Injured Off the Clock: Can You Still Get Worker’s Comp?

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Workers' Compensation

Almost every morning, you get up, you drive to work, and you clock in. Almost every evening you clock out, you drive home, and you go to bed. Then you repeat the process the next day, and the next, and the next . . .

On most days, this seamless process stays fairly uneventful. But what about those unexpected days? Those days where one small action changes your life? Perhaps you decide to buy pizza for your boss to celebrate their birthday, but then you get hit by a car outside of the restaurant. Maybe you stop by the company basketball court during your lunch break to socialize with your coworkers, but a stray ball breaks your nose.

Are you still covered for worker’s compensation?

Understanding Employer Liability

Worker’s compensation covers work-related injuries or illnesses. When you’re on the clock, you can receive compensation, which includes payment for 100% of your medical treatment, lost work pay, and if needed a permanent disability award and vocational assistance.

However, “work-related” can be a tricky rule at best. Most states, including Oregon, have a “going and coming” rule or a “portal to portal” rule. Under this law, worker’s compensation coverage doesn’t begin until the employee arrives at the workplace, and it ends when he or she leaves the office at the end of the day.

Consequently, lunch breaks and daily commutes may, or may not, qualify for compensation, even if you’re on your way to the workplace. So if you twist your ankle outside the deli during your lunch break or if you carpooled with your coworkers and were involved in an accident, your claim may be denied, and you likely will need the help of an attorney to figure out if you are covered.

Exceptions Do Apply

While worker’s compensation doesn’t usually cover injuries when you’re off-the-clock, a few exceptions to this rule do exist. Depending on your situation, you might be able to receive compensation, even if you weren’t at the office.  Here are examples of some of the exceptions:

Sidewalks and Parking Lots

In many cases, your worker’s compensation starts when you step foot on your employer’s premises, not necessarily when you punch in on your time clock. These premises include sidewalks, parking lots, and grassy areas controlled by your employer.  In a sense, these areas are an extension of the workplace.

So, if you slip and fall on an icy sidewalk your company neglected to maintain, you qualify for worker’s compensation. It doesn’t matter whether you clocked out just a few minutes before the incident.

Employer Benefits

If your employer requires you to perform a duty that directly benefits him or her, then you’re still covered with worker’s compensation.

For example, your boss wants you to attend a dinner with a new client. You stop by the restaurant, have a nice meal, and talk shop for an hour or two. But on your way home, a car runs a red light and crashes into your vehicle. Because you were doing a task that specifically benefited your employer, you would still qualify for worker’s compensation.

However, this exception doesn’t apply to all circumstances. Let’s say you had a drink or two at the dinner, and you drove while intoxicated. Worker’s compensation does not cover crime-related activity, which includes a DUI conviction. Even though you were doing a favor for your boss, you wouldn’t receive compensation because of your misconduct.

Running Errands

You likely have a normal routine for your workday. Perhaps you clock in, check your email, file some documents, and attend a few meetings. Maybe you clock out at 1 p.m. for your lunch break, head to your nearest sandwich shop to pick up your favorite combo, and then head back to work at 2 p.m.

However, your boss asks you to drop off the mail during your lunch break, and pick up another sandwich and a coffee for him or her while you’re at it. As you drive back to the office, you spill your boss’ coffee all over your lap. The coffee was unusually hot, so you suffered severe burns.

Although you normally wouldn’t receive compensation for injuries on your lunch break, your boss’ extra mission would qualify you for compensation.

After-Hour Duties

Your office may stay open during certain times of the day. Perhaps your typical shift starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. You clock in and clock out at these same times every day.

However, what if your work duties don’t end when you clock out for the day?

Is Obesity an Occupational Disease Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Portland, OR?

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Workers' Compensation

Obesity continues to rapidly increase in the United States.  Statistics estimate that more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and more than 6 percent of adults have extreme obesity. This represents a serious public health concern, because obesity is linked to many other diseases such as diabetes, cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

Your Job May Be Killing You
According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, nearly half of desk-job employees gained weight in their current position, compared to 30 percent of workers in non-desk jobs.

