Mar 2023

Ladder Accidents in Construction: Causes and Prevention Strategies

Construction worker on ladder while working.

In the construction industry, ladders are one of the most essential tools. Ladders allow workers to reach high areas and perform other tasks with ease. However, they can also be involved in serious construction accidents and injuries. According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), falls from ladders are one of the leading causes of death in construction.

With March as National Ladder Safety Month, it’s important to recognize the risks associated with ladder usage and take the necessary steps to prevent accidents from occurring. And if you’re injured on the job, you need to know your legal rights and options.

Common causes of ladder accidents

Because ladders put workers at significant heights, they can be dangerous if faulty or not used correctly. Some of the most common causes of ladder accidents include:

  • Overloading ladders: Ladders can only support a specific weight capacity. When you overload them, they can become unstable and collapse. It’s easy to overload ladders by carrying extra tools and materials or by having multiple people on a ladder at the same time.
  • Defective ladders: Ladders that are damaged or missing parts can pose a safety risk to workers. A faulty ladder can break during use, causing a worker to fall and get hurt. This is why regular ladder inspections are crucial.
  • Improper use: There are different ladders suited for different jobs. Choosing the wrong type of ladder or placing the ladder on an unstable surface can increase the risk of an accident.
  • Lack of safety equipment: Workers should use safety equipment like a harness to protect them at high heights. With a lack of safety equipment, it is harder to prevent falls.

Best practices for safe ladder use

Most ladder accidents are preventable with the implementation of proper safety measures and protocols. Before using a ladder, make sure to inspect your surroundings. This is an essential step in ladder safety because it helps to identify potential hazards around the work area. Whether it’s an object on the ground or a high-traffic area, these hazards should be identified and addressed before using a ladder.

Make sure to follow the ladder three-point rule. This means a worker should maintain three points of contact with a ladder at all times while climbing or descending: either two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. This is to ensure the worker always has a secure grip on the ladder.

Learn your rights after a ladder accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in a ladder accident, you deserve compensation to cover your injuries. You should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and, depending on the circumstances, potentially a third-party claim as well.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl know how the legal system works in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. We can help you understand your rights and fight to get you the benefits you need.

Contact us and schedule a free consultation with an attorney who will put your best interests first. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice. We’re ready to hear from you.

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Mar 2023

Workplace Eye Safety: Tips for Protecting Your Vision

A female construction worker putting on the proper safety glasses to protect her eyes from injury.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

According to Prevent Blindness, more than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work every day. Whether you work in construction, manufacturing, healthcare, or in an office, eye safety should be a top priority. Eye injuries are common in many workplaces and can have serious consequences, such as loss of vision and long-term disabilities. However, workplace eye injuries can be prevented, and with March being Workplace Eye Wellness Month, it is the perfect time to learn the proper safety measures and precautions.

How do eye injuries happen at work?

Workers deserve a safe work environment, but many workplaces possess hazards that can cause eye injuries. Some common causes of workplace eye injuries include:

  • Projectiles: In many industries, workers are at risk of eye injuries from flying objects. Construction workers can be exposed to flying debris from power tools. Healthcare workers may be at risk from needle sticks or other sharp objects. Any foreign particles in the air, like dust, concrete, metal, or wood, can find their way into the eye.
  • Chemicals: When chemical liquids splash or spill, they can come in contact with the eye. Even chemical fumes from gases can burn the eye. In addition, substances like acids and alkalis can cause severe damage.
  • Radiation: When the eye is exposed to radiation, it can result in vision problems like cataracts and retinal damage. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, infrared radiation, visible light, heat, and lasers are all hazardous to the eyes.
  • Burns: Eye burns can be caused by hot liquids, steam, and fire. The affected eye will appear red and swollen. Someone with an eye burn injury can suffer from pain, blurred vision, permanent scarring, and vision loss.

How to protect your eyes at work

Protecting your eyes while on the job is crucial for maintaining your vision and preventing potential eye injuries. You can do three things to prevent an eye injury at work. The first is to know what hazards may be on site.

Being aware of the hazards you may come across can help reduce the risk of an eye injury. Like with most things, knowledge is power. Once familiar with the potential dangers, you can take the proper steps to eliminate them. This should be completed before the commencement of any work task.

Even with the completion of an eye hazard workplace assessment, accidents can still happen. That’s why the third tip to protecting your eyes is wearing safety eyewear. It’s not just about wearing safety eyewear but the right type of eyewear for the job at hand. Here are some examples of common eyewear options for various workers:

  • Safety glasses with side shields: Crucial for workers exposed to an environment with hazardous flying objects or particles.
  • Face shields and welding helmets: Special safety eyewear like face shields and welding helmets can protect workers at risk of radiation exposure.
  • Goggles: Goggles are approved safety protection to shield the eyes against chemicals.

Talk to a workers’ comp attorney about your options

It’s important to know you have rights as a worker injured on the job. You can pursue workers’ compensation, but obtaining the benefits can be complicated. That’s why you need an attorney with experience and knowledge of the workers’ compensation system.

At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, our legal team has been helping clients in Rhode Island and Massachusetts get the workers’ comp benefits they deserve.

Get a trusted lawyer on your side. Don’t delay, workers comp benefits have strict legal deadlines. Contact us today to learn more.

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Feb 2023

Can You Get Workers’ Comp If You Get Hurt on Your First Day?

Male warehouse worker on the ground in pain from an accident that happened inside of industrial factory while his co-worker comes to give emergency assistance.

As a new employee, going in on your first day may be exciting and nerve-racking. The last thing you think would happen is getting hurt. Although it doesn’t happen often, it could happen to you. Usually, employees can seek workers’ compensation, but are you eligible for those benefits after working only a couple of hours? The short answer is yes.

Workers’ compensation eligibility

Typically, new employees have to undergo a grace period ranging from one to three months. During this time, they cannot receive benefits like PTO, health insurance, and sick days. Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits can be accessed immediately. In addition, it does not matter how long or short an employee has been at a job; they are permitted to seek workers comp if injured.

A few requirements must be met to claim workers’ compensation benefits, but they are unrelated to the length of employment. The requirements include the following:

  • The injury or illness happens during employment hours, either on-site or traveling.
  • The injury or illness happens as a result of a job risk or hazard.
  • The injury or illness causes you to miss at least eight or more work days.

Possible first-day injury situations

Suffering an injury on your first day of work is an unfortunate scenario for some employees. There are different ways you can get hurt on the job like:

  • Poor training – Many types of occupations involve manual labor and the usage of heavy machinery. For these jobs, intensive training is necessary to protect the safety of employees. Lack of training or non-in-depth training can cause a worker or workers to get hurt.
  • Unlucky accidents – Sometimes, no matter how much precaution is taken, work-related accidents happen.
  • Insufficient safety equipment – Safety equipment is crucial for all employees, no matter what level of experience.

Report your injury no matter what

Being new, it is normal to not want to speak up, but not doing so can hurt the credibility of your workers’ comp case. Don’t be afraid to report your injury. You will not lose your job, it is, in fact, against the law for you to be fired for seeking workers’ comp benefits.

It’s also important to take the necessary steps to not only attain benefits but ensure your injury is properly treated. Seek medical care as soon as possible, and don’t worry about any financial burdens. Your medical bills can be covered through your workers’ comp benefits.

Need help with your workers’ compensation claim? Contact our law firm.

Workers’ compensation cases are all different, especially if your injury happened on the first day of work. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl know exactly how overwhelming a situation like that can be. We take every case that comes our way seriously to help injured workers be fairly compensated. We have extensive experience dealing with workers’ compensation cases in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

If you’ve been injured on the job, contact us today for a free case evaluation. We have the answers to your questions. We have three offices located in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence.

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Feb 2023

What Are My Options if I Sustain a Burn Injury at Work?

Workplace burns are a painful reality for many employees

Work-related burn injuries can result in extensive medical treatment and a long recovery period. According to the American Burn Association (ABA), the average hospital stay for a burn patient is about two weeks, and recovery can take several months or even years, depending on the severity of the burn.

Burns are among the most devastating work-related injuries, often causing immense physical pain, disfigurement, and long-lasting consequences. This type of injury is particularly prevalent among workers exposed to hot surfaces, hazardous substances, electrical systems, or boilers.

