Elevator Mechanic Killed when Falling Down Shaft

According to a recent report from NY1, an elevator mechanic fell to his death while on the job. He was working in a luxury tower building on the Upper West Side in New York at the time of fatal workplace accident.

elevator-200538-m.jpgOne resident interviewed couldn't believe what happened as she had just spoken with decedent prior to the tragic work-related fall accident. Another resident said they were headed to the lobby to leave the building and saw chaos as the building was filled with police and rescue workers and the elevator shaft was locked open.

Police say victim was pinned between two elevators, one of which came down directly on top of him. He was crushed when the elevator hit him and pronounced dead on the scene. When emergency personal first arrived, victim was unconscious and not responsive. The workplace accident occurred just before noon.

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Super Bowl Setup Workers Dies in Accident

There is a lot of work that goes into setting up a major event like the Super Bowl and that means a lot of workers are on hand. With such a large production, it is an unfortunate reality that some of those workers will be injured. Tragically, it is being reported that a worker hired to help set up a large stage outside the stadium was killed on the job.

limelight-3-616971-m.jpgThe stage was located outside of University of Phoenix Stadium, and was being built to host the NFL Tailgate Party. The victim was a rigger, which is an employee hired to move large object high above street level.

Witness say the worker was on a tower being constructed to hold up the stage when he fell approximately 25 feet. He was severely injured during the fall and required immediate medical attention. First responders arrived and provided initial treatment and transported the 31-year-old victim to a local hospital. However, doctors pronounced him dead shortly after arrival at the hospital.

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New Carpal Tunnel Surgery Available to Injured Workers

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and other repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are among the most common on the job injuries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, many do not realize they suffer from a workplace injury or that it may make them eligible to receive workers' compensation to assist them in paying for medical treatment, and obtaining compensation for lost wages as result of the injury.

wrist-pain-1445343-1-m.jpgFirst it is important to understand what it is like for someone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. A CTS victim, whether an office worker, retail employee, or trade worker, spends most of their day trying to ignore the tingling and numbness in their hands and wrist. This can become extremely painful and made worse by repetitive movements a worker is required to make throughout the workday.

The cause of this pain and tingling is an injury to the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow tube that runs through your wrist (palm side) and serves as a conduit or protective sheath for the nine tendons that control your fingers, and the main nerve in your hand. With repetitive movements, this tunnel can become pinched or compressed. When the carpal tunnel is compressed, the main nerve of the hand will be affected causing the pain, numbness, tingling and weakness of the hand and fingers as well as the wrist.

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Moreau v. Transp. Ins. Co.: Workers' Compensation and Asbestos

Moreau v. Transp. Ins. Co., a workers' compensation appeal from Supreme Court of Montana, involved claimant who work at an asbestos mine from 1963 until 1992. Claimant died as a result of asbestos-related lung cancer in 2009. Claimant's surviving spouse, in her capacity as personal representative of claimant's estate, filed a claim with employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier for benefits due to an occupational disease. Insurance carrier denied her claim.

salt-mine-1-898810-m.jpgIn 2012, she filed a claim before the workers' compensation commission requesting insurance company be found liable for claimant's medical expenses. The following year, insurance company agreed to liability and entered into a settlement agreement to pay for medical expenses.

Employer paid providers who had already paid for claimant's medical expenses and also reimbursed his estate for money it spent prior to his death. One provider, which had already paid $95,000, was a fund set up by claimant's employer (asbestos mine owner) to compensate employees who developed asbestos-related injuries. Both the fund and employer refused to accept any reimbursement from insurance company. Claimant demanded any money declined by employer or fund be given to the estate.


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Schultz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd.: Going and Coming Rule in Workers' Compensation

Schultz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd., a case from the Court of Appeal of the State of California, involved claimant who filed an application for workers' compensation benefits after being injured in a traffic accident. He was driving his personal vehicle at the time of the crash, which occurred on an Air Force base. He worked for employer in a facility located on base.

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City of Danville v. Tate: Workers' Compensation Double Recovery

City of Danville v. Tate, a workers' compensation case from the Supreme Court of Virginia, involved claimant who was employed by the city as a firefighter for 39 years. In March of 2009, claimant suffered a major heart attack and did not return to work. He retired six months after his heart attack.

emergency-269548-m.jpgPrior to becoming ill, claimant had accrued around 6,000 hours of paid sick leave. His employer paid out his sick leave prior to retirement in the amount of approximately $40,000. This sick leave payout was roughly equivalent to his annual salary. He used the balance of his sick leave, as permitted, to earn another year of employment credit with respect to his retirement plan.

However, before he retired, he filed a workers' compensation claim seeking a rating of two-thirds impairment from the heart attack-related disability. The city first denied his claim, but it accepted liability the following year. He was paid for his six months of disability prior to retirement. The city did not ask to be given an offset credit with respect to money it had already paid out in sick leave.

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Duarte v. CA. State Teachers' Ret. Sys.: Workers' Compensation Disputes

Duarte v. CA. State Teachers' Ret. Sys., a case from the Court of Appeal for California, First Division, involved claimant who was a teacher for the state's unified school district. He worked as a teacher there from 1993 to 1995. Claimant took personal leave in 1995 that was authorized but unpaid and then took educational leave until 1999. During his leave, claimant worked for one season as a firefighter for the state forestry department. He also completed law school, but, after failing to pass the state bar exam, began working as a paralegal.

doodled-desks-2-1193228-m.jpgIn 2003, claimant returned to the school system, and his second day back on the job, two students he refused to let into the classroom due their disruptive behavior assaulted him. His specific claim was that one student injured his shoulder when he pushed claimant into the doorframe to get past him. He also alleged one student continued to the threaten him and told claimant "[he] was going to put a put a cap in his ass." The other students repeatedly mocked claimant for the remainder of the day, making teaching virtually impossible. Claimant never returned to teach at the school.

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State, ex rel., Dep't of Workforce Servs. v. Hartmann: Workers' Compensation Preexisting Conditions

State, ex rel., Dep't of Workforce Servs. v. Hartmann, a workers' compensation appeal from the Supreme Court of Wyoming, involved claimant who was injured while driving a 240-ton truck in the course of his employment. A 240-truck is a giant dump truck typically used in conduction with a mining operation to haul material to a processing plant.

dumper-3-739942-m.jpgWhile driving, claimant was struck from behind by a shovel bucket of another huge piece of mining equipment. According to court records, the shovel bucket was large enough to hold an automobile. It hit the rack of the dump truck located behind the operator's cab. Claimant testified the force from the impact caused his entire body to go numb and to nearly knock him unconscious. He was not sure where he was or what he was doing following the collision and was taken to the emergency room.

At the hospital, he complained of neck pain and was diagnosed with cervical spine pain. He was released and cleared to return to work with instructions to return for a follow-up appointment in seven days. This was not the first time a doctor treated claimant for neck pain, as he had previously suffered a C5-6 disc herniation. He was given more medication and told there was a 90 percent chance his condition would improve within a few weeks.

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Paulino v. Chartis Claims, Inc.: Workers' Compensation and Permanent Disability Benefits

Paulino v. Chartis Claims, Inc., a case from the Untied States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, involved claimant who suffered a spinal cord injury while working for employer. His work-related accident left him a permanent paraplegic.
Following the accident, employee's workers compensation insurance company paid the cost of claimant's medical treatment and rehabilitation services. After a considerable amount of time at the rehabilitation center, claimant was transferred to another post-operative care center, where he learned how provide himself with basic care and was supposed to be transferred to a permanent assisted living facility.

door-button-758000-m.jpgEmployer's insurance company was unable to find a center he could afford on the less than $400 he was receiving in workers' compensation benefits they were paying him. He was also unable to seek federal disability assistance under the Social Security Administration (SSA) due to his status as an undocumented worker from Mexico. Even without an assisted living facility, he was in need of wheelchair accessible housing, with appropriate accommodations, and access to public transportation. Employer's insurance company case manager tried to assist him with finding suitable housing but was again unable to help him.

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State ex rel. Varney v. Indus. Comm'n: Hand Injuries in Workers' Compensation

State ex rel. Varney v. Indus. Comm'n, a case from the Supreme Court of Ohio, involved a claimant who was lost four fingers on his left hand in a workplace accident. This industrial accident occurred in 1983. Following the accident, three of the fingers were reattached completely and the forth was partially reattached. The fingers however, never regained their full functionality following reattachment.

cut-2-342876-m.jpgThe state workers' compensation bureau awarded claimant benefits for the amputation of his four fingers after the accident, allowed a further claim for a one-third disability in his index finger in 1985, and another claim in 1990 for two-thirds loss of his other three fingers.