Statistics also show that workers with obesity have an increased risk of injury. Such workers have twice as many workers compensation claims, and these injuries tend to be more severe.  Our extra weight can generate more force during an accident, resulting in greater damage to vulnerable joints like wrists, ankles, and knees.

Can You Receive Workers Compensation for Obesity?
Everyone knows that workers’ compensation covers work-related injuries.  Injuries are sudden harmful events.  But, workers’ compensation also covers occupational diseases.  These are gradual medical conditions caused by work.  Examples of occupational diseases include hearing loss, carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis. Every disease can be covered, but only if doctors can prove that your work is the biggest cause of the disease.  While obesity is not excluded from being covered, it is not likely that your work can be proved to be the biggest cause.

Can Treatment of Obesity be covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Yes!  This is true even if work did not cause your obesity.  Here’s why:

A Closer Look at the Sprague Case

In 1976, Edward G. Sprague injured his knee at work. He filed a claim for his knee which was accepted by SAIF.  He had surgery and his knee recovered.  Years went by and Mr.  Sprague gained a lot of weight, reaching close to 320 pounds. This weight made his knee worse, and in 1999 he injured his knee again at work.

In addition to a knee replacement, his doctor suggested that he have a weight loss surgery- gastric bypass- to ensure full recovery.

Sprague filed a workers’ compensation claim to cover the costs, but the claim was denied, because the knee arthritis seemed to be the result of the 1976 injury. Sprague then took to the case to SAIF, but they, too, denied this claim.  SAIF said that Sprague’s obesity was the cause of the knee arthritis condition.

Sprague took his case to the appeals court.  The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that SAIF must cover the costs of the arthritis because it happened due to the initial injury. The Court also ruled that SAIF had to cover the cost of the weight-loss surgery because it was a necessary treatment for the knee to recover.

Therefore, it is Easier to get Treatment Covered by Workers’ Compensation; then it is to get other Benefits

Because of the Sprague Court ruling, employees can receive workers’ compensation to cover the cost of weight loss surgery.  More, importantly, you can get medical treatment for other condition under similar circumstances.  For example, if you injure your spine at work and need spine surgery, but must have heart surgery to make you fit enough for the spine surgery, workers’ compensation must cover the heart surgery.  

Not Sure If You Have a Case?
Unfortunately, workers compensation laws tend to be complicated. If you’re not sure if your case qualifies for compensation, talk to a lawyer. Your lawyer can work with your doctor to determine what should be covered by workers’ compensation.

Common Injuries Around the Workplace

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Workers' Compensation

Whether you work in an office or on a construction site, the workplace can be dangerous. While each job possesses inherent risks, you have the right to feel safe in your workplace. Look for these common hazards while you’re on the job and work with your employer to facilitate a safe work environment.

Overexertion

Overexertion is the leading cause of workers’ compensation cases. When someone extends their joints beyond the safe range of motion, they often pull and damage muscles.

People who work in construction jobs, factory jobs, or other jobs that require lifting, pulling, pushing, or throwing, are at risk for this type of injury.

If you worry about overexertion at your workplace, talk to your employer about holding a workplace safety training. All employees should know proper lifting and carrying techniques and should recognize their individual weight limits.

Falling on the Same Surface (Slips and Falls)

When winter rolls around, do you ever struggle to make it across the sidewalk at work because it’s iced over? Are all wet floors marked with the proper signs?

Slips and falls account for many of the workplace injuries every year, and most workplaces are susceptible to such problems. Slip and fall injuries range from a bruised ego to a broken back.

These accidents are largely preventable. If the walkways are iced over, talk to your employer or human resources representative about protocol for snow and ice removal.

You should also talk to your employer about making sure people take care of spills promptly and that the proper signage is in place to indicate a wet floor.

