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Workers' Compensation

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top 5 Things To Do Following a Workplace Accident


Few people wake up thinking that they will be seriously injured at work that day. Unfortunately, workplace injuries happen everyday. Getting injured at work can be devastating to your livelihood, especially if the situation is not handled correctly. If you have sustained a workplace injury in the past, you probably know that talking to a Read more . . .


Friday, April 22, 2016

Family of Texas Man Killed at Work Gets Large Judgment


If you are injured at work can you file a negligence lawsuit outside of the workers’ compensation system?

Going to work can be a serious pain, but a hazard to your health? You wouldn’t think so.  Well, think again. Everyday there are a number of people in the United States who are injured and killed on the job. From simple slip and falls to major accidents that result in death, most cases end up being routed through the specific state’s workers’ compensation system. Not all cases, however, end with an award from workers’ compensation.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Everyday Handling of Materials in the Workplace Causes Large Number of Workplace Injuries


Why are manual material-handling injuries so common in the workplace?

We are all aware of the disastrous workplace accidents that are widely covered by the media -- cranes that fall, scaffolds that tip, gas explosions, mining catastrophes. But what about the everyday occurrences that cause so many workers serious injuries? Many people, often office workers as well as those who work in construction or other jobs that involve climbing or heavy lifting, suffer severe, debilitating injuries in the workplace daily. These accidents, however, do not make the headlines.

Numbers Don't Lie

According to an occupational health and safety research study by SHARP research group, work-related claims of musculoskeletal disorders serious enough to warrant lost work time and/or disability benefits accounted for 21 percent of total state-funded claims from 2009 to 2013.

The reported injuries of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) were all related to overexertion and/or repetitive motion.
Read more . . .


Friday, March 18, 2016

Everyday Handling of Materials in the Workplace Causes Large Number of Workplace Injuries

Why are manual material-handling injuries so common in the workplace?

We are all aware of the disastrous workplace accidents that are widely covered by the media -- cranes that fall, scaffolds that tip, gas explosions, mining catastrophes. But what about the everyday occurrences that cause so many workers serious injuries? Many people, often office workers as well as those who work in construction or other jobs that involve climbing or heavy lifting, suffer severe, debilitating injuries in the workplace daily. These accidents, however, do not make the headlines.

Numbers Don't Lie

According to an occupational health and safety research study by SHARP research group, work-related claims of musculoskeletal disorders serious enough to warrant lost work time and/or disability benefits accounted for 21 percent of total state-funded claims from 2009 to 2013.

The reported injuries of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) were all related to overexertion and/or repetitive motion. These statistics mean that a more than one in every five claims during a recent five-year period resulted not from unavoidable colossal accidents but from ordinary day-to-day work-related activities.

Both employers and employees should pay attention to these statistics because a great many of these injuries are avoidable with some foresight and planning. Not only do these injuries mean pain and suffering to those who get hurt; they also mean expenditures and loss of work time to management and workers alike.

The Most Common Injuries and Their Causes

The most common WMSD injuries reported by workers were injuries to the back, neck and shoulders, resulting in about 2/3 of the manual material handling claims. The most prevalent cause of injury, cited by a full quarter of the workers, was handling a container. Where particular actions were reported as causative:

  • Lifting accounted for 55 percent
  • Holding, carrying, turning, and wielding accounted for 17 percent
  • Pushing and pulling accounted for 14 percent

Rick Goggins, an ergonomist with the Washington State Dept. of Labor and Industries (DOSH), states that "Lifting is by far the biggest issue when it comes to WMSDs or ‘sprains and strains’ in the workplace." He points out that while heavy lifting is an obvious risk, awkward lifts, such as those involving bending over or reaching to lift heavy objects, are also dangerous.

Possible Solutions

Goggins does not feel that training alone is helpful in preventing lifting injuries. He points out that even though many companies have implemented training programs designed to keep employees safe, these programs have not been particularly effective. He also notes that the best-trained professionals in the field of body mechanics, physical therapists, frequently injure themselves when they lift patients.

 Nonetheless, Goggins has several proposals to lower rates of WMSD injuries, including:

  • Storing things to be lifted at waist height, rather than on the floor
  • Coming up with engineering solutions so that equipment, not people, do the lifting
  • Increasing  training relative to manual lifting and equipment use
  • Encouraging workers to be alert and aware when they are lifting
  • Developing ergonomic processes with employee input about hazards and possible solutions
  • Teaching employees not to rely on ineffective solutions, such as back braces

Since U.S. businesses spend $62 billion per year as a result of workplace injuries, this is a topic to be taken very seriously. If you have been seriously injured at the workplace, get medical assistance as soon as possible and then contact a competent workplace attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Workers Compensation Claims Have Decreased in Texas

Is underreporting to blame for the decrease in workers' compensation claims? If so, how much of an effect is it having?

