February 13, 2014

Unexplained Falls, Worker's Comp Claims & Your Employment

The recent workers' compensation claim case of City of Brighton v. Rodriguez illustrates how unexplained work injuries could still be compensable, so long as the injury arises out of employment. modernglassstairs.jpg

Our Atlanta workers' compensation attorneys know the key point in these situations is that the "arising out of" requirement. This refers to the causal origin of the injury, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the injury was caused by employment. This requirement is met when, by reason of the employment, the worker is present at a location where he is injured either by a third person, an outside force or conditions of the location.

This is an important point because not all compensable work injuries stem from actual work duties.

Continue reading "Unexplained Falls, Worker's Comp Claims & Your Employment" »

February 3, 2014

Handling Bad Faith Workers' Compensation Disputes in Atlanta

In Atlanta workers' compensation claims, it's not uncommon that an employer or an insurance company disputes payment. After all, they want to limit their own liability and costs as much as possible. coins5.jpg

However, once a claim has been deemed valid, the insurance company acts in bad faith if it refuses to pay. Other bad faith actions by insurers in workers' compensation claims include:

  • Disputing or delaying benefits absent a valid reason;

  • Forcing an injured employee to take a low-ball offer;

  • Refusing to pay for necessary medical care or other benefits;

  • Withholding benefits during the appeals process.

These kinds of actions can be devastating for workers because they are already unable to work. They are losing wages. Medical bills are stacking up, and they require continued care. Plus, they have to figure out how to pay the mortgage and make sure there are enough groceries to feed the family.

Continue reading "Handling Bad Faith Workers' Compensation Disputes in Atlanta" »

January 28, 2014

OSHA Launches New Tool To Protect Hospital Workers

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced the addition of a new online resource, Worker Safety in Hospitals, to help to prevent worker injuries, assess workplace safety, implement health and safety management systems and to create better safe-handling programs.
"These new materials can help prevent hospital worker injuries and improve patient safety, while reducing costs," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

Our workers' compensation lawyers in Georgia know identifying risks before they strike and implementing comprehensive safety interventions are some of the most effective ways to help to protect hospital workers while helping to enhance service to the patients. In American hospitals, officials recorded more than 253,000 work-related injuries and illnesses in 2011. That is a rate of nearly 7 work-related illnesses and injuries for every 100 full-time workers -- almost twice the rate for private industry.

Continue reading "OSHA Launches New Tool To Protect Hospital Workers" »

January 23, 2014

Food Service Workers Face High Rate of Injury

Saru Jayaraman, one of the country's most outspoken activists for restaurant workers, is making a huge attempt to link two groups that don't have a history of working together - organized labor and foodies.
According to the SF Gate, her goal is to help improve the working conditions for the nation's 10 million restaurant employees -- those who are about twice more likely to be on public assistance than other Americans.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand that about 1 in every 5 private sector worker is involving in some way in producing or delivering food. Still, this is the fastest-growing industry. On the other hand, 7 out of 10 of the lowest paying jobs in the country are in the food industry. In many areas of the country, line cooks are packing up and heading out because their pay isn't even enough to cover their rent.

Continue reading "Food Service Workers Face High Rate of Injury" »

January 14, 2014

Atlanta Workers' Compensation Claims: Injuries Must Arise From Employment

In order to be successful in the submission of an Atlanta workers' compensation claim, it's critical for the legal team representing you to prove that the injury or illness arose out of the course of your employment. cuidado.jpg

In some cases, this is pretty simple. For example, a full-time construction worker is struck by a falling beam at a work site while he's on the clock.

But other scenarios can be less black-and-white.

Continue reading "Atlanta Workers' Compensation Claims: Injuries Must Arise From Employment" »

January 8, 2014

Georgia Workers Risk Safety in Cold Weather Extremes

Forecasts in Georgia over the next few weeks predict lows well below the 10s in some areas. With the wind child factor, the National Weather Service reports that some areas of the state may reach a dangerous 15 degrees below zero - or even colder.
Even areas of southern Georgia, which are often insulated from the worst of winter weather, are expected to hit lows of less than 20 degrees.

While that's still not nearly as cold as what our hardy Midwestern neighbors are enduring, many businesses in the south are not as well-prepared to deal with this kind of bone-chilling, record-breaking freeze. At greater risk for work injuries in Atlanta, employees toiling outdoors need to make sure the company is taking their well-being into careful consideration.

Continue reading "Georgia Workers Risk Safety in Cold Weather Extremes" »

December 30, 2013

OSHA Moving Forward with Standards to Improve Chemical Facility Safety

Following a devastating explosion of a fertilizer plant that caused fifteen deaths in 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) intends to change the regulations related to chemical facility safety and security. Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know that OSHA had not investigated the West Texas plant where the explosion took place since 1985, at which time the plant was fined $30 for violations found by the agency after the inspection. When the Administration conducted an investigation into the fertilizer plant after the deadly explosion in 2013, it found rule violations that prompted 24 citations. The total proposed OSHA fines for the fertilizer plant's citations was set at $118,300. chemicals-506057-m.jpg

Unfortunately, OSHA's citations after the fact are not able to bring back the 15 people who lose their lives, nor can the citations restore the health of the more than 300 people who were injured in the fertilizer blast. The new regulations on chemical facility safety and security, if they move forward, could potentially help to save lives in the future but only if employers obey the new rules and do all they are supposed to in order to keep workers and the public safe.