Falling from a Higher Surface

Thousands of workers a year fall from ladders, roofs, and stairs. These accidents can lead to serious injuries and even death. While these falls usually impact construction workers and roofers, any workplace with a staircase can be dangerous.

Talk to your employer about checking ladders and safety equipment regularly. Additionally, encourage your employer to regularly train employees on proper use of all equipment.

Furthermore, if the staircases at your workplace don’t have railings (or if the railings are ineffective), bring this issue up with your employer.

Fatigue

Do you consistently work significant amounts of overtime? Does your employer put undue stress on you while you are in the workplace?

Stress and fatigue not only lead to lower productivity, but, depending on your individual circumstances, they each cause severe health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, skin conditions, and more.

A little bit of challenge in the workplace is normal and even beneficial. However, when your work environment is so stressful or fatiguing that your health suffers, there is a problem. Consider meeting with someone from human resources to discuss possible solutions.

Slipping and Tripping

If you slip or trip but don’t fall, you often sustain different injuries than someone who falls. For instance, if you walk across a jobsite or office and trip over debris in the walkway, you might prevent yourself from falling but sprain or twist your ankle in the process.

Ice and snow can lead to slipping and tripping, but so can an unclean work environment. To maintain a clean environment, the change must start with you. Make sure your area is tidy and talk to your supervisor or boss about starting an initiative to keep the workspace, especially the walkways, clean.

Repetitive Movements

Repetitive movements without proper precautions can eventually lead to various health problems. Consistent typing, lifting, sewing, folding, and twisting, as well as frequent computer work, can lead to issues such as back pain, vision problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Throughout the day, take regular breaks from repetitive tasks. Talk to your employer about situations that might subtly cause damage. Consider implementing stretches and exercises to prevent problems from your repeated activities.

Falling Objects

Improperly secured items can cause serious damage if they fall on an employee. Injury from falling objects encompasses anything from a box of nails to filing boxes to a toppling bookshelf. Depending on the size and nature of the object, injuries range from small bruises to chemical burns to broken bones.

If you notice hazardous situations around work such as boxes stacked too high, shelving units improperly secured to the wall/floor, or precariously placed items, notify your employer immediately. Encourage your manager to create guidelines for the weight and height limits of different items.

Collisions

Have you ever rounded a blind corner and slammed into a coworker pushing a cart? While most of these collisions don’t result in serious damage, if one party were to run into the other while holding something as simple as a cup of hot coffee, the results could be hazardous for both parties. This risk is exacerbated on construction sites or factories that include dangerous equipment.

While you can’t control other people, you can make sure you always act alert and aware as you walk around your workplace. Avoid texting or looking down in the hallways and pay attention to your surroundings. Furthermore, improve the office environment and encourage your employer to install mirrors around blind corners.

A safe workplace is a happy, productive workplace. Check your workplace for any of these common dangers and work with your employer to make your work environment safer for everyone.

Prevent Back Pain in the Workplace — Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Preventative' Posts

If you’re like many employees in Oregon, you can’t wait to end your shift at work. For many this is because you are happy to go home to your family, or to just have some free time. For others, this is because work is a pain in the neck or in the back.

Whether you are a production worker in Eastern Oregon, working the fields near McMinnville, at an office in Portland or Salem, or driving a truck across Oregon, you may overwork your back. You may try to shake off the stiffness, but you never quite escape the chronic pain.

According to statistics, one-half of working Americans have back pain each year. Back and neck pain are the most common reasons for missed work. As many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their life. Nearly 60% of workers compensation cases result from overuse injuries, specifically related to the back and neck and body mechanics.

The spine is a combination of strong bones, flexible ligaments and tendons, large muscles and sensitive nerves. It can be incredibly strong yet highly flexible. Many of us take this combination of strength, structure and flexibility for granted in our everyday lives – until something goes wrong.

But if you want to avoid back and neck injury, take a few moments to think about how you do the simple things such as standing, sitting, or lifting.

