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Archive for October, 2017

Workplace Safety to Help Avoid Head Injuries

head injuriesHead injuries can have the most consequences for both the worker and the company compared to other injuries. For starters, a head injury has the most potential to be both long-term and undetected. In many cases, the full scope of the injury does not become apparent for months. The best defense is to avoid these injuries to begin with. While some injuries are not avoidable and occur even when all prevention tactics are properly performed, there are ways to lessen the risk and avoid some injuries altogether.

For this level of prevention, both the employee and the company must be on the same page and working against the risk. The two parts of working against head injuries specifically are identifying the potential hazards and minimizing exposure to those hazards.

Identifying Hazards

Falling objects pose the biggest threat for head injury. When height is added, even small objects have the potential for causing a serious injury. However, even work environments with low clearance pose a threat for head injuries. Objects don’t have to fall from a large height to be dangerous. In fact, walking into an overhead can cause serious head injuries. Hard hat usage is one of the top preventative tools when it comes to head injury as they provide protection from full impact. Additionally, they can help against electrical shock and burns when working around hot wires.

Lowering the Risks

Workers have the biggest responsibility when limiting exposure to hazards and risks of head injury. While management can put together procedures for safety, it is up to workers to execute those procedures. Some tips for employees to keep in mind include:

  • Be Cautious. In every industry, there are inherent risks in the workplace. By expressing caution, employees can avoid a lot of risks and injuries. Paying close attention to where you are and what is around you, along with taking environmental factors into account, the worker can mitigate some of the risk in working.
  • Calm. Staying cool and collected can lead to less risky behavior and better work practices. Taking breaks and walking away can alleviate some of the stress, leading to a better work environment for all workers.
  • Awareness. Being aware of what is around you can lead to far fewer accidents. A trip accident can be avoided by noticing a wire across a walkway. With everchanging work environments in construction, those sites are the most important to stay keenly aware of the environment.
  • Safety Rules. While some safety rules may seem as though they make little sense in practice, there is always a reason for them. Even further, having a uniform workforce that expresses the same caution and has the same protocol for work.

If you have been injured at work, whether it is your own fault or due to someone’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today to find out how we can help your claims process.

What is a Judge Able to do in a Workers’ Compensation Case in PA?

workers compensationWhile it is considered common knowledge that Workers’ Compensation cases go before a judge, it is often not understood what role a judge plays in such a case. Even further, it is not typical that the average worker knows what power the judge has or what the judge is able to do or accomplish during such a case. However, understanding that role could mean a stronger case and a more informed worker. When it comes to collect these benefits, being a self-advocate and understanding your rights is imperative.

Getting the right lawyer is the most important element. Lawyers have a deep understanding of the role and power of a judge, which enables them to make different legal decisions to strengthen a case and move things along. However, knowing this on your own can only help your case.

What Does the Judge Do?

The first thing a judge in Pennsylvania must do when considering a Workers’ Compensation case is to determine whether mediation is required, which is often the case. In fact, some judges force all cases to go to mediation first. Other judges only require mediation when it seems the action will lead to a quicker conclusion. Mediation in Workers’ Compensation cases entails sitting both parties down, meaning the injured worker and the insurance company with their respective legal counsel, to attempt to find a settlement during a neutral discussion.

In mediation, the judge cannot force a decision. Instead, the two parties must work together to find a settlement both can agree on. The judge sitting on the mediation will promote compromise but is not in the position to force it or make a judgment. In these cases, it’s best to refer to your own legal counsel, who is the only one with your individual interests in mind, as the judge is looking for a quicker conclusion. When proposals are made, you are free to reject them as there is not a judgment being made. If a conclusion is reached, a compromise and release hearing must be held.

Court

If an agreement was made in mediation, the judge must ensure the injured worker understands the legal significance of the agreement and that they understand what the worker is doing by settling the case. The judge does not have the power to reject an unfair settlement, but it is their duty to ensure the worker knows what they are gaining and giving up for their settlement. For instance, the worker should know if they are getting a lump sum or how long monthly payments will last. Only the plaintiff and their legal counsel can accept or reject an offer.

At the end of the day, having the right lawyer is what makes or breaks a Workers’ Compensation case. Contact our team today to find out how we can help with your Workers’ Compensation claim.