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Martin County Coal Co. v. Goble: Job-Related Physiological Injuries or Illness

Martin County Coal Co. v. Goble, a case from the Supreme Court of Kentucky, involved claimant who was injured while working for employer. The parties are in agreement claimant suffered a work-related back injury in August of 2009.

red-symbols-1-1092767-m.jpgAfter the injury, claimant has received conservative medical treatment consisting of pain medication and exercise. Claimant was still suffering from constant lower back pain following the accident. The pain radiated from his back to right leg. Additionally, claimant stated he was suffering from anxiety and depression as a result of his on-the-job back injury, though he had not received any mental health treatment for these psychological issues since the accident.

Claimant filed a timely claim for his lower back injury. He then amended his claim to include the psychological damage as result of the work-related accident. Employer's insurance company denied his claim, and this matter was litigated before the workers' compensation commission for the state.

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Repetitive Stress Injuries and Workers' Compensation

Repetitive stress injury (RSI) is one of the more common on-the-job injuries we see in workers' compensation in Boston. While repetitive stress injury can be caused by many different reasons, they are often work-related.

cafe-1412140-m.jpgA recent news article from the New York Post looks at how many baristas (coffee shop employees) tend to suffer from repetitive stress injuries. One employee featured in the article was diagnosed with medial epicondylitis, which is a type of repetitive stress injury more commonly referred to as golfer's elbow.

This barista, however, did not get injured playing golf. Rather the repetitive lifting of heavy containers of milk injured her, as did the complex set of hand and arm motions necessary to make one of the common specialty drinks. At employee noted, in order to make an espresso, it is necessary to tamp the espresso, load it into the coffee maker, and then turn a knob. While the movements may seem easy, imagine the strain on the arm and hand caused by doing this hundreds of times a day, five or six days a week for years. Nothing in this process is ergonomic.

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W. World Ins. Co. v. Armbruster: Employee Classification in Workers' Compensation

W. World Ins. Co. v. Armbruster, a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, involved claimant who worked at a farmer's market. This farmers market offered hayrides, pony rides, and pumpkin picking. Claimant was hired to run the hayride for eight weeks.

farmer-1179034-m.jpgThere was a workplace accident involving the hay wagon, and claimant was seriously injured and is now a paraplegic. His spine was crushed by the wagon. Claimant filed a civil lawsuit in state court against farmer and his daughter. Claimant also filed a lawsuit the same day with farmer and his daughter against farmer's insurance company in which they sought a declaratory judgment claimant was covered by farmer's General Commercial Liability insurance plan. Insurance company also sought a declaratory judgment finding claimant was not covered by the insurance policy.

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Martz v. Hills Materials: Workers' Compensation and Estoppel

In Martz v. Hills Materials, a case from the Supreme Court of South Dakota, claimant injured his shoulder in 2000 while working at a mining company. Claimant filed a workers' compensation claim and received benefits for the work-related injury.

the-old-sawmill---hdr-1095208-m.jpgIn this accident, his employer was self-insured, accepted liability for workers' compensation, and paid for all medical bills related to his rotator cuff surgery and lost wages associated with his disability rating.

Two years later, claimant injured the same shoulder while working for another employer. This employer ran a sawmill. While working, claimant reported he felt a pop in his left shoulder while moving a log. Claimant filed again for workers' compensation benefits and employer initially paid benefits but later terminated his benefits.

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In re Worker's Compensation Claim of Stevens: Workplace Slip and Fall Accidents

In re Worker's Compensation Claim of Stevens, a workers' compensation appeal from the Supreme Court of Wyoming, involved claimant who was injured when she fell down a flight of stairs outside her workplace. She worked at an aquatics facility, and the accident occurred in late 2010. After falling down the steps, claimant crawled back into her workplace and was helped by her coworkers.

stairs-1401236-m.jpgHer husband drove her to the hospital that day, and doctors diagnosed her with fractures in one of her fingers and the fifth metacarpal of her left hand. Intake records show she was able to walk, her main complaint was pain in her hand, and she denied any other injuries from the fall.

The following day, a surgeon operated on her left hand and noted she had pain in her hand and arm. He prescribed pain medication and saw her during follow-up visits over the next few months.

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