Monthly Archives: December 2011

Real Danger Comes With Winter Weather

Back injury and heart attack are just a few of the risks associated with winter weather conditions.

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman of New Jersey.

Winter weather can make work much more dangerous. Some of the hazards associated with working in snowy or stormy weather include:

  • Driving accidents due to slippery roadways
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Slips and falls due to slippery walkways
  • Hypothermia and frostbite due to the cold weather exposure
  • Being struck by falling objects such as icicles, tree limbs, and utility poles
  • Electrocution due to downed power lines or downed objects in contact with power lines
  • Falls from heights (e.g. falls from roof or skylights while removing snow)
  • Roof collapse under weight of snow (or melting snow if drains are clogged)
  • Burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure
  • Exhaustion from working extended shifts
  • Dehydration
  • Back injuries or heart attack while removing snow
  • Potential hazards from down power lines include:
  • Electrocution by contacting downed energized lines, or contacting objects, such as broken tree limbs, in contact with fallen lines.
  • Falls from heights.
  • Being struck or crushed by falling poles, towers or parts thereof, tree limbs, ice accumulation on lines, towers and poles.
  • Being injured in vehicular accidents when responding to an emergency situation.
  • Burns from fires caused by energized line contact or equipment failure.

Workers are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits should they get hurt at work. The benefits include temporary compensation when out of work and under treatment, medical treatment and permanent disability benefits. Workers should consult an attorney at once if they sustain a work-related accident.

For over 3 decades the Law Offices of Jon L. Gelman in New Jersey have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses. Jon is a prolific author, public speaker and educator on the topic of workers’ compensation law.

Would better work comp' law have saved Mickey Mantle's dad?

Mickey Mantle's father never lived to see his son's amazing baseball career.

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina.

In The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America’s Childhood by Jane Leavy, the author goes into great detail about Mickey’s father, Mutt Mantle, who worked in a lead mine in Commerce, Oklahoma in the 1930s and 40s. Silicosis (a fibrosis of the lung caused by rock dust) was the feared disease of this type of employment. If an x-ray came back positive the employee was fired the same day and could never be hired by another mine.

“When they get sick and can’t work, we throw them in the dump heap.”

An agent for the employer was quoted as saying, “When they get sick and can’t work, we throw them in the dump heap.”

Mutt refused to go to a doctor until it was too late. He died at the age of 40 in 1952, just one year after his son became a Major League player.

Mantle’s father never lived to see his tremendous success as one of the best baseball players of all time.

The mine was closed in 1970. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed this job site as the most toxic waste site Continue reading

14 Signs Your Employer Is Committing Fraud

Is your employer committing fraud?

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina.

All employees should be on the lookout for signs that their employer or potential employer is engaging in workers’ compensation fraud.

The list of signs below was inspired by this one from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

These signs may indicate that your employer is not paying workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If they aren’t, this could put you in a very difficult situation if you are ever injured on the job.

If any of these signs sound familiar, report the employer to the department of labor and, if at all possible, find another job.

Your employer may be engaged in workers’ compensation fraud if:

  1. They pay you in cash and don’t give you any kind of payroll stub.
  2. They give you a 1099 form instead of the standard W-2.
  3. They pay you other than in cash or check, by such things as free rent, reimbursement of expenses, barter, etc.
  4. They pay you on a piecework basis and do not record hours.
  5. They require you to work long hours but turn in fewer hours than you actually worked.
  6. You or somebody you know is injured on the job, and the employer promises to pay the medical bills rather than reporting the accident to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
  7. The reported hours on an injured worker’s accident report do not match the hours the employer reported to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.  Continue reading

You Have The Right To See Your Family Doctor

Your family doctor may be the best person to treat your work injury.

Today’s post comes to us from Brody Ockander of Nebraska. While he speaks specifically about Nebraska, the same rule of thumb applies here in Wisconsin. If you have an an injury covered by workers’ compensation, you have the right to choose your physician. Don’t let your employer tell you otherwise. 