You should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a workplace burn, but obtaining these benefits can be challenging. This is where the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl comes in. Our dedicated team of workers’ compensation lawyers is committed to supporting injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

If you have suffered a burn injury while on the job, our attorneys are here to help. With offices in Fall River, Foxborough, and Providence, we offer legal assistance to injured workers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

Understanding the different types of burns and their severity

Burns sustained in the workplace come in various forms and levels of intensity. Some types of burns that can be sustained on the job include:

  • Thermal burns caused by flames or overheated machinery
  • Electrical burns resulting from contact with live electrical sources
  • Chemical burns caused by harmful substances
  • Scalding burns inflicted by hot liquids or steam
  • Radiation burns inflicted by ultraviolet light

The severity of burn injuries is determined by the number of skin layers affected:

  • First-degree burns only affect the outermost layer of the skin
  • Second-degree burns affect the epidermis and the underlying dermis, resulting in swelling, blisters, and severe pain.
  • Third-degree burns, the most severe type of burn, damage all three layers of skin, causing black, brown, and white spots and the destruction of nerves.

Workers in manufacturing, construction, refineries, and restaurants are most susceptible to burn injuries, but burns can occur in any workplace. It’s important for all workers to be aware of the different types of burns and their severity and to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from these injuries.

An overview of complications associated with burn injuries

The aftermath of a burn injury can be debilitating, with various complications presenting themselves as the injury heals. From bacterial infections that can lead to sepsis, to blood and fluid loss, to a dangerous drop in body temperature, the ramifications of a burn injury can be far-reaching. Additionally, scarring and excessive scar tissue formation are common consequences of burn injuries.

Minor burns may heal with minimal treatment and time away from work. However, severe burns can take several months to recover and can result in permanent disfigurement, amputation, or life-threatening infections.

If a burn covers a large area, is deep, or results in dark, leathery spots on the skin, it’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately. The same is true if the burn does not show improvement or if the wound is accompanied by increased pain, swelling, or fluid discharge.

Treatment for burn injuries may include antibiotics, pain and inflammation medication, surgery, rehabilitation, and skin grafting.

Compensation for a work-related burn injury

If you’ve suffered a burn injury while on the job, you may be eligible for a range of compensation options. Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to support employees who have sustained work-related injuries, including burns. These benefits typically cover medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and other related costs, providing critical financial support for injured workers.

You may also have the option to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party deemed responsible for causing the burn injury. This could include a manufacturer of faulty equipment, a supplier of hazardous chemicals, or a negligent subcontractor.

To fully understand your options for compensation in the aftermath of a workplace burn injury, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer with a track record of helping injured workers can review the details of your case and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your legal rights and compensation options.

Our attorneys can fight for your rights

If you have suffered a work-related burn injury in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, our team of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys is here to help. Contact us today to review your legal rights and options. There is no obligation, and you pay no fees unless we win your case. Trust us to be your dedicated and compassionate legal team. Schedule a free case evaluation right now.

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Jan 2023

How To Prevent Workplace Head Injuries & Saves Lives

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorney

Work-related head injuries occur more often than many people might realize, according to workplace accident data compiled by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

This is why efforts to prevent head injuries in the workplace must be “an absolute must in most hazardous environments,” said David Consider, senior workplace safety consultant at the National Safety Council, in an interview with Safety + Health magazine.

The Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl agree that more needs to be done to prevent work-related head injuries. That’s because we have witnessed first-hand just how devastating head injuries can be for injured workers and their families.

Workplace head injuries are common

Work-related head injuries often have serious or fatal consequences, especially in certain industries. For example, between 2003 and 2010, one out of four workplace fatalities in the construction industry involved a traumatic brain injury, according to NIOSH data.

However, construction workers aren’t the only ones who sustain severe head injuries. Safety + Health magazine states that “the risk for head injuries also is present in numerous other occupational sectors.” This is why all employers need to understand why work-related head injuries occur and what these businesses can do to prevent such injuries.

Why workplace head injuries happen

Work-related head injuries often occur due to negligence, especially due to a lack of safety measures by employers. According to Safety + Health magazine, examples of how head injuries happen on the job include:

  • Unsecured falling objects that hit a worker on the head.
  • Workers not being provided with proper head protection, including hard hats.
  • Employers who do not provide proper safety training for workers.
  • Lack of safety inspections, resulting in unsafe working conditions.

