Workers Comp Attorney Central Connecticut Personal Injury Lawyer

Falls in the Workplace

Falls in the workplace are all too common.  Though they happen in nearly every field some occupations carry a higher risk of falling.  Examples of jobs with an elevated risk of falling include:

  • Health care workers (orderlies, nurses, janitors and doctors)
  • Construction workers
  • General laborers
  • Janitors
  • Grocery store employees
  • Waitresses and waiters

According to data collected by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Heath’s National Traumatic Occupational Fatalities Surveillance System falls from an elevation are a leading cause of death among workers.  At our Central Connecticut law firm we have heard the following scenarios all too often:

  • I fell from a ladder while at work
  • I slipped and fell from scaffolding on a construction site
  • I stock shelves and fell while accessing a high shelf
  • I fell from a chair while attempting to reach for something

These types of falls often lead to injury and death.  Depending on the height of the drop common injuries sustained during a fall include:

  • Broken tailbone, wrist or arm
  • Traumatic brain injury (concussion or brain bleed)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Paralysis
  • Sprained or strained wrist, neck or back
  • Death

The Center for Disease Control’s NIOSH is an excellent source of information about on the job falls.  The following links will take you to useful portions of their website:

  • State based reports– Reports of deaths caused by falls from a height are listed here.  The incidents are listed by state and include the occupation of the worker and cause of death.
  • In-house case reports:  Deadly fall reports on this page are listed by date.  At this time the most recent report listed was of a seventeen year old female laborer who lost her life when she fell from a roof in Connecticut.
  • NIOSH publications on falls– Topics here include slip and drop prevention programs, precautions against falls on the job and a summary of worker deaths by falls.

The Central Connecticut attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren hope that the information provided on this page helps you learn more about the dangers of falls at work.  If you were hurt while on the job remember that you have the right to file for workers compensation.   You should never feel pressured to ignore an injury or not file an accident report.  If you have any questions about your rights as a worker in Connecticut please contact your CT
personal injury attorney
 today for your free consultation.

With offices across Eastern and Central Connecticut we are here for you when you need us.  Please call today.  1.800.999.2020

NIOSH | Workers Compensation Attorney CT Injured at Work

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

The amount of information published by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is staggering.  Working as part of the Center for Disease Control, NIOSH strives to “provide national and world leadership to prevent workplace illnesses and injuries.”  To accomplish this goal NIOSH has amassed an extensive amount of information that pertains to on the job injury and illness.

Please use the links and summaries below to guide you through some of the more useful areas of the NIOSH website.

  • Industries and Occupations– This page will help you learn more about the dangers of specific occupations. Examples of jobs listed here include: construction, dentistry, health care, mining and outdoor work.
  • Occupational Fatalities- NIOSH reports on both injuries and deaths that occur on the job. Connecticut is not immune to the dangers of contracting an illness or being injured or killed at work. Please click here to see a chart of fatal work injuries by state.
  • NIOSH A to Z– This index covers nearly any topic concerning worker safety, injury and illness. Topics include: adolescent worker safety, information on black lung, job stress, tractors and farm machinery and motor vehicle safety.
  • Diseases and Injuries– Each disease or injury listed here is accompanied by an in-depth look at its causes, treatments and rates among workers. The alphabetical index includes: occupational cancer, tuberculosis, hearing loss and stress.
  • Hazards and Exposure– Nearly every occupation comes with its own set of hazards. However, some jobs expose workers to dangerous fumes, explosions and other damaging elements. The list that NIOSH provides of workplace hazards and exposures includes: cold stress, asphalt fumes, take home toxins and diesel exhaust.

The staff and attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz Kasheta & Bren hope that the information on this page helps you better understand the information provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

If you need help filing for or appealing your workers compensation claim please contact your CT workers comp attorney today.  If you have been hurt at work or have been made ill by a workplace hazard you have the right to file for and win your claim.  Let the experinced attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta and Bren fight for you while you recover.

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Violence at Work- A Study of Workplace Violence in Hospitals

Nurses, doctors and hospital staff members often work long hours in difficult condition.  Though the work is gratifying it is also taxing.  A rising source of injury for health care workers is workplace violence.  A study funded by the Alberta Foundation for Medical Research found that hospital employees are highly likely to suffer from abuse, both mental and physical from those around them.

