Burn Injuries and Worker’s Compensation

Posted on Monday, June 26th, 2017 at 11:34 am    

Many North Carolina and Virginia workers suffer serious burn injuries at work. While employers are required to follow a variety of federal, state, and industry standard guidelines – employees in both states are entitled to workers compensation benefits regardless of employer fault. In serious burn injury cases, the employer’s insurance company or self-insurance is required to pay for all the reasonable surgeries, doctor visits, and medications the employee needs to be able to manage the pain and be able to maximize the chances of recovery. If multiple skin grafts are needed and the burns are deep and extensive, the cost for the medical care can become quite expensive.

There are three basic types of workplace burns:

  • Thermal burns. These can be from a stove, steam, hot liquids, industrial equipment, or other causes
  • Electrical burns. These usually occur from some sort of electrical current or spark
  • Chemical burns. These can be caused by an product the worker uses that has caustic or toxic components such as cleansers.

Whenever a worker suffers any type of burn injury, it is crucial to get medical help as soon as possible. The burn victim should immediately contact the supervisor and then get emergency help.

Thermal burn injuries

If a person’s clothing catches fire, the first priority is to be able to put out the flames. The person should be helped to stop, drop, and roll. All burned clothing should be removed from the worker. The worker should then be given something to wrap their body in such as a jacket or blanket. All burn victims who catch fire will need emotional help as well as physical help.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), any jewelry, belts, and rings should be removed immediately because burned areas often swell.

There are three types of burns – first, second, and third degree

  • First-degree burns. These burns involve the skin’s top layer. Sunburn is a classic example. Signs include redness, sensitivity to touch, and mild swelling. Treatments include wet cool compresses or immersing the skin in fresh, cool water until the pain ebbs. The burn should be covered with a sterile non-adhesive bandage or sterile gauze. Ointments should be avoided because they can cause infection which can lead to serious complications. Some over-the counter medications may be used to help reduce the swelling and ease the pain. Most first-degree burns heal with time though if the first-degree burn covers a large portion of the body or the employee is elderly, emergency treatment should be sought.
  • Second-degree burns. These burns penetrate into the second layer of the skin. Deep skin reddening, blisters, leaking fluid, pain, and possible skin loss are likely symptoms. The skin should be immersed in fresh water for 10-15 minutes. The blisters should not be broken and ointments should be avoided because, again, they can cause infections. Burned arms and legs should be elevated. Steps should be taken to help avoid shock. This includes laying the burn victim flat and elevating the feet and covering the victim with a blanket. If a head, neck, back, or leg injury is suspected – then the shock position should be avoided. The best course of action for second-degree burns is to get immediate emergency medical assistance.
  • Third-degree burns. These burns penetrate the skin completely and can damage underlying tissue also. The skin can appear leathery and dry, charred, or have discolored patches. Breathing issues can be a real problem. Emergency help is mandatory.

Electrical burn victims

Electrical jolts, shocks, or burns often aren’t visible like thermal burns – though the damage is often deep underneath the skin. The electrical burn can cause heart problems and even cardiac arrest. Many electrical burn victims suffer breathing problems and loss of consciousness in addition to heart problems.

The best treatment is to seek immediate medical help. In addition, care should be taken to remove the burn victim from any electrical source by using an object that doesn’t’ conduct electricity. The source of the electricity that caused the burn should be cut off. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) may be required.

Chemical burns

Mining and other industries are especially prone to cause serious chemical burns

According to the Mayo Clinic,, strong acids, lyes, paint thinners, and gasoline are among some of the causes of chemical burns. If an employee has a chemical burn:

  • The chemical that is causing the burn should be removed.
  • Dry chemicals can be brushed.
  • Wet chemicals need to be treated more carefully. The person removing the chemical should wear gloves and take other precautionary steps so they don’t get burned as well.
  • Any contaminated clothing or jewelry should be removed.
  • A stream of cool tap water should be run over the burn.
  • Loose fitting bandages or gauze should be applied.
  • Some over-the-counter pain relievers may help.
  • Your doctor may give you a tetanus shot.

If the employee is in shock (is pale, fainted, or has difficulty breathing), the chemical burn is deep (penetrating the first layer of the skin), or the burn involves the eyes, hands, feet, face, buttocks, groins, or a major joint – then emergency medical help should be called for.

Recovery for Scarring and Disfigurement from Burns

Often, there are terrible scars or disfigurement left on the skin as a result of severe burns. Unfortunately, under the laws in North Carolina and Virginia, separate recovery for scarring or disfigurement is extremely limited, unless the scarring is so severe that it interferes with one’s ability to work, such as restriction in the range of motion or limited use of the disfigured area that prevents you from returning to work. In that regard, such cases are treated just like a regular comp case.  

In Virginia, if you are able to return to work, you are only entitled to a maximum of 60 weeks of temporary total disability payments for scarring and disfigurement.

In North Carolina, if the disfigurement is on the head or face, the maximum payment is $20,000.00. Elsewhere on the body, it’s only $10,000.00.

Also, as with all workers compensation cases, there are no payments for pain and suffering. All payments are determined by statute.  

Speak with an experienced North Carolina and Virginia Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Today

Burn injuries can require long-term medical care. Employees may not be able to return to work for months, years, or, in severe cases, never. North Carolina and Virginia attorney Joe Miller Esq. has been helping injured workers get their benefits and legal recoveries for over 26 years. He has helped thousands of employees get their full workers’ compensation benefits. For help now, please phone us at (888) 694-1671 or complete our contact form.

Head Injuries, Concussions, and Workers’ Compensation

Head trauma of all types is a very common workplace injury. An employee can suffer a head injury due to a slip and fall, an automobile or truck accident, a piece of equipment that doesn’t work, or an object that falls from above. Head injuries can happen to:

  • Construction workers
  • Manufacturer employees
  • Police officers
  • Firefighters
  • Truck drivers
  • Anyone who uses a car for their job
  • And any worker anywhere

Common head trauma tests

The brain is made of soft tissue which can be easily damaged. Inside the skull is a cerebrospinal fluid layer that helps protect the brain from the skull. A concussion happens when a blow to the head causes the brain to pass through the fluid and strike the skull.

If a head injury, concussion, or brain trauma is suspected; your physician will conduct several types of tests:

  • The doctor will take an oral history to determine what caused the blow to the head
  • The doctor will conduct a variety of physical tests to determine the loss of any physical or cognitive function
  • The physician will likely order several imaging tests including:

 

      • A CT scan. This test will help determine if you have any hemorrhaging or a skull fracture
      • An MRI (Magnetic Resolution Imaging). This test is use to evaluate the function of the brain.

 

  • An EEG test (Electroencephalography)-electrodes are placed on the head and measure electrical activity in the brain over time.

 

    • Brain PET Scan- (positron emission tomography)-this can give the physician real-time visuals of metabolic processes taking place in the brain.

Head trauma victims will often be seen by several doctors such as a neurosurgeon, a neurologist, and a psychiatrist , psychologist, or a neuropsychologist. Other professional help can include social workers, speech and language pathologists, recreational therapists, and a traumatic brain injury nurse specialist.

Some milder head injuries can heal within days, weeks, or months. In serious cases, the first thing an emergency team will examine is that the employee/patient has an adequate supply of oxygen and blood. They will also work to make sure the patient’s blood pressure is monitored.

Some serious traumatic brain injuries which can last a lifetime. Symptoms can include:

  • Pain
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Loss of memory
  • Poor concentration
  • An inability to make decisions
  • Impulsiveness
  • Inability to communicate or speak
  • Inability to understand what is being said when you are spoken to

According to the Mayo Clinic, medications can include:

  • Diuretics which reduce the amount of fluid in tissues and, if given intravenously, can help reduce pressure inside the brain
  • Anti-seizure medications to he help avoid any additional brain damage
  • In some severe cases, drugs that actually induce a coma may be used to reduce swelling and pressure on the brain case.

Surgeries can include:

  • Removing blood clots (subdural hematomas)
  • Repairing a fracture to the skull
  • Draining cerebral brain fluid
  • Creating a window in the skull

Head trauma victims may need the following types of treatments:

  • Physical therapy. This will address the ability of the patient to perform physical tasks such as walking, feeding oneself, sleeping, personal grooming, bowel and bladder functions, and other daily functions. The physical therapist will also help with any pain issues, strength, posture, and balance.
  • Occupational therapy. This therapy will address the ability of the worker to do his former job. It can include the ability to lift and carry objects, perform repetitive tasks, bend, stretch, and manual dexterity. The occupational therapist will also help with the ability to bank and handle budgets.
  • Psychological therapy. Many head trauma patients need help coping with their physical difficulties, depressions, and anxiety. Their family situations are often put under tremendous strain as they often say they no longer recognize the behavior of the brain injury victim.

What to do after a head injury

Head injury symptoms often don’t show themselves right away. If an employee suffers any blow to the head for any reason, the best course of action is to see a physician right away. The sooner the condition is treated, the better the chances for a recovery will be. Also, delay in treatment can be taken as a sign or proof that the injury happened outside of work. Employers and insurance companies will look for any excuse to say your injuries are not work-related.

Your work status and benefits

You should be paid for all of your medical bills until you reach a state of Maximum Medical Improvement. This means that your hospital, therapy, and other bills will be paid until it is clear than additional medical treatment will not help you get any better.

The amount of income you receive will depend on the extent of your recover

  • If you are able to return to your normal job, you will receive 2/3rds of your lost wages up to the time that you are able to return to work
  • If you can return to a different type of work that is less strenuous, because you have a permanent partial disability, you will receive
    • 2/3rds of your lost wages until you can return to work
    • An additional allocation to reflect that you cannot earn the same income as before the blow to your head because you need to work at a less strenuous job (Temporary Partial Disability)
  • If you cannot return to work at all, you will receive 2/3rds of the average weekly wages up to the maximum amount of weeks that North Carolina or Virginia law allows, which, in the most severe cases of brain injury, could mean permanent and total disability , or lifetime compensation.

