Tag Archives: injury

Harvest Time Reminds of Need for Grain Handling Safety

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The grain harvest is still going strong in many portions of the Great Plains, but farmers and agricultural workers may be at that point where they just want to get it done and take shortcuts. However, taking shortcuts can often lead to bigger safety problems for these ag workers.

Although folks who are in the field and transporting grain to elevators are much more visible right now, safety issues with grain elevators go on throughout the year. So for people who live or work around grain elevators, which would be pretty much everyone in many small Nebraska and Iowa towns, please be aware of the dangers that grain handling can present, including explosions from grain dust, falls, or suffocation, among many of the other hazards out there.

One of the area television stations, 10-11 Central Nebraska, recently featured a special report on “Nebraska Grain Industry Safety” titled “OSHA, Grain Industry, and Families Work to End Injuries and Deaths.” 

That effort got us thinking about compiling a list of links and previous blog posts that we have run in regards to both agriculture and also grain handling as resources.

Here are a couple of general links, and then below that are links to past blog posts from the firm that talk about either workers’ compensation for ag workers or grain-handling issues.

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Grain Handling

Facebook Community: Grain Mill Accidents

OSHA Looks at Challenge of Nebraska Grain Elevators’ Safety

Learn & Live: Grain industry hazards lead to deaths, injuries each year; US Labor Department’s OSHA working with Nebraska grain associations to promote awareness of grain industry hazards

Employer Pleads Guilty for Grain Elevator Death

Temporary Employees Cannot Be Excluded From Workers’ Compensation

The 11 Most Life-Threatening Jobs on the Planet

What Nebraskans In Farming Industries Should Know About Workers’ Comp

Please continue to be safe this harvest and avoid dangerous shortcuts! Because all loved ones deserve to have their workers come home to them.

Out-of-State Work-Related Injuries: What You Need to Know

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Bedford, TX Construction Site

Today’s post comes from guest author Brian M. Wright from Causey Law Firm in Seattle. Although I have written about this topic in the past in regard to truckers, I think this post is a great reminder to contact an attorney if you have any questions about details in a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation laws really do vary from state to state, and one of the most important jobs that an attorney has is getting the best benefits for people with claims so they can make the best recovery possible under their individual circumstances. Navigating that process can be quite overwhelming when different states’ laws are involved, so be sure to reach out for assistance if needed.

If you are a Washington resident working for an employer who operates in Washington and you are injured in another state, you probably have a Washington State workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, you might have a valid claim in the other state, as well. If you are injured outside Washington, or whatever state in which you normally work, it is important to evaluate your options and file wherever you might have a legitimate claim. It is possible that you have remedies available to you in more than one state.

 

If you are injured outside Washington, or whatever state in which you normally work, it is important to evaluate your options and file wherever you might have a legitimate claim. It is possible that you have remedies available to you in more than one state.

 

In Washington, we have agreements with other states that provide which state’s workers’ compensation laws apply when an employer takes its employees out of state. Those agreements apply to the workers of one state working temporarily in the other state. Washington currently has such agreements with Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. If you are a Washington worker sent temporarily by your employer to one of those states and you are injured there, Washington is likely the only state in which you can file a workers’ compensation claim. Conversely, if you are an employee based out of one of the states with which Washington has an agreement and you are injured while working temporarily in Washington, your home state is likely the only state in which you can file a claim.

 

But what happens if you are not simply temporarily working in one of the states with which Washington has an agreement? What if you spend a significant amount of time in both, or even other, states? What if your employer is based in one state and you are based in another? Or better yet, what if you are injured in a state with which Washington has no agreement? In all of the above scenarios, you may have the ability to file your claim in multiple states. Generally, you will have the option of filing in:

 

1)    the state in which you were injured;

2)    the state in which you primarily worked; and

3)    the state in which you entered into your employment contract.

 

Yes, and.  The United States Supreme Court, in a case that settled the law once and for all back in 1980, decided that filing multiple workers’ compensation claims in multiple states does not violate the Constitution so long as each state’s system is credited for the benefits paid by the other states’ systems. In other words, you cannot be compensated twice for the same injury, but you can elect to file in multiple states in order to maximize the benefits that each state provides. Washington State, by law, explicitly allows you to file multiple claims in multiple states.

 

With an option of two or more states that might provide coverage, you may wish to select the state with the benefit program that better suits your financial situation and your needs. 

 

It is important to know your rights when you are injured on the job out of state, because the decision as to where to file your claim will have a direct impact on you and your family. Each state has a unique workers’ compensation system with a full spectrum of benefits, compensation rates, etc…  With an option of two or more states that might provide coverage, you may wish to select the state with the benefit program that better suits your financial situation and your needs. 

 

If you have been injured out-of-state, or while traveling in service of your employer, it is important to contact a workers’ compensation professional to assess your options.

 

Photo credit: nffcnnr / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The 12 Things You Must Do If You are Hurt at Work

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Today’s post is by our colleague Paul J. McAndrew of Iowa. While almost all of his advice applies to both Iowa and Nebraska, in Nebraska, unlike Iowa, you can choose your doctor. In Iowa you must see a “Company Doctor.” Regardless of what state you are from, you should not hesitate to consult with a lawyer if you were hurt at work and have questions or concerns.