Generally in Nebraska, if you’re injured at work, you have a right to go to your family doctor so long as that doctor has treated you or an immediate family member and has records of that treatment. See Neb. Rev. Stat Section 48-120(2)(a).

Furthermore, you may be able to treat with any doctor (not just your family doctor) if your employer doesn’t provide you with a “Choice of Physician Form” (also known as a Form 50—click to see here), or if your employer denies your work comp claim.

It’s most likely that no doctor knows your health better than your own family doctor.

What many employers will attempt to do, however, is have you sign a “Choice of Physician Form” and tell you that in order for work comp to pay, you have to write on the form that you choose to treat with one of their doctors (i.e. a doctor that has your employer’s best interest in mind and probably not yours) rather than your family doctor.

Other times, your employer may give you a Continue reading

What You Don't Know About Facebook Can Hurt You

Follow a few rules of thumb to stay safe on Facebook.

Today’s wise words come to us from Brody Ockander of Nebraska.

More than likely, you’re on Facebook if you are reading this. If you are not, the chances are very good that you know a close friend or family member who is on Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter.

Most of us never think twice about what we post on these social media sites. However, depending on the privacy settings of your profile, anyone may be able to see the status update on your wall, the photo of you at a wedding, or whatever job you are currently in. That “anyone” could be the defense lawyer or insurance adjuster if you are currently involved in a Workers’ Compensation action.

Depending on your privacy settings, anyone may be able to see the status update on your wall, the photo of you at a wedding, or whatever job you are currently in.

“What do I have to hide?” you ask. Well, often times these status updates, photos, or wall postings may be misunderstood or taken out of context. For example, a status update stating “Just got done mowing the lawn” might not look very good to someone that is off work for a back injury, and it would be hard to explain that even though you mowed the lawn, it took you two pain pills to do so and caused you extreme suffering later that night that you couldn’t even sleep the price you paid in mowing that lawn.

Here’s what you can do to avoid some pitfalls from Facebook:

  1. Adjust your privacy settings so that only your “friends” can see your status, wall, and photos. Continue reading

When is the right time for me to contact a lawyer about my injury?

After being injured at work, clients often hesitate to reach out to an attorney. This may be because they don’t think it’s necessary or are nervous about what it will entail. In today’s video Q&A I talk about some of the reasons why contacting a lawyer right after you are injured is so important, and why there isn’t really any reason not to talk to a lawyer.

If you are hurt at work, there is virtually no reason not to reach out to a lawyer immediately. 

Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider may not have your best interests at heart. Unless you take careful action Continue reading

Telling your supervisor about an injury is not enough. Here's what else you need to do.

injured workerToday’s post comes to us from our colleague Matthew Funk of New York and is part of an ongoing series of questions and answers about workers compensation.

QUESTION: I TOLD MY SUPERVISOR ABOUT THE ACCIDENT BUT I DID NOT SUBMIT AN ACCIDENT REPORT. AM I GOOD TO GO WITH THE VERBAL NOTICE?

ANSWER: ALWAYS REPORT AN INJURY IN WRITING

Joe was working a construction job when Mike accidentally beaned Joe on the head with a 2X4. After seeing a couple of Tweety Birds and a whole bunch of stars, Joe went down to his supervisor’s station and told him he had just had an accident. Then he went off to the ER to make sure he was not seriously injured, relieved he had taken care of business at the job site. All he had to do now was get better.

No, Joe! No!

Yes, Joe satisfied the notice requirement. However, Joe was NOT good to go.

Supervisors sometimes have a funny habit of forgetting Continue reading

The first time I see my lawyer, what will we talk about?

We find that clients are often worried about what they should prepare before coming to see their attorney for the first time. There is no reason to be afraid or intimidated of this first visit. The first time you see your attorney, the attorney will ask you a number of questions, but, in particular, you should expect to talk about 3 things:
Continue reading