You may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. Many serious brain injury victims need occupational therapy or behavioral therapy to be able to return to their original job. In some cases, the worker can be retrained to do another job. For example, a construction worker who suffers a brain injury when a piece of equipment falls on his head from several stories up, may never be able to do physical labor again. A lot will depend on what the testing reveals are the extent of any permanent cognitive impairments you may have as a result of your brain injury.

Contact a trusted Virginia and North Carolina work injury lawyer now

Lawyer Joe Miller Esq. has helped thousands of employees get the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. In some cases, he helps workers obtain a long-term settlement of your claim. He works with your medical providers to understand each and every treatment, test, and surgery that will be required and each type of therapy that help you improve your life. He cares about your recovery and your ability to pay for your medical bills and getting paid a regular income. For experienced help, please call (888) 694-1671 or fill out the contact form.

Workers Compensation and Construction Injuries

Posted on Friday, January 20th, 2017 at 5:12 pm    

Construction work leads to many types of accidents and work injuries that can cause an employee to be out of work for weeks, months, or even be permanently disabled from construction work. Some workers suffer permanent injuries that prevent them from ever working again. Sadly, some workers also die because of a construction accident.

Construction workers can be injured for many reasons. It does not matter that the construction site or supervisors were negligent or failed to comply with the laws, except that in North Carolina if a clear statutory violation caused your injury, you may be entitled to a 10% increase in comp benefits.

That being said, there is generally no need, on the part of the worker, to prove that a product was defective or that someone was at fault in order to get worker’s compensation. Injured construction site workers may have third party remedies against manufacturers. But to get workers’ compensation in North Carolina or Virginia, the worker just needs to prove that he/she was an employee, that he/she suffered a workplace accident, and that the accident caused injuries which prevent the employee from working temporarily or permanently.

Common types of workplace accidents at construction sites:

Typical workplace accidents for construction workers include:

  • Contact by almost any piece of equipment can cause a fall. Additionally, construction workers are prone to falls while working on roofs or scaffolding, being near a crane, climbing or descending a ladder, tripping over an object on the ground, slipping on a wet surface, or for many other reasons. Falls can cause broken bones, smashed and cracked ribs, severe bruising, nerve damage, lacerations – all of which mean a trip to the emergency room or doctor, surgery, attentive care, and mostly time for the injuries to heal.
  • Falling objects. Even with construction helmets or hard hats, construction workers are at constant risk of an object such as a tool, a building component, or a piece of equipment falling directly onto the worker. Heavy objects have been known to fall from cranes and cause severe injuries and death to workers. Even a dumpster that falls over can cause serious injuries. Falling objects can cause broken bones, injuries to the spine, traumatic brain injuries, and other complications.
  • Equipment Accidents. Any piece of equipment that fails to work properly can injure the operator of the equipment piece and any worker around the apparatus. Common construction site equipment that can fail includes forklifts, electrical equipment, electric saws, nail guns, back hoes, ladders, chains, and scaffolding.
  • Crushing injuries. Construction workers can suffer crushing injuries when equipment forces them to be pinned between the equipment and the ground or the equipment and a wall. Many construction workers get crushed by trucks that constantly run in, out, and through the work site.
  • Slips and trips. Construction workers are usually so focused on their work that they fail to see water or liquids on the ground, holes in the floor, loose boards, or other dangers that could cause them to slip or trip and then fall. A slip or fall can cause a worker to lose significant time from work until the injuries heal – if they heal.
  • Explosions and fires. Many construction sites contain flammable materials and hazardous materials such as fuels or sealants. If there are leaks anywhere, combined with flame, chemicals can cause a fire which can cause severe burns or even death. Electrical wiring and products may be faulty. One spark or one failure can create a deadly or catastrophic explosion.
  • Roof, trench, or structural damage. At most construction sites, the underlying structural work is normally not secure nor safe until the work is finished. If a building or a portion of a building collapses, if a roof doesn’t hold a worker, or if any support system fails – the construction worker can suffer broken bones, nerve damage, spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injury, or other serious consequences including death.
  • Repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Construction workers often do the same motions over and over. Whether it’s laying tiles, working on a roof, hammering and putting in nails, using a jackhammer, or just using a computer – repetitive stress injuries can cause nerve damage, muscle and joint harm, and constant pain. The big question with repetitive stress injuries is whether they can be related to the worker’s longstanding work duties by clear and convincing evidence. If an injury is not accident-related but occurs over time, it would be more classed as an occupational disease and be much more difficult to recover worker’s compensation benefits. A skilled lawyer like Joe Miller Esq. can explain when workers can recover from a repetitive stress.
  • Overexertion injuries such as fatigue, heart attack, and heat stroke. Sometimes workers push too hard. Other time, the supervisor or employer pushes too hard. Workers who are stressed can suffer a fatal incident or serious harm and this can be a compensable accident under the right circumstances. The medical records must reflect that the work conditions were the main cause of the event.
  • Hypothermia and frostbite from working outdoors or falling into cold water can cause a worker to lose his/her toes, fingers, or suffer skin and facial damage.
  • Lung damage and respiratory problems. These injuries can be caused by high levels of exposure to lead, smoke, asbestos, or chemical toxins. Lung and respiratory diseases including pneumonia, asbestosis, coal workers’ black lung, and silicosis. Many of these are specifically set forth in the workers’ comp statutory schemes and easily proven with the right doctor overseeing the worker’s care.

