Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

22
Nov 2022
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Work Injuries & Illnesses from Hazardous Chemical Exposure

worker wearing protective mask, goggles, hard hat looks at containers of hazardous chemicals inside a factory.

Some of the most common work-related injuries and illnesses involve exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Each year, an estimated 13 million workers nationwide get sick or injured due to exposure to hazardous chemicals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In many cases, sick or injured workers are often eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits while recovering from a hazardous chemical exposure injury or illness. However, getting such benefits can be much harder than many realize.

Employees must understand why and how these work-related illnesses or injuries happen on the job. They should also know their potential legal options if they were exposed to hazardous chemicals at work and need help recovering their losses. That’s why the Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl want to meet with you. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.

Common workplace hazardous chemicals

Injuries and illnesses caused by exposure to hazardous chemicals in the workplace can involve a wide range of chemicals, including:

  • Arsenic
  • Asbestos
  • Benzene
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Zinc

Many other chemicals can cause severe injuries or illnesses depending on the type of chemical, the amount involved, and how long someone was exposed to it. This is why sick or injured workers need immediate medical attention if they suspect they have come into contact with dangerous chemicals. You can never be too careful when it comes to your health.

Why workplace hazardous chemical injuries occur

Most work-related injuries or illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals occur in one of three ways:

  • Breathing in a hazardous chemical.
  • The hazardous chemical comes into direct contact with the skin.
  • Exposure to a hazardous chemical for a long time over many years.

Injuries and illnesses due to hazardous chemical exposure

Common, severe illnesses and injuries caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals include:

  • Brain injuries, including brain damage, often due to long-term exposure to hazardous chemicals over many years.
  • Breathing disorders, including asthma, due to lung damage.
  • Cancer, including lung cancer and leukemia.
  • Neurological disorders (damage to the central nervous system), including Parkinson’s disease.
  • Skin conditions, including rashes, burns, and other injuries caused by dangerous chemicals coming into direct contact with the skin.
  • Vision-related injuries, including partial or total blindness.

How negligence can play a role

Many work-related injuries and illnesses caused by hazardous chemicals occur due to negligence in the workplace. This includes:

  • Improper ventilation in the workplace results in dangerous chemicals not being removed from the air in a workspace.
  • Improperly storing hazardous chemicals.
  • Not providing employees with proper protective equipment, including masks, gloves, and more advanced personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Not providing workers with the proper training to safely handle hazardous chemicals.

How a Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorney can help

Workers’ compensation claims involving hazardous chemicals often become complicated legal cases. In addition, sick or injured workers might be able to obtain additional financial compensation in addition to workers’ comp benefits (in certain circumstances).

This is why it’s critical that sick or injured workers talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer right away. The knowledgeable legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has been helping people get the benefits they deserve for years in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When you have us on your side, you can put yourself in a position to recover the money you deserve.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorney you can trust to put your best interests first. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

15
Nov 2022
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Is There Workers’ Comp for Defective Machinery Injuries?

Factory worker engineer working in factory using tablet computer to check maintenance boiler water pipe in factory.

You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for a work accident.

Faulty and defective machinery may be a bigger source of workplace injuries than most people realize.

According to a global study, defective machinery and equipment accidents may cause almost 20 percent of workplace accidents reported annually. A piece of work machinery may become defective for many reasons, including:

  • Cheap or faulty parts.
  • Poor maintenance.
  • Normal wear-and-tear.
  • Misuse.
  • Machinery modifications.
  • Improper installation.

Types of defective machinery injuries

Defective machinery accidents don’t always cause an injury, but when they do, they are usually severe or fatal. Employees can be crushed, wounded, struck, scalded, or compressed by malfunctioning equipment. These injuries can be disabling and deadly.

Defective equipment accidents can cause employee injuries like:

  • Broken bones.
  • Burns.
  • Electric shock.
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Spine and back injuries.

Nerve damage that impairs mobility or decreases brain function can also result from defective equipment injuries. Amputations, as well as vision and hearing loss, are common, too.

Workers’ compensation for defective machinery injuries

Employees injured at work and the families of fatal workplace accident victims are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The program offers compensation for work-injury medical expenses, recovery, and lost wages.