According to a simple calculation, a recent study tells us that workers' compensation claims have decreased in Texas. But the study raises an important question -- Why? One hypothesis is that other claims exist, but go unreported for long enough to render them unsuccessful. A recent interview with multiple workers brings to light all the all too common experiences of injured workers who cannot get the compensation they deserve for injuries that impede their ability to earn a living.

A common thread that presents itself is the combined reluctance of employees to report a workplace injury, and the reluctance of employers to act upon one if it is reported. Both of these actions can prevent a workplace injury from being compensated. If notice is not given to the employer in a timely fashion, the opportunity to gather evidence of the injury can disappear. Furthermore, if the employer attempts to either dissuade the employee from filing a claim or makes little effort to properly document the injury, it can have an adverse effect on the employee’s success. The important lesson, therefore, is if an injury presents itself at work, the employee is wise to consider taking action immediately.

One interviewee explained that his supervisor refused to allow him to seek treatment for a workplace injury and refused to report the injury. When the injury became infected, treatment was finally sought. Such intimidation tactics are, unfortunately, all too common. Another interviewee explained how his injury arose slowly over a number of years from regular and constant lifting, and because of that the workers' compensation insurance carrier could not link it to a specific, reported incident. This is another tactic insurers use to deny an otherwise valid claims.

If you have been hurt at work in the state of Texas, do not delay. You work hard. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries. There are consequences to inaction. Speak to the experienced workers' compensation attorneys at the Sawicki Law Firm today before it is too late. Call 888-468-8844.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Texas Man Awarded $44 Million After Major Leg Injury on Construction Site

Other than workers’ compensation, what other legal options are available for employees sustaining major injuries on the job?

In Texas, workplace accidents and injuries may be covered by a workers’ compensation policy, private liability policy, or a civil lawsuit for damages. In most cases, if an employee is covered by a workers’ compensation policy, he or she is limited to the damages provided in the policy terms – and is prohibited from later filing a personal lawsuit for compensation. 

However, there are instances when workers’ compensation is not available or an employee is not eligible for coverage – as is the case in a recent Brazoria County proceeding.
Texas Man Awarded $44 Million After Major Leg Injury on Construction Site

Following a nearly three-week trial, a jury awarded $44 million to a man who sustained such severe injuries on a Houston construction site that he was forced to undergo a leg amputation. Named as defendants were the Kansas-based outfit known as Berkel & Co., along with a Pennsylvania company known as Maxim Crane Works, Inc.

During the proceeding, testimony revealed the alleged gross misconduct of Berkel & Co., including a complete disregard for worker safety and regulations. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was working on the construction of a commercial building when one of the cranes suddenly collapsed, severely injuring his leg. As a result, the plaintiff’s entire left leg had to be removed, and he will be required to rely on the support of a prosthetic limb for the rest of his life. 

During the trial, several witnesses recounted Berkel’s practice of ignoring safety warnings, repeatedly violating safety practices, and “flouting” the warnings by other experienced workers that the crane was overloaded. During the discovery phase of the litigation, electronic data recorders conclusively revealed that, at the time of the incident, the crane was bearing more weight than it was designed to hold – a major factor for the jury’s consideration when determining liability.

The jury assigned 90 percent of the blame to Berkel & Co., and 10 percent of the blame to Maxim Crane Works. In addition, the jury added an extra $8.5 million to the plaintiff’s verdict as punitive damages against Berkel & Co.

If you or a loved one has suffered a workplace injury, the knowledgeable attorneys at Sawicki Law Firm can help. Mike Sawicki has more than 20 years of experience and is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Contact us today at (888)468-8844 for a free consultation.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Personal Injury Cases vs. Workers’ Compensation Cases

What makes workplace accidents different than other accidents?

While logistically, an injury resulting in a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit may be the same, the law views these two types of cases very differently.  Separate specialized courts handle workers’ compensation claims. These courts operate under different procedural and substantive rules than those of traditional courts. 

In order to receive compensation for an accident that occurred outside of work, a person must be able to show that someone else was at fault for the injuries he or she sustained.  In a workplace accident, even if the result is due the negligence of the person injured, he or she is still entitled to an award.  The courts usually ignore fault altogether in their determination of how much money to which the injured party is entitled.  While personal injury claims are sometimes limited in traditional courts, workers’ compensation claims are highly restricted by the specialized courts. While the type of injury a person sustained may be ground for a high personal injury award, a workers’ compensation court will usually give a smaller award for the same injury.  

Most of the time, the plaintiff in a personal injury case can sue whoever may be at fault.  But, in a workers’ compensation case, the claimant may not be allowed to sue the employer or his or her co-workers outside of the specialized court, unless the party falls into a statutory exception. There are also generally no awards for pain and suffering in workers’ compensation cases, as there often are in personal injury cases.  

The above are just a few examples of the wide variety of differences between personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.  If you were injured on or off the job, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding whether you should file your case as a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.  The attorneys and staff at Sawicki Law are experienced in handling both personal injury lawsuits and worker’s compensation claims.  If you have suffered an injury in any context, you should contact us today at (888) 468-8844.


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