Common medical problems construction workers suffer.

Men and women who do construction work can suffer one or more of the following injuries – each of which can prevent a worker from doing the job and necessitating medical benefits and lost wages while recuperating.

  • Broken bones/fractures
  • Loss of a limb or amputation of a limb
  • First, second, or third-degree burns
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Death
  • Heart attack
  • Nerve damage
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of hearing
  • Strains and sprains

Common issues in relation to Workers Comp Construction Cases

 

  • Lack of Insurance Coverage. Unfortunately, many construction companies are fairly small, “mom and pop” operations and either cannot afford or simply neglect to purchase workers compensation insurance. Do not despair! Especially in Virginia, you may still have options for recovery, even if no one had coverage. A lot depends on how many employees regularly worked for the company you worked for. If it’s more than 3 workers, not including the owner, than that company was obligated to carry workers compensation coverage. In Virginia, that means you could qualify for coverage under the Uninsured Employer’s Fund. (UEF).

Also, while NC does not have a UEF, in both NC and VA, if the contractor who hired your employer has comp insurance, then you may be covered by that insurance.

 

  • Independent Contractors vs. Employees. Many small employers try to get away with calling all of their workers subcontractors. They do this to try and save money on payroll taxes. But it can be illegal if it’s not true. So are you a subcontractor or an employee?

We like to think of it like this. Let’s assume either you or a general contractor hires a painter to paint your house. This painter draws up a contract to be paid a certain amount in advance and a certain amount on completion. He has all his own compressors, ladders, brushes, everything. He may even have a truck with his name on it. He gives you a general idea of when he can start, but he shows up when he wants and quits when he wants. No one has control over when he comes and goes.

That is a subcontractor.

Now we look at a guy who is a painter, let’s call him Bill, who works for Dwayne. Dwayne has a small painting company that employs 4 guys, including Bill. Dwayne employs a supervisor named Rick as well. Dwayne has all his employees sign papers that say they are subcontractors and are each responsible for their own comp insurance. But Dwayne and Rick have the phone numbers of Bill and all is co-workers. Rick routinely calls and yells at them if they are late. Bill and Rick have rules about how they like the work done and they enforce those rules. Everyone must show up at 7 AM and work till when Dwayne or Rick say it’s time to quit—not before. Rick says when it’s time for lunch. Dwayne owns all the compressors and the truck and buys all the supplies for the job. Neither Bill or any of his co-workers engage in paint work for anyone else, except maybe an occasional job on the weekend. Bill and his co-workers are paid every Friday morning at the same time by check.

No matter what the papers are that they signed, Bill and his co-workers are employees and entitled to workers compensation benefits.

Speak with North Carolina and Virginia workers’ compensation construction worker attorney today

Any worker who is injured while doing construction work needs the help of an experienced and trusted work injury lawyer North Carolina and Virginia work accident lawyer has helped thousands of injured workers get just compensation. He helps workers show they were employees and not independent contractors. He helps employees prove how serious their injuries are. Call now at (888) 694-1671 to speak to a reliable workers’ compensation lawyer

 

Nursing Injuries and Workers’ Compensation in Virginia

Posted on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Many health care professionals suffer injures at work due to injuries they receive working with patients. A typical Virginia work injury case involves a nurse who wrenches her/his back while lifting a patient who is not mobile or heavy. In many ways, this type of injury is akin to a construction worker who might be injured carrying heavy loads.

This blog will review the various types of injuries nurses can suffer and some of the unique worker’s compensation issues that nurses have to deal with. Nurses include those who work in a hospital, in a nursing care facility, ambulatory surgery center, mental health facility, clinic, doctor’s office, and those who provide in-home services. Nurses or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) who suffer occupational illnesses due to work are also entitled to benefits. This means they are entitled to 2/3rds of their lost wages while they are unable to work for up to 500 weeks, plus payment of all medical bills related to the work injuries, for life. They may also be entitled to vocational re-training benefits if their injury or illness necessitates that they obtain new job skills.

In many hospitals, personal assistants, technicians, and other staff members may also have to physically handle a patient. We see these injuries frequently. In our experience, they happen most often during the transitioning of a patient to or from a shower, bed, or wheelchair. It can also happen, for instance, where a nurse needs to restrain a patient who has gotten out of control in a mental facility. These workers should be able to claim Virginia workers’ compensation benefits. But these injuries can also occur as in other industries—slipping on ice or water, falling down a flight of stairs while carrying equipment, etc. Statistically, nurses suffer as many work injury problems as almost any other industry including construction work.

