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Wauwatosa Workers' Compensation Law Blog

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.

3 reasons to hire a workers' compensation attorney

There are a few reasons why you may want to consider hiring a workers' compensation attorney. After a workplace accident, you need to know that someone is in your corner. You need to know that someone is looking out for your best interest and not just looking at the cost of your care.It's a good idea to work with an attorney for several reasons. These are reasons including needing guidance, wanting to prevent a denial of your claim benefits and because hiring an attorney can help prevent stress. Here is a little bit more on three of the most important reasons to hire an attorney.

1. Get the guidance you need

Workers might be at disadvantage when injured

There are a few things that people in Wisconsin should be able to count on when they take a new job. One of these is that they will be paid for the time they work and a second is that they should be able to work in an environment free of discrimination or harassment. All workers should also be able to trust that they will be appropriately compensated if they are injured or become ill on the job. This is what the system of workers' compensation is all about.

According to The Capital Times, Wisconsin once led the way in protecting injured employees' rights. In 1911, the State Supreme Court upheld the workers' compensation program. Today, however, it seems that such leadership is all but forgotten and in its place is a program that favors employers and insurance companies.

Can you reopen your Wisconsin workers' comp case?

It is not uncommon for injuries to become more troublesome with time, especially when the injuries are more severe in nature. However, while most people must live with and accommodate the discomfort, parties who sustained their injuries in the workplace may be able to recover benefits via workers' compensation. Those individuals must have already filed a claim and received benefits for the same injuries that continue to ail them. To do so, they must first reopen their Wisconsin workers' compensation case.

If you wish to reopen your workers' comp case, you must be aware of the state's statutes of limitations for doing so, as well as under what circumstances the state allows a person to reopen a case. Per the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Workers' Compensation Guide, you may reopen your case when you have stopped receiving workers' comp benefits for a permanent or temporary disability that was the result of a workplace accident. You may reopen the claim any time within 12 years from the date on which you received your last benefits check.

Asbestos explained

You may think that you are aware of whatever health hazards that you make encounter in Wauwatosa, yet one exists that you may recognize yet, like most, not fully understand: asbestos. Many of those that we here at the Paul M Erspamer Law Offices, S.C. have worked with on asbestos-related cases had no idea they were even being exposed it. That is because is relative rarity in today's world means that few are indeed familiar with it. Yet if you think that you have no chance of being exposed to asbestos as part of your job, you may be wrong. 

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fiber that was once widely used in construction materials. It was discovered, however, that inhaling asbestos could contribute to the development of lung disease and certain types of cancers. The Environmental Protection Agency implemented a ban on asbestos in 1989, yet that was later overturned in federal court and the use of asbestos was allowed to continue for those products that had historically used in in their manufacturing. These include: 

  • Automotive parts
  • Insulation
  • Building materials
  • Potting soils
  • Fireproof clothing

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

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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