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Workers' compensation

Workers’ compensation insurance provides medical benefits and compensation for lost wages to employees injured on the job.

Thomas Joseph Schaffer | Sep 19, 2019

What to do when injured on the job.

Immediately report the injury. Employers will always fight a case that is not immediately reported. If not documented, it gives the company ammunition to allege that the accident did not occur on the date and time later claimed and that the injury actually occurred off the job. Some employers will fire employees for failure to timely report an injury. In addition, many many times employers will tell employees that if the accident isn't reported, then a claim cannot be pursued. This could not be further from the truth! Ohio law allows a claim to be filed within one year of the date of injury. Obviously, a reported accident is more likely to be covered than an unreported accident. However, many workers experience aches and pains throughout their shift that typically go away. There are occasions where that simple muscle strain thought to be nothing at the time could later be determined to be something much more serious, such as a herniated disc or a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder. This is why I advise people at my seminars "when it doubt, file a report." In addition, there are occasions that an injury doesn't happen with a specific event, rather gradually over the course of time. These "wear and tear" injuries are covered in Ohio and most other states. Some of the conditions that are wear and tear type claims are carpal tunnel syndrome, impingement syndrome of the shoulder, ulnar neuropathy and other hand, wrist and shoulder disorders. My best advice to workers that experience symptoms of hand, wrist, knee, ankle or shoulder pain to complete an incident report at that point in time where you start believing you will require medical attention. Again, not all injuries involve a specific on the job accident. In order to best protect yourself and your family, seek to complete the report as soon as possible after the pain starts. Obtain coworkers statements. Request anyone that was near you when the incident occurred to complete a statement confirming what they know and saw. Too many times, even after completing an incident report, the employer will somehow lose the report or fail to offer it to you or your attorney. Having a witness statement confirms your version of the events and another way to get your claim covered. Seek immediate medical attention. Seeking medical attention soon after the injury not only starts you on the road to recovery but also confirms that the incident occurred as you described, Make sure you are consistent in your description. Many employers will attempt to discredit injured workers where the description of accident on the injury report is inconsistent with how the injury was described to your physician. Most likely, you would have told the same story but medical providers are busy and may not fully listen to your story. Thus, it is very useful to require medical personnel to read back what they documented to ensure that it is accurate. This is another way to make sure your claim gets allowed! File a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. In order to obtain benefits for your injury, a claim application must be filed. As noted above, the application must be filed within one year of the date of injury. Filing the application starts the process of obtaining a claim number and ultimately a determination as to whether your injury is valid. Seek legal advice. Most attorneys that represent injured workers provide free initial legal consultations. Seeking advice doesn't mean hiring an attorney. If you are unsure about what to do and want to know your legal rights in your claim, the best place to go is an attorney that specializes in this area of practice. You are under no obligation to sign with that attorney. Most lawyers will gladly answer your questions and concerns about your injury and what to expect. Many times, after listening to a potential client, I advise them that they do not need an attorney at the present time but of course leave the door open to return should they run into problems with their claim. My firm, Schaffer and Associates, collectively has over 50 years of experience representing those injured and disabled and will gladly discuss any questions, concerns or problems you may have with the pursuit of your claim!

Tommy Mark Murphy | Sep 16, 2019

5 Most Common Workplace Injuries (& Their Causes)

Let’s face it, accidents happen. Regardless of which industry you work in, there’s always a chance of getting hurt or even killed on the job. The severity of the injury often depends on the industry you work in. Here are some of the common workplace injuries: 1. Muscle strain Muscle strain injuries can happen anywhere, but they’re particularly prevalent in industries involving heavy labor and even in retail settings. Luckily, muscle strains are one of the easiest injuries to avoid with basic training on how to lift heavy objects properly. 2. Repetitive strain injury (RSI) RSIs are becoming increasingly common. Those who do repetitive tasks, such as using a keyboard, can suffer from RSIs. One problem is that employers often don’t treat RSIs as seriously as they should. To help reduce the chances of their employees suffering from RSIs, employers should encourage the use of ergonomic equipment and taking breaks during the workday. 3. Slips, trips and falls These kinds of injuries can also happen anywhere. All it takes is a spilled drink or rainy day to create a slippery floor. Likewise, it’s easy to trip over uneven surfaces if you’re not paying attention or get distracted. Falls from heights are especially common for workers who must climb ladders like roofers and construction crew. 4. Cuts and lacerations Regardless of where you work, it’s possible to cut yourself on the job. Cuts and lacerations can range from minor (like a bad papercut) to severe (box cutter injuries or knife slips). Poor training, failing to follow safety protocols and inadequate safety measures are all contributors for these kinds of common workplace injuries. 5. Crashes and collisions Anyone who drives a vehicle or heavy machinery for their job is at higher risk for being involved in a crash. For this reason, it’s important for employers to have strict seat belt regulations as well as any other appropriate safety measures in place. These are just a few of the possible injuries you could face on the job. If you’re involved in a workplace injury , reach out to our experts for more information on filing a claim in Montana.