Continue reading "OSHA Moving Forward with Standards to Improve Chemical Facility Safety " »

December 23, 2013

Workers' Compensation for Georgia's Independent Contractors

The state of Georgia established the system of workers' compensation to provide benefits to employees for medical treatment and wages while they recover from an on-the-job injury.
A key element of successfully arguing for these benefits, however, is proving that you are an employee. For those who work as independent contractors, this is more complicated than you might think - but it's not impossible, despite the fact that Georgia's workers' compensation law doesn't technically cover independent contractors.

However, many independent contractors are wrongly classified by the employer in the first place. That is, just because a company labels a worker as an independent contractor, using a form 1099 for withholding taxes, does not necessarily mean that the person would not be considered an employee under state law.

Continue reading "Workers' Compensation for Georgia's Independent Contractors" »

December 19, 2013

Traveling Employees And Georgia Workers' Compensation

Thousands of workers are seriously injured annually in motor vehicle accidents. As a result, there are often questions that arise with regard to whether that worker is entitled to workers' compensation coverage or whether he or she would be better served pursuing a personal injury claim under general negligence law.
The answer often depends on whether the employee was actually working at the time of the crash or whether he was traveling to or from work. And, in fact, a third-party liability claim may allow an attorney to both pursue a workers' comp claim and a personal injury lawsuit for negligence against parties other than an employer.

Georgia case law, and specifically the 1968 decision in Corbin v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, holds that injuries sustained by a worker who is coming from or traveling to his job are not compensable under the state's workers' compensation program. In the Corbin case, the employee was leaving the work site to go home when he was injured in a crash on an access road owned by the city. The employee had been working on a city project at the time. However, the court determined that because the worker was on his way home, the injury did not happen in the course of his employment and so his claim was denied.

Continue reading "Traveling Employees And Georgia Workers' Compensation" »

December 12, 2013

Establishing Source of Georgia Work Injuries

One of the greatest challenges for Atlanta workers' compensation attorneys is establishing for the court the origin of a client's illness or injuries. armphoto.jpg

In some instances, this is very straightforward, as the condition arose from a single, often traumatic, incident, such as a crash or a fall.

Other times, however, a worker's condition has the possibility of arising from more than one source, leaving the door open for employers to argue that it did not occur as a result or in the course of one's employment. Given that this is a key point that must be proven in order to secure a claim, it's not one that ailing workers can expect to dance around.

Continue reading "Establishing Source of Georgia Work Injuries" »

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.

Continue reading "Georgia Workers' Compensation & a Look at Top Work Accident Causes for 2012" »

November 30, 2013

OSHA Looks Ahead to 2014 Worker Safety Regulations

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets guidelines for worker safety and establishes rules that employers are supposed to follow. While OSHA is understaffed and conducts far fewer inspections of unsafe workplaces than it should, the agency does establish new guidelines and regulations on a regular basis that are designed to improve working conditions. woman-writing-in-the-agenda-1182879-m.jpg

OSHA has recently announced the agency's 2014 regulatory agenda and the Administration will be changing the rules on a number of important issues. Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers urge employers to be aware of changing workplace safety regulations and to make the necessary adjustments so they are not considered in violation.

Continue reading "OSHA Looks Ahead to 2014 Worker Safety Regulations" »

November 27, 2013

Amid Overall Decline, Certain Types of Workplace Injury Risks Increase

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the 2012 data on occupational injuries and illnesses requiring days away from work. Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers know the news wasn't great for workers despite the decline in the rate of nonfatal occupational injury and illnesses cases requiring days away from work that occurred from 2011 to 2012. council-1124775-m.jpg

The rate of injuries or illnesses requiring days away from work decreased but the median number of days that an injured or ill worker took off increased in 2012 by a full day. This could suggest that the injuries that were occurring were more serious in 2012. Trends also suggest that certain types of workplace injury risks are increasing. Employers need to be aware of the top risks that workers face and need to take affirmative steps to try to reduce some of the biggest dangers on the job.

Continue reading "Amid Overall Decline, Certain Types of Workplace Injury Risks Increase" »

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.

Continue reading "Dangerous Working Conditions for Temps in Georgia" »

October 29, 2013

Protecting Georgia's Younger Workers

Currently, about 80 percent of all students are employed during some portion of their high school career. According to the Georgia Department of Labor, child labor laws are created so that these young workers have enough tome to pursue their education and so that they're workplaces are safe. The state's child labor laws were written back in 1878. The federal laws were not enacted until 1938.
When there are differences in the state and the federal child labor laws, the law that is more stringent is used.

Our Atlanta workers' compensation lawyers understand that there are many fields in which these young workers (under the age of 16) are not allowed to participate, including factory, mill, laundry, manufacturing establishments or any occupation that has been designated hazardous. They also face serious hour restrictions so that they can remain focused on their studies. They are prohibited from working between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. They are also not permitted to work in any gainful occupation during the hours when public or private schools are in session unless said minor has completed senior high school or has been excused from attendance in school by a county or independent school system board of education in accordance with the general policies and regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education.

Continue reading "Protecting Georgia's Younger Workers " »