Archive for September, 2022

Sep 2022

Are Injured Warehouse Workers Eligible for Workers’ Comp Benefits?

Forklift in a warehouse

Warehouse accidents can cause severe and debilitating work injuries.

Warehouse workers often sustain serious injuries on the job. When they do, they are usually eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

In some cases, injured warehouse workers can receive additional financial compensation that’s not covered by workers’ comp, such as compensation for pain and suffering.

Talking to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney about your legal rights and options is key. Below, you can find the answers to common questions about warehouse accidents and the potential benefits available to injured warehouse workers.

Injuries are common among warehouse workers.

Warehouse workers sustain far more work-related injuries than many other professions. On average, employees who work in the warehouse and storage industry have an injury rate of 4.8 per 100 workers, according to work-related injury statistics compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as reported by Safety + Health Magazine.

To put such numbers in perspective, 2.7 workers per 100 workers on average get hurt at work in all other private industries combined, according to BLS data cited by Safety + Health Magazine. Based on such statistics, warehouse injuries are 77 percent higher than work-related injuries in other industries.

What are common causes of warehouse worker injuries?

Certain types of accidents are more common than others among warehouse workers. Some of the most common and most serious warehouse accidents include:

  • Slip and fall accidents, especially in cases involving concussions and other head injuries.
  • Forklift accidents, including being hit by a forklift or getting hurt when a forklift overturns.
  • Packaging machinery accidents, especially if a worker’s hands get caught in the machinery.
  • Pallet truck accidents, especially if workers are trapped in or underneath such machinery.
  • Falls from a height, especially when warehouse workers fall off a ladder or fall to a lower level.
  • Being struck by a falling object is especially common in warehouses since there are so many boxes being moved around a warehouse at all times.
  • Exposure to harmful or dangerous substances, including hazardous chemicals.

Are injured warehouse workers eligible for workers’ comp benefits?

In most cases, injured warehouse workers are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, workers’ compensation laws vary from state to state. For example, in Massachusetts, “All employers operating in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and themselves if they are an employee of their company,” according to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website.

Rhode Island has similar rules. State law “requires employers with one or more employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance,” according to the State of Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training website.

Can injured warehouse workers obtain additional compensation?

The answer to this seemingly-simple question varies depending on the circumstances of your warehouse accident. In many cases, injured warehouse workers are only eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are certain situations when injured workers may be able to receive additional financial compensation.

Situations in which injured warehouse workers may be able to receive additional money for their injury-related expenses may include:

  • Injuries that are caused by someone working for a different company in the same warehouse, in which case the injured worker may be able to file a third-party lawsuit.
  • Injuries that are caused by hazardous situations at work that the company knew about but did not address in a reasonable amount of time or that the company simply ignored.

Can injured warehouse workers sue their employer?

Here again, the answer to this question varies depending on your work injury circumstances. In many cases, injured workers cannot sue their employer for injuries sustained at work. However, the best way to know if you or a loved one can file a lawsuit against your employer for a warehouse injury is to talk to an experienced work injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Why you need a workers’ compensation attorney

Obtaining workers’ compensation benefits can be a very complicated process. If you make a mistake, you might have to wait a long time to get benefits, or your initial application for benefits might get denied.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have extensive experience helping people in Rhode Island and Massachusetts get the benefits they deserve. As a result, we know how the system works in both states and can help you find your way forward.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation to see how a workers’ compensation attorney can help you. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

Sep 2022

Can Construction Workers Get Workers’ Comp for Hearing Loss or Impairment?

Rhode Island construction worker uses a saw to cut pavement

Getting workers’ comp for hearing loss can be complicated.

People who work in construction are among the employees most likely to suffer hearing loss or hearing impairment due to their jobs.

Typically, workers injured on-the-job in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are eligible for workers’ compensation, but collecting benefits for hearing loss can be an uphill battle.

Employers and insurers often deny workplace hearing-loss claims. They’re hoping you will believe them when they say you do not deserve workers’ comp. They want you to give up on pursuing what is rightfully yours.

Injured construction workers deserve compensation.

If your hearing was damaged because of work, do not give up on getting the compensation you deserve. Dig in your heels. Call us. We can help.

The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, P.C. knows the truth about construction workers and workers’ comp benefits.

  • 1. More than half of older construction workers have work-related hearing loss.
  • 2. Work-related hearing loss is covered by workers’ comp.
  • 3. Injured workers deserve compensation.

If you work in construction or another field and have experienced work-related hearing loss or hearing impairment, contact us for a free case consultation. Our law firm serves all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts. At no cost to you, we can explain how the law applies to your situation and your potential legal options.

Workplace hearing loss risks

Construction workers are 40 percent more likely to suffer work-related hearing loss than employees in other industries. According to a recent study, carpenters and boilermakers are among the construction jobs at the highest risk for hearing damage.

Loud noises come from jackhammers, concrete saws, crashing lumber, dockyard cranes, collapsing scaffolding, high-pitched warning alarms, gas leak explosions, drills, sanders, bulldozers, grinders, and other construction equipment.

Employers are required to provide you with a safe working environment. This includes protection against hearing loss and impairment. The risk of damage can be reduced when employers supply workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) like earplugs and headphones. However, many employers don’t do this or provide poor-quality PPE.

How to prove workplace hearing loss

Unless your hearing loss is due to a catastrophic event, like an explosion, an adjuster might claim that your hearing loss is due to something other than work – like age, pre-existing injuries, hobbies, or lifestyle choices. We’ve even seen insurance adjusters with the nerve to accuse seriously injured workers of “faking it.”

At The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we do not accept these excuses – and neither should you. To prove your hearing loss to workers’ compensation authorities, our work injury attorneys use evidence such as:

  • Thorough medical examination report.
  • Audiometric report (a special test that measures your hearing abilities).
  • Expert medical testimony.
  • Witness statements describing how hearing loss has affected your life.
  • Worksite decibel measurements.
  • Regulatory investigations and reports.
  • Recordings.
  • Your own personal and powerful story of how work-related hearing loss has devastated your life and reduced your ability to communicate with and relate to the people around you.

Types of workplace hearing impairment and deafness

In general, there are three or four types of work-related hearing loss.

  • Traumatic hearing loss – Typically caused by a single, loud event like an explosion, gunshot, or direct ear injury.
  • Cumulative hearing loss – This is caused by repeated exposure to loud noises. The damage builds up over time, leading to hearing impairment, deafness, or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
  • Ototoxic substances – Chemical substances and toxic materials can do just as much damage to the ears as loud noises and physical force. In construction, common ototoxic substances workers may be exposed to include solvents like carbon disulfide, styrene, and trichloroethylene, as well as lead, mercury, and carbon dioxide.
  • Dual exposure – Many construction workers are exposed to more than one type of hearing damage. This is called dual exposure, and it may heighten the risk of hearing damage.

Construction workers who are deaf or hearing impaired due to their jobs are entitled to benefits. Workers’ compensation pays for injury-related medical expenses, rehabilitation, temporary and permanent disabilities, and lost wages.

Compassion, experience, respect, results

Since the 1980s, the legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has fought hard to get injured construction workers the compensation they deserve. Our law firm knows what it takes to prove that your hearing damage is from work.

We know how to obtain the type of evidence necessary to prove work-related hearing loss. If you have a hearing impairment, hearing loss, deafness, or tinnitus due to your work in construction, or another industry, contact us for a free case consultation to see how a work injury attorney can help you. We serve all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts, with offices in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence.

Do not delay in reaching out. You must meet strict deadlines to successfully apply for workers’ compensation. A member of our team is available to hear from you anytime, day or night. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation.