If you’ve been injured at work, you likely know your best hope for winning workers’ compensation benefits is to hire an attorney. Your check-list for choosing legal representation is generally clear. You want a lawyer with extensive experience with your state’s laws, who has a proven track-record of success, and with whom you feel comfortable working. But for some injured workers, their needs may extend beyond just a workers’ compensation attorney. Some on-the-job injuries involving a third-party may actually also fall under the heading of “personal injury”. And for such workers, choosing an attorney who is experienced in practicing both areas of law is crucial to the success of their case.
One of the most difficult aspects of being injured at work is understanding what your next step should be. Obviously, you should seek medical treatment for your injury, but even that is not as clear cut as it may seem. How much will your doctor’s visit cost and can you afford it? Since you were injured at work, will your employer pay for your medical bills? Can you see any doctor, or must you see a company-approved physician? What if you can’t work anymore? Yet these complicated questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the rights of an injured worker.
At one time in our working career, many of us have worked in the food service industry. It’s practically a rite of passage as a teenager’s first job, pays tuition for numerous college students, and serves as a full-time career for many adults. In fact, approximately 9.7 million people in the United States work in the dining and beverage service industry. Though there are many advantages to these jobs, there are multiple drawbacks as well. Long hours, sore feet, and demanding customers are just a few of the downsides of the industry. A greater concern, however, is the number of safety and health hazards faced by food service workers.
Most workers today have heard of the condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. While a few decades ago the injury was not well known or understood, now even those outside the medical community are aware it is a common and damaging workplace injury. However, many are still unaware that carpal tunnel has a sibling. This injury, known as tarsal tunnel syndrome (TTS), is very similar in cause and symptoms, but affects the leg and foot rather than the arm and hand. And though it is also a fairly common injury, lack of awareness about the condition among workers too often means that their pain goes unreported and untreated.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, an injury which affects the wrist and hands, continues to be one of the most commonly reported work-related injuries. The carpal tunnel is a narrow area of the wrist through which the median nerve and tendons pass from the arm into the hand. Repetitive motion or injury can cause this area to swell, putting pressure on the nerve and tendons, and causing carpal tunnel syndrome. Syndrome sufferers experience symptoms in the affected hand and wrist ranging from varying degrees of pain, reduced range of motion, tingling and/or loss of feeling, and even a total or near-total inability to use the affected hand altogether. As nearly every job function requires the use of the hands, often in repetitive motions like keyboard or tool use, this injury is responsible for an exceptionally large number of injuries in the work place. With so many workers facing this potentially debilitating injury, it can be helpful to understand what treatment options are available.
For employees who have been injured on the job, understanding their rights under worker compensation laws can be daunting. Simply filing a claim involves a seemingly ever-changing tangle of rules and red-tape. Too often, a worker in real need of medical help never receives assistance because they were unable to understand the procedures or gave up due to frustration. And sadly, matters are growing increasingly complicated as more states adopt new legislation that further limits the rights of employees. More, now than ever, workers find that the best way to ensure fair treatment is to utilize the services of a workers’ compensation attorney. But workers can also improve their position by understanding a few of the commonly used terms that may appear when pursuing benefits.
The healthcare industry is one of the biggest and fastest growing industries worldwide. Particularly in the United States, the unprecedented percentage of population reaching age 65+ in the next ten to twenty years will cause demand to surge. With healthcare jobs projected to grow by 3.2 million by 2018, many jobseekers may be attracted to the booming industry. However, while a career in healthcare brings many benefits, there are also risks associated with the field. Unfortunately, healthcare workers are among the leading occupations at risk for on-the-job injuries.
As state governments begin tackling their budgets, many face the sobering realization that their financial wells have gone dry. Even areas less affected by the recession are feeling the pinch as too many years of shrinking tax revenue, investment losses and increased demand for services have taken their toll. As a result, many states are looking for ways to cut costs and increase state and business revenue. Some services on the chopping block include education, safety works, and health services. For workers, a particularly troubling trend includes proposals for changes to workers compensation that, while claiming to save governments and businesses money, could potentially cost workers.
The adoption of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 allowed for the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The function of OSHA is to reduce hazards for workers in the United States in part through the creation of required safety standards in the workplace. Today, many employers are required to adopt either OSHA’s safety standards or state-created standards that are approved and monitored by OSHA. Ideally, employers diligently comply with these standards voluntarily. However, OSHA recognizes that at times it is necessary for employees to report noncompliance and potential hazards in their workplace. In order to better educate employees on protecting their rights, OSHA created the handbook “Employee Workplace Rights”. While OSHA provides many regulations which protect worker safety, this handbook highlights two of the most vital rights an employee has -- the right to information and the right to promote safety.
Whether you work at a desk, at a construction site, or a medical office, a large variety of professions may find they are at risk of Repetitive Stress Injuries. Repetitive Stress Injuries (RSI), also known as Repetitive Strain Injuries or Cumulative Trauma Disorder, are essentially injuries of the musculoskeletal and/or nervous system that arise from a repeated motion or activity. These injuries can result from both seemingly benign activities such as using a computer mouse or long-term driving, as well as from clearly intensive activities such as heavy lifting or using construction equipment like jackhammers or shovels. All workers, therefore, benefit from a better understanding of how to both identify and prevent an RSI.