Standing

When you standing at the checkout at a Safeway, New Seasons or Fred Meyers, helping people with groceries, how do you hold yourself? Do you keep your head high with your shoulders back? Or do you slump your shoulders forward with your weight on one leg?

Standing correctly improves blood flow and keeps you more alert. It gives the lungs more room to breathe, helping you feel fresh and more relaxed. 

To stand correctly, use the following tips as a guideline:

   Distribute most of your weight on the balls of your feet
   Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart
   Keep your knees straight, though slightly bent works for extended time periods
   Tuck in your stomach – do not tilt your pelvis forward or backward
   Roll your shoulders back so your arms hang naturally down your sides
   Stretch the top of your head toward the ceiling
   Align your earlobes with the middle of your shoulders

If you have to stand for extended lengths of time, shift your weight from your toes to your heels rather than one foot to the other. When you shift your weight to one leg, it places excessive pressure on one side of your lower back and hip.

Sitting

When you type at your desk at Nike or The City of Portland, enterring data into your computer, how do you sit? Do you keep your back pressed against your chair? Or do you hunch over your keyboard and squint at the screen, like me?

We should sit correctly! Like standing correctly, it promotes good circulation and oxygen intake. Researchers observe that sitting up straight makes it easier to have positive thoughts and memories, while poor posture can increase feelings of depression and fatigue.

To sit correctly, keep the following in mind:

   Keep your feet flat on the floor (or on a footrest if they don’t reach)
   Adjust your ankles so they rest in front of your knees (avoid crossing your legs)
   Keep your knees level with (or slightly below) your hips
   Scoot deeper into your chair until your buttocks touches the back of it
   Draw up your spine so it rests comfortably against the chair (you may need lumbar
   support or a backrest)
   Relax your shoulders down, but keep them pulled back to maintain the curve of          your spine
   Distribute your weight evenly on both hips
   Keep your arms parallel to the ground

Also, try to avoid sitting in the same position for too long. Aim to take a break every 30 minutes or so to stretch and relax your muscles.

Lifting

When you grab heavy boxes at Walmart in Hermiston, or you are packing seafood at Pacific Seafood or books at Powells in Portland, how do you support the weight? Do you keep it close to you? Or do you bend and reach letting your back do all the work?

Many workplace injuries occur because we do not use proper posture when lifting. Incorrect lifting places unnecessary stress on the joints and muscles of the back.

Before you lift or carry heavy things at work, double-check your posture:

   Keep your chest forward to maintain a straight back
   Bend at the hips, not just the knees
   Lead with the hips rather than the shoulders
   Hold the weight close to the body (the further away from your center, the more            force the object exhibits) Ensure you have a good grip before lifting

Remember your limitations as you lift. You should never try to lift more than you can handle, so ask for help or equipment before lifting too much on your own. If your work requires you to lift or carry things regularly, ask for training in lifting techniques and health and safety procedures.

Do You Have Chronic Back Pain?

Even if you use good posture and lift correctly, you can still get back pain. Repetitive motions and activities may simply wear you out, causing repetitive use injury. 

If you have back pain that may be from work, don’t just work through the pain. Instead, see your doctor. Also, if you have questions about your pain and worker’s compensation call us to discuss it free of charge.

Why You Should Stretch Before Your Shift in Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Uncategorized Archives

Workplace injuries can strike at almost any moment.  You probably take safety precautions whether you work for the City of Portland, ConAgra in Boardman, or the WalMart Distribution Center in Hermiston.  But, your work safety plan can be more complete with a pre-shift warm-up and stretching program.  And you don’t have to work a Nike, or be a Portland TrailBlazer, to do this!

Warming-up and stretching is beneficial for all types of workers, and it’s especially important for those who perform manual labor.  Here’s what you need to know about pre-shift stretching.

Benefits of Warming-up and Stretching Before Work

Warming up increases your heart rate, circulation to your muscles and tendons, and makes you more mentally alert.  It is like oiling a squeakly wheel, or letting your car warm up on a frigid morning.  All this takes is a mere 5-10 minute brisk walk, or jogging in place.

