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Wauwatosa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Understand the benefits of workers' compensation

When you're hurt on the job, one of the things you may be entitled to is workers' compensation. Workers' compensation provides several major benefits to those who are injured in Wisconsin.

Some of the benefits you should expect if you're injured and receive workers' compensation coverage include:

  • Payment for lost wages
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Death benefits
  • Medical coverage

What is a workplace illness?

It is fairly easy to understand what a workplace injury is, but you may be unclear of what a workplace illness is. These two categories explain the different health issues you may encounter as a result of an accident or a situation within your workplace. Injuries happen due to an accident whereas illnesses are usually a result of exposure to a substance or some type of toxin, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There are a few different kinds of workplace illnesses that fall into categories. Hearing issues, such as loss of hearing, happen when you have exposure to excessive or loud noises at work. Skin issues are another category. They typically occur due to exposure to substances and can include allergic reactions. Poisonings are also a result of exposure to toxins, although it may not be through the skin. You could breathe in a toxin as well.

What causes rotator cuff tears?

Rotator cuff tears are among the most common shoulder injuries that occur. A sudden, traumatic injury has the potential to cause a rotator cuff tear, but they can also result from degenerative wear and tear on the tendons of the shoulder over time. Performing certain jobs can increase your likelihood of a rotator cuff tear. According to the Mayo Clinic, repetitive overhead arm movements are a significant risk factor for a tear. These types of movement are often necessary for jobs related to construction, such as carpentry or painting. Other risk factors include family history, age and playing certain sports.

If you have a rotator cuff tear, you may have difficulty performing activities that require you to reach behind your back, such as combing your hair. You may experience a dull ache in your shoulder that becomes worse when you lie on the affected shoulder, possibly disturbing your sleep. In addition to pain, you may also experience weakness of your arm. If you have arm weakness that comes on suddenly following an injury, you should see a doctor right away. 

Can slip-and-fall incidents happen at your work?

Wisconsin workers like you trust that your place of employment meets universal standards when it comes to safety matters. But did you know that a lot of big safety issues can be hiding in plain sight? Many slip and fall incidents come from problems that could have easily been avoided, but can also be easy to miss.

FindLaw takes a look at some of the most common reasons for slip and fall cases, particularly focusing on the incidents that occur indoors. Outside, most of the slipping is up to the whims of nature and how well workers handle the aftermath, especially concerning snow or ice. Inside, the conditions are almost entirely created and maintained (or not) through the actions of your employer or fellow employees.

Is a back injury from shoveling snow covered by worker's comp?

There is one thing that almost everyone in Wisconsin has in common: snow. You may work as a retail cashier, a barista, a construction site lead or an architect. Regardless of your walk of life, there is a good chance that you will shovel snow at some point in your life — even if it is simply to dig your car out of a drift.

This somewhat onerous pastime may even cascade over into your professional duties. This is especially common in small-business environments, in which your employer may expect you to pitch in with some maintenance or physical activity regardless of your primary work function. If you had an injury performing this surprisingly dangerous duty, you would probably still be covered under worker's compensation.

What is take-home toxic exposure?

Depending on where you work in Wisconsin and what your job entails, you may have to handle toxic chemicals and/or materials on a daily basis. While it is bad enough for you to face toxic exposure, it is even worse to think that your family might face it, too. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, take-home toxic exposure remains a major problem in the United States.

Take-home toxic exposure happens when the toxins you come into contact with at work attach themselves to your clothing, shoes, etc. They then go home with you where they can build up on various surfaces, such as your floors, furniture, bedding, air ducts and virtually any other surfaces. Thus your family members become exposed to them, too.

5 things workers' compensation can do for you

Workers' compensation is there for people who get hurt on the job. Its purpose is to protect these workers by providing them with much-needed benefits such as coverage for lost wages and medical expenses.

Workers' compensation has benefits beyond paying for your medical care, though. For example, did you know that workers' compensation will cover your death, rehabilitation and retraining for a new position and pay you out for any permanent injuries?

What makes trench collapses dangerous?

Even when your job involves inherent risk, as it does if you are a construction worker, your employer in Wisconsin has a responsibility to provide a safe working environment. Nevertheless, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every year more than 800 construction workers die, and many more receive injuries, due to work-related accidents, many of which are preventable.

Trenching is one of the most dangerous types of jobs in construction work. You may not think of soil as being heavy, but one cubic yard of it can weigh nearly 3,000 pounds, almost as much as a car. Another hazard of trench collapses is that becoming buried under the soil can cut off your air supply and cause you to suffocate. Bearing these facts in mind, it is no wonder that serious injury or death can occur from a trench cave-in within a matter of minutes. 

OSHA fines Wisconsin contractors for deadly explosion

Authorities urge residents and business owners alike to call utility companies or a special hotline before beginning any work that requires digging to confirm the location of gas lines and other potential underground hazards. An OSHA investigation has determined that two utility contractors allegedly failed to take these necessary steps before commencing work and that these serious violations contributed to a Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, natural gas explosion in July 2018 in which a volunteer firefighter lost his life.

Law enforcement also investigated the case and found that, although miscommunication between utility contractors and subcontractors allegedly led to the improper marking of gas lines, there was no evidence of criminal wrongdoing. OSHA's investigation, concluded approximately six months after the explosion took place, nevertheless deemed the hazard a serious violation of safety standards due to its potential to cause an accident that would most likely result in serious physical harm or death. 

What rights does an injured worker have?

If you work in Wisconsin, you may be aware that a workers' compensation program exists and that this program is designed to help people if they are hurt while at work. The benefits available under workers' compensation may include financial compensation for time lost from work as well as medical treatment for any injuries. An employee has very specific rights granted by the workers' compensation program and every worker should know these.

As explained by the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, when it comes to medical care, an employee has the right to choose their health care provider. This choice is allowed for a first or second choice if the provider is within the state of Wisconsin. The employee may also choose an out-of-state provider without prior approval from the insurer if they are referred to that provider by another provider, if the need for care is an emergency or if the out-of-state physician is part of the same practice as the in-state physician.

Contact Us Today For Your Free Consultation

We invite you to contact our office today by calling 414-727-7003 or by sending us an email to schedule a free initial consultation regarding your workers' compensation claim. We are located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and evenings and weekends by appointment. If we take on your case, we only charge fees when we obtain compensation for you.

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Paul M. Erspamer Law Offices, S.C.

Paul M. Erspamer Law Offices, S.C.
8112 West Bluemound Road
Suite 108
Wauwatosa, WI 53213

Phone: 414-727-7003
Fax: 414-727-7004
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