Recently in Atlanta work accident Category

November 11, 2014

Trezza v. USA Truck Inc. - Injury Not Compensable Minutes After "Logout"

In order for injuries to be compensable under worker's compensation law, they either need to occur while working or "arise out of the scope and course of employment."
For most who work at stationary offices, the question of what is compensable and what isn't is fairly straightforward, though there is always the potential for complexity in certain circumstances. However, the waters are often muddier for workers whose jobs are not stationary.

A good example of this was recently seen in the case of Trezza v. USA Trucking Inc., before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Although this is an out-of-state case, it's relevant here in Georgia, as there are thousands of licensed commercial truckers in this state.

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September 21, 2014

Reed v. Malone's Mechanical - Third-Party Claims Must Be Comprehensive From Start

A recent third-party liability claim stemming from a work injury failed because plaintiff did not name all potential defendants soon enough in the process.
While this oversight seems obvious in hindsight, the reality is identifying all responsible parties, particularly on a multi-employer work site, can be challenging. Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers are experienced in conducting thorough investigations at the outset of the case, and continuing our exploration of the case in consideration of deadlines as facts become available.

Workers' compensation serves as an exclusive remedy to workers who are hurt on the job. But that exclusive remedy provision is applicable only to employers. Uutside of wanton disregard for worker safety, workers' compensation is the only means of collecting damages. The exception would be if a third-party is responsible, which was the assertion in the recent case of Reed v. Malone's Mechanical, Inc., et al. before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

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September 7, 2014

Whigham v. Jackson Dawson Communications - Kickball Game Injuries Compensable

Sport's injuries are not typically covered under worker's compensation insurance. But as our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers have come to know well, there are always exceptions.
A perfect example of this was highlighted recently in the case of Whigham v. Jackson Dawson Communications, weighed by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The crux of this decision was whether injury occurred in the course of a work-related duty. As a marketing manager, the claimant was not in the business of professional kickball. However, as part of his employment, according to court records, he was required to attend twice-monthly meetings at which managers discussed, among other matters, the importance of team-building activities.

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July 30, 2014

Hanik v. Christopher & Banks, Inc. - Courts Wrestle With Compensability of Parking Lot Fall

In determining whether an injury is covered by workers' compensation, three general factors are considered: The zone of employment, whether the injury is work-related and the coming-and-going rule.
Every state has its own workers' compensation laws and interpretation of case law regarding what is considered "work-related," if an employee is coming-and-going and whether the incident occurred within the zone of employment.

With regard to the latter, our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers recognize typically, the zone of employment is considered to be limited to the facilities, the parking lot and any sidewalks that are owned and/or controlled by the employer. However, this issue is not always a straightforward determination, as evidenced by the recent case of Hanik v. Christopher & Banks, Inc., weighed by the Kentucky Supreme Court.

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July 15, 2014

Attorneys: Lawsuit to be Filed in Fall-Related Work Accident

There was a time when the shared dream of eight acrobats was to be star performers. Now, they say, they dream of the day when they will be able to stand up out of their wheelchairs and walk. circusintown.jpg

The crew members were severely injured in a horrifying accident while performing for a circus show in Rhode Island in May. As they struggle to regain basic mobility, our Atlanta workers' compensation attorneys understand that a law firm representing them has promised litigation, though it will not be against their direct employer.

That's because workers' compensation is what is known as an "exclusive remedy." This is true in Rhode Island, and it's true here in Georgia and across the country. Essentially, this means the employer whose workers' compensation insurance covers work-related injuries and illnesses can't be sued by the worker for those ailments. Those benefits are considered the only means of redress against the company, no matter how negligent the firm may have been in failing to prevent the incident.

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May 13, 2014

Georgia Work Injuries Incurred While Leaving May be Compensable if Still on Site

In Georgia, courts have established that an employee injury that occurs while the worker was going to or coming from his or her place of work is not considered to have happened "in the course of employment." Therefore, the worker wouldn't be entitled to worker's compensation. rug.jpg

However, Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know that this is a general rule, and there are lots of possible exceptions. As every case is different, it's important not to assume that you don't have a legitimate claim before first consulting with an attorney.

