Workers' Compensation Problems with Reporting Policies

If you have been reading this blog for a little while, you will know that you should always submit an injury claim as quickly as possible. In fact, we always suggest at least a report as soon as the injury happens. While this is going to be the best thing that you can do for yourself, it isn’t always what happens. After all, how many times have you bumped your head or closed your hand in a door at work and thought nothing of it. After all, it happens all the time. I hit my hand earlier when I tried to grab something out of the refrigerator. We normally don’t even think to tell another person about it. What happens, however, when your company policy mandates that you file a report immediately? It may not be as good as you think.

    In fact, the Department of Labor recently filed a lawsuit against U.S. Steel Corp due to a policy such as this. The rule in the company is that any injury that is sustained must be reported immediately. This sounds like a great idea, however not every injury is immediately apparent. The main issue was that U.S. Steel Corp took disciplinary action against a couple of workers that delayed writing up a report after an injury.

    One that many of us probably would have been guilty of was the case of the splinter. A utility technician in Pennsylvania found a splinter in his thumb and, thinking nothing of it, removed it and went back to work. After two days, however, he felt extreme pain and noticed his thumb began to swell. He went to the doctor for it and was given antibiotics. He then reported the injury to his employer and was suspended for five days without pay for not immediately stating that he had gotten a splinter when it first occurred.

    Always be sure to check your company’s injury reporting policy. I know that I would not have thought much about a splinter at work, but for some companies you do need to report every single thing. If you have been injured at work, then call Collier for your free consultation and see what we can do to help you get the compensation you deserve. No matter what the injury, we will be sure to fight for you!

What Should I Do? - Workers' Blogger

Many people are hurt on the job over their time working. This may be something simple like a small cut or a burn, however it may be something much more impactful. There are a few steps that you should take no matter what kind of injury you sustain, even if you think it is minor. Unless the injury is something like a very minor papercut or a gently stubbed toe, be sure to submit a claim to your employer explaining the injury just in case something occurs later which was caused by the incident. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

The first thing you should do when you are hurt on the job is check to see who is around you. This is especially true if you notice people that you are not well acquainted with. If you see someone in the area that can be used as a witness for your injury that you do not have any sort of relationship with, it will be better for you in the event that something goes to a judicial hearing. Having someone impartial who is able to explain exactly what happened will be extremely beneficial for you, so be sure to get down the names and contact information of anyone who saw you get hurt.

Always write down the story of your injury. Be sure to inform your employer about the incident with as many details as possible. Either copy the report and get them to sign it for your own records or submit it by email and ask them to respond that they have received it. This will ensure that you have a paper record stating that you alerted the proper people of the injury. Make sure that you don’t forget to submit a claim to the Industrial Commission as well.

If the injury requires, make sure that you seek any medical attention that is suggested as soon as you can. Keep all of these records as well, and make sure that you ask the doctor to write down any diagnosis that they find. Be sure to keep copies and the originals of these documents together when you can.

Call Collier if you have been hurt at work to ensure that you get the proper compensation. Remember that we offer a free consultation so you should not hesitate in reaching out so we can help you.

SAIF vs. Thompson – Heart Attack Workers Compensation

Last year in Oregon, an interesting case came up in regards to workers compensation. A firefighter applied for workers compensation due to a heart attack he suffered while at work. While the case eventually went to the state supreme court and was rejected, the facts of what happened were extremely interesting and really rested upon the fact that an injury can be work related whether or not you were at work at the time. Alternately, it may not be work related even if you were at your job when the incident occurred.

The man in question, 44 at the time, stated he was using gym equipment at the fire house when he began to feel chest discomfort. At this point he had been working as a firefighter for around nine years and had always been healthy. A couple of days later, he was off duty when he felt more discomfort in his chest as well as his neck. He went to see a doctor and after being checked out by a cardiologist was told he had suffered a heart attack. It was proven that he had none of the “normal” factors to a heart attack, as he was not overweight, he did not smoke, he did not have diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol, and had no known family history of heart related issues.

The firefighter then told the workers compensation committee that he believed the heart attack was caused by an occupational disease. While an independent doctor said the heart attack was simply due to aging in his case, the board still awarded the man compensation. This was due to the employer not meeting their burden of proof. This was appealed and eventually the state supreme court found that one of the main reasons that the original board ruled for the firefighter was that the independent doctor’s testimony was inconsistent. They affirmed the board’s original ruling.

This case was extremely interesting for the fact that it could have really gone either way. If there was no proof or argument for the heart attack being due to an occupational disease, it would not have mattered that the man was at work while it happened. Location has very little to do with claims like this. Call Collier today if you have had an incident like this and see if you may have a case.

Do I Really Need an Attorney for my Workers' Comp Case?

With so many laws in place to protect workers who are hurt on the job, it may seem silly to hire an attorney. After all, you’re able to tell people what happened and you know that you were hurt while fully within your working parameters. Why should you have to shell out more money when everything is simple to explain and rather cut and dry? Well unfortunately despite many attempts, the law is never quite cut that straight and it is never fully dry. Let us explain why you really do need an attorney to help you.

Getting hurt is always a strain on someone. Whether you are still able to physically move or not, it can leave you feeling paralyzed when you see those medical bills start to pile up. It is a terrifying and uncertain time, especially if the speed at which things were being taken care of begins to slow down. Sometimes it can seem almost impossible to get everything moving again, and I don’t just mean anything that had been injured. Getting the system to work for you can take years and by then it is fully possible that any money you could have gotten in compensation has already been paid out of pocket.

Unfortunately, not everyone has it in their best interest to compensate you appropriately for your injury. Although we have made leaps and bounds in worker’s compensation laws over the past 100 years, there is still a long way to go. There are many ways for people and insurance companies to withhold appropriate funds, and it happens all too often. In order to prevent this happening to you, you need someone who knows how to fight to get you everything you need.

Having an attorney that will work for you is an invaluable thing when it comes to worker’s compensation claims. Here at Collier, we are dedicated to getting you everything you deserve. We know how scary and stressful this time can be and want to make sure that you know there is someone in your corner. We work for you, and this means that we don’t get paid until you do. You deserve to have people on your side, especially after going through an injury or sickness. Call today for your free consultation from Collier Law Firm!

Whistleblowers and Workers Compensation

Although it would be nice, not every employer has the best interests of their employees at heart. While none of us like to think about the possibility of intentional cruelty, it does sadly happen more often than we hear. This is especially true if someone has come to be known as a whistleblower. One thing that you need to know, however, is that as a whistleblower you do have rights. It is still extremely important to remember to keep yourself safe. We certainly do not want to hear about another case like the one that occurred with Kerr-McGee.

In 2011, a case came to light that had to deal with a multitude of workers compensation related claims. The trouble began in 2009 when a worker for the North Carolina Railroad was injured on the job. While taking out a spike on the rail line, he was hurt however out of fear for his job he did not report the injury. A few months later, he was injured again and this time was given the advice from management to see a doctor. He did so, however when he returned to work he was suspended and eventually fired under the claim that he falsely filed an injury report.

After sending in notice to OSHA, an investigation was launched into the company and it was found that they had successfully intimidated their workers into not filing injury reports. This allowed the company to have a 22 year streak of safety awards. This is expressly illegal and we can only guess at how many people were not given the appropriate care due to this practice. Thankfully someone finally had the courage to expose this activity and hopefully prevent it from happening again.

If you are interested to know other whistleblower rights, you can find them on OSHA’s website. If you have been injured, please know that no matter what your employer may say you certainly should file a claim and see if you qualify for workers compensation. If you have been pressured to do otherwise, this is all the more reason to let us know. If this has happened to you, call Collier Law Firm today for a free consultation so we can help to put an end to this practice. We hate to see anyone hurt and will do all we can to get you and others the help they deserve.