After warm up, you should spend some time stretching.  Muscles and other soft tissues in your body sometimes deal poorly with gravity, which affects your balance. Bad posture habits, like slumping, also contribute to weakened muscles.  If you stretch on a regular basis, you help the soft tissues in your body realign. The more aligned your muscles and soft tissues are, the stronger and more balanced they become.  Remember that stretching is about relaxation, breath evenly and don’t push through pain.  Pay attention to your body and move smoothly.  Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.      

Exercise Improves Coordination

A mere 15 minutes a day can help the various muscle groups in your body work together. The better your arms and legs work together, the less likely they are to slip and sustain an injury.

Exercise can also calm nerves

There’s a reason so many people love yoga. Stretching helps your body relax, which in turn helps your mind relax. Stress is a leading cause of on-the-job injuries, but by stretching, you can decrease your stress levels and feel more level-headed as you work.

How to Implement a Pre-Shift Warm Up and Stretching Program

You don’t have to be a manager or team lead to incorporate a pre-shift program into your routine. You can complete your own program right when you arrive each morning, or even before you go to work!

Although you don’t need to this every day; you should!   Your body is your tool.  You need it to be healthy to work.  You can protect and prime your muscles for any work situation you face.  It is up to you.   

A good routine program can even lessen the harm caused by injury and make recovery faster.  But, if you do sustain an injury on the job or you are having trouble recovering from a work injury you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your accident.

Common Office Hazards in Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Workers' Compensation

When you work in an office, your job seems like the safest occupation you could have. You sit in a chair, sort through paperwork, and type. Where’s the danger? However, many office workers don’t realize that they face workplace hazards every day.

To stay safe in your workplace, you should know what risks your office holds, and how to avoid them. The following details the risks involved in using computers and in working in a typical office setting.

Health Issues Related to Computer Use

Computers are a common fixture in most every offices these days. You probably can’t do your job without one. However, computers also have their drawbacks. These drawbacks quickly become apparent when you stare at your computer and sit in a chair for hours on end every work week.

Watch out for these common computer complaints:

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome describes a collection of symptoms you might experience if you spend most of your time looking at a screen. Computer vision syndrome is not a disease, but it can have some uncomfortable effects.

When you work on a computer for long periods of time, you don’t blink as much as you should, and you open your eyes wider than normal. Your eyes also have to continually focus on the words or images right in front of you. This can result in a number of health consequences, including the following:

  • Blurred vision

  • Dry, red eyes

  • Double vision

  • Eye irritation

  • Headaches

Severe computer vision syndrome can cause acute eye strain. You can avoid this if you rest your eyes every 20 minutes. You can look at a faraway object or just close them for 30 seconds or so. You should also make an effort to blink regularly.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Better known than computer vision syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome can result from extensive computer use. This condition happens when the carpal tunnel, or narrow passageway that contains bones and ligaments, gets too narrow and puts pressure on your median nerve. You might feel numbness, tingling, or pain in your hand, wrist, or arm.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause serious pain and it often gets worse over time. You’ll need a doctor to help you find the right treatment.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, and you believe it happened as a result of your job, a lawyer can help you submit a worker’s compensation claim to help cover your medical bills.

Bad Posture

Since you have to sit in a chair to use them, computers dramatically affect your posture. When you get caught up in your work, it’s easy to slump over or lean in to get closer to the computer monitor. However, bad posture causes neck and back pain and spinal distortions.

To encourage good posture, get an ergonomic office chair. Make an effort to sit up straight, but without tensing your back. Keep yo ur head level and adjust your computer monitors so they don’t force you to look too far up or down.  

Health Issues Related to Office Environments

Even though office jobs don’t require manual labor or physical exertion, you can still get injured in these types of environments. Plenty of places around your office building hold potential dangers. Watch out for these common risks.

Electrical Outlets and Cords

You see cords everywhere when you have an office full of computers and other electronics. Dangling cords, or cords that run across the floor, could cause you to trip and fall.

Your employer has a responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Alert your supervisor about any wayward cords that could cause accidents. You should also watch out for frayed or split cords and broken electrical outlets.

Ventilation and Temperature

If you work in an overcrowded office, or one without a proper ventilation system, bad indoor air quality can cause health problems for you and other workers. People with asthma or allergies will have a harder time working in bad air.

You also shouldn’t have to endure extreme temperatures. Your employer should keep your office reasonably warm or cool depending on the season.

Sanitation

Does your office employ proper housekeeping measures and keep your workspace clean? Staff should empty trash cans regularly and keep food prep areas neat and sanitary. If your office has an in-house cafeteria, it has to follow normal food safety rules and regulations.

Sedentary Lifestyles

Office living can easily lead to sedentary living. If you spend eight hours a day sitting down and don’t exercise much when you go home, it can have serious consequences for your health. Sedentary lifestyles lead to a variety of diseases and maladies, including obesity.

If your employer agrees to swap out your desk, you can switch to a standing one. This will also improve your posture. However, if you’re stuck sitting down, you can still stay active. Practice desk exercises throughout the day, and take short breaks to stand up, walk around, and stretch.

Your office should be a haven, not a hazard. Watch out for common office risks around you to stay healthy and avoid getting injured.

Personal Injury: Know Your Rights in Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Personal Injury

If you are a victim of personal injury, you might want to file a lawsuit. After all, you deserve compensation for sustaining injuries through no fault of your own.

But before you make a claim in court, it is important that you learn about your rights. This helps you avoid potential issues that could derail your case.

Ask yourself these questions to better gauge the odds of winning your personal injury case. Keep in mind that a personal injury lawyer is your safest bet when filing a personal injury claim.

Are You Filing in Time?

In Oregon, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury claim is two years. A statute of limitations means the window of time when the events are still considered relevant. This window of time varies from state to state, but typically a judge will refuse to hear any case if it has surpassed the statute of limitations.

Consequently, it’s important that you file within the allotted time to ensure your case is still valid.

What If I Filed But My Case Hasn’t Been Resolved?

If you have filed your personal injury claim within this two-year time frame and the courts have not yet resolved your case, you’re still fine. You have not surpassed the statute of limitations. The court will not drop your case as long as you have filed your claim during your allotted time.

Do You Share the Fault?

If you are partially to blame for the accident in any way, it could affect the outcome of your case. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still file a claim or that your case won’t win. But you need to offer full disclosure to your lawyer and not omit any truths about your accident to ensure you receive full compensation.

How Does Shared Fault Work?

To better understand shared fault, imagine driving on the freeway. A driver followed you too closely and rear-ended you. If you sustained serious injuries, you would have a solid personal injury claim against the party who hit you.

Now imagine the same situation, except this time your brake lights weren’t working correctly. The individual following you couldn’t tell you were braking; therefore, you share some of the fault and you are now partially liable.

What Happens If I’m Partially Liable?

In Oregon, if you are partially liable for the accident and the injuries you sustained, you will receive modified compensation based on your liability for the accident. If you are at least 51% liable for the accident, you are not eligible to receive any compensation.

For example: you drive 25 miles over the speed limit while a pedestrian tries to cross the road. The pedestrian tried to cross early, so he was partially liable for the accident. However, the insurance company may deem you 60% responsible for the accident due to your excessive speed. Even if you suffered whiplash during the accident, you are not entitled for compensation because you are more than 50% liable for the accident.

What Happens During the Discovery Process?

Once you have decided to file a claim and pursue your case, you will go through the discovery process. This is a pre-trial process where your lawyer presents your case along with any documentations of the accident.

During the discovery process, expect depositions, or oral interviews with the parties involved in your accident. These interviews help fine tune and clarify your case before going to trial.

Can I Afford a Lawyer?