However, getting all of the benefits a worker deserves is not simple. Some employers reject claims. And insurance companies will use any justification to undervalue an accident victim’s medical costs, wages, and agony.

If you were injured in a work accident or developed a work-related illness in southeastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island, schedule a free case consultation with The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl to learn more about your potential legal options.

Defective parts third-party lawsuit

Typically, you cannot sue your employer after a defective machinery accident because workers’ comp is a no-fault system. That’s why it’s important for workers injured by malfunctioning equipment to understand the full range of their legal options.

In addition to claiming workers comp, an injured worker may have a strong third-party lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective equipment. But there may be others who are liable, too. For example, they may have a case against an outside maintenance vendor, the company that installed the equipment, the property owner (if the employer is renting space), or those who trained employees to use the equipment.

A lawyer can help identify all liable parties and pursue maximum compensation after a work accident or related illness.

When it comes to workers’ compensation, experience matters

Founded in the 1980s, The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl has encountered every trick and tactic used against injured workers to reduce or reject their claims. Our defective machinery accident attorneys know how to break down these obstacles. They have developed the skills to investigate and build strong claims for defective machinery injury compensation.

If you were injured in a defective machinery accident at work in southeastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island, we can help. For more information about your legal options and to get a claim estimate, contact us for a free case evaluation.

We have offices in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence. But if you can’t come to us, we can come to you.

Do not wait. Successful workers’ compensation applications and injury lawsuits must meet strict legal deadlines. Contact us today for your free case evaluation; We are ready to hear from you now.

27
Oct 2022
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Can New Hard Hat Tech Reduce Construction Worker Head Injuries?

Construction workers wearing hard hats install a roof.

Despite advancements in employee safety equipment and standards, construction workers are at a heightened risk for workplace accidents that cause head injuries and brain damage.

However, developers of a new type of hard hat say they have the technology to reduce Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) like concussions, skull fractures, and similar damage due to construction workplace accidents.

Hard hat technology developers and manufacturers, WaveCel, say their new equipment protects against direct and oblique hits to the head.

Injured workers have a right to compensation

At The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we support the development of new and improved worker safety technology. We know that every year, about 7% of all head and brain injuries sustained at U.S. workplaces happen in the construction industry. There were over 5,150 construction worker brain injuries reported in 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.

As an established workers’ compensation and work injury law firm in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhodes Island, we see how catastrophic head injuries devastate victims and families. We stand up for injured workers and the families of fatal work accident victims.

If you were injured or a loved one died at work in southeastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you may be entitled to compensation. We can help you figure out your potential legal options, and it won’t cost you anything. Contact The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl for a free case evaluation right now.

Hard hat history and technology

Hard hats have reduced worker injuries and saved lives since the early 1900s. The first hard hats were based on metal “doughboy” soldiers’ helmets. The wartime design was adapted by Ed Bullard to protect miners in the 1920s and quickly caught on in other industries. According to the Smithsonian, the Hoover Dam construction project in 1931 may have been the first time U.S. workers were required to wear hard hats.

Modern hard hats often have webbing, foam, or some impact-absorbing padding under their yellow or white plastic shells. The work helmet typically protects construction workers from objects that fall directly upon them but not from objects that strike at an angle. A sudden indirect blow to the skull can send a worker’s head spinning and cause severe or life-threatening injuries.

The company says that the WaveCel hard hat has a honeycomb structure made of thin, permeable materials that are effective at stopping spin and absorbing glancing hits.

What causes construction head injuries

Even when wearing protective headgear like hard hats, welding visors, safety goggles, and other equipment, construction workers are frequently injured. Some of the most common causes of construction site head injuries involve:

  • Slip and falls.
  • Scaffolding.
  • Forklifts.
  • Falling objects.
  • Electrocution.
  • Heavy machinery like cranes, drills, and PITs.

Accidents like these could result in a concussion, contusions, intracranial hematoma (internal bleeding), nerve damage, or another type of disabling injury.

Get maximum work injury compensation

Head injuries are among the most expensive work injuries to treat. That means injured construction workers need to collect the full value of their workers’ compensation benefits and pursue all additional compensation options, if any. Injured workers are often entitled to compensation for injury-related medical expenses and lost wages, among other things.

If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a construction work accident in southeastern Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you probably have a lot of questions. Get answers you can trust. Contact us for a free case evaluation to learn more about how the law applies to your situation, a compensation estimate, and a review of your legal options.

Don’t delay. A strict statute of limitations applies to work injury and workers’ compensation claims. We have offices in Fall River and Foxborough, Massachusetts, as well as Providence, Rhode Island. A member of our team is available to hear from you any time, day or night. Contact us for your no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation right now.

14
Oct 2022
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Fall Prevention is 2022’s Most Common Work Safety Violation

Construction worksite in MA or RI

Our workers’ compensation attorneys stand up for injured employees.

According to OSHA, the longstanding problems plaguing worker safety remain strong.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently revealed its annual top 10 list of workplace safety violations. Although there was some movement within the ranks, in 2022, the most frequent infractions were the same as those cited in 2021.

The number one work safety violation in 2022 was “fall protection.” Many worksites, OSHA says, lack proper safeguards to prevent serious injury or fatal falls. Fall-related violations are also in the top 10 – ladders, scaffolding, and fall prevention training.

Injured workers have rights.

The top 10 list demonstrates how some employers will disregard employee safety standards yearly. At The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we see how this negligence devastates workers and families. People injured or made ill at work are often in a lot of pain and worried about the future. Unable to work, many injured workers accumulate debt.

It doesn’t have to be this way. For decades, our law firm has fought to protect the rights of injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We help employees get the workers’ compensation benefits and injury compensation they deserve. We take on the burden of the workers’ comp process and negotiate aggressively for maximum compensation so that our clients can focus on healing.

If you were injured at work or made ill due to employment, get answers to your legal questions. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

OSHA’s top 10 violations

Employees everywhere need to understand the risks to their health and safety. The following is OSHA’s list of the top safety standards employers were most likely to ignore in the fiscal year 2022.

  • Fall protection.
    Common workplace fall accidents include slipping and falling on slippery surfaces or tripping over wires.
  • Hazard communication.
    Studies estimate that poor communication and misunderstood directions lead to work accidents resulting in injury or death.
  • Respiratory protection.
    Employers must provide employees with appropriate respiratory protection. If an employee chooses to provide their own equipment, the employer must ensure that it meets mandatory prevention, maintenance, and sanitation standards.
  • Ladders, construction.
    At work, ladders must be maintained in good working condition. When circumstances call for it, employers must provide enhanced protection like guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) to workers using ladders.
  • Scaffolding.
    Fall protection equipment is often necessary while working on scaffolding surfaces but is not always provided.
  • Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).
    When energy is not under control, bad accidents occur. A typical scenario is an injury caused during large equipment maintenance. For example, if the machine is not properly shut down, it could spring to life while the employee cleans it. Examples include burst steam valves or jammed conveyor belts.
  • Powered industrial trucks (PITs).
    One of the most utilized PITs is forklifts. Unfortunately, there are many ways a forklift can cause injuries. For example, a forklift may tip if the driver turns too quickly, carries an overweight or unbalanced load, drives with an elevated load, or is driving while texting.
  • Fall protection training.
    Employers must train workers to identify fall hazards, avoid risks, and properly use safety gear to prevent falls at work.
  • Eye and face protection.
    Personal protective equipment (PPE) that reduces the risk of eye and face injuries includes hard hats, safety glasses, chemical splash goggles, face shields, welding shields, and laser safety glasses.
  • Machinery and machine guard.
    The results of a machinery accident are severe and frequently require amputation. Machines that typically require some form of guarding include saws, presses, manufacturing equipment, cranes, trucks, conveyor belts, and cutters.

Get the compensation you deserve after a work accident.

Our workers’ compensation and work injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl consider it an honor to protect the rights of injured workers. We know how to conduct thorough accident investigations and build solid cases for maximum work injury case compensation. Our law firm serves all of Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts from our offices in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence.

If you were injured in a workplace accident are have been made ill due to job conditions, contact us for a free case consultation to learn more about your rights, get an estimated case value, and help weigh your legal options.

Do not delay. There are many strict deadlines and actions that must be taken soon after the incident for the best chance at a successful workers’ compensation claim or work injury lawsuit. A member of our team is available to hear from you any time, day or night. Contact us to schedule your free case evaluation right now.

