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.
Typical workplace accidents for construction workers include:
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.
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.
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.
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
Posted on Monday, October 31st, 2016 at 2:00 pm
Accidents at work happen for many reasons. Employers should be aware of the various causes and take steps to try to avoid these types of workplace accidents or, at least, take preventive steps to try to reduce them. A common misconception is that the employer has to be negligent or “at fault” for the accident at work. This is false. Workers in North Carolina and Virginia do not have to prove that the employer was responsible for a workplace accident in order to have a valid workers compensation case. The worker just needs to prove a workplace accident did occur at some specific moment in time, and the injuries were caused by the workplace accident. Still, the best way employers can help their workers is to take safety precautions to prevent the accident from occurring.
Attorney Joe Miller is an experienced North Carolina and Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney. When a common or uncommon workplace injury occurs, he has the skills and tenacity to file, negotiate, and litigate your work injury claim. He also understands that often times the type of accident is an indicator of the types of injuries that occur and the typical time frame for how long the worker will likely be out of work.
· Workplace violence. Many injuries are caused when workers get into arguments with other workers or when a worker has mental health issues and that instability leads him/her to lash out at other workers. In Virginia, if the employee was an unwitting victim of horseplay or violence, he or she still has a valid claim. On the other hand, if the worker was a willing participant, this may invalidate the claim, especially if the argument had nothing to do with the work at hand.
· Repetitive Stress or noise exposure. Many workers suffer injures due to repetitive motions such as working with computers or performing the same tasks over and over and over again in an assembly line or using hand tools. These are known as occupational disease injuries. Employees who suffer this type of stress often get injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or hearing loss. Better equipment and better training, and rule enforcement can help reduce these types of injuries. Employees who suffer repetitive motion injuries, hearing loss, or some other injury they believe was caused by conditions at work need to speak to an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer because there are very specific things that need to be proven in order to qualify for a valid occupational disease case.
· Getting clothes or body parts entangled in machinery. Clothing, hair, fingers, shoelaces, and other items can get caught in the machinery which can then cause severe injuries including loss of a body part. Employers should make sure workers are educated about the risks of working with some types of equipment and take necessary preventative steps. Examples of safety measures include better equipment and educating the employee about proper work techniques. We often see some of the most severe injuries where employers cut corners by failing to properly maintain equipment, failing to utilize machine safety guards, deliberately disengaging safety devices, or failing to have any written, enforced rules or procedures for hazardous work duties.
· Car and truck accidents. Many workers such as construction workers or delivery drivers use vehicles for their job. Vehicle accidents can be deadly or cause serious injuries. Workers should be advised on the local driving rules and on how to properly operate the vehicles – especially trucks. Employers should have clearly defined and enforced safety rules which require the use of seatbelts at all times.
· Lack of industry standard simple safety measures. Many workers get injured because they are concentrating so hard on immediate physical tasks that they fail to see objects that can hurt them. For example, a worker may not see a door, table, while carrying a heavy load, or not see a person while driving a forklift around a corner. Also Employers should create a work environment that minimizes these types of accidents. For instance, the installation of wide-view mirrors at strategic points in a plant or factory can increase visibility of oncoming vehicles and people. Creating ergonomic environments where employees with restricted vision will have a path clear of obstacles is also helpful.
· Falling Objects. Employers should make sure that shelves aren’t overstocked and that items hanging from the roof or other high places are secure. Workers should be advised to wear helmets in certain work areas. Injuries can include brain damage, head trauma, and pain in the area where the object strikes the worker.
· Slips and Falls. This type of workplace accident is very common. Workers can slip or trip when there are loose objects lying around, the floors are slippery, there are tears in carpets, or for a variety of other reasons. Injuries can include broken bones, soft tissue injuries, bruises, concussions, and lacerations. In severe cases, a worker may suffer death or permanent injury.
· Falls from High Places. Workers who use ladders, work on roofs, or work on stairwells can slip and fall. While protective gear can help, anyone who falls from a high height is likely to suffer a long-term injury. Proper spotting and use of safety harnesses as required by OSHA is essential. We have seen too many workers get injured in this fashion when again, employers are willing to cut corners and not create or enforce strict rules in relation to working at heights.
· Overexertion. Many workplace accidents happen simply because the worker is being pushed too hard, and we often see this occur in the heat. When workers are tired, they are much more likely to trip, fall, fail to see other objects, or fail to use proper techniques, not to mention suffer heat stroke or a heart attack. Fatigue is a major cause of workplace accidents and is one of the most preventable – making sure the employee gets enough rest, and is provided with appropriate opportunities for cool-down and hydration.
The US Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), keeps regular records of why workplace accidents occur. In addition to the causes listed above, some other causes of workplace accidents, according to OSHA, include:
· Poor communication – especially about safety issues
· Failure to provide respiratory protection
· Faulty equipment including up-to-code scaffolding equipment, bad ladders, and machines without safety guards
· Forklift malfunctions and misuse
· Electrical failures such as improper wiring
The list or reasons workplace accidents occur is virtually never-ending. Still, trying to categorize them makes it easier to work to prevent them. Some additional causes, that are human related, include:
· Taking shortcuts. Workers should never place speed over safety. Failing to take proper precautions can cause injury and death. Unfortunately, employers often encourage this behavior in the name of higher profits.
· Failure to clean up. Workplace supervisors should inspect the workplace before work starts each day to make sure the place is free of debris, that equipment functions properly, and that all loose elements such as overheard storage are secure.
· Poor training and preparation. Workers should be trained on how to use each piece of machinery or equipment. They should also be trained on everyday workplace safety issues to avoid injuries and to respond to them quickly when they do happen. There should also be written enforceable rules, and daily safety meetings prior to work beginning to address specific concerns of employee and management.
· Failure to address mental and emotional issues. Many workers have personal concerns that should be addressed. Workers who are thinking about their family members or other aspects of their personal lives are not focusing on safety. Employers should make some effort to help workers have the time to address personal issues so the worker can be safe and more productive.
If you were hurt in any type of workplace accident, do not delay. Even though the employee does not have to prove the employer was negligent, it does help a great deal to be able to show how the accident occurred. You may be leaving out a critical detail that could mean the difference between your employer covering or denying your case. For our free, quick, elite, 7-step case evaluation, phone Joe Miller Esq. at (888) 694-1671 or fill out his contact form. Attorney Miller represents injured workers in both Virginia and in North Carolina.
Posted on Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 3:06 pm
At the first of next year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will implement more stringent rules regarding employers’ reporting of work-related injuries, illnesses, and death.
Starting January 1, OSHA will require all employers to report any incident of work-related amputations, loss of eyesight, and in-patient hospitalizations within a day. The amended the rules to also requires every employer to report any fatal event to the agency within eight hours. Under OSHA’s earlier measures, employers were only required to report incidents of hospitalizations if three or more individuals were involved, and were not required to report amputations or loss of an eye.
The new changes expand the list of industries required to report, including some that were previously not required to maintain work-related injury and illness data. See OSHA.gov for more information.
Sadly, many employers in the U.S. still fail to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for its employees. If you believe working in an unsafe environment has caused you injury, speak with a workers’ compensation attorney from Joe Miller Law, Ltd, to learn more about taking legal action. Call our Norfolk office at (757) 455-8889 today.