Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Workers Compensation Claims for Stress On the Job

Workers Compensation Claims for Stress On the Job

Many workers’ who suffer from an on the job injury experience post-traumatic stress disorder or other stress that affects the workers’ health in addition to the initial physical injury.  It is important if your physician has diagnosed you with stress that you make that part of your claim for benefits, as well.  For example, if a worker is assaulted on the job resulting in physical injuries, but also has been diagnosed with stress or other emotional conditions based on the attack, the worker should  add that condition as part of the worker’ compensation claim and actually list the condition as an additional injury, i.e. stress on the claim form.  It is important if you have difficulty sleeping, flashbacks or other emotional problems as a result of an injury that you discuss those symptoms with a physician so that the symptoms can be documented in your medical file. This will be important in determining if you have a stress related medical condition that may be compensable under the workers’ compensation laws.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSD) is a very real condition that can affect someone who has suffered a traumatic injury or event.  PTSD can develop after a terrifying ordeal that involved harm or injury. Anyone can suffer PTSD at any age and it can include survivors of physical assault, accidents, disasters and many other serious events.  The National Institute of Mental Health discusses this condition on its website.

If you have been injured at work or also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, you should consult an attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Workers Compensation Benefits for Death from an On the Job Injury

An On the Job Injury Resulting in Death

Unfortunately, some workers in North Carolina suffer an untimely death due to a work injury.  This is very tragic for the family who also has to understand the workers’ compensation process and what the family is entitled to under these circumstances.  In North Carolina, if the worker dies as a result of a work injury, the surviving spouse or family member may be eligible to receive up to 500 weeks of benefits, up to $10,000.00 in funeral expenses and payment of any medical expenses related to the work injury.  A minor child or disabled spouse may be entitled to even more benefits beyond the 500 weeks.

When an Employer agrees to pay benefits, an agreement for Compensation for Death, called a Form 30 will be used to request an award from the Industrial Commission on a Form 30D.  That Form has to be submitted with other appropriate documents, such as a death certificate, marriage certificate, divorce decree, birth certificate, if minors are involved or other documents.  The Industrial Commission has copies of these forms on its website.

If you have a loved one who suffered an untimely death and need assistance with this process or the Employer will not provide benefits, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to assist you.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Workers' Compensation Claims Resulting from Cold Stress

Workers' Compensation Claims for Cold Stress Injuries

This past winter has been especially harsh for certain areas of the United States.  It has even been unusually cold for places not accustomed to severe and bitterly cold weather, like North Carolina. Workers who are exposed to the extreme cold or who may work in cold conditions may be at an increased risk of developing cold stress.  Near freezing temperatures are considered factors for “cold stress” and may lead to serious health problems.  Types of cold stress conditions include hypothermia, cold water immersion, frostbite, trench foot and chilblains.   Outdoor workers or those that work in an area that is poorly insulated or without heat may be at risk for these conditions.

Symptoms of hypothermia can include fatigue, loss of coordination, confusion and disorientation, blue skin, dilated pupils, slow pulse and breathing and a loss of consciousness.   If a worker is working in water, hypothermia can develop much more quickly and even occur in water temperatures that may not seem dangerous.  Frostbite is caused by freezing and a loss of feeling in affected areas.  Trench foot, also known as immersion foot, is an injury of the feet resulting from long exposure to wet and cold conditions.  Injury can occur because wet feet lose heat 25 times faster than dry feet.  Lack of oxygen to the skin tissue can cause the skin tissue to begin to die and build up toxins in the skin.  Chilblains are caused by repeated exposure to skin temperatures just above freezing to as high as 60 degrees F.   This is damage to the capillary beds in the skin and usually occurs on cheeks, ears, fingers and toes.

If you are a worker who has had an injury due to Cold Stress, you should contact an experienced attorney to discuss your rights.