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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Workplace Accident in Peabody Results in Employee's Death

An employee at a waste disposal company was killed in what appears to be an industrial accident in Peabody, Massachusetts, according to a recent news article from the Eagle Tribune.

front-end-loader-1032474-m.jpgAuthorities say victim was working a Friday morning shift when he was run over by a front-loader. The accident occurred at the waste management facility just north of Route 1. After being struck, victim was not breathing and had no pulse. He died only minutes after being struck. Police declined to give more specifics about the injuries, only saying they were very serious and resulted in employee's work-related death.

While Massachusetts police and the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continue to investigate this fatal industrial accident, the district attorney has stated that it appears to be purely an accident and does not plan to file any criminal charges against the employer or driver of the front-loader.

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Morales v. Zenith Ins. Co.: Workers' Compensation as an Exclusive Remedy

Morales v. Zenith Ins. Co., a workers' compensation case from the Supreme Court of Florida, involved an employee who was crushed to death by a palm tree while working at employer's lawn care business. Employee's surviving spouse entered into a settlement agreement with employer and its liability insurance carrier. This agreement contained a release of liability in which surviving spouse elected that this would be her sole remedy in connection with the fatal accident.

gavel-2-1409592-m.jpgAfter reaching this settlement, plaintiff filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against employer and obtained a default judgment in the amount of $9.525 million in damages. After the default judgment was entered, employer refused to pay the judgment. At this point, plaintiff sued employer again in state court, alleging employer breached its agreement under their liability policy. Employer had the case removed to federal court.

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Deon v. H &J, Inc.: Workers' Compensation Claims Apportionment

In Deon v. H &J, Inc., claimant was employed in a full-time capacity as a maintenance technician for employer from 2003 until 2009. A few years prior to working for employer, claimant injured her shoulders and neck. She filed for workers' compensation and received a six percent permanent partial disability rating. The following year, dogs attacked claimant, and the injuries resulted in a seven percent permanent partial disability rating. This was not related to the current workers' compensation lawsuit.

basin-sink-872814-m.jpgA year later, when claimant was using a power auger to clear a kitchen sink drain in a hotel, her right glove became caught in the auger and crushed her wrist and hand. Doctors initially diagnosed claimant with a hand sprain and two finger sprains and bruises. She was eventually cleared to return to work full time, but her supervisor felt she was not physically capable of performing the work in the manner she could before the on-the-job injury.

Her doctor placed serious lifting restrictions on her work activities, and she was then terminated because employer did not have any jobs that worked with her medical restrictions. Doctors and vocational experts (VEs) could not concur on a disability rating, which varied between two percent and 85 percent. As our Boston workers' compensation injury attorneys can explain, the process of establishing a disability rating is extremely complicated and requires a thorough understand of agency policy and relevant law.

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Protecting Retail Workers on Black Friday

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and it is a dangerous day for workers who are in a retail store environment. Workers are often asked to help manage crowd control, which they may not have a lot of training to do. Workers may also be under pressure from aggressive customers trying to get the products that they lined up to purchase. shopping-1052433-m.jpg

A Boston workers' compensation lawyer knows it is an employer's job to make a workplace safe for employees. This means that retail store employers need to be aware of the risks Black Friday presents to workers. They must take action to prevent injuries from occurring.

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Could Jailing a CEO Help Improve Worker Safety?

Employers are supposed to follow basic safety rules in order to ensure the risk of an employee getting hurt or sick is minimized. Unfortunately, this does not always occur. In fact, there are many situations where regulations passed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are either willfully or unintentionally violated.

OSHA can issue fines and citations, but these are often too low to act as a deterrent and OSHA typically does not find out about problems and issue fines until after a worker has already gotten hurt. Criminal prosecution is also possible when willful violations happen, but a Boston workers' compensation lawyer knows it is rare for prosecutors to file criminal charges. handcuffs1.jpg

In one case, however, criminal charges are actually being brought against a CEO. If the CEO is convicted, this case could serve as an important warning to those who run companies about the importance of making sure they follow worker safety laws

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OSHA Reporting Rules to be Updated

Employers in Boston and throughout the U.S. are legally required to make a report to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) after certain types of workplace accidents and injuries. According to OSHA's website, the agency recently changed its reporting requirements, and the new rules will be effective January 2015. The new rules will require reporting under more circumstances so OSHA is more readily alerted when there is a problem. arbitration process.jpeg

Unfortunately, a Boston workers' compensation lawyer knows not all employers follow even the current OSHA regulations. It is common for employers to fail to keep accurate records of workplace illnesses and injuries as required. This can make it harder for employers and for OSHA to know when there is a problem and to solve the workplace safety issue to protect people on-the-job.

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Falling Objects Deadly at Boston Construction Sites

Many people have heard the myth about a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building falling with enough force to kill someone standing below.

This assertion has been debunked by Scientific American, which reports a penny would cause neither serious injury or death because it is "too small and flat to become a dangerous projectile." measurement-1395868-m.jpg

But, there are plenty of other falling objects that are potentially deadly.

Workers on construction sites face a tremendous risk of a falling object. A Boston work injury lawyer knows wearing a hard hat and following other safety precautions set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can help to reduce the chances of a deadly incident occurring.

