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Bridgeport Workers Compensation Law Blog

Lunch break injuries may be eligible for workers' comp benefits

When a Connecticut resident files a claim for workers' compensation benefits, the first question is whether the injury was related to the claimant's employment. When the injury occurs at the place of employment, the answer is usually not disputed, but when an injury occurs away from the workplace or during a time when the employee is not expected to be on duty, the answer may be more complex. In a recent case, the Workers' Compensation Review Board ruled that an injury sustained during a lunch break but in the course of fulfilling a work-related task was compensable.

The claimant was a "floating" customer service representative for a Connecticut bank. She ordinarily received a 30-minute lunch break. On the day in question, the woman was asked by her superior to travel to another branch bank to replace a worker who became ill. Because the time of the request came late in the morning, the woman decided to stop at a drive-in restaurant for lunch on her way to the other bank. While waiting in line at the drive-thru window, the woman's car was struck by another vehicle, and she suffered arm, shoulder and hand injuries.

Marijuana gaining acceptance for work injury treatment

The legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use is under consideration by a number of states. A subsidiary issue - the use of marijuana as a medical treatment - has been decided in favor of the plant by a number of states, including Connecticut. Anyone whose marijuana treatment satisfies the criteria specified in the statute is eligible for reimbursement for the costs of such treatment.

Another issue is now emerging: are employers and their workers' compensation insurers required to reimburse injured workers for the cost of marijuana treatment? The issue is now before the Connecticut Supreme Court in the case of Petrini v. Marcus Dairy. The worker suffered a severe back injury that caused him debilitating pain and his doctors prescribed marijuana as treatment. The Workers' Compensation Commission decided that the employer was liable for the cost of the treatments. Most observers expect the worker to prevail when the appeal is decided. A similar case is pending in Maine and the same outcome is expected.

Fight for your rightful recovery of damages after a DUI crash

Drunk driving is inexcusable, and unfortunately, when DUI drivers cause crashes, the injured victims are often those who follow all the traffic laws. If you have been in such an accident, the consequences of your injuries may affect the remainder of your life. Your injuries may keep you hospitalized for months and in need of long-term rehabilitation. You might even be unable to ever return to work.

You may not be aware of the different sources of compensation that you could claim. What you need to focus on is the fact that you have legal rights, and that help is available to fight for maximum recovery of damages.

Debris chute collapse leaves worker in critical condition

One of the most common places on construction sites in Connecticut is the wooden chute extending from an upper level of the structure into a dumpster or the box of a heavy truck. The chutes are used to safely and efficiently discard debris from an upper level as work progresses. While the chutes are a relatively safe alternative to merely tossing construction trash to the ground, they must be regularly cleared of debris and checked for structural weakness to prevent collapse or other construction accident. The collapse of a debris chute on a construction site Tappan, N.Y. provides a potentially tragic illustration of the risks posed by debris chutes.

Workers were renovating the German Masonic Home in Tappan when a debris chute leading from the third floor to a dumpster on the ground became clogged with waste construction materials. Two workers employed by a subcontractor were attempting to clear the chute, and they decided to detach it from the structure. The chute collapsed and fell upon one of the workers. The weight of the chute prevented the worker from breathing, and it was too heavy to be removed by manual effort.

Construction worker settles third-party claim for $1.5 million

This blog has frequently mentioned the value of third-party claims in Connecticut workers' compensation cases. A recent settlement of such a claim by a worker who suffered a devastating eye injury demonstrates how such claims can dramatically increase the compensation that can be recovered by an injured construction worker.

Any worker who is injured on the job is entitled to recover benefits for the injury and any resulting disability from his or her employer. Unhappily, the schedule of benefits allowed by the state's workers' compensation regulations may fall far short of adequate compensation for the injury. In such cases, knowledgeable workers' compensation attorneys look for parties other than the worker's employer who may be liable for the injury.

Nurse gets $200,000 in workers' comp claim settlement

A Connecticut nurse has received $200,000 in settlement of her workers' compensation claim. The claim was unusual in that the injury was not caused by a work-related accident; rather, the injury was the result of a pre-existing condition, and the fact that it occurred during working hours at the claimant's place of employment was sufficient to qualify for workers' compensation benefits.

The claimant was a rehabilitation nurse who was suffering from cancer. The cancer increased the brittleness of her bones, and her pelvis sustained a fracture while the nurse was at work. Even though the injury was not caused by a workplace accident, the nurse's treating physician deemed it to be a work-related injury. According to the woman's attorney, she incurred significant costs associated with pain management and visits to a psychiatrist. The nurse's employer was deemed liable for these costs, but the parties disagreed on the severity of the injury and whether the medical care she received was necessary. Another issue was whether the claimant was eligible for disability benefits. The nursing home claimed that the claimant had limited capacity to work and that her disability benefits should be reduced accordingly.

OSHA cites construction company for fatal wall collapse

Construction site accidents often involve several parties, including the general contractor, subcontractors and employers of workers hired on a temporary basis. Three different firms, including a cement contractor based in Connecticut, were involved in a construction accident that killed one worker and injured another.

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently released its findings about the causes of the collapse of a retaining wall at a construction site in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A portion of a concrete retaining wall collapsed, causing two workers to be struck by soil and chunks of concrete. The employee of the Connecticut-based cement contractor was killed by blunt force trauma. Another worker managed to escape, but he was struck by falling material and suffered a broken hand and possible broken leg.

Does your occupation present risks of catastrophic injuries?

If you work in an environment in which there is a high risk of suffering a catastrophic injury, you might have questions about the disability benefits that you may receive from the Connecticut workers' compensation program if you suffer such an injury. This is a valid concern because it could affect your job, your social life and even routine tasks may become challenges.

Furthermore, you may require multiple surgeries and ongoing physical therapy, which will lead to not only mounting medical bills but also financial hardship due to the lack of income.

Court strikes down oil and gas company immunity from suit

It is no secret that Oklahoma depends upon the oil and natural gas industries for jobs, tax revenue and many indirect contributions to its financial well-being. In 2013, the Republican-controlled state legislature enacted a law intended to protect these industries from civil lawsuits for damages for personal injuries. In a recent unanimous decision, the Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the law because it unlawfully contravened the state workers' compensation system. The ruling should give optimism to workers in Connecticut and many other states.

The incident involved a truck driver who arrived at an oil well site to pick up waste water. He was severely burned in a fire and died three days later. He recovered workers' compensation benefits from the company that owned the truck (the decedent's employer), but his family commenced a lawsuit against the oil company whose negligence was the cause of the fire.

Why hire a lawyer to handle a workers' compensation claim?

The state of Connecticut offers many aids to injured workers to help them file claims for workers' compensation benefit. Many forms are available on line. Why, then, should an injured worker hire a lawyer to file and pursue a claim for a work-related injury? The answer can be simple: the workers' compensation claims process, like life, can be filled with uncertainty, and experienced lawyers help injured workers navigate through these uncertainties.

A capable workers' compensation attorney will know whether a specific injury is eligible for benefits. An attorney can assist the claimant in preparing and submitting the benefits claim form. A compensation lawyer will also know what other benefits may be recoverable, such as medical transportation, rehabilitation and retraining.

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