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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.

Should I Settle My Workers Compensation Claim?

This is a question we are asked on an almost daily basis. Whether or not you should settle your workers compensation case is never an easy one to answer, however it is the one that comes up most often. Many employers and their insurance companies want to settle to make sure that they pay out as little money as possible, which always is a concern when it comes to you and your health. Other times, however, settling is best for your situation due to timing and the amount offered. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons to settling.

Settling in North Carolina workers compensation claims is often called “clinching”. This is when you accept an agreement for a certain amount of money due to your work related injury. Often, companies will offer you a large sum of money either in a structured settlement or a lump sum to cover all of your medical bills that you may receive for treatment. This means that you have the money you need and don’t need to worry about making sure you get that check every week from your claim.

While this may seem like a good idea, there are a few things that you need to think about. First of all, what happens if you happen to have a worse injury than you thought? If you have settled, you cannot submit another claim which means anything you did not receive money for will now have to be paid through your own insurance and out of pocket. Also, settling means that you cannot seek further compensation through another source such as Social Security or Medicare. The more severe the injury was, the worse a bad settlement will affect you.

Before you make a decision on settling your workers compensation claim, you should call into Collier Law Firm for your free consultation. It is almost inevitable that your employer and their insurance company will be conferring with their lawyer on how to best deal with your injury for their benefit, and you should certainly be doing the same. Being hurt at work is scary and stressful, so it would be better for you to have someone in your corner. Call Trey Collier today and see how much he can help.

Ways To Protect Yourself and Your Workers Compensation Claim

Creating a workers compensation claim is a long and complicated process. There are many different steps that you should take in regards to these claims and not all of them are obvious. Here are a few things that you can do to protect yourself in the event of any kind of workers compensation claim.

The first thing you should always do in the event of an injury on the job is to create a claim. This is true of any type of injury, small or large. Many different medical issues begin as something small with the more severe symptoms developing with time. You should report any injury within thirty days to your employer, and always make sure there is a paper trail to follow. If you simply tell someone that you hurt yourself, they may forget or even deny it if you attempt to make a claim at a later date. If you file for workers compensation, you must submit a File 18 to the North Carolina Industrial Commission within two years of the injury date. You should make at least two copies of this and send one to your employer while keeping one for yourself.

Always seek medical treatment for any injury you have sustained. Ask your doctor for copies of any paperwork for your own files. The more documentation, the better. Be sure to explain exactly what happened in the same way you described it in your initial claim. Again, ask for copies so that your claim will be backed up by consistency. If your doctor suggests anything or prescribes any medication at all, be sure to follow their advice to the letter. Not only will it generally make you feel better, but it will also help your workers compensation case if you have done all you can to recover in the quickest amount of time.

Although sometimes employers make it difficult for someone after they have submitted a workers compensation claim, do not quit your job. Keep records of anything they do or other employees do which make you uncomfortable in regards to your injury. Present all of these documents to your attorney. If you call Trey Collier today, you will receive a free consultation and all of the help we can offer. Let us know how we can help you!