Even if your injuries have left you without a job, you can afford to hire a lawyer. Many lawyers will not charge you any fees until after your case is settled.

Instead of upfront costs, they will charge a contingency fee, which you negotiate to pay depending on the outcome of your case. If you win, you pay your lawyer with the compensation awarded to you from your case. If you do not, you might not have to pay your lawyer at all.

However, you should expect to pay a few small court fees along the way. Each law firm and lawyer is different, so consult with your lawyer to find out individual payment policies.  

Can I Represent Myself?

Although you can represent yourself, it’s better to hire a lawyer to handle your case. The legal jargon is difficult for many to understand, and you may misunderstand basic processes. Without a lawyer to guide you through the process, you might not have enough information to present a solid case.

If you would like to learn more about your rights and the processes of filing a personal injury claim consult with a lawyer. He or she can provide information for your unique situation and make suggestions on how to proceed. With the right lawyer, you can protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.

Work Related Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Workers' Compensation

Many workers’ compensation claims for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are denied.   But, you can request a hearing and win a Carpal Tunnel claim.  To win, you will need the help of your doctor and an experienced lawyer.  

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?  The bones and ligaments inside your wrist provide a tunnel for the median nerve and tendons to pass through into your hand.   If this tunnel becomes too small, or gets filled up, the median nerve is squashed.  

What does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome feel like? You will notice if you start to develop this problem.  You’ll feel tingling or numbness after holding something or sleeping. Y ou’ll usually notice the symptoms in every finger except your pinky.  It is worse in your thumb, index, and ring fingers. You may be able to shake this feeling away at first, but it will become constant. You’ll have difficulty holding things, and your hand will feel weak. 

Why would SAIF deny your claim?  Insurance companies, like Liberty and SAIF, may hire doctors to say that it happens because you are overweight, female, or have arthritis or diabetes. These things may be part of the cause.  This is probably why your claim was denied. But, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often caused by using your hands a fingers over and over.  It is common in occupations such as carpentry, painting, assembly line and grocery work.   When you do repetitive and/or forceful motions at work, your muscles may develop too much or your tendons may become inflamed and fill up the tunnel squashing the nerve. 

How Do You Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?  If you think you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome call your doctor right away. You may need therapy, or to change the way you do your work by using different hands or movements.  It is better, if you catch the condition in its early stages. However, if you don’t you may need wrist splints: The splint supports your wrist and prevents any further damage, allowing you to heal.  You may get injections to reduce swelling in the tunnel to ease the pressure on the nerve.   Some people may need surgery.

Carpal Tunnel treatment may cost a lot of money.  You may miss working for a long time. You can have Workers’ Compensation pay for your treatment and you time lost from work.   

If your claim for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is denied, you should contact an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.

Returning to Work After an Injury — Portland, OR

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Posts: Personal Injury, Posts: Workers' Compensation

Work injuries can change your life in many ways—your emotional and physical health may be impacted for the worse; you may even have a permanent partial disability.  This can make getting back to work after being injured seem impossible.

The Oregon workers’ compensation laws do provide for compensation for permanent disability, and for workers’ compensation vocational training to those who are eligible.  

There are also some things you can do to help yourself get back on your feet. Read on to learn more about what to expect and how to cope with injury when preparing to return to your workplace.

How Could Returning to Work Help Me?

For those with disability going back to work can be an uphill battle.  But most studies show that going back to work after an injury benefits your overall health and general well-being. 

But, this does not mean you should go back to work before you’re ready—if you are still going through medical treatment and your attending physician has not approved of modified work, you should continue your leave of absence.  Be sure to get your doctors orders or excuse form work in writing, and always follow your doctor’s orders!

How Can I Prepare to Return to Work?

As you work on your recovery, do what you can to stay positive. This can feel very challenging, but try to focus on the things you can do; rather than the things you can’t. 

Rehabilitation may be a long process. Be prepared to be patient, especially after you go back to work. You may be placed in a modified job that your doctor has approved.  If a modified job is offered to you that has been approved, you must accept it or risk losing your workers’ compensation pay!  

