Are Seasonal Workers Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

By Workers Compensation

The Holiday Season is here and it’s officially that time of the year where people are running around like crazy trying to find their last minute gifts. It’s the best time of the year for businesses as they’re making their most sales. However, it can be the most stressful time for workers who are trying to do a million things at once. Many businesses need help and hire seasonal workers.

Having more than enough staff on hand helps keep both workers and customers happy. Workers will get the chance to slow down and not feel like they’re being over worked. Customers will also be satisfied with a better shopping experience where their needs will be met from readily available workers. Oftentimes, seasonal positions are only available for a couple months just so businesses can survive the Holiday Season madness. Even though their time of employment may be short, there is still a likely chance that an injury can arise.

In the event of an injury for a seasonal worker, many want an answer to the following question : Do seasonal workers get workers’ compensation in the event of an injury? 

If you are currently working a seasonal position or know of someone who is, it’s important to know that seasonal workers’ are entitled to receiving workers’ compensation in New York State. There are many reasons why a seasonal worker may be more at risk for an injury as opposed to someone who has more experience there and is a full time employee.

Common reasons include the following : 

  • Lack of Training : Business owners don’t always have the time to sit down and make sure that new hires are fully trained on everything. However, inexperience and lack of knowledge can lead to a bad injury. Proper training should always be a priority no matter how busy things are. If you don’t have the time to train a worker, then you certainly shouldn’t be hiring seasonal workers. 
  • Doing too much at once : Seasonal workers get thrown into the mix at the craziest and busiest time of the year. Oftentimes, they want to be up to speed like the full time workers and over do it by going at a pace beyond their experience level. This then puts them at more risk for accidents like slips, trips, and falls. It’s important to remember that your safety is the most important even when you feel like customers and your co-workers are yelling at you to do things for them. Slow down and go at a pace where you feel comfortable
  • Lack of sleep: It’s very common that seasonal workers already have another job, but picked up the position to make more money. Working two or even three jobs is exhausting and can take a toll on your body. Balancing the long hours with no rest time can also throw off one’s sleep schedule. Working all day at your first job  and then going to your next job to work a late shift or even night shift means minimal sleep. Getting proper sleep is crucial for humans to function properly. Lack of it prevents the brain from thinking clearly, which puts yourself in harms way. 

Seasonal workers can be a huge help to businesses during the Holiday Season, but often times don’t get treated as fairly as full-time workers do. If you have recently suffered a bad injury at work or any other work-related injury, please contact Losi and Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation. We will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case.

Article adapted from : https://www.insureon.com/blog/small-business-seasonal-worker-poll

Injured Workers Returning Back to Work

By Personal Injury

Individuals may experience some fear and anxiety when anticipating their return back to work after a long leave of absence. Due to the pandemic, many employees grew comfortable working from home and have no desire to go back to working in person. The same can be said for injured workers and returning back to work. Research shows that the longer employees are out, the less likely they are to come back to work. According to the Workers’ Compensation Board of New York State, 50% of employees will return to work after a six-month absence and only 1% after a two-year absence. 

Returning to work is different for everyone, especially depending on the type of injury one sustained. In the best case scenario, workers will fully heal from their work-related injury and return to their same job once they are cleared by their medical provider. After they are cleared, they will be able to pick up where they left off and perform their job duties with no restrictions. 

Other cases are not quite as simple and certain injuries can create many complications with what you can and cannot do again. Also, the healing process is dependent on how badly you were injured. For a bad injury, the healing process can be long and slow, but It’s important to remain patient and not rush to get better. Your body needs time to recover from the injury it sustained and attempting to speed up the process can just make things worse. 

Dealing with the new limits an injury places on an individual can be very hard to come to terms with. Just like how when a sports player returns after a bad injury and isn’t playing the way they used to, a worker may not be able to fully recover and perform the same tasks that they once were great at doing.

 So, how does one cope with this?

One solution is to switch to lighter duties at work that will accommodate for new medical restrictions. Unfortunately, some jobs don’t have lighter duty work that employees can do and in this case, employees will need to search for a different job better suited to their current abilities.  

The following is important to know : If you return to work and your injury or illness causes you to earn less than before, you may be eligible for certain benefits  

You may be entitled to “reduce earnings” benefits if you return to work at a lower pay rate because your disability prevents you from working at your pre-injury level. Reduced earnings benefits pay up to two-thirds of the difference of your wages and after your work injury. 

