Posted on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 at 8:43 am
Virginia Workers Compensation Attorney Joe Miller here urges all citizens of the Commonwealth to contact their State Senators and Delegates and urge them to pass legislation that enables any Healthcare worker who gets sick with COVID-19 to seek benefits under the Virginia Workers Compensation System. We need a law that creates a presumption that any Healthcare worker who is exposed to COVID-19 as part of their job got it at work and therefore has a compensable claim. Under the laws in Virginia as they exist now, it is virtually impossible for a Healthcare worker who becomes ill from COVID-19 to obtain any benefits under our workers compensation system. This is because it is a virus and therefore considered an “ordinary disease of life.” Isn’t this the least we can do for these brave heroes who put themselves and their loved ones at risk each day by helping us battle this terrible, invisible enemy? Please contact your State Delegate and Senator NOW while they are in session. The Governor could also issue an Executive Order.. Several other states have already recognized this problem and provided workers compensation presumptions for their Healthcare workers. Virginia needs to get on board.
Posted on Tuesday, March 31st, 2020 at 5:03 pm
To all our Clients and Friends:
As many of you know, yesterday, Monday, March 30, 2020, due to the increasing spread of the COVID-19 Virus, Governor Northam of Virginia issued Executive Order 55, which Orders all Virginians To Stay at Home, with a few small exceptions, which include traveling to and from work; however, all Virginians are also encouraged to work remotely if at all possible. That Order is effective through June 10, 2020.
Posted on Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 at 4:45 pm
As many of you know by now, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has recently issued an Executive Order closing all public schools for the remainder of the Academic Year and has put in a host of other restrictions on certain businesses and other activity in the Commonwealth in an attempt to reduce the rate of infection among humans of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
Although at this writing, the Executive Order does not mandate our office’s closure, due to the closure and restrictions of so much commerce, many businesses, including ours, are experiencing decreased call volume, decreased income, and other disruptions in the normal course of operations. This is besides the strain on our employees with children who are now home from school for the remainder of the academic year.
Due to these disruptions, and to help insure that we all make it through this crisis intact to the other side, like many other small businesses, we are moving to a part time schedule beginning tomorrow, March 25, 2020. This will help us decrease operation expenses as well as decrease the hardship on our employees of caring for children who are now home from school, but at the same time, help us maintain the focus of our mission to serve our clients.
Please not that we are NOT accepting in-person visits to our office at this time; however, during our new part time hours, myself and our staff remain available through email, telephone and fax. The new hours are as follows, until further notice:
Monday: 9:00 AM-12:30PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM-5PM
We thank you in advance for your understanding during this difficult time.
We WILL get through this together.
NOTE: If you are a current client under an Award and receiving checks, you should know that we have asked insurance companies and most have responded that they have contingency plans in place to insure that your weekly checks continue.
In addition, we have heard from several insurance companies that you will not be penalized for lack of cooperation due to your inability to attend physical therapy or other doctor visits due to healthcare office closures or restrictions related to the Coronavirus.
Please note that the above schedule is subject to change, particularly if the Governor or U.S. Government should follow the pattern of several other Nations and issue a full lockdown Order for the entire U.S.
Even under those circumstances, we have contingencies in place for continued operation and communication, albeit at greatly reduced capacity.
In the meantime, please stay safe and stay healthy!
Posted on Monday, December 9th, 2019 at 3:05 pm
Workers Compensation Lawyer Joe Miller warns anyone who has been seriously injured: Big Brother is Watching You! It is relatively inexpensive for the workers compensation insurance company to hire a private investigator to film you whenever you are outside your home, and even inside your home if the windows are open. If you are on work restrictions, you should always assume you are being videoed. If you are doing anything beyond your restrictions, the insurance company would just love to show that footage to your doctor and get you released to full duty. Be smart. Do not give them that opportunity. For more info, please visit us online at www.TheWorkInjuryCenter.com
Posted on Friday, December 6th, 2019 at 2:55 pm
Although he is not a doctor, Workers Compensation Lawyer Joe Miller explains what he observes as the the downside of rejection of all pain treatment and medication based on an irrational fear of getting “hooked.”
Posted on Thursday, December 5th, 2019 at 11:51 am
In a recently-posted article, we discussed the various types of workers compensation benefits that may be due to an injured worker when an amputation occurs as a result of an on-the-job injury.
Here we discuss the various types of prostheses that may be employed to help amputees return to more functional lives.
According to Amputee Coalition, there are many different types of prosthetic devices that workers who lose an arm, leg, or other body part should know about. The devices vary depending on which limb is affected. Workers need to understand what to be expect when being fit for a prosthesis.. They also need to understand how often the prosthetic will need to be replaced and what rehabilitation treatment is required.