27
Sep 2022
By:

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.

27
Sep 2022
By:

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.

22
Aug 2022
By:

Medical Treatment Being Delayed by Workers’ Comp? Here’s What To Do

If you become sick or injured due to a work-related injury or illness, you deserve to get the medical care and support you need to fully recover. That’s why many people file for workers’ compensation benefits.

Unfortunately, getting the benefits and medical care you deserve can become much more complicated than you might expect. And one of the reasons why are delays caused by workers’ compensation insurance companies.

Why does this happen? And what can you do to respond? Below, you can find the answers to these questions and many more, courtesy of workers’ compensation attorneys with years of experience handling complex legal cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

How workers’ compensation insurance companies delay medical care

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance all employers must have in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. If you sustain an injury at work or develop an occupational illness, you should receive medical care (including surgery, physical therapy, and follow-up doctor’s appointments) designed to help you recover from your work-related injury or illness. Workers’ compensation may also provide cash payments if you need time off from work to recover from your injury or illness.

Unfortunately, some workers’ compensation insurance companies do the opposite. Their actions result in delays in medical treatment and testing. As a result, you might have to wait a long time to get the medical care you need to recover. Such delays can involve:

  • Taking longer than average to investigate whether you got sick or hurt at work. In Massachusetts, insurance companies have up to 14 days to approve a workers’ compensation claim. In Rhode Island, insurance companies need to do the same within 10 days. However, in certain circumstances, companies may be able to ask for an extension and take longer to approve an application for workers’ compensation benefits.
  • Delaying scheduling medical appointments to diagnose what’s wrong with you. For example, you might need an MRI or CT Scan but have to wait weeks for one to find out what type of work-related injury or illness you sustained on the job.
  • Questioning the doctor you want to treat your illness or injury. Often, insurance companies will claim they can choose your doctor. Don’t believe them. You have the right to see the doctor you want in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It’s the law.
  • Processing delays by the insurance company. For example, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company might take a long time to process payments for your medical care, resulting in a delay in follow-up medical treatment.

There are many other ways business and insurance companies can try to delay providing you with the medical care and support you need and deserve under workers’ compensation. When this happens, make sure you take action to protect your rights. Make sure you contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer right away.

What to do in response

You can do many things if you are not receiving the medical care and support you need for your work-related injury or illness. Such steps include:

  • If your employer does not notify your workers’ compensation insurance company within 30 days of your work-related injury or illness, notify your insurance company directly.
  • If your workers’ compensation insurance company denies your application for benefits, you can file an appeal.
  • Stay focused on recovering from your work-related injury or illness. If you have a severe injury that requires medical care, demand to see a doctor.
  • Keep records of all your medical treatment, including copies of all medical bills and written prescription medications.
  • Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after you get sick or hurt at work.

Why you need a workers’ compensation attorney

You are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you sustain a severe injury while on the job or develop an occupational illness. That’s the law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. That’s why it’s critical that you meet with an attorney at our law firm.

Our workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have been helping people get the support they need for years in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result, we know how the legal system works here, and we’re prepared to do the work that needs to be done for you.

Learn more about your legal rights. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation with a workers’ compensation attorney focused on winning your case. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

22
Aug 2022
By:

Work-Related Hand Injuries Are Common

Man in a blue shirt holds his broken wrist with his other hand.

Injuries to the hands and fingers often occur at work, making them one of the most common – and most serious – work-related injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

And in many cases, injured workers are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits for their hand injury. Financial help and support can be critical for many injured workers. Without such help, they might not physically recover and can face financial hardships due to the significant financial toll of many hand-related injuries.

Hand injuries in the workplace

Each year, an estimated 1 million workers sustain an injury to the hand or fingers that require emergency medical care, according to BLS statistics cited by Occupational Health & Safety magazine. This is especially true for construction workers, who are at the highest risk of sustaining a work-related hand injury, according to Occupational Health & Safety.

Compared to other work-related injuries, hand injuries are the second most common reason why employees need to take time off for a work injury, according to Safety + Health magazine. The most common reason why is due to neck or back injuries.

Here’s another startling statistic – 23 percent of all work injuries involve injuries to the fingers or hands, making them “the most frequent preventable injuries” at work, according to the same Safety + Health magazine article.

