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Wauwatosa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

How can your employer keep you warm?

If you work primarily outdoors, you may view the coming winter in Wauwatosa with a certain degree of trepidation. Wisconsin is known for its frigid winters, yet even in those conditions, you still may be expected to work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no set statutes regulating how cold weather work must occur, but related laws still impose a duty of care on your employer for you and all of your coworkers. 

Continued exposure to cold temperatures can contribute to several potentially dangerous medical conditions, all of them seemingly related to water. You can quickly become dehydrated in the cold, and having water saturate into your clothes can lead to problems such as trench foot (blisters and swelling in the feet), frostbite (the freezing of skin and underlying tissue) and hypothermia (internal body temperature dropping to below 95 degrees). If you (or a coworker) begins to show signs of any of these conditions, immediate treatment can be required in order to avoid serious (even life-threatening) complications. Thus, your employer should train you and the rest of your team on not only the proper reporting protocols to ensure that whomever is suffering from exposure receives needed medical care, but also treatment methods that can offer help until first responders arrive. 

Is stress a workplace injury?

When people talk about getting injured on the job, many think of a physical injury, such as a broken bone, laceration or traumatic brain injury. There are instances, however, where a workplace injury is not physical at all. Psychological injuries, including stress and anxiety, can limit your ability to perform your job. In some cases, they can cause long-lasting mental disabilities. Stressful work environments occur across many industries in the Wisconsin and the United States. If the problem is chronic, workers may have the legal rights to file a workers’ compensation claim.

In one situation, a school teacher who was repeatedly subjected to teach a particularly unruly second-grade class, filed for workers’ compensation. She claims that the stress caused by the disorderly children resulted in physical health problems, including nausea, dizziness and consistent headaches. When the teacher went to her doctor’s appointment, the physician told her not to return to school because the stressful work environment was bad for her health and causing these issues. She later suffered a heart murmur and a vocal cord injury and was granted workers’ compensation by a Pennsylvania judge.

What can workers' compensation do if you can't return to work?

People across the state of Wisconsin work a wide variety of jobs. Wisconsin has some incredible medical facilities, as well as many agricultural businesses. There are awesome manufacturing, education and transportation industries, along with many others. Regardless of what industry you currently work in, it is possible to suffer an injury that will keep you from continuing your career.

When that happens at work, you will typically receive workers' compensation benefits to offset the financial impact of your injury or work-acquired illness. Learning more about those benefits can help you understand how recovery is possible when you can no longer return to the same line of work.

Coverage by state workers' compensation

Most people employed in Wisconsin are covered under the state's workers' compensation program. This provides benefits to pay for medical care and lost wages if you are injured on the job. Knowing the parameters of what is considered "on the job" is important in the event that you need to seek these benefits. 

As explained by the State of Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Division, an injury received while at your place of employment and experienced in the course of performing your job is likely to be covered. This even includes exterior areas such as parking lots. If you are on a break but at your employer's location and are injured, you may well qualify for workers' compensation.

Traumatic brain injuries in the workplace

Traumatic brain injuries occur across many different industries in Wisconsin and throughout the United States. While certain workplaces, such as construction sites and warehouses, may see higher incidents of TBI, brain injuries can occur in any work environment. Slip-and-fall accidents from clutter on the floor or inappropriate working conditions, can lead to this serious type of head and brain injury. Large objects could fall on an employee’s head, causing a sudden jolt that causes brain tissue damage. When these accidents occur, brain tissue may begin to swell and bleed, causing long-term damage if not attended to in a timely manner. In some cases, however, workers may not even know they have a brain injury, as some of the symptoms are similar to other sicknesses. Furthermore, symptoms may not appear for days or weeks following the injury.

Employees should be aware of the common signs of brain trauma, so they can report the accident and injury to their manager as soon as possible. These signs include the following:

  •          Nausea and vomiting
  •          Progressive headache
  •          Numbness or tingling in the limbs
  •          Dizziness
  •          Changes in mood
  •          Decrease in sensory abilities

Wisconsin sees third consecutive jump in workplace deaths

If you or one of your family members in Wisconsin works in an industry known to be dangerous, like construction or transportation, you will want to know what companies and the state may be doing to keep these employees safe. Having an idea of how many people are involved in serious accidents may also provide insight into how effective any safety efforts actually are.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the state of Wisconsin, 2016 marked the third year in a row in which the number of people killed in job-related incidents rose. In 2013, there were 97 workplace fatalities statewide. That increased first to 99 in 2014, to 104 in 2015 and then to 105 in 2016. This trend is consistent with the trend seen across the nation during this same period of time.

What are the steps of a workers' comp case?

The benefits of workers' compensation are twofold. It protects injured workers from having to bear the brunt of their expenses after a workplace injury occurs and it also protects the companies themselves from litigation filed by injured employees.

Some workers, however, mistakenly believe that workers' comp benefits are automatic. They are not, as injured workers have responsibilities in order to collect benefits. Also, certain procedures must be followed or a claim may be denied outright after an on-the-job accident.

Workers' compensation dispute continues nine years

When a person is injured on the job in Wisconsin, they should be able to trust that the system of workers' compensation will be there to help them. For many people, this can and does happen. However, for other persons, receiving the benefits and assistance they need can be an ongoing challenge. Such has been the case for one woman who had worked for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

As reported by the Journal Sentinel, the woman has been employed by the university for nearly 20 years when she was injured after falling out of her chair at her desk in the summer of 2009. It is not known if she had ever sought workers' compensation prior to that but due to the soft tissue injuries, she was granted nine months of workers' compensation benefits. After this, the physician for the university declared her injury healed and benefits ceased.

Concrete worker dies from blunt force trauma

Residents in Wisconsin who are either themselves employed in the construction field or who have family members that work in construction jobs know that dangers abound on jobsites every day. However, also prevalent are strong laws that require construction companies and other employers to provide to their workers robust safety training, properly maintained and operating equipment and clear procedures to be followed in order to keep people safe while on the job.

While it may be good to know that workers' compensation may be available in the event that an accident does occur, the preferred situation is for a person to not need to make such a claim. Sadly, the family of one man may well be seeking some form of compensation today. The man was employed by a masonry company and was said to be working on a construction site when he was killed in a work-related accident.

The dangers of popcorn lung

Wisconsin residents who work in large factories are exposed to danger constantly. They may end up dealing with occupational health hazards that can lead to long-term pain, injuries, issues like spinal disc degeneration, or chronic work-related illnesses. One such ailment is called "popcorn lung", and its consequences can easily impact the sufferer's daily life.

As WebMD states, "popcorn lung" is the colloquial name for bronchiolitis obliterans, an ailment in which the smallest airways in a person's lungs are damaged. This can lead to a shortness of breath, constant coughing, and wheezing. Diacetyl is the main ingredient that causes concern in the workplace for popcorn lung. It's where the illness got its name from as well, since this was a common chemical used to flavor microwave popcorn. Though it's not used in popcorn as much after public outcry against the chemical, it's still a common ingredient in electronic cigarettes.

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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