Workers’ Compensation Benefits Plus the Possibility of a Third Party Claim

Jan 05

There are different forms of danger in any type of work environment, these dangers being dependent on the kinds of equipment, tools and substances workers or employees are regularly exposed to. Of the different types of workplaces, however, construction sites remain to be among the most dangerous due to all the tools and hazardous substances that can possibly cause injuries or illness; add to these the high places workers often need to reach in order to complete their assigned task. Some of the causes of worker injury include falls, especially among those working on roofs, ladders or scaffolds, falling objects that can severely injure (or even kill) workers, huge vehicles or equipment that can pin and crush unsuspecting workers, plus daily exposure to chemicals which can cause deadly, chronic illnesses.

As one of the most dangerous career fields in the country, construction work leads all other occupational categories in causing fatalities and serious injuries among workers. In 2013 and 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported 4,585 and 4,679, respectively, fatal work-related accidents. Before 1971, the year the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established, the number of work-related deaths in construction sites was about 38 a day; from 1971 to 2014, the yearly average of fatal accidents was significantly reduced to about 13 a day.

According to OSHA, the number one cause of death for construction workers in the U.S. is falls from great heights, such as falling off from roofs, ladders or scaffoldings; about 2.3 million construction workers work on these surfaces everyday. In 2014, there were 899 fatal accidents in construction sites; about 359 of these were due to falls.

Workplace accidents can result not only to physical injuries, but to financial difficulties too, particularly if the injury is serious as this would mean costly medical treatment and medication, and days or weeks off from work, which means no salary to expect. If not for the cash benefits provided by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance program, there wouldn’t be any financial safety net that will cushion injured workers from the unexpected loss of regular income (the cash benefit paid by Workers’ Comp, however, is just about two/thirds of the injured worker’s average wage). This Workers’ Comp program, by the way, is a state-administered insurance program that is designed to provide immediate cash benefits to workers whose injury, disability or illness is work-related (regardless of whose fault the harm is). The only factors that will disqualify a worker from eligibility to receive the cash benefits are the injury being self-inflicted, the injured worker was intoxicated at the time when he/she was injured, or if the injury was sustained as a result of actions that violate a law or a company policy on workplace safety.

However you may be able to bring a third party claim for your injuries. For example, if you were injured by a defective product or piece of machinery, if you were operating a vehicle while in the course of employment, were injured while making a delivery such as slipping and falling on ice, or tripping in a pothole, or if you were exposed to a toxic substance you may have a third party claim.”

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How Effective and Safe is ER Medical Care

Jul 02

How Effective and Safe is ER Medical Care

Whenever a patient needs emergency attention, the top decision is to rush him or her to the nearest ER. A good and bad decision, actually. Good because the patient would receive medical attention; bad, on the other hand, because not all hospitals are the same. Some hospitals have been made famous by the quality care they provide to patients; some others have only become profit-oriented, caring more about how much they will earn for every medical service provided. These latter kind of hospitals may have the necessary medical devices, but where medical personnel is the issue, a lot of questions need to be answered.

Online posts of good and bad doctors, as well as of good and bad hospitals may provide very useful information to families of patients that need to know where they can and should rush their loved one during emergency situations. These posts are made by different non-profit organizations and individuals, who just want to provide service through useful information.

The usual basis for naming doctors and hospitals as either good or bad is quality of care which, in turn, is shown through correct diagnosis. The ability to correctly diagnose patients’ health complaints could only result to timely treatment and correct medication. Now, where else can a hospital’s real capability to provide patients with the best care be really tested if not in its emergency department?

Hospital emergency departments, or emergency rooms (ERs), are fast-paced and often chaotic environments due to the huge number patients, with all sorts of complaints, being rushed there. Sad to say, instead of providing correct initial diagnosis, many of those who have been rushed in ERs have suffered serious complications or never lived longer due to wrong diagnosis: this is why ERs are very frequent recipients of medical malpractice lawsuits – due to the thousands of errors committed there.

As pointed out by the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., despite the situations that require immediate medical attention, many emergency rooms are understaffed. This sometimes lead to a number of critical mistakes from the staff; to patients, however, the effects can be delayed treatment or wrong treatment resulting in worsened conditions or even death.

To some, measuring the harm done to patients by ER staff only increases the suffering and pains that they feel. Not pursuing justice, however, may only result to the same mistakes getting committed again and by the same persons.

Find a medical malpractice lawyer, one that you feel you can trust. He or she will not be able to help you find justice, but help you cope with the pain you feel as well.

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Accidents Due to Car Defects

Mar 09

For motor vehicle owners, a vehicle recall would definitely be familiar, especially if the vehicle they own is one of those that is presently, or has been, part of a recall. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a vehicle recall becomes necessary if the same problem has been cited as the cause of accidents involving vehicles of the same make and model.

Specifically, a recall is made either by the manufacturer (voluntary recall) or through a court order that is instigated by the NHTSA if:

  1. The defective vehicle or vehicle part poses a risk to the safety of the driver, passengers or anyone on the road; and,
  2. The vehicle or any of its parts has failed to comply with the minimum performance requirement established by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). Minimum performance standards are aimed at ensuring the safe operation of a vehicle and the safety of all vehicle occupants (driver and passengers) from injury or death in the event of a crash; there are minimum standards for brakes, tires, lighting, air bags, safety belts, child restraints and other parts.

In September of 2014, Ford recalled more than 850,000 of its vehicles due to defective airbags and seat belts; on the month that followed, Chrysler discovered these same defects in about 184,215 of their SUVs worldwide, thus, prompting said manufacturer to recall their defective vehicles.