The study surveyed more than 9000 nurses, asking if they had experienced any of the following types of violence within the last five shifts:

  • Physical assault
  • Threat of assault
  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal sexual harassment
  • Sexual harassment

Researchers asked the workers to indicate who had perpetrated the violence: a patient, family, visitor, physician or nursing co-worker.  The results showed that many nurses were being harmed while at work.

One in five nurses reports more than one type of violence in a five-shift period.  For example, within the five shifts they may have been physically assaulted by a patient and sexually harassed by a co-worker.  Researchers found that patients were responsible for the majority of the violence.  However, hospital co-workers were found to be responsible for 56.7 percent of all emotional abuse and 53.6 percent of all verbal sexual harassment.

Nurses often do not report the abuse they take.  Often, violent actions by patients such a food throwing, pinching or hair pulling are not reported.  If the violence is perpetrated by another health care worker a nurse is even less likely to report it.

Violence in the hospital setting does not just lead to an uncomfortable work environment; it causes serious injury every day.  Workers comp claims are especially high for health care workers.  Violence, slippery surfaces and the expose to a vast array of chemicals and medication are a threat to every nurse, doctor and hospital employee.

If you have been hurt while on the job you have rights.  Please contact your Connecticut (Ct) workers compensation attorney at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren today for your free consultation.

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First Responders- Crucial to Connecticut and Often in Danger

Police officers, firefighters and EMT personnel are among the most recognizable first responders.  By definition, a first responder is a person trained to provide pre-hospital care and first aid during a medical emergency.  In Connecticut we primarily see first responders on the side of the road, assisting after an accident.  As personal injury attorneys we have seen, first-hand, how these brave men and women work to save lives across the state.  However, many do so with the knowledge that their lives hang in the balance each time they respond to a call.

Too many police officers and other first responders are injured, even killed during an accident.  As they work to secure the scene or respond to a call they are at the mercy of every rubbernecker and distracted driver that comes along.  Incidents that often cause injury include:

  • Traffic accidents
  • Accidents where the responder is hit by a passing vehicle
  • Violent behaviors from the injured and others involved in the accident
  • Exposure to potentially dangerous chemicals, fire and bodily fluids
  • Falls when working in a building

These incidents represent just a few of the dangers that first responders face.  Though our brave men and women understand the risks, they continue to serve our state and nation.  For this we offer our sincere thanks.

If you have been injured during an on the job accident you are likely facing an uphill battle.  Without legal help, you may be tempted to take any offer your employer or their insurance company offers.  However, keep in mind that your injuries may not just cost you lost wages and initial medical expenses.  Ongoing medical care, along with the possibility of a diminished capacity to perform your job, may affect you years after the initial injury.  For experience you can rely on please contact your Connecticut workers compensation attorney at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren for your free consultation.

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National Council on Compensation Insurance

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) is a nationwide organization that collects data as it relates to workers’ compensation.  The group collects data on more than four million workers’ compensation claims each year.  Information gathered from the claims guides the NCCI when they make recommendations on rate changes and other workers compensation policy issues.

NCCI in Connecticut

Like all states, the National Council on Compensation Insurance gathers state specific workers compensation information.  This year the NCCI recommended sweeping changes to workers’ compensation rates in CT.  Though some companies may see their rates decrease, the vast majority of employers will be facing substantial workers compensation insurance rate hikes.

Impact of NCCI Data

With the state and national data collected each year the NCCI provides the following information:

  • Analysis of industry trends in workers’ compensation costs
  • Workers compensation insurance rate and loss cost recommendations
  • Cost analysis of proposed legislation regarding workers’ compensation regulations and benefits
  • Special claims research projects
  • Analysis of judicial and regulatory decisions on workers’ compensation
  • Cooperation with other data-collection agencies to ensure a credible database

The NCCI reports to workers’ compensation insurance companies, state workers’ compensation funds and employers who need information on workers’ compensation issues.  These agencies use the information to guide policy changes and rate increases and decreases.

 

The workers’ compensation attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren hope that the above information helps you better understand the impact that the NCCI has on your workers’ compensation insurance rates.  Many believe that the workers comp system in Conn. is beyond repair.  Injured workers and employers alike are speaking up against rate hikes and lower compensation packages for those hurt at work.

If you have suffered an on the job injury please contact your Connecticut workers’ compensation lawyer at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren for your free consultation.