One recent case reviewed by the Oklahoma Supreme Court reveals the complexity of many of these cases. Graham Public Schools v. Priddy, stems from an injury incurred by a school employee who tripped and fell over a rug as she rushed out the door to attend to a family emergency.

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April 23, 2014

Noise Increases Atlanta Work-Accident Risks

Exposure to loud noises at work unquestionably put employees at risk of developing hearing impairment.
However, a recent study suggests that loud noises on the job - as well as the hearing loss it causes - results in an increased danger of workplace accidents in Atlanta and elsewhere. Specifically, the problem is that these workers tend to more frequently miss danger signals and warnings.

Researchers with the National Public Health Institute of Quebec report that workers routinely exposed to noise levels exceeding 100 decibels had more than double the risk of hospitalization for a work-related injury. Additionally, workers who suffer hearing loss are far more likely to be seriously hurt on the job.

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April 4, 2014

Fighting for Ongoing Medical Coverage for Work-Related Injury

A worker who suffers an on-the-job injury may feel the physical and emotional effects of that incident for many years to come.
But even when a worker successfully secures the initial benefits, obtaining coverage for subsequent treatments can be tough, unless your Atlanta workers' compensation lawyer can help you prove that the ongoing medical issues are directly related to your earlier work injury.

It will be important in these cases to have ample medical documentation and witness statements connecting your current medical problems to the previous work injury. The case of Delacastro v. State ex rel., Wyo. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div., reviewed recently by the Wyoming Supreme Court, shows what can happen when you aren't prepared.

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March 8, 2014

Georgia Work Injuries & Amputation Risks

PBS reporter Miles O'Brien has confirmed that he was forced to undergo a work-related amputation while on assignment overseas after a large suitcase fell on his arm and caused severe pressure buildup in his forearm. fender2.jpg

The risk of a work-related amputation in Atlanta is higher than you might think, particularly given if the recent citations issued by the Region 4 Occupational Safety & Health Administration are any indication.

In the first case, OSHA cited an auto manufacturer and the temporary staffing agency with which it works in Thomson, Ga. (just outside of Augusta) for a total of 22 health and safety violations - including numerous amputation hazards. According to the report, the companies failed to protect workers from various chemical and burn exposures. Additionally, a number of machines did not have the proper guards on them, which posed a risk of laceration and possibly amputation. Three of these citations were for repeat violations. In all, the companies are facing nearly $210,000 in fines.

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November 30, 2013

Georgia Workers' Compensation & a Look at Top Work Accident Causes for 2012

When a workplace injury or death occurs, the incident must be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Based on this data, statistics are compiled on workplace injuries as well as on workers' compensation claims in order to get an overall picture of how safe (or unsafe) workplaces are for employees.

Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know statistics just released for last year show the 2012 rate of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses that necessitated days away from work decreased slightly as compared to the prior year. In 2012, 112 workers out of every 10,000 full-time workers suffered an injury or an illness on the job that caused him or her to miss work. This was down from 117 per 10,000 workers in 2011. hospital-1385736-m.jpg

The decrease was good news; however, the data also shows that the slight reduction in days-away-from work injuries was not necessarily a sign that workplaces were getting safer overall. In certain industries, the rate of days-away-from work injuries actually increased. Not only that, but the median days away from work that an injured worker actually took in 2012 increased as compared with 2011.

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November 20, 2013

Dangerous Working Conditions for Temps in Georgia

Since the start of the recession in 2008, companies have been increasingly relying on the services of temporary employees, often in warehouses, factories and construction sites.
Nearly 3 million workers are employed by temp agencies, which are placing these workers in positions that put them at greater risk of an on-the-job injury, as compared to permanent employees.

A recent investigation by news journalism non-profit ProPublica found that temps were about 50 percent more likely than non-temps to be hurt on the job in Florida and California. In Minnesota, they were 72 percent more likely to be injured, 66 percent more likely in Oregon and 36 percent more likely in Massachusetts.

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August 28, 2013

Atlanta Construction Accidents Involving Female Workers Target of Safety Campaign

The construction industry is predominantly male-oriented, with women comprising just 9 percent of positions as of 2010.
Still, it's worth noting that this marks a significant rise, with the number of U.S. female construction workers climbing by nearly 82 percent between 1985 and 2007. While the industry has made strides in this regard, our Georgia workers' compensation lawyers know that the one area that has remained woefully lacking for these workers is safety and health considerations.

Due to the often highly physical nature of the work, things like proper-fitting equipment and adequate sanitation facilities are critical to ensuring a safe working environment. However, for female construction workers, these areas specifically are often sorely neglected, leaving them at higher risk for injury and illness.

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July 24, 2013

New App in Preventing Atlanta Work Accidents

Falls can be some of the most devastating work accidents in any field. Unfortunately, they continue to be a persistent hazard found in all kinds of occupations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these kinds of accidents can happen when a worker is merely walking or climbing a ladder -- in a department store or high up on a construction site.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2009, there were close to 610 workers killed on the job and another 213,000 seriously injured as a result of fall accidents to the same or lower level.

Our Atlanta work accident attorneys understand that the highest frequency of fall-related deaths was experienced by those working in the construction industry. On the other hand, the highest number of nonfatal injuries resulting from falls come from those in the health services and the wholesale and retail industries. But the risks don't stop there -- as virtually all workers in all industries are at some risk for these kinds of accidents.

Now, there is a new app, available for iPhone and Andriod, that's going to help to eliminate these risks. This new app comes with a multimodal indicator and a graphic-oriented guide for choosing the right ladder for the job while helping to inspect it for hazards, position it for the safest use, and ensuring the proper safety accessories are in place.

One of the best ways to prevent these kinds of accidents is to know and understand the common causes. Make sure to inspect your entire work area to help ensure all hazards are minimized.

Top Causes of Fall Accidents:

-Slippery Floors.

-Cluttered Walkways.

-Unstable Walking/Working Areas.

-Unprotected Edges.

-Holes in the Floor.

-Wall Openings.

-Unsafely Used Ladders.

-Improperly Used Fall Protection.

Thankfully, officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are working hard to prevent these kinds of risks on the job. They've even launched a complete Fall Prevention Campaign.

The campaign aim is to raise awareness among workers and employers about the hazards of falls from ladders, scaffolds and roofs. The educational resources page gives workers and employers information about falls and how to prevent them.

And without prevention, the costs are going to continue to skyrocket. Currently, officials estimate that the costs affiliated with these accidents total roughly $70 million annually. Included in these costs are both medical costs and workers' compensation.

Preventative measures are some of the most important to plan for when executing a job. You want to make sure that the plan is to complete a job safely. Make sure you include safety costs when estimating job costs. Never overlook these factors. Once these estimations are submitted and approved, make sure you get the equipment required and make sure that everyone is properly trained in using it. It's a team effort, and everyone needs to be on board. These safe and strategic moves could wind up saving lives.

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June 26, 2013

Georgia Back-Over Construction Injuries Problematic in Summer

Every year in this country, approximately 800 construction workers die as a result of on-the-job accidents. Many more are severely injured.
Our Atlanta work accident attorneys know that being struck by vehicles, heavy equipment and other objects is the No. 1 cause of injuries and the No. 2 cause of death for construction workers, resulting in approximately 150 deaths in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Back-over incidents are when a vehicle that is backing up strikes a worker who is standing, walking, kneeling or sitting behind the vehicle.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2011, some 70 workers were killed in back-over incidents. Every single one of these deaths were 100 percent preventable, though errors occurred at different points in the incident.

Some of the recent examples include:

  • In June of 2010, a worker was standing in front of a loading dock. The worker was facing the building as a tractor-trailer was backing up into that same dock. The trailer driver backed into the worker and crushed him between the dock and the back of the trailer.

  • Almost exactly one year earlier, a construction worker wearing a reflective safety vest was inside a highway work zone when he was fatally struck by the rear passenger-side wheels of a dump truck that was backing up. The truck was equipped with an audible alarm and operating safety lights.