How to prevent workplace head injuries

There are many steps employers can take to prevent work-related head injuries. According to Safety + Health magazine, such steps include:

  • Provide employees with proper-fitting hard hats and other head protection equipment.
  • Regularly inspect hard hats for cracks or other defects.
  • Regularly inspect workplaces to make sure there are no loose objects or unsafe scaffolding that could result in a head injury.
  • Provide workers with safety instruction manuals and safety training designed to prevent work-related head injuries.
  • Employers should review such safety measures at least once a year to make sure that workers are properly protected.

How a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney can help

Work-related head injuries in Massachusetts can quickly turn into complicated legal matters. Instead of receiving the support injured workers deserve, many have to fight for the financial compensation they’re legally entitled to receive for their head injury.

When this happens, it’s important for injured workers to fully understand their legal rights. That’s why our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl want to meet with you. We thoroughly understand how the legal system works in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This is because we have successfully handled many legal cases in both states.

Learn more about your rights. Contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney you can count on in a crisis. We’re here for you when you need us most.

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Jan 2023

Fatal Workplace Accidents Reach 5-Year-High Nationwide, Data Reveals

silhouette of a construction worker high above the ground on a steel beam.

Workplace fatalities nationwide reached a 5-year-high in 2021, soaring above 5,000 deaths for the fifth time in six years, according to recent workplace fatality accident data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its latest BLS fatal occupational injury report for 2021.

“The data included in this report indicate workplaces have become less safe, and it is heartbreaking,” Lorraine M. Martin, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, said in a recent news article. “Everyone deserves the chance to live their fullest life. This report shows our mission to save lives, from the workplace to anyplace, is critical, and NSC is committed to doing its part to curb this deadly trend and put an end to preventable workplace fatalities.”

Our Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorneys agree. Unfortunately, based on the latest BLS data, workplaces have become less safe. Any efforts to improve workplace safety and prevent fatal workplace accidents are welcome news to the legal team at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl.

Workplace fatalities on the rise

Fatal workplace accidents nationwide increased by 8.9 percent in 2021 compared to the year before, according to the latest BLS data. In 2021, a total of 5,190 people died in work-related accidents compared to 4,764 people in 2020.

In addition, the fatal occupational injury rate (which measures the number of workplace fatalities per worker) was 3.6 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers, the higher number since 2016.

Or, to put these numbers in perspective, someone died on the job every 101 minutes in 2021, according to the recent National Safety Council news story about the latest BLS workplace fatality data.

Why do fatal workplace accidents happen?

Workplace fatalities increased in 2021 for many different reasons. However, some of the largest increases in fatal workplace accidents in 2021 occurred due to the following contributing factors:

  • Exposure to harmful substances—increased by 18.7 percent in 2021 to 798 deaths compared to 2020.
  • Fatal transportation-related workplace accidents—increased by 11.4 percent in 2021 to 1,982 deaths.
  • Intentional injuries by someone else at work—increased by 10.2 percent to 718 deaths.
  • Workplace violence—increased by 7.9 percent to 761 deaths.
  • Fatal slip and fall accidents—increased by 5.5 percent to 850 deaths.

What are the most dangerous jobs?

Certain professions have more workplace fatalities than others. Based on the latest BLS data, some of the most dangerous jobs include:

  • Protective services related jobs, which include firefighters, police officers, and other law enforcement officials. These professions experienced a 31.9 percent increase in work-related fatalities in 2021 compared to 2020 nationwide.
  • Maintenance, installation, and repair-related work, which had a 20.9 percent increase in the number of work-related fatalities in 2021 compared to the year before.
  • Commercial truck drivers, which experienced a 16.3 percent increase in workplace fatalities in 2021.
  • Construction-related work, which had 2.6 percent more job-related deaths in 2021.

How can a Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorney help?

Fatal workplace accidents in Rhode Island and other states often become complicated legal cases. Depending on the circumstances of the workplace fatality, surviving family members may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation and perhaps even additional compensation.

