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January 2017 Archives

Aggravation of Pre-Existing Condition Settlement Compensation

Accident settlements include money for aggravation of pre-existing condition under certain circumstances. The question becomes whether the reckless driver's conduct was a substantial factor in producing the injury and the aggravation, and whether the injured person's post accident condition flowed from or was the natural consequence of the car accident. An aggravation can cause medical bills, wage loss, pain, suffering and disability.

Workers Compensation Spinal Compression Fracture Causes

A spinal compression fracture in the workers compensation context often results from a fall or a motor vehicle accident. Of course there may very well be predisposing factors involved, but that does not obviate the compensability of the injury under workers compensation if the work accident contributed to the ultimate fractured vertebrae.

Workers Compensation Permanent Disability Scheduled

At the end of healing, TTD benefits stop. If there is a permanent disability, then PPD or permanent partial disability benefits in Wisconsin workers compensation law are payable. Permanent disability benefits in workers compensation are designed to compensate an injured worker for future loss of earnings. PPD benefits are based on a the percentage of disability assigned by a doctor, and in serious unscheduled cases, a vocational expert. PPD benefits accrue weekly after temporary disability benefits stop and are based on the average weekly wage determined on the date of injury. The permanent partial disability (PPD) benefit rate is two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage, but not more than the statutory maximum PPD rate on the date of injury.

Icy Parking Lot Fall

Who's fault is a fall on an icy parking lot? In Wisconsin, it will generally be a question of comparative negligence in which an experienced personal injury attorney will focus a light on the defendant's conduct rather than the person who fell. On the other hand, the insurance company for the parking lot owner or maintenance company will do the opposite and turn attention to the person who fell and argue it was their own fault for falling. The second line of defense will be that even if there was ice on the parking lot, the defendant was not aware of it, maybe it just appeared shortly before the unfortunate fall such that the defendant did not have time to either become aware of the ice or take steps to eliminate it.

Workers Compensation Spinal Compression Fracture

A spinal compression fracture often forms the basis of a workers compensation injury. This post will discuss compression fractures generally and how they related to on the job injuries as well. In the general population, most compression fractures are related to osteoporosis. Spine bones that are weakened from osteoporosis may become unable to support normal stress and pressure. As a result, something as simple as coughing, twisting, or lifting can cause a vertebra to fracture. On the job, an injury to the spine, such as from a hard fall on the buttocks or blow to the head, can cause a spinal compression fracture. We have seen compression fractures as a result of ladder falls, falls from scaffolding and hitting the windshield in an automobile collision. Compression fractures can occur in the cervical and lumbar spines, but most often we see them in the thoracic spine. Workers compensation benefits for temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, loss of earning capacity, retraining and occasionally permanent total disability can be due as a result of compression fractures. It is very important that the doctor's office have an accurate and complete history of the accident or incident causing the spinal compression fracture.

Construction Accident

A recent New York Times article noted a construction accident in the last two years killed 31 construction workers in New York City. Compare this two years 2015-2016, to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge from 1869-1883, which involved both new and extremely dangerous construction methods, yet only 27 workers died during its construction.

Accident with Uninsured Driver

Uninsured driver coverage is insurance, which covers a driver or passenger damaged by the negligence of an uninsured driver. Uninsured motorist coverage, referred to by the acronym UM coverage, is mandatory in Wisconsin automobile insurance policies. In this way, responsible people who buy insurance will have some coverage protection in their own policy against people who do not get insurance. There has been a lot of changes back and forth in Wisconsin over the last twenty years, and it is essential for anyone analyzing an accident to determine what statutes were in effect at the applicable time.  For this purpose only the current state of the law will be discussed, after the 2011 statutory changes.

Workers Compensation Herniated Disc Rehab Surgical

Injured workers with a herniated disc who undergo surgery must also partake in rehabilitation. After surgery the worker is necessarily unable to work and may be receiving TTD disability benefits while in the healing period. If they are not being paid temporary total disability benefits, we include this as part of the claim if there is a doctor's authorization off work due to the work-related condition and surgery. Many of our clients with a herniated disc have a discectomy or fusion surgery, often with laminectomy or foraminotomy.

Workers Compensation Temporary Total Disability Benefits

In Wisconsin, temporary total disability benefits or TTD benefits are payable when an employee is within his or her healing period from a work-related injury and unable to work. There must be a doctor excuse stating the employee cannot work at all due to the injury or has work related restrictions, which the employer cannot accommodate. There is no limit on the time an employee can receive temporary disability benefits, we have seen cases go on for years as a result of successive surgeries and rehabilitation.

Wisconsin Slip and Fall on Ice

In Wisconsin, slip and fall on ice accidents often involve safe place law, which is designed to protect workers and others on premises with permission from certain risks of harm or injury. The law only applies to certain parties and in certain circumstances. But when it does apply to a factual situation, its application is significant for this reason. In most interactions between people, we all have a duty to act with reasonable care toward each other. If what we do, or in some cases fail to do, creates an unreasonable risk of harm to another and that person does incur injury or damages as a result of our actions, then we are liable. This is referred to as the ordinary standard of care, the obligation to act with reasonable care under the circumstances. The safe place law creates a higher or more careful standard of care: as safe as the nature of the place will reasonably permit.

Healing Period in Workers Compensation

The healing period in Wisconsin workers compensation law is very important because is defines the time period in which a claim for temporary total disability benefits are due. The phrase "healing period" is not defined in Wis. Stats. Ch. 102 but the courts have interpreted it to mean "the period prior to the time when the condition becomes stationary." Knobbe v. Indus. Comm'n, 208 Wis. 185, 189 (1932). The Knobbe court explained that during this period, "the employee is submitting to treatment, is convalescing, still suffering from his injury, and unable to work because of the accident. The interval may continue until the employee is restored so far as the permanent character of his injuries will permit." Knobbe at 190. As the court later stated in Larsen Co. v. Industrial Commission, 9 Wis. 2d 386, 392, (1960), "[a]n employee's disability is no longer temporary when the point is reached that there has occurred all of the improvement that is likely to occur as a result of treatment and convalescence." The phrase 'healing plateau' is often used to say that the employee is at the end of the healing period.

Stopping on the Highway: Railroad Crossing

Railroad crossings and tracks are very dangerous to vehicles and pedestrians as well. A collision between a train and another, will not turn out well for the other. In addition to the law, basic common sense and a healthy sense of caution will serve a driver well when encountering a railroad crossing, where risks are to be avoided by default. Wisconsin law states as follows:

Workers Compensation Herniated Disc Rehab NonSurgical

Many injured workers with a herniated disc do not have surgery. Rather they try to rehab on their own or under the direction of a doctor and therapists. The employee may return to work with or without restrictions. Most injured workers returning to work without restrictions are careful and self-limit activities so as to reduce the chance of reinjury or aggravation. In either case, its important to report any new injury or aggravation of pre-existing condition to the employer and your doctor. In the meantime, here is some typical nonsurgical rehabilitation routes chosen by workers.

Are Independent Contractors Covered by Workers Compensation?

Yes and no, as to whether independent contractors are covered by workers' compensation. In Wisconsin most workers will be covered by workers comp unless a very strict statutory exception applies, and it almost never does. So if a worker is injured and the employer says you are not covered by workers comp because you are an independent contractor, call an attorney before walking away.

What is Failure to Yield in MVA

A failure to yield by one driver may be a causative or contributory factor in a motor vehicle collision. An auto crash can have many responsible factors or causation agents, but failure to yield, especially when coupled with speeding ot driving too fast for conditions, is an all to common culprit. Distracted driving is another major cause of failure to yield.

Workers Compensation Herniated Disc Treatment Surgical

When an injured worker with a herniated disc exhausts conservative treatment yet still has disabling pain and restricted mobility, the doctor may recommend surgery.  If the symptoms are mild and there is no danger they will get worse, surgery is not usually recommended. However, if signs appear that pressure is building on the spinal nerves, surgery may be required to return the worker to his best pre-injury condition. The signs doctors watch for when reaching this decision include weakening in the leg muscles, pain that won't ease up, and problems with the bowels or bladder.

Workers Comp Claim Denied

A claim denied by the workers compensation insurance company requires that it let the injured worker know of his or her right to a hearing with the Department of Workforce Development. Wis. Admin. Code § DWD 80.02(2)(g)2. The worker should also receive a copy of any independent medical examiner or IME report. In serious cases, it is almost never practical or advisable for the worker to file for a hearing on his own. The insurance company and the employer have trained and experience professionals dedicated to defeating the claim for workers compensation benefits.

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