Sometimes, however, an object can fall from too far up or can fall onto an unprepared worker and the outcome may be tragic.

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OHSA Fines Circus After Performers Seriously Injured in New England Accident

When we go to the circus, we are often amazed by the dangerous and death-defying stunts performed. It may come, as somewhat of a surprise, that, even with circus stunts, employers are required to adhere to certain safety protocols and regulations.

circo-1-915783-m.jpgAccording to a recent news release from the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), failing to follow safety regulations led to a disastrous accident at New England performance of a "hair hanging" act.

While performing their act, the hair hangers were supposed to be secured to the overhead apparatus using a carabiner similar to those used by mountain climbers. OSHA found the carabiner was overloaded, causing eight performers to fall over 15-feet and land on another worker.

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Su Warren v. Williams & Parsons PC: On Maximum Medical Improvement in Workers' Compensation

Su Warren v. Williams & Parsons PC, a case from the Supreme Court of the State of Idaho, involved a claimant who was injured when a car crashed into the wall directly outside of her office, causing her to be thrown across the room. She immediately felt pain in her face and hand and suffered from dizziness. Her primary care physician (PCP) noted subtle evidence of cognitive impairment and a decrease in her ability to concentrate.

1mri-head-scan-370098-m.jpgX-rays of her hand were negative for physical injuries and a head CT scan showed no abnormalities. Her doctor stated that she had nearly fully recovered but recommended continued physical therapy. After completing physical therapy, she had made a significant recovery from her injuries, according to her PCP.

Around the same time her doctor found near complete recovery, her employer fired her on grounds that her work had deteriorated beginning three months prior to the accident. She had been earning $14 per hour plus overtime during tax season.

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Benavides v. Eastern N.M. Med. Ctr: On Increases in Workers' Compensation Benefits

Workers' compensation appeals often involve extremely complex litigation to help claimants in need get appropriate benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. Benavides v. Eastern N.M. Med. Ctr., a case from the New Mexico Supreme Court, involved a claimant who was working as a registered nurse.

1006453_caution_wet_floor-sign_1.jpgClaimant slipped on a wet floor at the medical center and seriously injured her right leg, hip, lower back, and neck. She quickly applied for workers' compensation benefits and was awarded around $580 per week as the maximum allowable benefit under a temporary total disability rating. This happened in 2006.

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Burkhart v. H.J. Heinz Co.: On Mesothelioma and Workers' Compensation Cases

Burkhart v. H.J. Heinz Co., a case from the Supreme Court of Ohio, involved a plaintiff who was employed by defendant as a maintenance worker at its bottling plant from 1946 to 1986. For the first 30 years of his employment, he worked at a bottling plant, and for the last 10, he worked at another processing facility. At the bottling plant, he claims to have been exposed to asbestos from pipe insulation.

asbestos-244234-m.jpgHe was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma at the end of 2005. He filed a products liability lawsuit against several asbestos manufacturers and gave a videotaped deposition in 2007. He died that year. Following his death, his wife filed a workers' compensation claim against defendant.

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Fatal Workplace Injury at Large Baking Company

An employee was recently killed at a large Chicago-area baking company that produces many of the hot dog buns, hamburger buns and bread products consumed in the U.S.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, this worker had been employed at the company for the past six years.

gear-866269-m.jpgHe was trying to check the oil on a machine known as a bakery loader after service had been performed on the equipment. He placed his head into the gearbox area to view the oil level, but the machine guards had not been reinstalled after being serviced. A gear arm rotated without warning and struck him in the head, trapping it between the gear arm and the metal frame.

After the accident, the local coroner determined that the cause of death was blunt force trauma, and the death was accidental. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) performed a mandatory inspection and found six serious safety violations. These other violations were considered amputation hazards, and involved the tag-out and lockout procedures for various machines. A lockout system allows a worker to lock the controls of a machine when he or she is working an area that would result in injury if the machine is started by an unwitting co-worker

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OSHA Investigates New England Cabinet Maker Work Injury

On-the-job injuries are not only traumatic, they can result in lifelong debilitation or even death. While civil negligence lawsuits are generally not permitted in these instances, workers and their survivors may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits.

Employers have a duty to maintain safe working environments for employees, and when they do not, there needs to be accountability.

marceneiro-2-284771-m.jpgAccording to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a New England manufacturer of stairs and cabinets has been fined $62,000 for violations involving machinery, dangerous chemicals and fire hazards after a safety investigation launched after a worker lost two fingers in an unsafe machine on which he was working.

OSHA noted that if the machine had properly guarded, worker would not have lost his fingers. OSHA discovered numerous additional hazards while investigating this incident.

A dust collection system, crucial in an area where sawing and drilling of wood occurs, lacked a required spark detector designed to prevent heated metal from entering the system and causing an explosion. Investigators also found improper disposal of flammable rags and spray booths lines with layers of old flammable solvent. Plus, there was flammable material in and around electric outlets, elevated workstations without safety railings, too few emergency exits, no emergency showers in the event of chemical exposure, insufficient protective gear and training and other serious violations.

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