Nursing Injuries and Illnesses

Some of the more common types of injuries and illnesses nurses suffer are:

  • Exposure to illnesses. Nurses, like all health care professionals, run the risk of exposure to the illnesses, diseases, and infections that their patients have. Some of the illnesses than can impact a nurse are MRSA, c-Diff which can damage one’s colon, and other illnesses. While the nurse does not have to prove fault on the part of the hospital or care facility, the nurse does need to be able to show that the illness was work-related. Normally, the law offices of Joe Miller reviews the work assignments of the nurse and compares that against the types of patients she/he worked with – and the known illnesses of the patients. Often, we argue that there is no reason to believe the exposure could have happened anywhere else. Click here for an article on Occupational Disease in Virginia.
  • Back, shoulder and neck injuries. Most nurses suffer some physical discomfort at work because they constantly have to move, lift, position, or even carry a patient. These stresses can cause injuries to the back, neck, spine, fingers, legs, and other parts of the body. Nurses can also suffer muscle and ligament damage, herniated discs, sprains and strains, and other injuries. In order to qualify for a case, though, there must be a specific moment in time where some kind of ‘pop’, or sudden extreme pain was felt during a work activity such as lifting a patient. Without an “accident,” a sudden event at a specific point in time—there is no case.

 

There really is not a safe way to lift a patient without the new lifting rigs that are starting to appear more and more at facilities. To put patient work in perspective, most male workers who do industry or construction work are judged by their ability to lift or move 25 pounds or 50 pounds. In contrast, many hospital patients weigh 200 pounds. And lifting a patient is more dangerous because if a load of wood or inventory drops, the damage wood or inventory can be fixed or replaced. Patients are human beings who should be treated with extreme care – especially sick ones who can’t fend for themselves. Most nurses are women who are lighter and less strong than men.

 

Hospitals and nursing facilities should take more steps to help their nurses and staff manage patient and also the equipment which they often have to push around from room to room. As mentioned, there are now mechanical devices that can help nurses do the lifting. There are methods to make the shift from a bed to gurney easier. Multiple nurses should assist with difficult patients. Nurses should be taught the proper techniques for lifting and carrying.

Of course, we know that many facilities try to get by with less, whether it means less personnel or less equipment.

Unique Issues

The key in worker’s compensation cases is to be able to prove that a specific accident or incident caused the injury as opposed to daily performance of the job. An experienced workers’ compensation understands what activity qualifies as a workplace accident and when repetitive injuries may qualify for compensation. Do not assume you do not have a case if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or from an injury that occurred over time. You may be able to argue, for example, that while these injuries were repetitive there was still one day, one incident, that uniquely pushed your ability to work to an inability to work status.

Another difference is that nurses often cannot return to a light duty position. There is no job, for example, that says the nurse will lift only patients who weigh less than 50 pounds. Nurses often cannot return to a desk job. Their job is to treat patients. If they can’t physically handle their patients, then they need to seek a new career.

Nursing is also unique because of the human component. Even if a nurse can get help moving or lifting a patient, nurses need to be healthy. If they’re not completely focused, they may give a patient the wrong medication, may fail to take a necessary medical test, or may not make the right decision to call for a doctor when needed.

Speak with an Experienced North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney today

Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants should understand that filing workers’ compensation complaints in Virginia is perfectly legitimate. Joe Miller has represented numerous nurses and CNA’s and obtained thousands of dollars in compensation for them. In our experience, the larger healthcare organizations are not pinching pennies as much as other industries. Why? Because they are making a tremendous amount of money. And so oftentimes, the settlements for nurses and other healthcare workers can be higher than in other industries such as construction.

You should not worry about being fired or reprimanded for filing a legitimate claim if you are unable to work. That would be illegal. The best course of action is to speak with an attorney who knows workers compensation in either Virginia or North Carolina to fully understand your rights and to assert them if you are hurt. If you are a health care provider suffering from a work-related illness or you are in physical pain, please call Joe Miller at (888) 694-1671 or fill out my online contact form. You may be entitled to a significant recovery.

 

 

The Most Common Kinds of Workplace Injuries

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Having an understanding of the common ways workplace accidents can happen can help, but putting procedures and safety measures in place can help to prevent them. Still, even with good planning, many workplace accidents do occur. Workers are not required to prove a workplace accident was the employer’s fault in order to have a valid workers compensation claim. They need to essentially prove that they were an employee when the accident occurred, that an accident occurred during work or that an occupational illness happened due to work, and that the injuries were caused by the accident or occupational exposure that was unique to that occupation.

Joe Miller has fought for thousands of injured workers. He understands why accidents occur and what injuries result from each type of accident. He works with medical professionals to prove the injuries occurred, to show when the worker can, if possible, really return to work, what medical restrictions may be required, when workers will have to be retrained, and when workers will never be able to work again.

Workers who suffer a workplace accident due to a fall, a vehicle accident, an electrical failure, or any type of accident can suffer a broad range of injuries. Injuries normally flow from the type of accident. Falls typically cause broken bones and soft tissue injuries. Electrical injuries can cause death, shock, burns, respiratory failure, brain injuries, and other health problems.

Some of the common type of workplace injuries are:

  • Head Injuries. No matter how this type of accident occurs (a falling object, a vehicle crash, or a slip and fall), head injuries can cause permanent brain damage and brain trauma which can affect the worker’s ability to think, see, reason or react. Many workers with head injuries suffer both physical and emotional pain. Head injuries can also include:
    • Concussions are caused by some type of force applied to the head The effects are often temporary. A loss of consciousness may occur, but not always. Sometimes, there is a “blank spot” or memory gap relating to the facts of the accident. In some cases, long term damage may occur. Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a constellation of symptoms that typically lasts from 6-12 months after a concussion. Symptoms can include dizziness, headaches, short-term memory loss, and mood changes.
    • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). A TBI occurs, according to the Mayo clinic, occurs when there is a violent blow to the head such as when part of the skull shatters. A mild TBI can cause brain cells to fail to function and includes a concussion. A severe TBI can cause bleeding, torn tissue, and other damage that can affect cognitive function, loss of coordination, slurred speech, memory loss, and other complications. A TBI can result in death or permanent injury that requires around-the-clock medical care.
    • Skull and Facial Fractures. Broken skull or facial bones can cause brain damage and usually cause severe pain. In many cases, the surgery needed to repair the bones can cause disfigurement.
    • Facial cuts and bruises. If these don’t heal properly, cosmetic surgery may be required. Permanent disfigurement may be the result.
  • Neck and Back Injuries. Some neck and back injuries heal with time. Many times, though, the injury to the spine will require aggressive medical intervention to help reduce the pain. For many workers, neck and back pain is a permanent or long lasting conditions. Some specific medical problems a pain management doctor or neurosurgeon will need to address are:
    • Herniated Discs. Discs are rubbery, gelatinous cushions that separate the bones in your vertebrae. A herniated disc occurs when some of the jelly part of the disc pushes through the exterior. This push can cause nerve damage, pain, and tingling. Surgery may be required to repair the herniated disc – also known as a slipped or ruptured disc. In some cases, the surgery is relatively minor, such as a laminectomy, where the offending portion of the disc is merely snipped and removed.
    • In a more severe herniation, a complete removal of the entire disc may be required, with the introduction of bone where the disc once was. It also involves the use of metal screws and plates to encourage the bone to grow together, to create a solid, fused piece of bone in place of the disc. This is called a spinal
    • Broken Vertebrae. If a broken vertebrae occurs, the damage to the spinal cord may be permanent; however, this depends on the severity of the fracture. Often times, surgery will be needed to repair the break. In other instances, such as compression fractures, the bone just requires time to heal.
    • Other types of spinal cord injuries. In addition to severe physical pain; any damage to the spinal cord may cause partial or full paralysis, loss of bowel or bladder control, loss of sexual function, and other complications.
    • This is a common result of a vehicle accident – especially a rear-end collision. It is a type of soft tissue injury to the neck that can take a long time to fully heal. Although made fun of in movies and popular culture, a whiplash or cervical strain, especially in older victims, is a severe injury that involves a tearing of the ligaments and muscles supporting the neck. The negative can be permanent, leaving scar tissue within the muscles and ligaments.
  • Broken Bones. Many workers suffer a broken bone in a leg, arm, foot, hand, or other body part, In the best case scenario, the bone heals on its own or after surgery. In the worst cases, the bone must be internally fixated by plates, rods, and screws so that it heals properly. This can cause permanent pain. Broken bones can include hairline fractures and complex fractures. The pain from the break is usually quite intense. Sometimes, there are issues with the hardware loosening, which may result in additional surgery for removal of the hardware after the bone has healed properly. Otherwise, the hardware is usually left in permanently.
  • Loss of Limb. Employees who drive or work with heavy machinery are always in danger of losing a leg, arm, hand, finger, foot, or toe in a workplace accident. Some amputated body parts can function with the use of a prosthesis. Any worker who loses a limb or has a body amputated is likely to suffer strong emotional losses in addition to the physical pain. A loss of a combination of any two limbs can mean lifetime compensation for the injured worker even if the worker can return to some form of work.
  • Burns cause more than physical pain; They also usually cause disfigurement. Burns can occur due to a fire, an explosion, electrical failure, or exposure to toxic substances. In Virginia, if the burn did not occur to a ratable body part (typically a limb), and the employee has returned to work at full duty, then compensation may be limited to medical compensation and a maximum of 60 weeks for the disfigurement.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries. Many workers who fall or suffer a workplace accident suffer muscle, ligament, and tissue damage, most commonly referred to as “strains.” These injuries, even when they heal properly, can cause a great amount of pain and can take weeks or often months to properly heal. Again, older patients are much more difficult to heal. In some cases, even a soft tissue injury in an elderly worker can be permanent, and can prevent the worker from returning to work in his or her former profession, especially if that profession involved heavy manual labor. Note: Many workers who are initially told they have a muscle “strain” later find out that their injuries are much more severe. If, for instance, you are suffering from numbness and tingling and/or shooting pains into your legs, arms, hands, or feet, you may, in fact, have a disc injury, and you should insist on being referred to an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon. An MRI should be administered to assess if you have a bulging or herniated disc.
  • Mental injuries. Mental injuries often accompany physical injuries. Sometimes, mental injuries occur without physical injuries. An experienced North Carolina and Virginia work injury attorney can explain what benefits are allowed for mental injuries. Workers who suffer mental injuries often need to be treated by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Many of these mental injuries are just as severe, if not more severe, than the physical injuries. We have represented numerous clients whose psychiatric injuries are so severe—such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or severe clinical depression, that the worker is no longer able to engage in any gainful employment.

In addition to workplace accidents, many workers suffer occupational illnesses. Occupational illnesses will be discussed in another blog.

Injured at work? Contact a tough work injury advocate today.

Joe Miller Esq. has been helping injured workers for over 25 years. He has helped thousands of North Carolina and Virginia workers get full compensation and strong settlements including past and future lost wages, medical bill payments, and permanent partial impairment. To make an appointment with attorney Joe Miller, call (888) 694-1671 or complete his contact form.

Health Care Workers Suffer Work-Related Injuries in North Carolina and Virginia

Posted on Monday, December 7th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

Healthcare workers can suffer injury almost anywhere. There are over 18 million health care workers in the US. Some of the common types and areas of healthcare work injury occur:

  • At long-term care facilities. Most of these patients are older have mobility issues. The care at these places ranges from skilled to non-skilled
  • Acute Care. This includes hospitals, ER rooms, ambulatory surgery centers and medical clinics.
  • Home Health Care
  • Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Centers
  • Dental Offices – Dentists and dental assistants

Areas that have bathing rooms, diagnostic units (radiology, X-Ray, MRI), and extended care locations also can cause a health care work related injury.

Health Care Workers Can be Injured Any Day

Some health care professionals are hurt because of one incident at work. Others are hurt due to years of helping handle patients. Whatever the exact cause, all health care workers know is that they need medical care themselves for their pain and an income while they are not working. North Carolina and Virginia lawyer Joe Miller can provide that help. He has successfully advocated for thousands of injured workers over the past 25 years. Contact attorney Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com.

Why Health Care Workers Need Workers’ Compensation Help

Posted on Friday, December 4th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

It’s easy to think that most work injuries happen to men and happen in work industry that involve heavy machinery and construction. The data from the US Department of Labor actually shows that healthcare work is the leading cause of work related injuries. For 2012, there were 621,100 work- related injuries in the United States that were related to health care and social assistance. The second leading group was fire and police. The transportation industry was third and construction was fourth.

As the population ages, it is expected the numbers of health care injuries will only increase.

In addition to musculoskeletal injuries, back and spine injuries; healthcare workers are also susceptible to chemical and biological harm. Injuries and diseases can be transmitted through infections, using a needle on patients and the exchange of blood.

Why are Health Care Injuries Complicated?

Many health employers and insurance companies will contest worker’s compensation claims because often a single incident does not cause the worker to be unable to work. Often, the health care worker suffers many small injuries that continually worsen his/her health until the worker just reaches the point where he or she cannot work anymore. The insurance company will try to argue that they only have to pay for single incident accidents or that factors outside of work also contributed to the worker’s poor health condition.

It is quite common for an employer or insurance company to try to rush the worker back to work before he or she is really ready.

Attorney Joe Miller Advocates for Injured Health Care Workers

Joe Miller has helped thousands of injured workers get their full benefits. He has been fighting for employees for over 25 years. The insurance company will try to limit your pay and try to get you to return to work before you are ready. If you suffered an injury or illness while helping patients, you may have a significant recovery coming your way. To get answers, call Lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com.

Healthcare Workers Suffer a High Number of Musculoskeletal Disorders

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

According to the Occupation Health Safety Administration (OHSA), musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) are a leading cause of injury to health care workers. In 2010, there were over 27,000 cases nationwide of MSDs suffered by nursing aides, orderlies and other attendants. The rate of injury was nearly three times that of construction workers and significantly higher than workers who move freight and stock.

MSDs in healthcare workers are mainly due to patient handling, over-exertion, and just the heavy lifting involved in moving and transferring patients. Adding to the difficulty is that many patients are difficult to move because of their medical condition. Some common healthcare tasks that cause injury include moving a patient from a chair to a bed, from a bed to a toilet and from a commode to a chair. Many patients need to be moved and lifted while they are in the bed.

Typical injuries include sprains and strains. Low back injuries are also common. Many healthcare providers suffer chronic long term pain as a result of their injuries which requires extensive medical treatment and significant lost time from work.

Musculoskeletal Disorders Can Cause Lifelong Pain

Injuries to health care workers can be quite severe. Many healthcare workers have to live with their pain for the rest of their life. The pain can prevent them from working or limit the amount and type of work they can do. Injured medical care providers need the help of a skilled worker’s compensation lawyer. Joe Miller has the skills you need. He has been helping workers in Virginia and North Carolina for over 25 years. He has represented many healthcare workers injured by moving patients and obtained substantial recoveries for them. Please call attorney Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 to discuss your case and make an appointment. You can also complete my online form.

 

Patient Handling the Number One Cause of Job Injuries for Healthcare Workers

Posted on Monday, November 30th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

According to the Centers for Disease Control (in an article by PT in Motion), the top category for work injuries is health care. One in five nonfatal work injuries are health care related. The main reason health care is tops in worker injury is due to physical harm caused by handling patients.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reviewed Occupation Health Safety Network (OHSN) data to reach its finding. The OHSN statistics examined over 100 health care facilities. The CDC analysis of the data concluded that handling patient injuries; slips and falls and workplace violence due to patients were leading factors of healthcare injuries.

Nurses and nurse assistants were injured the most often. Some of the reasons nurses and nurse assistants suffered injuries were due to patients who were overweight, long work shifts, too many patients for each nurse/nurse assistant to handle and the desire to get patients on their feet as quickly as possible.

The OHSN numbers also showed that better lifting equipment could help reduce the number of healthcare provider injuries. Better safety programs could also help.

While the finding did not specifically categorize physical therapies, other research shows that physical therapy is another high category for work related injuries.

Experienced Virginia Lawyer Joe Miller Fights for Medical Care Professionals Who are Hurt on the Job

Medical care helpers have strenuous work requirements. They have to move patients who can weigh hundreds of pound multiple times a day. The lifting and moving can cause serious chronic pain. Health care workers need experienced legal counsel to fight for them. Joe Miller Esq. has that experience. He has been helping North Carolina and Virginia workers for a quarter century get the benefits they deserve and has in fact represented a number of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) and obtained substantial recoveries for them. Contact Lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 to discuss your case or complete my online form.

 

Types of Disability in Worker’s Compensation Brain Injury Cases

Posted on Friday, November 27th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

Does the patient have a disability due to a brain injury? Generally, workers get paid 2/3rds of their average weekly wage for as long as they cannot work, for up to 500 weeks. In addition, workers determined to be a permanently disabled are entitled to lifetime pay. Once MMI is achieved the worker will be evaluated to determine the exact nature of the disability.

  • Temporary Total Disability. (TTD) In this case, the worker does have a disability but eventually may be able to return to work. The worker will be evaluated by the treating doctor who will typically refer the employee for a functional capacity exam of some kind, when the doctor determines the employee has reached maximum medical improvement. (MMI). In the case of a brain injury, the examination may include a neuro-psychological evaluation and other tests to determine brain function and cognitive impairment.

 

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) If the injured worker returns to work his pay rate may be much lower. For example, before the injury a worker may have earned $800 a week. After MMI, the worker may only earn $500 a week. The worker will continue to get 2/3rds of the difference or $200 (800-500 x 2/3) for as long as he or she works in that job.

 

  • Permanent and Total Disability. This can be pertinent in brain injury cases in both Virginia and North Carolina, which have a special provision for permanent and total disability. The Commission must find that the worker is permanently and totally disabled due to the brain injury. In this case, the worker cannot return to work in any capacity and the brain injury must be severe, as evidenced by severe sensory, communication, motor, functional, or neurological Here, the worker gets 2/3rds of his/her average weekly salary for life. It is not limited to the 500 weeks.

The difference between a temporary vs. permanent and total disability can thus be very substantial. It is thus imperative that the right classification be determined. It also essential that workers should not enter into any settlement agreement until they have reached MMI and the right classification is made.

North Carolina and Virginia Lawyer Joe Miller Knows Workers’ Compensation Law

Injured or ill workers need an experienced lawyer who knows the worker’s compensation laws. The proper classification of a work-related injury can mean the difference between getting and not getting large sums of money. Workers who suffered a work-related injury in North Carolina or Virginia need the help of an experienced law. Attorney Joe Miller has the experience to advocate for all your rights. To make an appointment or discuss your case, call Lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or complete my online form

Settlement Issues in Brain Injury Cases

Posted on Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 at 2:00 pm    

Workers who suffer a brain injury in North Carolina or in Virginia are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits if the injury is related to their job. Several key points a worker’s compensation lawyer will review are:

  • What caused the injury? It is necessary to show that the injury or illness was related to work and not to some other event.
  • Has the patient reached maximum medical improvement (MMI)? Until a worker reaches MMI, the worker should not consider a full settlement of his or her claim – because there is no way to know what medical complications may arise. Brain injury cases do require a lot of medical care before the patient and his/her family can be reasonably sure that the medical condition has stabilized. Often the end of the doctor visits is really just the beginning of the medical treatment because the patient/worker will then undergo long-term therapy. Progress in brain injury cases can be very slow.
  • What type of disability does the worker really have? Is it a permanent disability or can the employee do some type of work?

Before Settling a Work Injury Case, Contact Experienced Worker’s Compensation Lawyer Joe Miller

A settlement of a work-related case lasts a lifetime. Workers cannot come back and ask for more money after the case is settled. An experienced North Carolina or Virginia lawyer such a Joe Miller knows all the pitfalls. He has been representing injured workers for 25 years. Make the right settlement. Contact Lawyer Joe Miller today at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com.

Next Page »