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Automobile Collisions / Workers' Compensation

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January 2016 Archives

Neck Surgery for Cervical Herniated Disc in Workers Compensation

Cervical herniated disc neck surgery in workers' compensation claims often involves an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).  This neck surgery is used to treat neck problems such as cervical radiculopathy, disc herniation, fractures, and spinal instability caused by a work injury or job duties over time.  In this procedure, the surgeon enters the neck from the front (the anterior region) and removes a spinal disc (discectomy). The vertebrae above and below the disc are then held in place with bone graft and sometimes metal hardware. The goal is to help the bones to grow together into one solid bone. This is known as fusion or arthrodesis.

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition in Workers Comp

Aggravation of pre-existing condition or injury is a typical defense used by workers' compensation insurance companies to deny valid claims.  It is not a strong defense in most cases and an experienced, knowledgeable attorney knows how to deal with it.  An employer takes an employee as is, and the employee's pre-existing condition or predisposition to injury does not relieve the current employer from liability for worker's compensation. Semons Dep't Store v. DILHR, 50 Wis. 2d 518 (1971).

Does Health Insurance Reduce Car Accident Settlement

Health insurance payments should not reduce what an injured person is entitled to from the negligent driver for injuries and damages as a result of an automobile accident.  Most often the injured person's health insurance, Medicaid or Medicare will pay the medical bills incurred as a result of a car accident.  The health insurance is called a collateral source. Under Wisconsin law, the collateral-source rule provides that an injured person's recovery from the bad driver cannot be reduced by amounts received from collateral sources such as health insurance.

Back Injury From Lifting at Work Job Duties

A back injury from lifting at work job duties can form the basis of a legitimate workers compensation claim.   A work injury can be caused by a single traumatic lifting incident, or it can occur slowly from job duties over time.  An injury or medical condition caused by job duties over time is called an occupational disease resulting in back surgery, back fusion or laminectomy.

Can't Return to Work After Injury

If I can't return to work after a workers compensation injury there are at least two good options available in Wisconsin.  Under Wisconsin statutes chapter 102, the workers' compensation law, an injured worker can get loss of earning capacity benefits and/or vocational retraining benefits.  In order to qualify for loss of earing capacity or vocational retraining benefits the injured worker's doctor or surgeon must have assigned work-related permanent restrictions, which prevent the employee from being able to return to work after his injury has healed.  Then if the employer confirms it is unable to accommodate the work-related, permanent restrictions, we can go for loss of earning capacity benefits or refer an injured worker to the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Does the Police Report Determine Fault in an Accident

A police report does not determine fault in an accident in Wisconsin.  A rule of evidence law states that a police accident report is not admissible at trial for the purpose of proving what happened in the collision or for answering the ultimate questions of negligence or what percentage of fault should be assigned to each driver.  Police reports often contain trustworthy and honest information.  But a police accident report is hearsay because the officer completing the report did not witness the accident, he or she is only reporting information after the fact.  In Wisconsin hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  Wisconsin Statutes Section 908.01 (3).  Again, another way of saying that unless the police officer actually witnessed the crash, his report cannot be used as proof of what happened before he arrived on the scene.

Fired or Terminated After a Work Injury

Can I be fired or terminated after a work injury or workers compensation claim?  Not in Wisconsin because of filing a workers compensation claim.  Of course the employer will never admit the termination or firing is due to the worker's compensation claim.  

My Own Doctor For Workers Comp?

Yes, you can go to your own doctor for workers comp in Wisconsin.  In Wisconsin workers compensation claims, the employer or workers compensation insurance company can not direct your medical care.  As the injured worker you are entitled to two choices of a treating physician.  However, when you start with one doctor, all the referrals from that doctor and the doctors the referral doctors send you to, all these physicians are still under your first choice.  Its only when you on your own pick a new doctor that it counts as one of your two choices.

Roofer Workers Comp Job Duties Causation

Roofer workers comp job duties causation in Wisconsin is due to work injuries from a traumatic accident or from roofer job duties over time.  The four types of roofers in Wisconsin include shinglers, who primarily install shingles, shakes, tiles, and other nail-on products on roofs; metal roofers, who focus on metal panels; single-ply or "flat" roofers, who focus on roofs such as single-ply or foam roofs; and "hot" roofers, who work using tar-based products usually on flat roofs.  All of these roofers get hurt at work with work-related low back or neck injuries.  Roofers then need lumbar fusion surgery or cervical discectomy surgery which should be covered by workers compensation.

Who is Responsible for Sidewalk Repairs?

Every city is responsible for sidewalk repairs and has the duty to exercise ordinary care to construct, maintain, and repair its sidewalks so that they will be reasonably safe for public travel and not cause slip and fall accidents.  This duty does not require the municipality to guarantee the safety of its sidewalks or render them absolutely safe for all persons who travel upon them.  Just reasonably safe.

Certified Nurse Assistant or CNA Workers Comp Causation

Certified nurse assistant or CNA workers comp causation in Wisconsin concerns low back disability and neck injury.  CNA jobs are essential to our society and economy because certified nurse assistants provide the care to our elderly parents and grandparents as well as our disabled brothers and sisters.  CNA work is difficult in every way and CNAs deserve our respect, admiration and compassion.  When a CNA gets hurt at work, they should get workers compensation not a cold shoulder denial.

Cable Installer Workers Comp Causation

Cable installer workers comp causation in Wisconsin often involves a low back injury or neck disability.  Cable installers are cable television, broadband internet, or telecommunications workers who typically specialize in either installing and repairing the main lines, or installing and repairing lines and equipment at the customer's location. Telecommunications workers who handle the main lines are typically called line installers or linemen, while those providing service at the destination point are called telecom or cable technicians.

Are Medical Bills Covered by Auto Insurance

Are medical bills covered by auto insurance in a car accident in Wisconsin, the answer is yes, but they must be proven as caused by the automobile collision.  First, we must prove the other driver's negligence caused the accident.  The other driver's negligence does not have to be the only cause but rather "a cause" because an accident or collision may have more than one cause.  Someone's negligence caused the accident if it was a substantial factor in producing the crash.  An accident may be caused by one person's negligence or by the combined negligence of two or more people.  In order to recover a personal injury settlement from another driver's insurance company, the other driver's negligence in causing the accident must be equal to or greater than that of the injured person.

Sheet Metal Workers Comp Causation

Sheet metal workers comp causation in Wisconsin may be the result of a single traumatic lifting injury, or the result of sheet metal worker job duties over time. Many sheet metal worker low back on the job injury or neck herniated disc result from work.  A skilled tradesman, sheet metal workers create, install, and repair sheet metal often in heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, but sheet metal workers also fabricate and repair sheet metal for gutter and roofing applications. 

Duty of Drivers on Icy Roads

The duty of drivers on icy road accidents in Wisconsin always a question.  The accumulation of ice on the highway does not excuse drivers from being careful. When the first nasty snow and sleet whips up on a December night and we're traveling down I94 from Waukesha to Milwaukee for a basketball game, we have all seen drivers ignore the dangerous conditions and recklessly speed by.  If they cause an accident are they negligent?  Icy road collisions cause medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering.

Truck Driver Workers Comp Causation

Truck driver workers comp causation in Wisconsin often happens from a driver loading or unloading duties.  While many truck driving jobs do not involve loading or unloading, the jobs that do are very tough resulting in low back and neck injuries that are covered by workers compensation.

Who is Responsible for Salting Sidewalks

Who is responsible for salting sidewalks in Wisconsin depends on whether it is a public or private walkway.  This blog concerns private sidewalks only.  A slip and fall on ice or snow covered causes financial losses such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.  Who has to pay for the damages caused by an icy sidewalk or parking lot on private property.

Carpenter Workers Comp Claim Causation

A carpenter workers comp claim in Wisconsin can come from a single traumatic accident or lifting incident.  A carpenter helps lift some framing, feels immediate low back pain, perhaps shooting pain down the leg.  More likely though, carpenters work through many days of low back pain until one day it causes the carpenter to see a doctor.  In carpenter workers comp cases without a clear single incident, we make what is called an occupational claim.  In an occupational claim we prove that the carpenter's job duties over time contributed to his low back deterioration, herniated disc and possible low back surgery.

Ironworker Workers Comp Claim Causation

An ironworker workers comp claim causation can come from a single traumatic accident or lifting incident.  For example where an ironworker helps lift some rebar, feels immediate low back pain, perhaps shooting pain down the leg.  More likely though, ironworkers work through many days of low back pain until one day it causes the ironworker to see a doctor.  In ironworker workers comp cases without a clear single incident, we make what is called an occupational claim.  In an occupational claim we prove that the ironworker's job duties over time contributed to his low back deterioration and present condition and possible back surgery.

Whose Fault is a Car Accident on Icy Road

Whose fault is a car accident on icy road in Wisconsin is a question many drivers have after a collision.  Ice or icy conditions can be a factor contributing to an automobile accident, but it does exonerate a negligent driver from responsibility for paying money damages to an injured innocent party.  Take the situation where a client says: there was a guy behind me, he could not stop because of ice and rearended me. Is he responsible?

What Permanent Work Restrictions Mean for Workers Comp Benefits

What permanent work restrictions mean for workers comp benefits in Wisconsin is often asked by injured workers after the end of healing.  When your treating physician or surgeon says you are at an end of healing for workers compensation purposes, he or she may assign a permanent partial disability percentage for which you are entitled to PPD benefits.  If the doctor also assigns permanent work restrictions, there may be more workers comp benefits available.

How Long Can I Receive Workers Comp Benefits

How long can I receive workers comp benefits in Wisconsin is a often asked by injured workers.  The answer depends on whether we are talking about temporary total disability benefits or permanent partial disability benefits.  An injured worker receives temporary total disability benefits, called TTD, while you are in your period of healing for the work related injury and the doctor has you off work totally or has you on work-related restrictions which the employer cannot accommodate.  TTD benefits may last a matter of days or up to several years in serious injury cases.  The period of healing lasts until your doctor says you have reached the end of healing, often called a healing plateau.  The healing plateau does not mean you are totally healed or all better and back to 100%.  In fact, the cases McCormick Law Office gets the most workers comp benefits for involve an end of healing with permanent residuals.

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