It's not a coincidence that these incidents happened in the summer. The warmer months are when many construction projects kick into high gear, even in the southern states.

As the economy has picked up the pace, we expect to see more construction projects - and more workers on the job - which can lead to more back-over accidents if job supervisors and drivers aren't cautious.

There are many reasons why a back-over might occur. In some cases, drivers may not be able to see the employee - even with a reflective vest - if he or she is positioned in the driver's blind spot. The exact location of that blind spot can vary depending on the type of vehicle.

Large construction vehicles should be equipped with audio alarms and safety lights, which can alert workers to possible danger. However, too often those safety features aren't functional. In other cases, workers might not be able to hear those alarms because of the high volume of other surrounding noises at the work site.

It's also been known to happen where a worker is riding on the back of the vehicle and falls off, leaving him or her vulnerable to a back-over. Other times, drivers unfortunately make an assumption that no one is behind them and fail to simply take a look in the direction of travel to make sure.

Due to the sheer size of construction-grade vehicles, workers who are struck often suffer severe injuries, if not death.

Because of the potential for grave injuries, job supervisors must have the foresight to take preventative action.

One of the first solutions is to require all drivers on a job site to employ a spotter any time they are backing up a vehicle.

Additionally, vehicles can be affixed with display monitors inside that could help them see what is behind them. Some vehicles also come equipped with sonar detection devices, so that drivers are alerted to objects behind them.

Planning can also help. On certain work sites, employers may have the option of establishing internal traffic control protocol, indicating where drivers can operate and stressing the need for speed reduction when backing up.

Training too is important. Workers on foot may not immediately recognize when they are in a driver's blind spot. Training workers on vehicle blind spots and how to avoid them can help prevent many of these incidents.

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April 20, 2013

More Teens with Jobs This Summer Means More Risk of Injury

Our Atlanta work accident lawyers know that teens have had a difficult time finding jobs in recent years due to a tough economy and a weak employment market. According to a recent article on NBC News, however, things may be different this year. 276813_newspaper_job_section.jpg

The NBC News article indicates that the economic momentum over the last several months has been positive and that managers who hire summer hourly workers are reporting that they plan to add an average of 30 hourly workers this summer instead of the 27 workers added last year. When surveying seasonal hiring managers, 68 percent also reported an intent to hire workers this summer. This is great news for teens who have been hit the hardest in recent years by the economic downturn.

The bad news, however, is that when there are more teenagers going to work, there is a greater chance of young people being injured on the job. Employers need to manage the risks associated with bringing on new employees, especially teen employees, and young workers need to be aware of the dangers they face, which could derail a career and future before it even has a chance to really begin.

Young Workers at Risk of Injury
Young workers are at great risk of injury while performing their summer jobs for several reasons. One issue is that these workers tend to take on lower paying and physical jobs in industries such as landscaping and fast food. Both of these industries have a high rate of injury. In fast food, many things can go wrong from slipping and falling in a restaurant to being robbed to getting hurt when cooking and cleaning up in the kitchen. In landscaping, problems can include injury due to machines as well as due to repetitive stress, lifting injuries and falls.

Aside from the fact that teens tend to work in dangerous industries, they also tend to be in low paying jobs where employers may not always have the best track record of following safety rules. Data has shown that low-wage workers in general are at greater risk of getting hurt on the job than workers in higher paying positions, especially higher paying white-collar jobs.

Finally, teens and young workers tend to have limited work experience. If not properly trained and supervised, teens could make a mistake that causes injury. For example, a teen needs to be trained on using commercial dishwashers and/or supervised when using any type of cooking or dishwashing equipment in a restaurant setting.

Employers who chose to hire young workers ultimately have the responsibility of mitigating these and other risks that teenagers face. Employers need to be aware of restrictions on young workers related to the types of jobs they can do and the hours worked. They need to provide proper training and supervision and create a safe work environment. If an employer fails in these obligations, the chances of a worker becoming hurt significantly increases.

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