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May 2017 Archives

Causes of Workers Compensation Spinal Stenosis

What are the causes of workers comp spinal stenosis? In the lumbar spine, the spinal canal usually has more than enough room for the spinal nerves. The canal is normally 17 to 18 millimeters around, slightly smaller than a penny. Spinal stenosis develops when the canal shrinks to 12 millimeters or less. When the size drops below 10 millimeters, severe symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis occur. There are many reasons why symptoms of spinal stenosis develop. Some of the more common reasons include congenital stenosis (being born with a small spinal canal), spinal degeneration, spinal instability and disc herniation.

How Much Are Workers Comp Benefits?

Workers comp benefits are determined by the average weekly wage. The AWW is an important calculation because it determines temporary disability and permanent total disability benefits, subject to statutory maximums. The average weekly wage is determined by the rate in effect as of the employee's date of injury. Wis. Stat. § 102.03(4). 

Workers Compensation Spinal Stenosis

Workers compensation spinal stenosis is often denied by insurance companies as a pre-existing or not work-related condition. Our office understands this is most often a bogus defense and we regularly obtain disability benefits for injured workers with spinal stenosis if supported by the facts and expert medical opinions. According to the North American Spine Society (NASS), spinal stenosis describes a clinical syndrome of buttock or leg pain. These symptoms may occur with or without back pain. It is a condition in which the nerves in the spinal canal are closed in, or compressed. The spinal canal is the hollow tube formed by the bones of the spinal column. Anything that causes this bony tube to shrink can squeeze the nerves inside. As a result of many years of wear and tear from job duties on the parts of the spine, the tissues nearest the spinal canal sometimes press against the nerves. This helps explain why lumbar spinal stenosis (stenosis of the low back) is a common cause of back problems in adults over 55 years old, especially those involved in heavy physical labor.

Concrete Laborer Work Injury

A concrete laborer or layer sets up the forms in which concrete is poured to create walkways, walls, pillars and other structures. Concrete laborers can have a workers compensation injury from a single traumatic lifting incident or fall at work, resulting in a herniated disc for example. Or they can incur degenerative disc disease over time in part from the heavy physical labor required by the job duties. Laborers lift and carry rebar or wire mesh to reinforce the concrete, often bending over to use trowels and other tools to spread and smooth concrete, and mold expansion joins and edges. Curing time varies by temperature, wind and other environmental factors, so laborers must monitor the material to ensure it hardens to a durable finish. Laborers may add color to the concrete, small stones for decoration, or apply waterproofing and other sealants often by hand in sweeping and twisting repetitive motions.

Construction Site Slip and Fall Accident

Who is responsible for a slip and fall at a construction site in Wisconsin? Let's assume the injured worker is and employee of a subcontractor. First, the injured worker is entitled to workers compensation from his own employer or his employer's workers compensation insurance carrier. This is true whether the accident causing the injury was caused by the worker himself, his employer or anyone else. Workers compensation is almost always payable without regard to fault. Secondly, if there is negligence that caused the accident, then the injured worker may have a third-party claim against the responsible party as long as the responsible party was not his own employer. Generally, one cannot sue his own employer for negligence, workers compensation is his only remedy against the employer. But let's assume the injured worker tripped on some rebar that was negligently left where it was not supposed to be by employees of the general contractor; can the injured worker make a claim against the general contractor? In most circumstances the answer is yes.

Seven Things to Know Before Settling a Workers Compensation Claim

Settling a Wisconsin workers compensation claim is complicated and an injured worker should only do so knowing all the issues. This is not an exhaustive list, but here are seven basic topics a worker should be considering before signing away his or her workers comp rights.

Personal Injury Claim Time Limit?

In Wisconsin the personal injury claim time limit is three years for most negligence based personal injuries, including those caused the negligent driving of a motor vehicle. However, an action brought to recover damages for death caused by the wrongful act, neglect, or default of another and arising from an accident involving a motor vehicle shall be commenced within 2 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred. See Wis. Stats. Sec. 893.54.

Lumbar Herniated Disc Workers Compensation Surgical Treatment

Back surgery for a herniated disc as a result of a work-related traumatic injury or from job duties over time is not as common as it was ten years ago, but it is done if medically necessary and reasonable under. This is a medical not a legal determination. As workers compensation attorneys, we work with the facts we have and obtain workers compensation benefits for injured workers in cases with or without surgery. The most important factors are strong causation and realistic permanent restrictions under the circumstances.

Workers Compensation Psychological or Mental Injury

Psychological or mental injury can be difficult cases to prove in Wisconsin workers comp law.  Mental claims are specifically included in Wis. Stats. Sec. 102.01(2)(c), however one must look to case law to define mental claims which are categorized as: physical-mental, mental-mental and mental-physical.

Lumbar Herniated Disc Workers Compensation Nonsurgical Treatment

For a work-related herniated disc, nonsurgical treatment is tried first unless the condition is causing significant problems or is rapidly getting worse. Temporary disability benefits are paid if the worker is off work.

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