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The Whistleblower Protection Program (OSHA)

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has many programs in place which are intended to help the government agency achieve “safer and more healthful workplaces throughout the nation.”   One such program is the Whistleblower Protection Program.  The program is specifically designed to ensure that employees, in Connecticut and across the country, are able to file a complaint with OSHA, participate in an OSHA inspection and testify in an OSHA related proceeding without retaliation from their employer.

Employer Retaliation

Though the most common form of retaliation is firing the following also constitute “adverse action”:

  • Laying off
  • Blacklisting
  • Demoting
  • Denying overtime or promotion
  • Disciplining
  • Denial of benefits
  • Failure to hire or rehire
  • Intimidation
  • Making threats
  • Reassignment affecting prospects for promotion
  • Reducing pay or hours

Employees who are retaliated against in these ways are protected under the program.  The person filing the complaint is responsible for showing that he or she was participating in a protected activity, that the employer knew about the activity and that the employer subjected the employee to an adverse action, as listed above.

Filing a Complaint

Do you believe that your employer has retaliated or discriminated against you because of your concern over workplace safety or reporting of an on the job injury?  If so, OSHA urges you to contact your local OSHA office.  You must file a complaint as soon as possible. This is because most discrimination complaints fall under the OSH act, which gives you only 30 days to report the retaliation.  Once you have reported the violation OSHA will conduct interviews to determine the need for further investigation.

 

The workers compensation lawyers at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren encourage you to speak up and protect yourself and others against workplace safety violations.  There are laws in place to protect you and speaking up just may save a life.  If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to contact your Connecticut workers comp attorney today for your absolutely free consultation.

Connecticut Workers Compensation Lawyer | Hartford Injured at Work

Top Connecticut Workers Compensation Issues for 2011

Workers compensation should be a simple process by which those injured at work are compensated for the cost of treating their injury and illness and lost wages.  However, the workers comp system in Connecticut and across the United States too often fails to provide adequate compensation to injured workers.  A recent article points to the challenges that injured workers, and the workers compensation system as a whole, face in 2011.  Below we will outline some of the workers compensation issues that will affect both employers and employees this year.

  • Frequency of claims may increase– Starting in 1991 a declining trend has been tracked by workers compensation insurers. However, as the job market strengthens employees who are less experienced may be injured in larger numbers as workers with less experience in a field are more likely to be hurt at work.
  • Injured employees will stay out of work longer- The economic downturn has had the effect of causing injured workers to stay out of work longer than normal. Too often, injured employees were put in transitional jobs, only to be laid off for reasons not related to their injury. This has caused many employees to stay home longer, costing both the employer and the insurer.
  • Medical costs are on the rise- As medical costs rise so does the cost to employers with injured employees. The rise shows no signs of slowing. In addition, insurers are concerned that some doctors are abusing the system while treating injuries that have a wide range of treatment options such as joint injury and back sprains.
  • Social networking sites and workers compensation- Facebook is now the number one U.S. website. Workers compensation and social networking have ushered in a new era of workers compensation issues. For example, a recent case found that a woman had stolen over $8,000 in workers’ compensation after her Facebook posts revealed that she was not as injured as she claimed.

The workers compensation attorneys at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren work hard to keep on top of all current workers comp news and information.  By passing this knowledge on to you we hope to inform you as to the current state of the workers comp system in Connecticut and your rights as an injured worker.  If you have been hurt or have gotten sick while at work do not hesitate to contact a lawyer at Glass, Lebovitz, Kasheta & Bren for your free consultation.  The insurance company will be ready with their attorneys.  Who will be looking out for you and your rights 

Working Without Workers’ Compensation Insurance

I’ve been hurt at work and my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance.

I’ve been hurt while working under the table and my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance to cover me.

Let’s not ignore reality.  It should come as no surprise that there are employers who don’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, even though it’s required by law.  So what happens to an employee who is hurt while working for an uninsured employer?  The worker can still be protected.

Our legislature has worked to encourage business in Connecticut, in part by reducing or limiting benefits paid to injured workers.  Nevertheless, workers’ compensation insurance is not cheap.

Sadly, there are employers who choose to violate the law and save the cost of compensation insurance premiums.  Because their overhead costs are lower, these employers can then underbid responsible businesses that meet their obligations to their employees.  Legitimate businesses want the State to make sure everyone follows the same rules and competes fairly.  The State takes this job seriously.

