Posted on Wednesday, January 10th, 2018 at 10:32 am
Work Injury Center Attorney Joe Miller, Esq. warns injured workers in Virginia and North Carolina to never sign any document without first consulting with an experienced workers compensation lawyer. Failing to do so can have horrific consequences. Here, Joe gives a very good example of how an injured workers’ careless signing of a simple award agreement could destroy a large portion of his or her claim.
Posted on Wednesday, December 20th, 2017 at 2:27 pm
Injuries to the head can be caused by slips and falls, merchandise or inventory that falls, vehicle accidents, equipment that doesn’t work, diving accidents, and for many other reasons. Some head injuries heal with time. More serious injuries, like severe traumatic brain injuries, can change a life forever. In the worst cases, an on-the-job workplace head injury can cause death.
Jobs that have the highest risk for a head injury are:
This does not mean to say we have not seen severe head injuries occur in all kinds of occupations such as nurses, certified nursing assistants or truckers. You can slip on water or ice and get knocked unconscious in almost any occupation.
The various types of head injuries include:
Traumatic brain injuries are typically categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.
Physicians generally use the Glasgow Coma Scale (CGS) do determine the severity of any brain injury. The CGS categories for TBI injuries are:
Other symptoms include pain, loss of vision and hearing, inability to reason, and loss of cognitive function.
Finally, there are often symptoms that last for six months to a year after a concussion that may include difficulty concentrating, dizziness, increased irritability, loss of desire to be in social situations, and other symptoms that form a constellation of symptoms known as Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). Typically a neurologist would be in the best position to diagnose and treat these symptoms.
Any employee who suffers any type of head injury should:
In head injury cases, you will normally see a neurologist or neurosurgeon. These doctors will normally order a CT scan to see if you have a skull fracture, hematoma or other brain injury. An MRI and in some cases a PET scan may also be administered to head injury patients to evaluate brain function.
In addition, in many cases, a neuropsychologist or neuropsychiatrist may administer a battery of written tests to the brain injury victim in order to determine the extent and nature of any cognitive deficits that may have occurred as a result of the head injury.
Whatever your type of head injury, you are entitled to have the insurance company for the employer pay your medical bills until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). Common head injury medical bills include:
Many head injury victims also need to see different types of rehabilitative therapists including occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, and other doctors and counselors.
Head injury victims often need attendant care services such as home-health nurses and aides to help them with daily living matters.
Once you reach MMI, an evaluation will be made by your doctor about whether you can return to work at your prior job, a different job – or if you can’t return to work.
Workers are entitled to 2/3rds of their lost wages during the time they can’t work for up to 500 weeks while disabled from work.
Severe brain injuries are one of the categories of injury in Virginia and North Carolina that may entitle a worker to lifetime compensation instead of just the 500 weeks based on permanent and total disability. This is if the brain injury renders the employee permanently unemployable in gainful employment.
If you can return to work but at a lesser-paying job, you are entitled to 2/3rds of the difference between your current wages and your prior wages.
Employees should never attempt to settle their head injury claim before they reach maximum medical improvement – which can take months or years.
Workers may also be entitled to vocational training if they can’t do their old job but may be able to do a new job – if they acquire new job skills.
Attorney Joe Miller understands the complex cases. He works with medical professionals to properly prepare your medical reports and to properly relate your injuries to your inability to work. He has helped thousands of employees get strong work injury settlements. For help now, please phone Joe Miller Esq. at (888) 694-1671 or complete his contact form.
Posted on Monday, December 11th, 2017 at 11:28 am
Who is covered under the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act?
The Virginia worker’s compensation law covers every person who works in the service of another for hire or as an apprentice. This includes aliens and minors. It includes people whether the contract or apprenticeship is in writing or employed and even whether the contact is legal or not. The only exception is for workers who are not employed in the usual course of the trade, business, occupation or profession of the employer.
What kinds of injuries are covered under the law?
Injuries that can be identified by a single occurrence. Workplace injuries are generally covered in Virginia if:
Virginia also covers occupational diseases such as respiratory problems or exposure to toxic chemicals. The disease must be due to work though there is no need to show that specific accident caused the disease. Medical doctors usually are called in to show that the diseases were proximately caused by workplace conditions.
Ordinary diseases generally are not covered unless it can be shown with clear and convincing evidence that the disease resulted from work and not caused outside of work, and that one of the following applies:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is most frequently found compensable in Virginia while other types of repetitive stress injuries may be more difficult to prove. Hearing loss is also compensable under the ordinary disease standard.