If you have questions about returning to a modified job, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.  

How Can I Plan to Return to Work?

  • Understand your rights when it comes to how your employer should help in the process and what adjustments they need to make to accommodate your new circumstances.
  • Consult with your attending physician about your return to work.
  • Come to a clear understanding with your employer about what work arrangements need to be made to facilitate your return.  These should all be in writing!
  • Your employer must be clear about:
    • Your limitations
    • What your duties and hours will be, and where you will be working
    • Your start time and pay; if you are earning less workers’ compensation temporary partial disability payments should be made! 

What if I Can not Return to my Work?

If you are an injured worker in Oregon, you may qualify for workers’ compensation vocational training if you have a permanent disability.  You must not be able to return to your job, or any other “suitable employment.” A “suitable employment” is a job that you have the physical capacity, knowledge, skills and abilities to perform, is located where you worked, or within reasonable commuting distance of your residence, and pays at least 80% of your at injury wage.  

The vocational training rules are complicated.  If you need help with figuring out if you can get vocational assistance you should call an Oregon workers’ compensation lawyer.        

Personal Injury

Written by Adian Martin on . Posted in Uncategorized Archives

If you were hit by a car, or injured at work by the fault of someone who does not work with you, then you may have a good case to take to court.  Personal injury laws protect people who have been injured by others acting without due care.   There are many different types of possible personal injury cases, for example:

  • Negligence of another person or business
  • Faulty equipment and defective items
  • Accidents at the workplace
  • Motor Vehicle collisions 

When filing for a personal injury claim, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Severity of injury, and disability
  • Clarity of issues (who is at fault?)
  • Insurance coverage and the ability of the at fault to pay

To make it easier to recover money for your damages, you’ll want to take the following steps:

1. File a Police Report

After the accident, you will want to immediately file a police report. This report will serve as evidence from an authority and will outline the details surrounding the accident. It’s wise to ask the officer helping to fill out a police report to be as detailed as possible—the more information your report has, the better off your case will be.

Police reports are official documents and are full of facts. Make sure to record the names and contact information of everyone involved (victims, those at fault, and eyewitness third-party onlookers). Since the police report is taken on the scene, the fresh memories of eyewitnesses will be valuable to your case.

2. Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Whenever you seriously hurt, do not wait to go to the doctor.  It is important to get immediate medical attention to check for injuries and to document how you were hurt.  If you delay in seeing a doctor, it may be thought that you were not really injured. Without a document from a trusted doctor, it is likely your case will be negatively affected and you may not even be able to get proper compensation for your injuries.

3. Keep an Expense Record

Record every expense related to your accident. Your record of medical costs, lost wages, and repair expenses will be important in your case. Keep receipts that will act as proof if your expenses are questioned.

4. Determine Insurance Coverage

If you have been in a car accident caused by someone else, ask if they have insurance. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, ask the owner of the property if they have liability coverage.  It’s important to know whether or not the person responsible for the cost of your injuries has proper insurance coverage.

Some people may expect to be paid for the damages done to them.  But, even if a court orders the payment, if the person at fault does not have proper insurance, you may never see a penny. If your injuries are not extremely serious, and depending on your own insurance coverage, you may actually be able to get some sort of compensation from your own insurance.

5. Find a Personal Injury Attorney

Discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. Many offer free consultations that will guide you through personal injury cases.  An experienced attorney will cover the following in an initial meeting:

  • Determine liable parties
  • Discuss merits of your case
  • Outline legal options

Keep in mind that most attorneys work on a contingency basis—you won’t have to pay anything unless there is a settlement or the court awards you a judgment.  If you are compensated, your attorney will receive a percentage that has been agreed upon.  If you are not compensated, your attorney will not expect to be paid.

Any accident due to negligent, reckless, or accidental behavior can be disruptive to your life. By filing a personal injury claim, you’ll be able to be compensated for lost money and time.