The financial toll of hand injuries

Injuries to the hands and fingers sustained on the job aren’t just painful. They can take an enormous financial toll on injury victims. According to Occupational Health & Safety, the direct economic costs of specific hand injuries include:

  • $2,000 for stitches to the hand or fingers.
  • $10,000 for cuts (lacerations) to the hand.
  • $70,000 for a severed tendon.

The financial toll can be even higher if your hand or finger injury requires surgery, an overnight stay in a hospital, or long-term medical care due to permanent damage to the hand. This is why it’s crucial to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer handling your legal case and demanding the money you deserve.

Bandage for burn injury

Common work-related hand injuries

Work-related injuries involving the hands or fingers can cover a wide range. According to the Health & Safety Institute (HSI), the most common hand and finger injuries include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of nerve damage to the hand.
  • Bone fractures or broken bones.
  • Avulsion fracture. This occurs when the tendon moves in one direction, and the bone moves in the opposite direction, resulting in a broken bone in the hands or fingers.
  • Cuts or lacerations to the hand or fingers.
  • Hand amputation (loss of the hand).
  • Abrasion injuries to the skin on the fingers or hands, including soft tissue damage.
  • Burn injuries to the hand or fingers.
  • The hand being crushed by a heavy object.
  • A puncture wound caused by a sharp object puncturing the hand.

Common causes of work-related hand injuries

Work-related injuries to the hand or fingers often occur due to hazardous or unsafe working conditions. This can include:

  • Employers not providing workers with safety equipment designed to prevent hand injuries. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can be as simple as protective gloves.
  • Employers do not adequately train workers on how to safely use equipment, especially power tools or potentially-dangerous equipment.
  • Unmarked hazards or poorly visible objects due to bad lighting result in a slip, trip, or fall accident that causes a hand injury.
  • Not properly grounding electrical equipment results in a power surge that causes a severe hand injury.

Is this how your work-related hand injury occurred? Or are you dealing with a different situation? Whatever the circumstances, ensure you fully understand your legal rights. Make sure you talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer right away so you can weigh all your legal options.

How a workers’ compensation attorney can help you

When you have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer handling your hand injury claim, you can focus on what matters most – your recovery. That’s because your attorney can deal with all the red tape associated with complicated legal cases.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have the knowledge and experience you need to demand the compensation you deserve. We know what to do because we have been helping injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for decades.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney you can count on when it matters most. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

27
Jul 2022
By:

7 Ways To Keep Workers Safe & Prevent Work Accidents

Three workers in hard hats and safety vests overlook a manufacturing plant from inside a command center.

Workplace safety should be a priority for every business.

Work-related injuries and illnesses cost employers more than $1 billion a week in workers’ compensation-related costs for non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses, according to a recent news article published by EHS Today.

However, injuries and illnesses sustained on the job cost people more than just money. For example, nearly 5,000 workers are killed annually in work-related accidents or due to work-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Employers and employees must do everything possible to prevent work accidents. Recently, EHS Today offered 7 suggestions to keep workers safe.

EHS safety tips

EHS Today recently offered seven recommendations to keep workers safe. They are:

  • Normalize risk assessment – This suggestion involves regularly assessing possible risks workers may face and making adjustments to prevent workplace accidents. For example, observe how workers lift heavy objects and provide adequate training to help prevent an injury when performing that task.
  • Make safety rules part of the job description – This proactive step sends a strong message to employees that workplace safety is part of the job.
  • Create a work safety culture – Don’t just occasionally mention workplace safety. Protecting workers’ health and well-being is a daily part of a company’s operations.
  • Provide Proper PPE – Ensure employees have the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) to do their job safely. Also, make sure employees actually use the equipment when it’s required.
  • Allow remote work, if possible – Employees who can do their job remotely should be allowed to do so, especially if the employee isn’t feeling well. Working remotely prevents other workers from being exposed to possible diseases and illnesses.
  • Provide ergonomic training – Companies need to ensure workers are safely operating equipment at work and not putting unnecessary strain on their arms, back, shoulders, and other body parts.
  • Develop onsite injury assessment – In some instances, a medical professional can assess a worker’s injury using telemedicine to determine if the injured worker needs additional in-person medical care.