Vehicle recalls usually happen after consumers send their complaints to the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), a department of the NHTSA. The most recent biggest auto-safety recall in the history of the car industry in the US, thus far, involves Takata-made airbags that are said to explode, shooting potentially fatal metal fragments inside the vehicle. These (driver-side) airbags have been linked to hundreds of injuries and five deaths.

Based on records from safercar.gov, about 19 million vehicles in the US have been installed with this defective airbag; around the world, the total number of vehicles affected and, thus, being recalled, is 53 million. Some of the vehicles affected are Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Daihatsu, Nissan, Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, BMW and Lexus.

The installation of airbags in vehicles was made a law by the NHTSA in 1984. This law mandated the installation of an automatic occupant protection device (such as an air bag or an automatic seat belt) in all passenger cars manufactured after April 1, 1989. Then, in 1991, the US Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which required the installation of air bags on the driver (frontal) side and passenger side in all passenger cars and light trucks that are to be manufactured after September 1, 1997; the Act also mandated the installation of manual lap-shoulder belts on the said types of vehicles which will be manufactured after September 1, 1998.

Besides airbags, defective parts or defective vehicles have also been discovered in the past, resulting to millions of vehicle recalls, like the 22 million vehicles recalled by more than 10 car manufacturers (in 2013) due to malfunctioning parts, which included steering wheels, brake pads, tires, seat belts, child seats, wipers and engines which caused gas to leak.

According to the website of personal injury lawyers at the Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg law firm, automakers have the obligation to do everything to fix the defect as soon as they become aware of it. Fixing the defect, however, does not release them from being accountable for whatever accidents it has caused. To conceal, as much as possible, the details about the defect and the accidents, many car makers, continued the said firm, reach out to victims with attractive settlement offers.

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Defective Road Conditions

Oct 22

Road defects may be a nuisance that is can be avoided, and occasionally it can do some substantial damage to your car. If you have been a victim of road defects, generally, you rant and rave about it for a little while then decide to get over it and just pay the repair bill. But when highway defects become the basis for severe injuries that result in death and trauma, that’s a different matter completely. You may have to get the party liable to pay you for your substantial losses.

Once you have the applicable information, your next thing would be to record a notice of a possible injury lawsuit, which will give the agency the opportunity to react to the claim. If you are fortunate, the bureau will discover that your claim is valid and will get it settled for you then and there. But it’s more probable that your claim will be rejected. In either case, do not forget to pass it through your attorney.

The website of the Sampson Law Firm states that road flaws tend to be a product of negligence i.e. inadequate care. Keep in mind, however, that when you might have a lawsuit for highway defects, you’re taking on the government, which you should not do ill-advised. Furthermore, authorities have sovereign immunity, which limits their responsibilities to major highway defects i.e. want of reasonable care and maintenance.

You will be told all possible defendants on your specific case by the lawyer according to the circumstances of the accident. These will contain the when, where, what, why and how, so the lawyer can charge the responsible bureau. In Kentucky, the different agencies in charge of roadwork might be the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet if you’re on one of the bridges, the main roads, or the crossing of the express. The fault could also be on the county or city level, and even the contractors who are employed to ensure safe road conditions.

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Rollover – A Life-Threatening Accident

Jun 18

About 24,000 cases of serious injuries and 10,000 deaths, all due to rollover accidents, are reported to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) every year.

A rollover accident, wherein a vehicle rolls onto its side or roof, can be life-threatening like head-on collisions. The effect can be worse if the driver were speeding prior to the accident, and still much worse if the vehicle’s roof collapses and crashes down on the driver’s and passengers’ head and spine, resulting to serious head and spinal injuries.

A vehicle, which is prone to oversteering, especially when making a sharp turn, or understeering (or turn less sharply), can rollover. More susceptible to rollover accidents, however, are pickups, passenger vans and SUVs which are vehicles designed with a high ground clearance or a high center of gravity but with a narrow track width as shown by the distance between their left and right wheels. Vehicles designed this way have lesser stability and reduced steering capacity, and these are further reduced if the weight of the passengers and cargo (whether these are placed inside or on top of the vehicle) are not equally distributed.

Analysis of data (on car accidents) made by the NHTSA show that speed (above 55mph) and alcohol intoxication are major contributory factors to rollover accidents. However, despite this statistical information, speed and alcohol may only be considered as secondary factors, the first being the vehicle’s faulty manufacturing design.

If a vehicle with a high ground clearance and narrow track width corners too sharply or drives down a steep slope, it can easily fail to remain upright or slide sideways and so, rollover, as a result. In addressing the problems of stability and steering control and help ensure driver safety in the process, giant car manufacturers introduced the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system, also known as electronic stability program (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC), a computerized safety device that helps improve vehicle stability by reducing chances of skidding or loss of traction. This safety device consists of sensors that are able to detect loss of vehicle control, automatically applying brakes on each wheel, if it does so, to enable the driver to steer the vehicle back on track. ESC also helps to keep the vehicle stable, especially during quick turns, improves traction and reduces chances of oversteering and understeering.

But while ESC may save a driver and other vehicle passengers from injuries or death in the event of a rollover, faulty manufacturing design will not. A rollover is a serious accident. Besides a threat to life, it also causes major damage to properties. It will definitely be in the best interest of rollover victims, therefore, if they contact a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer immediately to inquire about their legal rights and options in pursuing compensation for whatever damages they suffer.

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