Common types of occupational illnesses include asthma, mesothelioma, bronchitis, chronic encephalopathy, black lung disease and pneumoconiosis.
What workplace injuries are not compensable under Virginia workers’ compensation law?
Except for carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress injuries such as backaches and neckaches are not compensable. Aside from diseases that do not qualify as occupational diseases; back pain, neck pain, and spinal pain are not compensable unless they relate to a specific identifiable accident.
Are emotional claims compensable?
As with other workplace injuries, if a worker suffers psychiatric or emotional problems due to a specific injury, employees can be treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist – and have the bills paid for. Many workers do suffer emotionally if they, for example, suffer a broken leg. They worry about when they will get better and all the things they can’t do while they’re heal. If there isn’t a traceable accident, psychiatric damages might be compensable if they were a direct natural consequence of some work experience – such as a nurse who sees someone die.
When must Virginia Workers’ Compensation claims be brought?
Does the employer have any defenses?
Not every workplace injury is compensable. Some employee misconduct can negate the right to benefits. Common defenses include:
Injuries that are self-inflicted such as suicide are not compensable. Other workplace injuries that are not paid in Virginia are:
Willful misconduct such as intentionally ignoring safety law if it’s clear that:
Can employees be punished for fraud or knowingly making false statements or failing to make necessary disclosures?
Employers who knowingly make a false statement may be found guilty of a felony. They may also lose their right to benefits. Claimants who are getting benefits have a duty to notify their employer of any significant changes that might affect his/her right to benefits. Examples include returning to another job, remarriage, being sentenced to jail, or other consequences. Employees who obtained workers’ compensation funds through fraud may be liable for any overpayments.
Can an employer fire me if a file a workers’ compensation claim?
No. Employees have a direct right to file a work injury claim in Virginia. If a worker is fired or an employer threatens an employee, the worker should immediately meet with a Virginia worker’s compensation attorney to understand his/her rights.
What if I’m an independent contractor?
Workers who are not employees cannot generally request workers’ compensation insurance. Whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee is not always clear. A Virginia work injury attorney can explain whether you might qualify as an employee. Even if the employer says you are an independent contractor, you may be legally an employee and have work injury rights. Some of the factors that can persuade a referee that an employee is really an employee are:
Speak with an Experienced Virginia Work Injury Lawyer Today
Virginia workers’ compensation attorney Joe Miller Esq. can answer all of your work injury questions. He has successfully represented thousands of injured workers during his twenty-five plus years of experience. For a free consultation, please call him at (888) 694-1671 or complete our contact form.
Posted on Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 1:14 pm
Most workers need to show they suffered a specific workplace injury in order to recover workers’ compensation in Virginia. There is an exception for workers who suffer a disease that is due to work. Most occupational diseases occur after months or more normally years of exposure. Many workers may not even know they acquired the disease until decades after the exposure. The delay in seeking treatment for the disease can be problematic for many workers because employers and their insurance companies are likely to initially deny coverage due to the delay and the failure to point to a specific triggering event.
Joe Miller Esq., understands the Virginia occupational illness laws. He fights for workers who suffer these diseases which are often deadly, life-threatening, or disabling. He works with doctors to determine the disease, the cause of the disease, and to show the disease was related to daily work performance. For Virginia worker’s compensation, the last day the employee was exposed is generally considered the formal date of workplace injury.
The Virginia Statutory Definition of Occupational Disease
Here is the state statutory definition of occupational disease. Some exceptions may apply. An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney will know those exceptions.
“Occupational disease” means a disease arising out of and in the course of employment, but not an ordinary disease of life to which the general public is exposed outside of the employment.
An occupational disease shall be deemed to arise out of the employment only if there is apparent to the rational mind, upon consideration of all the circumstances:
Hearing loss and the condition of carpal tunnel syndrome are not occupational diseases. Virginia law considers them to be ordinary diseases of life. Now that does not mean they are not compensable. It means that workers who are making claims for those types of diseases must meet a higher standard of proof than the clearly defined occupational diseases. That higher standard of proof is called “clear and convincing evidence.”
Generally, a worker who gets an ordinary disease does not qualify for workers’ compensation, unless certain elements of proof can connect it to the workplace, as will soon be explained. A worker who gets an occupational disease does qualify – so it’s crucial to be able to prove that disease is occupational and not ordinary.
