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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 →

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When a work-related injury prevents you from being able to work, you may be qualified for workers’ compensation. wheelchair4

However, deciding how much you receive and for how long is a complex process. There are many different types of “disability” under Georgia workers’ compensation law. Those include:

  • Temporary Total Disability
  • Temporary Partial Disability
  • Permanent Partial Disability
  • Permanent Total Disability
  • Death Benefits

Each has a different proof burden that must be met, though there is often discretion granted to doctors, the state commission and the courts in deciding which category best describes your circumstances. Continue reading →

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Permanent partial disability in workers’ compensation cases are among the most common type of work injury claims. They are essentially a lump sum or structured settlement award for an on-the-job injury resulting in a disability that is partial, but permanent.concretetruck1

This figure can include money for medial and therapy bills, medications, costs for transportation to-and-from physician appointments and partial wage loss reimbursement. It is a determination – made by doctors and the industrial commission/courts – after an injured worker has attained “maximum medical improvement.” This is the point at which medical consensus is the worker is medically stable and isn’t going to improve with further treatment. It doesn’t mean treatments are complete, just that this is probably the best the worker is going to get.

So for example, a person who suffers a back injury may ultimately be assigned a permanent partial disability rating of 20 percent. That means his capacity to work is reduced by 20 percent, and he is thus entitled to compensation for coverage of all related medical bills and costs, plus a lump sum or structured payment that covers the wage loss difference of 20 percent.

Insurance companies usually dispute permanent partial disability findings, so it can often be an arduous process that involves independent medical examinations, meetings with specialists, administrative hearings and appeals. Continue reading →

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Sometimes, the question of whether an injury arose in the course and scope of employment is simple because of where it happened or how it happened. laserbeam

Other times, the issue is more complicated. Perhaps it didn’t happen at the job site or during normal working hours or while worker was engaged in an activity that is supposed to be considered “fun.”

In these situations, where workers participate and are injured during work-related activities outside of their normal, everyday duties, it can be more challenging to secure workers’ compensation benefits. Continue reading →

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A woman whose husband was killed on-the-job in Atlanta while working for the city is seeking to challenge Georgia’s sovereign immunity and worker’s compensation exclusive remedy provisions.accident1

When her husband was killed, he was riding in the cab of a city-owned garbage truck, driven by his co-worker. Problem was, his co-worker was drunk. So drunk, in fact, his blood-alcohol level was three times over the 0.08 limit. (In commercial vehicles, the legal limit is 0.02, although the city has a zero tolerance policy.) Officials later found a bottle of vodka in the grass. Decedent had no alcohol in his system.

Her husband was thrown from the vehicle and died on impact. She too was a city employee. Her supervisors were the first to inform her of his passing.

Continue reading →

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A plaintiff in a Georgia third-party liability lawsuit against an equipment manufacturer following a work-related injury is arguing against a defense request to add his employer as a non-party defendant. gavel21

In the case of Walker v. Tensor Machinery, defense asserts employer’s negligence was a factor in worker’s injury. Even though employer cannot be legally sued by plaintiff due to exclusive remedy provisions that bar workers from suing employers for occupational injuries, defense wants to add the company as a non-party defendant to potentially shift liability. This is called apportionment of damages. If a non-party defendant is found to be partially liable, plaintiff can’t collect that portion of damages, but the named party won’t be responsible for paying it.

Plaintiffs, meanwhile, argue that the immunity the employer obtains from exclusive remedy means there is no duty and therefore there is no tort and thus the employer can’t be found at-fault. Continue reading →

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If a worker in Georgia is injured on the job and cannot work for more than seven days, he or she is likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. tirednesssetsin

But there are several different kinds of benefits, which depend not only on the severity of injury, but the impact that injury has on the worker’s earning capacity.

Those type of benefits include:

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Many employers host various “non-work” social gatherings, whether for charity or customer/employee relations or holidays. reception1

If an employee suffers injury or illness at one of these functions, the question of workers’ compensation becomes a complex one. There are a host of specific circumstances that could come into play, but primary question is probably going to be whether the event was incidental to employment. That is, even if you weren’t performing regular company duties, were you doing something that was considered an act of employment?

Courts weighing such cases are going to look at:

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Many people drive to and from work, but some are required to drive in the course and scope of employment. workdriving.jpg

Generally, those who drive during the work day for work purposes may be covered by workers’ compensation in the event of a serious crash. Meanwhile, those who are simply “coming and going” – i.e., commuting to and from work – are usually not covered.

The recent case of Seabright Ins. Co. v. Lopez highlights arguments that can arise between an employer/insurer and an injured employee/surviving family members in workers’ compensation claims following an auto accident.

According to court records, employee had worked for the oil and gas processing company eight years at the time of the accident. While he lived with his wife in one Texas city, he almost never actually worked in that city. He was assigned to work at various remote locations, and during these jobs, he usually made his own living arrangement, typically staying at a local motel. He was paid hourly, plus given a stipend for food and lodging when he stayed out-of-town. He was also given a company vehicle to get to and from different job locations, but he wasn’t paid for his travel time to and from job sites.
Continue reading →