This is why it’s important for families to talk to a workers’ compensation lawyer licensed to practice law in their state right away. The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you every step of the way. We have years of experience handling complex workers’ compensation cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. As a result, we thoroughly understand how the legal system works in both states.

Discover what we can do for you. Contact us and schedule a free consultation with a Rhode Island workers’ compensation attorney who puts your best interests first. We can answer your questions and explain your different legal options.

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Dec 2022

8 Winter Workplace Hazards and How to Prevent Them

Road workers installing a new fence railing of bridge, outside in the cold and snow.

Winter can be a difficult time for workplace safety.

Winters in the northeast can be long and cold, and working in winter weather can bring additional workplace hazards that can result in injury, illness, or even death if precautions aren’t taken.

If you work outside, it’s vital that you take the necessary steps to keep safe during the cold months of the year. But even if you don’t work outside during the winter, there are things you should do to avoid getting injured in a work accident. Here are some of the most common winter hazards found in workplaces and how to avoid them.

Slips, trips, and falls

Ice and snow can create slick surfaces, which can easily cause slips, trips, and falls that lead to serious work injuries. Ice can form on sidewalks, parking lots, and other areas where workers walk, increasing the risk of a fall. It is important to wear proper footwear with good traction to reduce this hazard. Employers should place floor mats and caution signs in areas where the ground is slippery. Also, any areas prone to icing should be treated with rock salt or sand, especially stairways, which can be dangerous when ice accumulates on steps, handrails, and landings.

Exposure to cold weather

Exposure to cold temperatures can lead to various work injuries and illnesses, from frostbite to hypothermia. Employees who work outdoors during the winter should be instructed to dress warmly and to limit their exposure to cold temperatures as much as possible by taking frequent breaks in warm areas. Thermal gloves, hats, and insulated boots can help keep workers warm and reduce the risk of hypothermia and frostbite.

Car accidents

Slick roads and decreased visibility due to darkness and snow can make it difficult for workers who drive to do their jobs safely. When driving for work in the winter, be sure to slow down, increase your following distance, and use extra caution when turning and braking.

Employers can also protect their workers by keeping work vehicles well-maintained and providing information about winter driving safety, such as sharing resources from organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additionally, employers can provide emergency kits in work vehicles with items like blankets, flashlights, and emergency flares.


The two main sources of workplace fires during the winter are malfunctioning heating systems and electrical equipment. Malfunctioning heating systems are especially hazardous in older buildings or those with outdated electrical wiring. For example, if a heater has worn-out wiring or insufficient insulation, it could spark a fire. Loose wires and overloaded connections are also a fire hazard at any time of year.

To avoid work injuries or accidents related to fires, employers should inspect their building’s heating system regularly and make sure it’s up-to-date with the necessary safety features. For example, electrical cords and outlets should be kept clear of combustible materials like paper and furniture, and fire extinguishers should be easily accessible throughout the workplace.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the most serious and potentially life-threatening winter work hazards. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created by burning certain types of fuels, such as wood, propane, natural gas, oil, and coal. When inhaled, carbon monoxide can cause severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and disorientation. If left unchecked, carbon monoxide poisoning can even lead to death.

Employers should always take the following precautions:

  • Ensure that all outdoor heaters are inspected and serviced before use.
  • Never use fuel-burning heaters or equipment in an enclosed area.
  • Ensure the exhaust pipe for any fuel-burning equipment is located away from the workspace.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in areas where fuel-burning equipment is used.
  • Have all fuel-burning heaters and equipment checked regularly for gas leaks or other potential problems.

Electrical hazards

When working outside in the winter, exposed wires, equipment, and outlets are all vulnerable to weather-related damage. This can result in serious work injuries or even a fatal work accident.

To prevent electrical hazards in the workplace during the winter months, employers should:

  • Make sure that any exposed wires are insulated or protected from the elements.
  • Have qualified electricians check all power tools, outlets, and equipment for signs of wear or damage from cold weather conditions.
  • Test generators and other emergency power sources regularly to ensure they work properly.
  • Install adequate drainage systems around power sources to prevent water accumulation.
  • Provide employees with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when working with electrical equipment outdoors in the winter.
  • Provide employees with proper safety training on working with electricity in the winter months.
  • Post signs warning employees of any potential electrical hazards in the area.

Repetitive stress injuries

Cold weather can increase the risk of repetitive stress injuries due to the increased effort required for tasks like shoveling or lifting in cold temperatures. Shoveling snow for work can be a physically demanding activity that causes exhaustion, overexertion, dehydration, back injuries, and even cardiac issues. Workers should warm up before the activity, scoop small amounts of snow at a time, push the snow instead of lifting it when possible, and take frequent breaks in warm areas. While shoveling snow, remember to keep your back straight, lift with your legs, and do not turn or twist your body.

Snow blower accidents

To protect workers from electrocution, employers should ensure that powered equipment, such as a snow blower, is properly grounded. In addition, when performing maintenance or cleaning, always confirm that the equipment is properly guarded and that power sources are disconnected.

When workers attempt to clear jams with snow blowers while the equipment is turned on, they frequently suffer lacerations or amputations. Never try to unclog a clog by hand. Instead, turn off the snow blower and wait for all moving parts to stop before clearing wet snow or debris from the machine with a long stick. Always maintain a safe distance between your hands and feet from moving parts, and never refuel a snow blower while the machine is running or the engine is hot.

Talk to a workers’ comp lawyer about your options.

In New England, the cold, snowy winter months can bring a number of hazards to the workplace that can cause severe injuries and illnesses. That’s why if you’ve suffered a work-related injury or accident due to a winter hazard, it’s important to know your rights and speak to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

If you’ve been injured on the job due to a winter hazard, the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl can help you understand your rights and fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice if you’ve been injured at work in an accident. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you. We have three offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and handle workplace injury claims in both states.

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Dec 2022

Can You Still File for Workers’ Compensation If the Accident Was Your Fault?

A factory worker with a finger injury is helped by a co-worker.

Workers’ compensation is an important safety net for people who are injured while on the job. If you’ve been hurt at work, then you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits to cover the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical expenses and a percentage of your lost wages. But what happens if you’re injured as a result of your own actions? Can you still get workers’ comp even if the injury was your fault?

In most cases, the answer is yes. You can still file a claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits even if the work accident was your fault. However, there are some caveats to this rule that are worth noting. Here’s what you should know.

How does fault affect workers’ compensation?

In short, it doesn’t. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident; all that matters is that you were on the job when it happened.

There are certain exceptions, which we’ll get to in a moment. However, if you were injured while performing regular job duties and weren’t doing anything egregiously wrong, you will likely be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Remember, the workers’ compensation system is designed to provide financial assistance for employees who are injured on the job, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. That said, it is important to make sure that you fully understand how the process works by seeking advice from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in your area.

What are some exceptions to the no-fault workers’ comp rule?

If you were injured while engaging in unsafe behavior, such as refusing to wear proper safety equipment, then your workers’ comp claim may be denied because you were engaging in “willful misconduct,” that is, putting yourself in a dangerous situation where you’re likely to be injured. Even though workers’ comp is a no-fault system, if your employer believes that the work accident was caused by gross negligence or deliberate disregard of safety rules, they may deny your claim.

Additionally, if it is found that the accident was caused by alcohol or drug use on the job, your claim may be rejected on that basis. Your claim can also be denied if you intentionally injured yourself or if you were hurt in a fight you started.

If your employer or their insurance company has denied your workers’ compensation claim, it is important to understand your legal rights. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help evaluate your case and ensure you are treated fairly throughout the workers’ compensation process. They can also advise you on how to appeal the denial of your claim, if necessary.

How do I file a workers’ comp claim if I am at fault?

Whether you were at fault or not, you have rights as an injured worker. However, to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must follow the process.  This involves notifying your employer that you were injured in a work accident, filing the appropriate paperwork, and providing documentation of your injury and how it was caused—all within very strict deadlines.

The key is to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who knows the laws and how the workers’ compensation system works in your state. At the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl, we can help you understand your rights, determine the best course of action to get the compensation you deserve, and guide you through the entire process.

No matter how your work accident occurred, you still have options to recover compensation for your losses. To learn more about how our law firm can help you, contact us today for a free case evaluation. We have three offices in Rhode Island and Massachusetts and proudly serve injured workers in both states.

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Nov 2022

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.

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Nov 2022

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.

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