Robert E Wisniewski | Sep 12, 2019

Why Attorneys Should Treat Workers’ Comp Cases Emphatically

Remember, an injured worker is going through an unsettling time, which can be extremely stressful. Merriam-Webster defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.” As an attorney, it’s important to be able to empathize with your clients. This is especially true in cases where your client was injured, like a workers’ compensation claim. In these kinds of cases, it’s typically not just enough to put yourself in your clients’ shoes or to understand what they’re going through. You also need to genuinely want to help them through their situation. Remember, an injured worker is going through an unsettling time, which can be extremely stressful. When working with a workers’ compensation case, my firm emphasizes the importance of being empathetic with each client that walks through our doors, from the very first meeting to the final communication. Why do we go above and beyond in this way? Because something as simple as human empathy can go a long way in helping put clients at ease during a really difficult time in their life. Advice for flexing your empathy muscle Tip #1: Be an active listener Not only do we listen to our clients from the first interaction and ask them about their workplace accident, we also listen to their story as a whole. Don’t forget to pay attention to subtle emotional cues. You can pick up on a lot of unspoken information by noticing body language and what goes unsaid. The client’s surroundings can also tell you a lot about how they are coping with their recovery. Tip #2: Be an empathetic communicator Effective communication often includes mirroring your client’s words back to them in your words. This practice helps reassure anxious clients by showing them that you’re really listening, making them more likely to open up to you and offer more detailed information about what’s going on in their life. Tip #3: Be a compassionate advocate Being a compassionate advocate means being there whole-heartedly for your client. Taking this approach will help to establish trust between you and them, and it will help your client feel more comfortable with opening up. This allows you to be a more effective litigator on their behalf. Empathy takes a lot of practice. Start flexing your empathy muscle right now and see how it affects your clients and others around you. It has certainly done wonders for us.

Mark Wade Jr. | Aug 21, 2019

When to Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer

Why You Should Talk to a Workers' Comp Lawyer The ultimate goal of a worker’s comp lawyer is to represent you to make sure you get treated fairly by your employer and insurance company and get compensated fairly for your injuries. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. They can handle things like gathering medical records, taking depositions, doing legal research, drafting any motions or other requests, and will represent you in any legal proceedings. One of the biggest reasons to hire a worker’s comp lawyer is that compensation laws are complex. You May Not Understand Workers' Comp Law Chances are, you aren’t an expert in worker’s comp laws. And unless you need to be, why would you really know the ins and outs of them? The reality is that they are extremely complex, vary by state, and vary by industry. An experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in these types of cases knows the laws, knows what an employer can and can’t do, and can help you navigate the process. Your Employer May Deny Your Claim There are instances when an employer may deny your worker’s comp claim. Even though they have insurance to cover your expenses, employers don’t want too many claims, as that means their premiums will likely increase. If your employer refuses to cooperate or denies your claim, you’ll need a lawyer to advocate for you. A worker’s comp lawyer can appeal the denial for you and negotiate with your employer and the insurance company. The Insurance Company Will Try to Settle Businesses and insurance companies are concerned with their bottom line. And in the case of a worker’s comp claim, they want to pay out as little money as possible. The insurance company will often try to settle with you, often offering you only a fraction of what you are entitled to. If the settlement offer is extremely low or if your employer outright denies your claim, you may need to file a lawsuit. You May Need to File a Lawsuit If you aren’t getting anywhere with your employer and the insurance company, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit. Many people simply give up at this point, accepting whatever the insurance company offers or just accepting the denial and moving on. You shouldn’t give up though, and continue fighting for what is rightfully owed to you. An attorney will prepare the necessary documents to file a lawsuit and then handle the litigation process. Most worker’s comp attorneys only get paid if they win the case, so you can rest assured that they take cases that they think they can win.