There are a variety of workers’ compensation issues involved with prosthetic devices. Generally, workers should fight, to hold employers to their requirement to provide quality prosthetic devices. The primary consideration should be how well the prosthesis works – and not the price of the prosthesis. Injured workers should consult with both their physicians and their North Carolina or Virginia workers’ compensation attorney to choose the right prosthesis for their medical needs.
Prosthetics is the science behind creating prosthetic devices. It’s a field of study. The singular device amputees use/wear as a substitute limb is known as a prosthesis. The plural of prosthesis is prostheses. The aim of the prosthetic is to give the worker who requires the prosthetic as much mobility and function as possible. Prostheses are also designed to help with the wearer’s lifestyle and appearance.
A worker who requires a leg amputation surgery will either have his/her leg amputated above or below the knee.
This type of amputation is performed between the knee and the ankle. “The prosthesis is designed with moveable and adjustable joints and pylons. These components replicate a human thigh, ankle, and foot.” It’s generally much for advantageous for the person who needs a prosthesis that the amputation be below the knee. In general, a prosthesis works better if the amputation is below the knee.
This type of surgery is performed above the knee joint. Like the below the knee prosthesis, this “prosthesis is designed with moveable to joints and pylons to replicate a human knee, thigh, ankle, and foot.”
Some of the factors that workers need to consider when choosing a knee joint prosthesis are the amount of rehabilitation that is required, “the various stability and motion control options available” and the different price points.
The worker/patient doesn’t generally wear the prosthesis immediately. They injured leg must heal first. Most workers who need a prosthesis use a temporary prosthesis during the first few months after the amputation. The test prosthesis should allow the worker to get the training and physical therapy he/she needs.
“A plaster cast of the residual limb or a 3D laser scanner creates a custom prosthetic socket. The initial test socket is flexible to adjust to the reduction of swelling in the residual limb. It serves to minimize pressure and abrasion.”
While you’re rehabbing your knee, you will give the prosthetic designer the information needed to make cast a final socket.
The Amputee Coalition recommends the following resources:
The aim of an arm prostheses is to allow the user to grip and manipulate objects such as eating utensils and the things they need to live and work. The amputees are fitted either for above the elbow or below the elbow devices. “Electric prostheses can even move based on signals from the wearer’s muscles.”
“Below the elbow amputations are performed between the hand and elbow. Prostheses are designed to replace the forearm, wrist, and hand.”
“Above the elbow amputations are performed at or above the elbow. As most of the arm is removed, a hybrid prosthesis is the best option to provide the motion of the elbow and also provide grip.”
Many of the same principles that apply to being fitted for a leg prosthetic apply to being fitted for an arm prosthetic. With an arm prosthesis, special attention is given to how the prosthesis affects the skin.
Amputee Coalition recommends the following resources for arm amputees.
Attorney Joe Miller has been a strong advocate for injured workers in North Carolina and Virginia for more than 25 years. He understands that a good part of every workers’ compensation is working with your doctors and medical team to help maximize your chances for the best recovery possible. He fights to get all your medical paid for the rest of your life. He also fights to show you inability to work is properly classified so you can the maximum wage loss benefits you deserve. For help with any work injury, including amputation, call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671. or fill out my contact form to schedule an appointment.
Posted on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 at 2:54 pm
Workers Compensation lawyer Joe Miller of The Work Injury Center warns about the dangers of engaging in types of jobs where it is likely that there will be no workers compensation coverage.
Posted on Monday, December 2nd, 2019 at 11:47 am
Workers can suffer the loss of a limb or body part for many reasons. They may be injured in a vehicle accident or a fall. Often, workers lose a limb due to being crushed or pinned by workplace machinery or equipment. Our office has represented a number of clients who are amputees, and obtained settlements for them for their workers compensation cases. We recently posted another article which discussed the workers compensation benefits that an injured worker who suffers an amputation may be entitled to.
Here, we will focus more on the medical aspects of amputations. The recovery process often includes the need for a surgical amputation or re-work of an already-amputated limb. In the best cases, the worker can be fitted for a prosthetic device. Most workers who lose a limb or appendage need to treat with multiple doctors. Some workers are able to return to work. Many workers are disabled due to the workplace accident – and they can never work again.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, an amputation is a condition that results in the loss of a limb – usually due to injury or disease. When amputations are due to trauma, in 70% of the cases, the upper limbs are the body parts that are lost. According to the National Limb Loss Information Center, about 185,000 amputation surgeries are performed each year.
A loss of an arm, leg, foot, hand, or other body part often affects the worker’ self-esteem, his/her ability to provide self-care, the ability to move, and the loss or decrease of other functions. Generally, amputees require extensive rehabilitation. The success and length of the rehab depends on:
Each worker’s and each amputee’s rehabilitation is different. The main goal is to help the worker gain as much function and independence as follows, “while improving the overall quality of life — physically, emotionally, and socially.”
Rehabilitation includes some or all of the following:
Workers who lose the loss of a limb often need to treat with some or all of the following doctors, health providers, and counselors. Some patients require treatment for months or years. Many workers require some type of lifelong assistance. The types of care required depends on how acute the amputation is and the availability of out-patient services.
Other doctors and rehabilitation team staff include the following health providers and professionals:
A determination needs to be made to decide if a worker/patient who has a limb that is at risk from “infection, bone loss, soft-tissue compromise related to trauma, tumor reconstruction, or peripheral vascular disease” requires limb salvage surgery or amputation reconstruction surgery.”
Limb-salvage surgery generally includes bone grafts, tissue transplantation, and implanting internal devices. Limb reattachment may also be a possibility.
According to Pharmacy Times, there are two types of amputation categories:
“Prior to surgery, most patients are measured for their prostheses and receive counseling on living with an artificial limb. Prosthetic choice is individualized, ranging from externally fitted devices to patient-controlled motion robotics. “
Post-operative care for an amputation surgery generally ranges from 5 to 14 days. Most wounds heal in a month or two. Complications, according to Pharmacy Times, can include: “edema, hemorrhage, hematoma, site infections, sepsis, soft-tissue debridement, necrosis of the skin flaps, and pneumonia.”
Many workers whose limb or appendage has been amputated suffer “phantom pain, “– the experience of pain in the limb even though the limb is no longer there.
“Along with phantom pain, 76% of patients experience phantom limb sensations, generally in the form of tingling, burning, or itching. Once thought to be psychological, phantom sensations appear to result from brain nerve-circuitry changes. Over time, phantom pain tends to decrease or disappear altogether, but when phantom pain persists longer than 6 months, prognosis for total pain relief is poor.”
The Workers Compensation Aspects of Amputation Cases
In a recently-posted article, we discussed the Workers Compensation Benefits that may occur in the case of an amputation on the job. The Workers Compensation aspects of an amputation case are generally broken down into three different types of cases.
One-Limb Amputation-Unable to Return to Job. First, there are the cases where there are one or more limbs lost, and the injured worker is unable to return to pre-injury work due to the injuries. In these cases, a settlement is usually achieved based on the remainder of weeks in the Award. If there is an amputation to one limb, the injured worker would be entitled to no more than 500 weeks of compensation, and settlement may be achieved on that basis; however, due to the high cost of prosthetic replacement, which must typically occur every five years, the medical portion of the claim often remains open and unresolved because the settlement value would be more than the workers compensation carrier is willing to pay at once, in a lump sum. Sometimes, when the injured worker is older, assuming the injured worker regularly takes advantage of the medical benefits available through workers compensation, a full settlement of the medical benefits may be examined and the worker and his or her attorney approached for settlement.
Two-Limb Amputation or impairment—Unable to Return to Job. In those circumstances where there is tragically a loss of more than one limb, or even where one limb is not amputated, but clearly is damaged to the point of having significant permanent impairment in the limb, then the injured worker would not be limited to the 500-weeks of benefits, but would be eligible for lifetime compensation benefits. This is because the “loss” of two limbs is considered a permanent and total disability. This would obviously entail a much higher potential settlement value than a settlement that is limited to 500 weeks. Again, though, due to the high cost of prosthetic replacement, which must typically occur every five years, the medical portion of the claim often remains open and unresolved because the settlement value would be immense—and more than the insurance carrier is willing to pay at this point. That does not mean a medical settlement may never occur. The insurance carrier may want to wait until the injured worker is much older to consider closing out the medical portion of the claim.
Return to Work and One-Limb Amputation. If the injured worker is able to return to work at an equal or greater wage than before the accident, despite the amputation– as is often the case in younger workers– there is still the potential value due the injured worker for the permanent partial impairment rating of the amputated limb. This would not be a final settlement, but would be a number of weeks of compensation paid to the injured worker based on the percentage of impairment assigned by his or her doctor. In some cases, such as an above-the-knee amputation, that would obviously be 100%, but in others, such as a below-the-knee amputations, it may be less.
Virginia and North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Joe Miller Esq. understands the short-term and long-term needs of workers who lose a limb, whether it be a hand, foot, arm or leg – due to a workplace accident. He works with your doctors to understand what treatments you’ll need and for how long. He’s helped thousands of employees get the workers’ compensation recoveries they deserve. To schedule an appointment, call lawyer Joe Miller at 888-694-1671. or fill out my contact form.
Posted on Friday, November 22nd, 2019 at 1:31 pm
Workers who lose a limb due to any type of accident are entitled to unique workers’ compensation benefits because of their injuries. The benefits may be unique because the medical needs are different than most other injuries and because many workers may be entitled to scheduled pay benefits for a specific number of weeks – based on the specific body part(s) that were amputated. Whether the claim for those benefits becomes a significant part of the claim really depends on whether the injured worker is able to return to work at the same or greater pay than pre-injury.
Injured employees who suffer a workplace accident are entitled to have their medical bills paid. This includes the initial surgery to try to save as much as the limb or body part as possible, to leave the surrounding body parts as healthy as possible, and to help the worker be able to have a good fitting prosthetic.
For most amputees (those who lose an arm or a leg), being fit for a prosthetic device and learning how to use the device requires a lot of medical treatments and care. Many victims may need to have their prosthetic device replaced every few years. Newer better devices may be available with time. The cost of a prosthetic device can run $5,000 to $50,000 according to Hospital for Special Surgery. The insurance company for the employer should pay all the reasonable costs so that you can regain as much function as possible.
Workers who lose a limb or a body part usually require physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other help so that they can return to their job or be in a position to learn a new job. Many workers who suffer an amputation also need psychological counseling to help them adjust to living a life without an arm, leg, hand, foot, or other body part. In addition, many workers need pain management treatment. They may need addition medical help if infections occur.
In addition to prosthetics, there are new develops such as artificial joints and computerized anatomy that may help a worker restore function to a limb or body part that was severed.
Joe Miller and the Work Injury Center have represented, and continue to represent injured workers who have suffered an amputation injury.
Like other workers, employees who have a part of their anatomy amputated, are entitled to 2/3rds \ of their pre-injury average weekly wage during the healing process and so long as they are unable to return to work.
Once a worker has reached the point of maximum medical improvement (no further medical treatment will improve their overall health), an evaluation is made as to the type of disability they have – a total or partial disability.
North Carolina and Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Joe Miller Esq. has earned the high respect of former clients and the legal community for his ability to win and settle work injury cases. He understands how to counter many of the arguments defense lawyers assert to try to minimize your claim. He works with orthopedists, neurosurgeons, pain management doctors, and other medical professionals to assess and document the severity of your amputation. For help now, contact attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 or fill out my contact form to make an appointment.
Posted on Thursday, November 21st, 2019 at 1:31 pm
Amputation injuries at work can happen for many reasons such as a vehicle accident, being caught or trapped in machinery or equipment, a fall from a high height. The loss of an arm, leg, hand, foot, finger or toe is life-altering for anyone. Many workers who suffer an amputation need surgery to help limit the physical damage. Victims sometimes suffer pain for the rest of their lives. Many workers who suffer an amputation need psychological counseling and therapy. Most require prosthetics to be able to walk or regain some function in the area of the missing limb. These prosthetics, as well as the supplies that enable them to function properly, entail ongoing costs that the employer and workers compensation insurance carrier will be responsible for.
According to Amputation Coalition, a doctor supported nonprofit, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) data has found that most “workplace amputations occur because of unguarded machinery, lack of adequate training and appropriate practices and procedures to safeguard employees.”
Their findings also show that 1 out of every 20,000 workers suffers a workplace amputation. The incidence rate for amputations in certain professions is higher:
Employers should work with OSHA to help implement safety protocols. Regular inspections should be conducted. The following hazards should be reviewed:
According to OSHA, some of the machines that cause amputations include:
Amputations also occur when workers work with forklifts, trash-compactors, and various types of hand tools.
The injuries can occur during cleaning, lubricating, preparing, threading, and maintaining the machines and equipment.
The following types of mechanical components are considered the most dangerous:
While all mechanical motion is considered dangerous, some of the most common hazards include:
OSHA provides standards that employers should follow to address the danger of amputations at work:
Other OSHA regulations cover maritime work
Some of the key ways to safeguard machines that OSHA recommends are:
New machines should come with safeguards already installed. The employer can also buy safeguards or install them before use.
Workers under 18 are banned from operating certain types of machines due to their inherit dangers. The bans include “operating band saws, circular saws, guillotine shears, punching and shearing machines, meatpacking or meat-processing machines, paper products machines, woodworking machines, metal forming machines, and meat slicers.”
In addition to filing a North Carolina or Virginia workers’ compensation claims, workers have additional rights according to OSHA. The best course of action is to prevent the amputation in the first place. If amputation injuries do occur, then experienced work injury lawyers can help the amputee get all the medical help, wage benefits, and other benefits that law allows. Our team at the Work Injury Center has represented, and continues to represent several clients with amputation injuries.
These additional workers’ rights include:
Virginia and North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Joe Miller Esq. knows how traumatic the loss of an arm, leg, or any body part is. For over 30 years, we’ve helped thousands of injured workers get the full compensation they deserve. We work with your doctors and other health care providers to understand whether prosthetics or other medical advances are an option. We fight to get your full wage loss and medical benefits. When appropriate, we also seek payment for disfigurement and loss of function. To speak with an experienced North Carolina and Virginia workers’ compensation lawyer, call lawyer Joe Miller at 888-694-1671. or fill out my contact form to schedule an appointment.