July 23, 2014

Study: Undocumented Workers Face Danger on the Job

A study conducted recently by a team of researchers with Cornell University and Penn State University reveals that undocumented Mexican workers receive no wage premium for working in hazardous conditions, whereas most other groups do.
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The study, The Occupational Cost of Being Illegal in the United States: Legal Status, Job Hazards, and Compensating Differentials, published in the journal International Migration Review, indicates these workers receive low or no compensating differential, despite working in fields where the fatality rate, exposure to toxic materials and the risk of falls is high.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know that employers of undocumented workers take advantage of the fear that any reporting of work injuries might result in potential deportation.

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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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July 3, 2014

Louie v. BP Exploration Inc. - Workers' Compensation for Deep Vein Thrombosis in Travelers

It's not uncommon for employers and their insurance firms to deny legitimate Georgia workers' compensation claims by arguing the injuries were not work-related.
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In some cases, refuting this is more challenging than in others. Our workers' compensation lawyers in Atlanta are experienced in handling these sort of assertions. We also know that there are some conditions even the worker may not realize immediately as being work-related.

A good example is deep-vein thrombosis, which was the case for the highly-paid worker in Louie v. BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc.. Deep vein thrombosis is a type of blood clot that occurs deep within the veins, usually in the lower legs or thighs. It can restrict flow of the blood and cause swelling and pain. Beyond that, there is a risk the clot could break loose and block blood flow to the heart, lungs or brain.

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June 30, 2014

Medlin v. Weaver Cooke Constr. - Employer Demands Overpayment Credit

Once an injured employee has been awarded workers' compensation, he or she has cleared the biggest hurdle. However, it may not be the only obstacle he or she will face in the bureaucratic benefits process.
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This is true even if you are no longer working for the employer from whom you obtained the benefits. In some cases, employers will pursue former workers for overpayment of benefits if they believe the disability did not last as long as the benefits. That could mean you are suddenly facing an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars, and the burden of proof is on you to show you truly were still disabled and lacked the capacity to work.

Our Atlanta work injury lawyers can help.

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June 20, 2014

Williams v. Petromark Drilling - Coming-and-Going Rule Challenged

It's been well-established in Georgia, as well as many other states, that if a worker is traveling to or leaving from work, and is injured in a motor vehicle accident, workers compensation benefits may not be collected.
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However, our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know there are always exceptions, which is why injured workers should never assume the outcome of their claim is a foregone conclusion.

In the case of Williams v. Petromark Drilling, LLC, the worker was injured in a car accident while on his way home from work. However, he was ultimately awarded workers' compensation benefits after a great deal of back-and-forth, because, as the Kansas Supreme Court determined, the trip occurred while the claimant was "in the course and scope of his employment."

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June 10, 2014

Brown v. Ajax Paving - Worker Alleges Company Introduced False Medical Testimony

It's not unusual for companies facing a worker compensation claim after a serious on-the-job injury to mount an aggressive defense.
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However in one recent case, an injured employee alleged that not only had his company introduced false medical testimony in his case, it had done so in several of his fellow co-workers' cases as well. It was on this basis that, after settling his workers' compensation claim with the firm, he filed a lawsuit alleging the company, the administrators and the "independent" doctor engaged in a kind of fraud under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed dismissal of the case, Brown v. Ajax Paving Indus., Inc., on the grounds that the plaintiff didn't lose anything as a result of the company's actions. However, this was because he settled and wasn't at risk of losing any of his benefits as a result.

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June 3, 2014

Report: Temp's Work Death Was Preventable, Forewarned

Not only was the death of the 28-year-old Puerto Rican father entirely preventable, but according to a report from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration it was forewarned a year earlier. The company that contracted with a temporary worker agency knew the risk its practices posed, and yet choose to do nothing to make the job safer.
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That's according to a joint report from ProPublica and The Boston Globe. ProPublica has been hyper-focused on the issue of temporary worker safety throughout the U.S. in recent months. This incident occurred in Massachusetts in 2011.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know this case presents lessons that employers can and should take to heart, or else risk a potential liability.

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May 30, 2014

Court: Post-Retirement Claim Stemming From Prior Work Injury Valid

Most people assume workers' compensation benefits can only be claimed for the time period in which the worker is employed by that company. This is false.
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A worker can seek compensation benefits for an earlier work-related injury if the negative effects are ongoing. This is true whether the worker is now employed somewhere else or even if they've retired (so long as the retirement is related to the work injury). And in the recent case of State ex rel. Honda of Am. Mfg., Inc. v. Indus. Comm'n, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled a retired worker does not have to prove he or she suffered economic loss as a result of the ongoing injury in order to collect.

Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand this case stemmed from long-term ailments directly related to employment with an auto manufacturer.

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May 20, 2014

Frith v. WSI - Proving Substantial Acceleration of Existing Condition by Work Injury

Generally, workers are not barred from collecting workers' compensation benefits simply because they suffer from a preexisting condition.
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Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers do recognize, however, that these claims tend to be more complicated. Benefits are only intended for workers who were hurt on the job, so proving causation is going to be a hurdle in these cases. Defendants may argue that the condition existed prior to the work accident, and therefore shouldn't be compensable. Alternately, they may assert the new injury was more greatly predicated on the old condition, rather than anything that happened at work. This is why you will need an experienced lawyer.

Workers' compensation will sometimes cover preexisting conditions - but only if you can show that substantial acceleration or worsening of that condition was a direct result of a work-related accident or duty. Failure to do so may result in denial of your claim.

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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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May 3, 2014

Workplace Death Entitles Survivors to Benefits, Possible Third-Party Lawsuit

One of the most dreaded scenarios a family can face is the loss of a loved one in a workplace accident.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there were nearly 3 million work-related injuries and illnesses in private industry in 2012. Comparatively there were 4,628 workplace deaths that year, with 76 of those reported in Georgia. (These figures are low, as research has shown not all work-related ailments and injuries are properly reported to the government.)

Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers recognize that these are some of the lowest figures since the early 1990s. Still, when each death occurs, loved ones are blind-sided. They may not realize, for example, that no matter how negligent an employer was in causing a worker's death, that company likely cannot be sued by the family.

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April 30, 2014

Unreported Work Injuries in Atlanta a Growing Concern

A few years ago, a report from the Government Accountability Office indicated that both workers and employers don't just occasionally underreport work-related ailments. In fact, underreporting of work-related injuries and illnesses is routine, researchers found. This trend has continued.
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Workers' compensation lawyers in Atlanta believe that understanding the reasons why and also the consequences can help improve the overall reporting rate, which will ultimately boost workplace safety.

Reports from the the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have suggested that significant decreases in workplace injuries and fatalities in recent years were attributable to improvements in workplace safety and a decline in manufacturing jobs. However, the GAO pointed to a number of academic studies indicating that the agency failed to include up to two-thirds of all worker injuries and illnesses.

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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.
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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 11, 2014

Danger to Southern Poultry Workers Highlighted in Congressional Testimony

In response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal to increase line speeds at factories specializing in poultry evisceration, advocates with the Southern Poverty Law Center testified before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that workers are subjected to "disabling harm" even under the current guidelines.
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A report published by the SPLC last year, titled "Unsafe at These Speeds," detailed the poor work conditions of thousands of poultry processing plant workers in Alabama. The details caught the attention of Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers, as Alabama is third in American poultry production. Georgia is No. 1, annually responsible for producing 25 million pounds of chicken, 14 million eggs, employing 47,000 directly statewide and 77,000 indirectly and generating $13.5 billion.

Many of those workers are Latin American migrants (mostly from Mexico), a population that has expanded in Georgia since the 1990s by 300 percent. While industry leaders tout the opportunities these jobs provide to the migrant workers, the reality is much darker.

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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.
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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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