If you are hurt while an employee of an employer that has no workers’ compensation insurance-even if you’re working “off the books”-the law makes sure your employer pays the compensation benefits to which you are entitled.

An employer without workers’ compensation insurance has two choices:  it either pays all of your benefits as if it were “self-insured” or it passes its obligations on to the State.

The process gets a bit complicated, and you have to prove your work injury, time lost, medical bills and any permanent injury in a “formal hearing” (workers’ compensation trial) in front of a Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.  But when you show Commissioner what you should have received from your uninsured employer, the State takes on the responsibility to pay what you are owed.

The State then takes harsh action against your employer to get its money back.  That action includes fines and jail in addition to recovering what it is owed.  The State does not hesitate to act-all to your advantage.

Some of Connecticut’s largest employers are “self-insured” and do not rely on an insurance company to provide workers’ compensation benefits.  These employers are not the focus of this article.

The value of work

We strongly believe in the value of work.  We work hard for people who work, and for people who wish they could work-or wish they had work.  Over the years, we have seen over and over again that people will do whatever they can to work-even in a job they’re not crazy about-rather than sit home and be reminded of how totally boring and unfulfilling life can be when there is nothing productive to do.

Sure, clients come to us with stories about ‘someone I know’ or ‘someone I heard about’ who sounds as if he’s milking the compensation system-or scamming it.  Some doctors don’t want to care for patients with workers’ compensation cases because they think the worker would rather collect paltry benefits instead of getting well.  And to hear some employer’s talk about it, their employees should limp in to work and ‘toughen up,’ no matter what the injury.

We think our clients want to get back to work as soon as they have healed.  But they want to get competent medical care and the full time they to recover without being rushed back to a job they can’t perform.  If this is you, we’ll work well together.  But if you’re like that ‘someone I know,’ or someone who is sure to confirm a doctor’s worst opinion of workers’ compensation patients, then shame on you-and if you happen to call for information, please don’t ask us to represent you.

This is where we are coming from in our handling of workers’ compensation claims.  We will do our damnedest to help you get and keep good medical and surgical care, to keep your benefits coming while you’re healing, to make sure that the full extent of your permanent disability is recognized, and to make it possible for you to return to employment.  We believe our clients do their damnedest to achieve the same things.

Do I need a lawyer for my workers’ compensation claim?

This is a good question.  You might be surprised, but our first answer is not “of course.”

Most on-the-job injuries are not serious, are witnessed or reported right away, and result in quick medical care paid for by an employer (or its workers’ compensation insurance company) that acknowledges its legal responsibility without hesitation, question or complaint.  We never shy away from talking to an injured worker with questions.  But in circumstances like these, it’s likely that no attorney needs to be involved.

On the other hand, if the injury is more serious, or it is not witnessed or reported quickly, or it doesn’t heal quickly, or if medical care is discouraged or not provided when you need it, or if you do not receive compensation benefits, or if you get a Form 43 denying responsibility for your injury, call a lawyer. 

An attorney will help make sure you are getting the treatment you need to heal as quickly and completely as possible.  An attorney will make sure that you receive the compensation benefits you are entitled to be paid under Connecticut law.  An attorney will help you avoid the pitfalls that can severely limit or even end your entitlement to compensation benefits.  We think the biggest problem with workers’ compensation is that it should be straightforward and simple-but it’s not.

You should also know that the Workers’ Compensation Commission regulates attorney fees in compensation cases, and the fees are quite modest.  In almost all instances, the attorney fee is only 20% of some of the benefits you may receive.

For example, when your employer is making voluntary payments of weekly benefits for temporary total or temporary partial disability, an attorney may not take a fee, no matter how many calls are made to the compensation carrier about late checks.  And an attorney may not take a fee from medical benefit payments, no matter how much work is done to get you seen by a doctor or to get a medical bill paid.

In fact, the most common source of the attorney’s 20% fee is the payment made for permanent disability after you have healed.  Since healing usually takes time, the sooner an attorney is working for you, the more he or she will eventually do for the fee being earned.

Finally, because the Workers’ Compensation Act was originally intended to set up a system in which lawyers were not needed on either side, the Commissioners are quickly available to deal with any dispute an injured worker may have with his or her attorney.

Except for simple, straightforward cases, talking to an attorney is a really good idea-it doesn’t hurt to call.

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