If you return to work, but are occasionally absent due to your work-related injury (whether treating ongoing or related issues) you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits for the time you are out. This is called intermittent lost time. In order to get it, you must have proof of medical evidence supporting your claim that your absence was due to you work-related injury. Therefore, it’s recommended to keep careful records of your lost time as well as your pay stubs. 

Use the following checklist :

Frequently Asked Questions : 

1) When I go back to work, can I still claim workers’ compensation for the time when I was hurt and could not work ? 

The answer is yes. You have up to two years after your workplace injury or illness to file a workers compensation claim.

2) Does my employer have to keep my job when I am out due to a workplace injury? 

Unfortunately, no. The Workers’ Compensation Law does not require your employer to keep your job for you. Most of the time, employers will keep your job open for you until you can return back to work, but it is not a guarantee. The best thing you can do if you are worried about losing your job is to keep regular contact with your employer about your job status. 

3) Can a new employer refuse to give me a job because I have a workers’ compensation case?

No. Legally, employers are not allowed to ask if you have a workers’ compensation claim and cannot deny you a job for filing a past claim. The Workers’ Compensation Board cannot share any information about your workers’ compensation case with another employer. 

Returning to work after being out for awhile can be a very difficult thing to do. It’s important you know your rights and the certain benefits you may be entitled to. If you have recently suffered a bad injury at work or any other work-related injury, please contact Losi and Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation. We will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case.

Article Adapted from : 

http://www.wcb.ny.gov/returntowork/injured-worker.jsp

How to Reduce Back Pain at Work

By Uncategorized

October 11, 2021

Back problems can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. Often times, back pain is the result of an everyday activity done incorrectly. These common activities consist of anything from sitting at a computer in the same position for hours, carrying luggage, heavy lifting, golfing, etc.

Four out of five people have experienced back issues, making it the second most common reason for visiting the doctor. Employers must make their employees aware of what back problems commonly stem from and what preventative methods you can take to lessen the pain you’re experiencing. Additionally, employers should always prioritize workplace safety and enforce safe practices. These simple strategies are highly effective at preventing back pain and keeping it from returning : 

Exercise : It may sound weird to recommend exercise when you are in pain from a back injury. Most would assume that the best way to heal is to rest and limit physical activity. Frankly, it turns out to be the opposite. Rest is always beneficial to help the body recover and gain it’s strength back. However, the quickest route to easing back pain is to actually do some physical activity. Experts recommend regularly fitting some working out into your schedule because it can help ease inflammation and muscle tension. However, it is important to be smart – don’t go out there and try to break your lifting record. Baby steps and taking it light is your best bet (at least when you are first starting). Good workouts to try are walking, swimming, and biking. Swimming is super helpful to try because the water supports your body, which takes a lot of pressure of your muscles and joints. 

Watch your weight : Being overweight can make back pain worse for the fact that is shifts your center of gravity and puts strain on your lower back. A mix of exercise and a healthy diet is important to keep your body in check. Exercise is recommended at least three times per week as well as watching what you eat. A healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy products, and whole grains will jeep you on track.

Stop Smoking : It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health for a variety of reasons. However, It’s not common knowledge that smoking could have any sort of impact on your back. When we think of the side effects of smoking, the first couple of things that comes to mind are usually cancer, heart disease, or lung disease. However, back pain is in fact another side effect of smoking. Here’s why : smoking restricts the flow of nutrient-containing blood to spinal discs, so smokers are especially vulnerable to back pain. 

Sleeping Position : Do you ever wake up in the morning and just instantly feel sore? It probably has a lot to do with the way you position yourself, your mattress, and what pillow you use. Everyone is different when it comes to their sleep preferences. Talk to your doctor about the best sleep positions if you find you are constantly sore in the morning. Sleeping on your stomach can be especially hard on your back. You also don’t want to sleep flat on your back. The best position to sleep in is on your side. Getting enough sleep is so crucial for your mental health and productivity the next day. 

Be aware of your Posture : The best chairs for preventing back pain is one that has a straight back. If you have a desk job that requires you to sit all day, it’s super important that the chair you are sitting in is comfortable and supportive. Make sure you rest your back against the chair and don’t sit hunched over your desk. Also, try to get up and take breaks from sitting every so often. 