Other ways to prevent workplace injuries

Along with the seven suggestions provided by EHS Today, there are other steps employers can take to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses, including:

  • Regularly inspect workplaces to make sure there are no hazardous conditions that could result in a workplace accident.
  • Create a process for employees to report unsafe working conditions or concerns to the company, such as an anonymous tip line or suggestion box.
  • Hold regular staff meetings with workers to address all their safety concerns.

Taking measures to improve workplace safety and prevent accidents is a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, it’s important to realize that work accidents will still happen. It’s also important to note that injured workers have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, the process isn’t easy, and it’s common for hurt workers to encounter many obstacles in pursuit of the benefits they deserve.

If you were hurt at work in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you need to fully understand your rights. More specifically, you need to talk to a workers’ compensation attorney who can listen to your situation and clearly explain your legal options. Depending on the circumstances of your work injury or illness, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits and additional forms of compensation.

Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we take pride in helping the hard-working people of Massachusetts and Rhode Island get the workers’ compensation benefits they’re entitled to under the law. Our dedicated legal team has the knowledge, experience, and resources to handle every aspect of your claim and will not rest until you get the outcome you deserve.

Contact us today to learn more about your legal rights and options during a free case evaluation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from our law firm. We have three offices conveniently located in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

27
Jul 2022
By:

Landscape Professionals: Watch Out for These Common Work Hazards While You’re On the Job

Adult male landscaper wearing protective workwear trimming a hedge with an electrical saw in a New England yard.

On-the-job accidents involving landscapers often result in severe and sometimes fatal injuries.

Gardeners, arborists, lawn care specialists, and other people who work in the landscaping and horticultural industry often sustain serious workplace injuries due to risks they face on the job, according to Occupational Health & Safety magazine. Consequently, many landscapers are hurt in work accidents and need to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

Unfortunately, navigating the workers’ comp system can be a challenge. And without experienced legal representation to guide you through this unfamiliar situation, you could lose out on the benefits you’re entitled to under Massachusetts or Rhode Island law. That’s why if you’re a landscaper in either state and you were injured in a work accident, it’s in your interest to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer about your legal rights and options.

Common landscaper injuries

Landscaping workers often suffer severe work-related injuries and illnesses while on the job. On average, 12,380 workers in the landscaping industry suffer serious injuries or illnesses each year, according to work-related injury statistics compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An additional 122 landscapers die due to fatal workplace injuries or illnesses each year on average as well, according to the BLS.

According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine, common landscaping injuries include:

  • Lawn mower injuries
  • Heat stroke and heat exhaustion
  • Injuries sustained from being struck by falling tree limbs or other falling objects
  • Electrocution injuries, especially when landscaping workers come into contact with power lines
  • Vibration syndrome injuries caused by operating vibrating lawn equipment such as leaf blowers or lawn mowers
  • Hearing loss due to prolonged exposure to dangerously loud landscaping equipment
  • Exposure to dangerous or hazardous chemicals
  • Injuries due to loose clothing being caught in gears, blades, and other dangerous machines

How to prevent landscaping injuries & accidents

According to Occupational Health & Safety magazine, here are some steps that employers can take to prevent a work accident or illness:

  • Properly train workers to safely use equipment, including lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and other potentially dangerous tools.
  • Provide appropriate safety equipment, including protective eyewear, hearing protection, and hard hats.
  • Inspect work sites before starting a job to ensure there are no existing hazardous situations, including loose tree limbs or nearby power lines.
  • Provide workers with enough water to drink on the job and consider setting up a cooling station.
  • Make sure workers take rest breaks, especially on hot and humid days when workers are at risk of sustaining heat illness or heat stroke.

Remember, work-related injuries and illnesses are common among lawn care specialists and other landscaping employees. That means even if you and your employer take precautions, you could still suffer a work injury or illness. Fortunately, injured landscapers generally have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, obtaining those benefits isn’t always as easy as it should be. That’s when having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in your corner can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your case.

Contact a workers’ compensation attorney today.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we have been helping injured workers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for decades. As a result, we understand what it takes to build the strongest possible legal case and know how to fight for the benefits our clients deserve.

To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney from one of our three law offices in Massachusetts or Rhode Island. We proudly handle workplace injury claims in both states and look forward to seeing how we can help you.