 

Not seeing a doctor chosen by your employer could negatively affect the validity of your work injury compensation claim.

Injured workers call me all the time asking me what they need to do to make sure they protect their legal rights.  If you are hurt on the job, whether it is due to an acute traumatic injury (like cutting yourself on a saw), cumulative-trauma injury (like carpal-tunnel syndrome) or some other job-related injury, there are several basic things you should do. If you do not do any of the things on the list below, you may lose your rights under Iowa’s workers’ compensation law.

Although there may be rare exceptions to this list,  following it will leave you reasonably secure that your rights are protected:

  1. Report the injury. By “injury,” I mean almost any condition including but not limited to (a) an acute traumatic injury, (b) a cumulative-trauma injury, or (c) a disease or a hearing loss. You should report the injury to your supervisor or company nurse (for clarity we’ll just call these people your Supervisor from here on out), making clear your injury was caused by work. Under Iowa law, you need to make the report within 90 days of the date of your injury.
  2. Make sure your Supervisor prepares a company accident report.  If your Supervisor won’t prepare the report, then you should write a letter stating the facts of your injury and give a copy of the letter to the Supervisor. Keep a record of when you gave the letter to your Supervior. If you can get him/her to sign a receipt for having received it, that’s even better.
  3. Get a copy of the accident report and keep it in a safe place. If you prepare a letter, keep a copy of it.
  4. If you are part of a collective bargaining unit you should (a) join the union if you are not already a member and (b) tell your steward that you were injured and that you reported your injury to your Supervisor.
  5. Keep notes of all significant contacts you have with anyone (including but not limited to supervisors, insurance company representatives and doctors) concerning your work injury.
  6. Under Iowa law you must and should get medical care through the doctor selected by your employer (we’ll call this person the Company Doctor). Don’t get frustrated if you are denied care. Keep demanding proper care through the Company Doctor. If you go to your own doctor, you can make it look like you believe your injury was not caused by work. Also, under Iowa law your employer may not be required to pay for care you get from a doctor you choose.
  7. Tell the Company Doctor clearly and in great detail how your work caused your injury. If you do not think that the Company Doctor is caring for you properly or has not taken careful notes on how your work caused your injury, then give the doctor a written statement of how your work caused you injury and keep a copy of that statement.
  8. Follow all medical directions. If you don’t, your employer may argue that you chose not to get proper care and purposely stayed sick so you did not have to go back to work.
  9. If the doctor recommends you not do certain things at work, get the doctor to write that down and get at least 2 copies, one for the Supervisor and one for you to carry at work.
  10. Make sure that the doctor sends all bills to your employer for payment.
  11. If your employer and/or insurance company denies your medical care or the Company Doctor does not provide effective care, you have a right to seek effective medical care.  You do this by first demanding the employer and/or insurance company provide effective care to you.  If you are denied, you then need to file an “Alternate Care Petition” seeking an order from the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner that you be provided the effective care.  You can get a copy of the Petition at: http://www.iowaworkforce.org/wc/forms/14-0011altcarefillable.pdf. You should consult a lawyer if you are denied proper and effective medical care for a work injury.
  12. If you miss work because of a work injury, your employer may have a right to a 3-day “waiting period” before starting to pay you money benefits.  If your employer does not start to pay you after 3 days have passed, you should demand payment. If you are denied payment of money benefits for time missed from work because of a work injury you should consult a lawyer. You have a right to be paid money benefits in a timely manner – which means on the same day each week.  If that does not happen, you may have a right to a “penalty” benefit payment equaling up to 150% of the money benefits owed and not timely paid.

 

 

Image: Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Does Workers’ Comp Cover Injuries Resulting from Original Claim?

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If an injury or an accident would not have happened if you weren’t already injured in the first place, then workers’ comp should pay for it.

Many times an injured worker is taken off work and is further injured at home.  Or someone may sustain another accident and injury while traveling to a medical appointment or picking up their medications.  Does workers’ compensation coverage extend to these additional accidents and injuries?

In Nebraska, it does. 

For example, Mr. Smidt slipped and fell on the ice at his home when he returned from physical therapy; Ms. Baker was involved in a motor-vehicle collision going to her doctor’s appointment. Mr. Johnson, who had a broken ankle, fell down his stairs because he lost his balance, so he sustained another fracture injury.  These are common scenarios of a worker who gets injured at work and sustains further injuries or another accident as a result of the original work accident.

These events can be described as “quasi-course of employment” and focus on the activities and circumstances that an injured employee encounters following an injury, though they take place outside the time and space limits of a worker’s normal employment. 

Even though these events would not be considered employment activities for usual purposes, they are nevertheless related to the employment in the sense that they are necessary and/or reasonable activities that would not have been undertaken if not for the original compensable accident and injury.

If you or a friend has something like this happen but the insurance carrier is not taking responsibility for the additional injury and medical care, contact an experienced attorney to investigate and file a claim.  Protect yourself, your friends, and your family from paying for shouldering medical expenses for additional injuries that are compensable.

 

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Image: Boaz Yiftach / FreeDigitalPhotos.net