protocol, failed to properly report worker injuries and took adverse employment action against workers who did report injuries. poultry

The company is appealing the findings by inspectors with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), but the agency has demanded in the meantime the company address the most serious violations immediately.

Among the top issues cited by in OSHA’s five-page “Hazard Alert”:

  • Workers who are injured on-the-job are sent to a First Aid station for treatment by one of three emergency medical technicians who are not licensed in that state. Also, those EMTs are overseen by an administrator who has no medical training.
  • The EMTs do not speak Spanish or Creole, as many employees do, and therefore require a translator to treat medical issues – a violation of health privacy laws.
  • The physician who signs off on the company’s medical directives does not review its medical logs and has no formal contact with the company.
  • The First Aid station, which is supposed to be for treatment of acute injuries, is being used for employees with long-term, repetitive motion musculoskeletal injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. This, OSHA states, has allowed the company to avoid reporting those injuries to state and federal authorities, as required. More than half of the 206 workers seen by EMTs in a given time were for musculoskeletal injuries.

Continue reading →

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A military veteran is slated to receive $15.2 million in damages for injuries he sustained when his foot was crushed by a forklift at an event center in Illinois. forkliftdrivers

The 33-year-old from Wisconsin, who previously served two tours in Iraq and served as a staff sergeant in the National Guard, lost his heel and had to endure seven surgeries after the work accident. The injury occurred while crews were working to tear down the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago.

An investigation by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration revealed the company responsible for setting up the show did not make certain the forklift driver who struck plaintiff was trained and certified, nor did the company hire a spotter. Both of these things – which are required by law – would have prevented this accident. Continue reading →

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The slaying of a local reporter and cameraman on live television in Roanoke, Virginia has raised numerous questions about workplace violence and the ways in which companies strive to keep workers safe. gunonblackandwhite

According to authorities, the 24-year-old reporter and her 27-year-old photographer were gunned down by a former coworker whose employment had been terminated almost two years earlier. The local official they were interviewing was also shot, but is expected to recover. The gunman fled the scene, later crashed his vehicle and then took his own life, police say.

Although the shooting shocked the nation – and those closest to the victims – it seems the gunman had been stewing about his “treatment” by co-workers and supervisors leading up to this termination. He had even filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination, but that was ultimately dismissed. His firing was contentious, and police had to be called to escort him out of the building.

Station managers believed that with him no longer employed, he was no longer a potential threat. This turned out not to be true.

Workplace violence is one of the leading causes of death and injury to workers in the U.S. – especially women. Continue reading →