But this does not mean that someone who has an ordinary disease is completely out of luck. It’s just that the standards of proof are harder, namely, that the elements must be proven by “clear and convincing evidence.” That is a much higher standard of proof than an occupational disease.
Some ordinary diseases may qualify as occupational disease, if the following conditions are clearly met:
1. If the disease can be shown to have arisen out of and in the course of employment and not due to outside causes and if one of the following exists:
a. It follows as an incident of occupational disease as defined in this title; or
b. It is an infectious or contagious disease contracted in the course of one’s employment in a hospital or sanitarium or laboratory or nursing home, or while otherwise engaged in the direct delivery of health care, or in the course of employment as emergency rescue personnel and those volunteer emergency rescue personnel. Essentially, this means people who normally provide some type of healthcare service such as nurses and ER staff and who acquire a disease may qualify for workers’ compensation, or
c. It is characteristic of the employment and was caused by conditions peculiar to such employment.
Common Types of Occupational Diseases
Many of the people who suffer an occupational disease suffer exposure to toxic chemicals. Some of the diseases associated with hazardous chemical exposure are:
Mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that comes from exposure to asbestos, is another common occupational work disease. Also, many coal miners suffer from black lung disease.
Repetitive Motion Injuries and Emotional Stress Injuries
There are some occupational illnesses that are not due to exposure – rather they are due to repetitive stress. Workers who do a lot of computer work or repeat work such as assembly work in factories can develop carpel tunnel syndrome and other repetitive stress injuries. Repetitive stress injuries are also called repeated motion injuries. The most common type of repetitive stress injury affects the wrists. If detected in time; rest, rehab, and some medications can help. If not detected in time, repetitive stress injuries can become a lifelong disability. Virginia workers’ compensation law does not recognize repetitive stress injuries as occupational diseases but they are considered “ordinary diseases of life” and would therefore have to conform to the higher standards of “clear and convincing evidence” in order to be found compensable. Carpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most frequently claimed ordinary disease of life that is found to be compensable.
Other Ordinary Diseases that might be covered.
Conditions that are related to emotional stress such as being continually exposed to traumatic events and suffering from PTSD would not be occupational diseases, but ordinary diseases of life. There have been cases where paramedics and firemen have recovered for that condition due to repeated exposure to traumatic events, as they were able to show it was work-related by clear and convincing evidence.
Other ordinary diseases and conditions such as MRSA infection, tendinitis, HIV, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Frostbite, and Lyme disease have been shown to be compensable in specific cases.
An experienced Virginia workers’ compensation attorney such as Joe Miller can explain when emotional stress related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, are covered.
Talk to a Virginia Occupational Disease Attorney Now
Virginia work injury lawyer Joe Miller understands workers’ compensation work injury law. He has been helping injured Virginia workers for over quarter of a century. He understands what workers need to prove to qualify for occupational disease benefits. For help now, call Joe Miller at (888) 694-1671 or fill out his online contact form.
Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2017 at 11:00 am
Workers Compensation Attorney Joe Miller explains why you should never quit your job in the midst of a workers compensation claim.
Posted on Monday, October 16th, 2017 at 3:35 pm
Attorney Joe Miller explains a situations in which your workers’ comp might be denied in a recent interview:
Posted on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at 9:29 am
Should you be concerned about what you put on social media after your injury? Joe Miller addresses workers comp and social media in a recent interview:
Posted on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 at 9:16 am
Attorney Joe Miller answers questions about nurse case managers in a recent interview:
Posted on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017 at 8:46 am
Employees can be treated by many different types of doctors depending on how the accident occurred and they type of injuries suffered. Many workers need to see multiple doctors during the course of their recovery process. Some of the doctors who treat injured workers are:
In addition to treating with doctors, injured workers will also treat with the following types of health-care professionals
Work injury attorney Joe Miller understands which types of doctors injured workers see. He often recommends doctors when the employer recommended doctors aren’t helping. He works with the doctors to determine the full extent of your injuries and to verify your long-term health needs and work restrictions. To speak with an experienced work injury lawyer who has been fighting for employees for more than 25 years, please call attorney Miller Esq. at (888) 694-1671 or use his contact form to schedule an appointment.
Posted on Monday, September 18th, 2017 at 4:33 pm
In this recent interview, attorney Joe Miller explains why your company might hire a private investigator: