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Newburgh New York Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Talking about workers' comp claims on social media

Social media has proven to be a powerful venue for a host of reasons. Not only does social media connect loved ones and allow individuals to network both creatively and professionally, it also serves to promote issue awareness, political causes and business branding. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, social media allows individuals to express themselves. From personal grievances and taste preferences to religious, social justice and political identifications, social media allows for a wide range of personal expression.

However, it is important to understand that simply because social media allows individuals to express themselves that it is not always a good idea to express oneself on a social media platform. It remains advisable to keep some issues private and to express opinions on certain matters in forums other than social media. If you are an injured or ill worker and are either seeking or have received a workers’ compensation claim, it may be best to keep your situation and your opinions about your claim off of social media.

Why cancer is a real occupational hazard for many U.S. workers

The American Cancer Society estimates that during 2015, nearly 590,000 people in the U.S. will die from cancer-related complications and more than 1.6 million people will be diagnosed with some form of the disease. These staggering numbers solidify that cancer is among the most prevalent and deadly of all diseases in the U.S.

Today habits like smoking and materials like asbestos are known carcinogens. However, there are numerous other materials and chemicals that are readily used in the production of goods, products and foods of which their safety and potential hazards remain unknown. While workers in any industry or environment may be exposed to cancer-causing agents and materials, those who work in fields like construction and manufacturing are especially at-risk and vulnerable.

What workers' comp reforms are costing injured workers - Part II

Last week, we began a discussion about reforms which are significantly impacting the effectiveness of workers’ compensation systems nationwide. We briefly discussed the history of workers’ compensation in the U.S., noting that the system was founded so that both employers and workers involved in dangerous industries could benefit from avoiding lengthy court battles related to injuries and illnesses suffered due to work-related causes. Instead of seeking compensation in court, workers were essentially assured that their employers would provide adequate medical coverage and compensation during recovery from work-related injuries and illnesses.

The need for a solid workers’ compensation system has not waned since the industrial age. However, an investigation by ProPublica and NPR reveals that numerous recent reforms to the system have caused workers a host of negative consequences. These reforms have left workers without reliable access to workers’ compensation and have compelled many injured and ill workers to dispute their claims in courts for years. Some of these workers have sunk into poverty and have been forced to live without access to necessary medical care.

Why workers need to be on guard against 'normalization'

It might be the understatement of the decade to say that it has been a tough winter here in the Northeastern section of the U.S. Sadly, most of us have become accustomed to the sizeable snowfalls and frigid temperatures.

While it goes without saying that these kinds of brutal conditions can make a person's work life that much harder, experts indicate that it can also make it that much more dangerous.

What workers' comp reforms are costing injured workers - Part I

American workers’ compensation systems were first embraced during the Industrial Age. As America expanded and industry exploded, both workers and employers realized that all interested parties could benefit from an agreement by which workers surrendered their right to sue employers for workplace injuries and in exchange, workers received a virtual guarantee that employers would compensate them for their medical bills and an adequate share of their wages during the recovery process.

American industry has changed a great deal since the Industrial Age. More Americans now work in offices than work in mines, on railroads and on construction projects. However, the need for a solid workers’ compensation system has not changed. We frequently write about the numerous workplace hazards that many American workers face on a regular basis. Workplace injuries and illness still debilitate many workers on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Why lump sums work well for employers and injured workers

When injured workers file workers’ compensation claims, benefits may be given to workers in lump sums or in multiple smaller amounts. According to a study conducted by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute, providing injured workers with lump sum settlements actually inspire a more speedy return to the workplace.

This conclusion directly contradicts popular assumptions which insist that providing injured workers with lump sums discourages these individuals from returning to the workplace as soon as they are able to. It seems that when workers are granted lump sums, they can concentrate more fully on their recovery.

Do chemical flavorings place workers at risk?

Over the past several years, American consumers have become increasingly savvy about the foods that they eat, the beverages they drink and the drugs they ingest. Instead of embracing the kinds of prepackaged foods that once wowed the American public, more individuals are shying away from processed foods. One of the main reasons why processed and prepackaged foods are being increasingly shunned is that many contain artificial flavorings and colorings. It is thought that many artificial and chemically manufactured ingredients are unsafe for consumption.

It should be of little surprise then that workers exposed to these artificial and generally manufactured chemical scents, flavors and colors are placing themselves at risk. It seems that workers may become ill or injured if improperly exposed to the very scents and flavors that are used to enhance food for general consumption.

Hospital workers remain at risk of serious injury

Many physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers work tirelessly to ensure that sick and injured patients receive the care that they need to survive, recover and ultimately thrive. And yet, many of these workers risk their own health and wellbeing simply by showing up for work. According to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 35,000 work-related injuries which ultimately result in missed work occur among nurses every year in the U.S. And this statistic does not even factor into consideration the injuries that physicians and support staff suffer.

Hospitals are meant to be safe places. Certainly, not every patient that checks into a hospital will eventually be released from care. Sometimes patients arrive in hospitals too sick or injured to be saved. Other times, unforeseen allergic reactions, unpreventable infections and other complications claim the lives of patients hoping to recover. However, patients should remain safe from preventable medical errors and hospital workers should remain safe from preventable work-related injuries.

The causes and costs of injuries in the workplace

As workplace safety evolves, industries evolve and the economy evolves, so do the costs and causes of workplace injury. Not so long ago, millions of American workers were regularly exposed to toxic substances and dangerous equipment in the workplace. Now, the law seeks to protect workers from such hazards. However, the efforts that have been made to ensure worker safety have not yet achieved the ultimate goal of eliminating preventable workplace accidents. As a result, workers across the nation continue to sustain serious injury at work each and every day.

For 15 years, the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety has compiled a workplace safety index which ranks the top causes and costs of serious injuries which occur in the workplace but do not result in death. It is vitally important that employers and regulators pay attention to this list in addition to the annual rankings of fatal injuries.

Are independent contractors eligible for workers' compensation?

We frequently write about the benefits of workers’ compensation. This system generally allows injured workers to bypass legal proceedings and unnecessary red tape when seeking proper compensation for their work-related injuries. However, not all workers are eligible for workers’ compensation. Depending on the laws in whatever state workers are employed in, compensation eligibility laws may vary. In addition, not every worker is classified in such a way that he or she is eligible to receive these benefits in the event of work-related illness or injury.

For example, independent contractors are not often eligible for workers’ compensation. It is important for any independent contractor injured on the job to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney because his or her unique circumstances may allow for coverage. However, the general classification of independent contractors does not allow for coverage and benefits.

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