Be Careful Lifting Heavy Objects : When lifting heavy objects, your form is super crucial. You can risk a very serious injury if you try to lift something heavy with poor form. If something is too heavy for you to handle on your own, ask for help.

Here are some tips for lifting heavy objects to prevent a painful back injury :

  • Keep your feet a shoulder-width apart, with one foot slightly ahead of the other 
  • Squat down, bending the hips and knees only.
  • Keep good posture. Look straight ahead, keep your back straight, chest out, and shoulders back. This helps keep your upper back straight while having a slight arch in your lower back. 
  • Lift slowly by straightening your hips and knees (not your back). Don’t twist when you lift and  keep your back straight.
  • Hold the object as close to your body as possible 
  • Lead with your hips as you change direction and keep your shoulders in line with your hips as you move.
  • Set down your load carefully, squatting with the knees and hips only 

DO NOT :

  • Attempt to lift by bending forward. 
  • Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level
  • Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object 

Reduce Stress : It’s inevitable that one will stress about something in their life. Financial issues, relationships, work, and much more are very common causes to create stress. You probably wouldn’t consider stress to be something that can cause you to have back pain since it happens internally, so many think it only impacts you mentally, but not physically. However, this is not the case – stress does have a physical consequence and plays a big role on your back health. Stress causes you to tense your muscles, and constant tension of this kind can cause back pain. Back pain and stress go hand and hand. Any activity that will help you reduce stress will help you prevent back pain.

Stress also is dependent on the kind of person you are. If you find yourself as the type of person who goes with the flow and handles challenges day by day, then you probably don’t experience too much stress. On the other hand, if you get easily stressed and overwhelmed over small things, your back may pay the price. Working out is a healthy way to manage stress and help control your emotions from taking over you. In addition, meditation, going for a walk, yoga and much more are all great coping mechanisms to help manage stress. In order to be your best, you have to feel your best. Stress is very draining to both your mental and your physical health. Knowing how to control stress will help you be a more productive person. Talk to your doctor if you think stress is getting in the way of your life and holding you back from being your full potential.

If you have recently suffered a back injury at work or any other work-related injury, please contact Losi and Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation. We will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case. 

Article Adapted from : 

https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/tips-for-pain-relief

https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/back-pain/quick-tips-to-help-prevent-back-pain.aspx

https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw206944

Workers’ Compensation Settlements 2020

By Settlements & Verdicts

A Depew, NY woman received $172,200.00 from a bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome injury sustained over a number of years while working as a medical program supervisor. Her occupational disease resulted in the claimant undergoing multiple surgeries covered by the insurance carrier.

A West Seneca, NY truck driver received $150,000.00 after sustaining injuries to his left shoulder, back, and both knees while performing maintenance on his trailer. His accident resulted in multiple surgeries, and the settlement includes a medical set aside fund for future medical treatment.

$91,306.73 was awarded to a Depew, NY man who injured his back while lifting. His settlement includes a set aside fund for future medical expenses.

A North Tonawanda, NY tow truck driver received $122,001.00 following a severe ankle sprain injury and multiple consequential injuries requiring several surgeries. The claimant was unable to return to work. His settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits.

A Lackawanna, NY man received $159,100.00 for an injury to his back that was sustained when he slipped and fell on ice. Medical benefits to the claimant continue as part of his settlement.

An Angola, NY worker for the Highway Department received $121,105.33 for an injury to his left leg.

$139,500.00 was awarded to a Buffalo, NY truck driver who sustained injuries to his back and other parts of his body in a fall from his trailer. His settlement provides for a set aside fund to cover his future medical expenses.

A Cheektowaga, NY corrections officer received a settlement of $149,008.77 for multiple injuries sustained when she slipped and fell on ice in a parking lot, striking her entire left side.

A Buffalo, NY woman received $93,625.04 following a slip and fall on ice at work, wherein she struck her head and sustained a concussion and multiple injuries. Her accident resulted in surgery and continued therapy. Her settlement provides for a medical set aside as well as an annuity fund.

A Lackawanna, NY custodian received $176,000.00 when he injured his back from a ladder, requiring surgery. His medical benefits continue to be covered by the insurance carrier.

A Tonawanda, NY woman received $216,750.00 was awarded to a Tonawanda, NY worker who sustained multiple injuries to her neck, back, shoulder, and other body sites when she was struck from behind by another motor vehicle. The accident required the claimant to lose time from work and undergo substantial treatment. Her settlement includes a set aside for future medical expenses.

A Tonawanda, NY corrections officer received $283,470.62 for multiple injuries sustained in an altercation with an inmate.

A Depew, NY man received $127,500.00 was awarded to a Depew, NY truck driver who injured his back and right leg while making a large delivery. His settlement includes a medical set aside for future expenses as well as an annuity.

A Cuba, NY state trooper received $117,066.93 after he fell on ice, landing on his back and striking his head. His settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits to the claimant.

A Buffalo, NY mechanic received $212,500.00 settlement after sustaining injuries to his back, which required multiple surgeries. The settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits to the claimant.

A Machias, NY man received $170,000.00 after sustaining multiple injuries when he slipped and fell in a parking lot while working. His accident required surgery to his shoulder, and his settlement includes a medical set aside fund for future treatment.

A Forestville, NY Department of Corrections employee received $170,000.00 after she slipped and fell on ice down a concrete staircase, injuring her entire left side. The settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits to the claimant.

A Buffalo, NY corrections officer received $89,618.00 for numerous injuries sustained during a confrontation with an inmate. The settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits to the claimant.

A Buffalo, NY corrections officer received $89,618.00 for numerous injuries sustained during a confrontation with an inmate. The settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits to the claimant.

A Niagara Falls, NY bus driver received $89,250.00 after she was rear-ended by a taxi cab while driving students home, sustaining injuries to her neck, back, left shoulder and right wrist, and requiring multiple surgeries. Her settlement includes a fund set aside for future medical treatment.

An Eden, NY general mechanic and stationary engineer received $200,000.00 after injuring his back and left knee when he lost his foot carrying a heavy steel door across a catwalk and fell to one knee. His settlement provides for the continuation of his medical benefits.

A Buffalo, NY injured worker received $133,500.00 after injuring his neck and right shoulder when tending to a resident. His settlement includes provisions for a medical set aside for future treatment.

A Buffalo, NY delivery truck driver received $116,950 for injuries to his neck and elbow, as well as a concussion, following a single truck accident that occurred when he was making a delivery and was cut off by another vehicle, causing him to drive off the road. His settlement includes a medical set aside for future expenses.

An Elma, NY machinist received $97,750.00 for injuries to his neck and back while working with a die cutter. His settlement provides for the continuation of medical benefits throughout his life.

A Lakeview, NY corrections officer received $166,814.82 for injuries to his shoulder, elbow, and knee, following a fall down a stairway that required surgery to his shoulder.

A dental hygienist from Cheektowaga, NY received $150,000.00 after developing carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome from repetitive movements associated with her work. Her settlement includes a fund set aside for future medical treatment.

A Buffalo, NY business account executive sustained injuries to multiple body parts following a car accident in which he was rear-ended by another vehicle while driving to an appointment. He received $102,500.00 in a settlement that includes a medical set aside for future treatment.

A Scio, NY man received $83,750.00 for injuries to his low back sustained over the course of his employment as a truck driver. His settlement provides for a fund set aside for future medical treatment, as well as an annuity.

A Ft. Myers, Florida pharmacy technician sustained injuries to her back while lifting totes, requiring multiple surgeries. She received $137,542.00 and her settlement includes a medical set aside for future treatment as well as a lifetime annuity,

David Zimmerman Joins LOSI & GANGI Attorneys

By New Attorney

 

David C. Zimmerman

Buffalo, NY – LOSI & GANGI has added new attorney, David C. Zimmerman, to the firm’s workers’ compensation practice. Mr. Zimmerman joined the firm in 2021 and concentrates his practice in areas of workers compensation and social security disability. He has been practicing law for more than 30 years. Prior to joining LOSI & GANGI, Zimmerman was an attorney at the firm of Cellino & Barnes and subsequently Cellino Law PC. where he headed the workers compensation department.

An experienced advocate for injured workers, Zimmerman believes his commitment to hard-working men and women comes from his upbringing in Buffalo, New York. “I firmly believe that by retaining me, injured workers will secure a better result than if they filed a workers compensation claim on their own. You can rest assured that I will not permit the insurance company or their hired attorney to trample on your rights. I can promise you that I will zealously represent you in court, I will diligently handle all your aspects of your claim, and I will deal with you in a respectful and courteous manner.”

Pre-existing medical conditions and workers' compensation

Will a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Prevent you from Receiving Workers’ Compensation?

By Workers Compensation

August 5, 2021

Workers’ compensation cases are often controversial, and pre-existing medical conditions add to the confusion as to whether or not one is eligible in receiving their claim. Work injuries happen very frequently and are likely to arise from working in physical industries like construction, manufacturing, agriculture, and transportation jobs. Those who have a pre-existing injury are much more at risk to get injured working in these fields than those who do not. 

In the result of a workplace injury, workers’ compensation must be paid. However, employees with pre-existing conditions unfortunately get denied from their work place injury claim far too often. For this reason, we want to make sure you know and understand all of the facts and regulations regarding pre-existing injuries and workers’ compensation. We will also cover how to have a plan of action in the event you encounter a situation where this applies to you or someone you know. It is our goal to help you obtain the compensation you are entitled to. 

What is a Pre-Existing Medical Condition? 

It is important to point out what exactly a pre-existing medical condition is. As defined, a pre-existing medical condition is any condition or injury that existed before the workplace injury. Many people deal with pre-existing medical conditions on a daily basis. Some conditions may be severe and create challenges with everyday tasks such as chronic back pain. 

Contrarily, other pre-existing medical conditions can be as minor as an injury that flares up every once in a while. For instance, a high school ACL tear injury from playing a sport may be healed from surgery, but can act up when you do certain motions or put too much pressure on it.

Pre-Existing Conditions Examined Under the Law

Under New York State law, it is stated that If the condition is due to a previous work-related injury in which you have been receiving workers’ compensation for, then you can be eligible to receive additional workers’ compensation if it is further aggravated or has contributed to another condition.

It can be a tough call to make if you are unsure if your pre-existing condition has become worsened from performing a work-related task. A good rule of thumb to follow is : If your work responsibilities caused the pre-existing condition to once again require care and treatment. Therefore, if you find you need to seek additional medical help, you are most likely experiencing an aggravation of your pre-existing condition. 

How do you prove that Aggravation to a Pre-Existing Injury Happened? 

It is very important that an employee is able to prove that the aggravation happened at work or else they will not be able to receive their additional benefits. In other words, one must need actual proof that their pre-existing condition was made worse from a work related task. It is not good enough to simply state that your pre-existing condition is acting up and bothering you for you to receive the additional workers’ compensation. 

So, what can you do to prove this? One way in which you can accomplish this is by getting medical attention from an experienced workers comp doctor. Documenting your injuries right after the accident is crucial and it will help strengthen your case. Also, you must inform your doctor about any pre-existing conditions and let them know of any symptoms or injuries that have worsened or changed after the accident. 

Finally, you should follow up with your original pre-existing condition treatment provider. This way, you will have a record of your initial report from the injury and be able to point out any new changes or symptoms that occurred since this accident. 

The Degree to which the Injury was Caused by a Work Environment 

There are several scenarios where pre-existing conditions can make it confusing when determining how responsible an employer is for a new injury. Let’s say, for example, a worker gets his hand caught in a machine and now his hand has permanent damage. However, in his previous job, he had already injured this hand and therefore was at a disadvantage working in his current job with limited functionality. 

The question now raised from this scenario is: To what extent is the current job responsible for his permanent hand injury? This will require lawyers as well as an examination from a doctor. it is especially important to analyze the medical records and use them to make a comparison between the new injury as well as the old injury charts. 

Losi & Gangi is here to make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to. If you have any questions regarding pre-existing medical conditions when it comes to reviving workers’ compensation benefits… contact Losi & Gangi to speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers at (716) 854-1446

 

Article Adapted from:

https://www.injuredcalltoday.com/do-pre-existing-conditions-affect-your-workers-comp-claim-in-new-york/

Are Remote Workers Entitled to Worker’s Compensation?

By Uncategorized

The rule has always been that employers are liable for employees workers’ compensation when injuries arise in the workplace. However, in recent years, rules had to be adjusted with the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and countless offices requiring their employees to work from home. The workplace culture is forever changed as a result of COVID-19 and new norms have been established. Even as many business have slowly began to reopen, working from home may be here to stay and has become much more normal than it was prior to the pandemic. 

Remote workers have come into question as to whether or not they are eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Some people say no, arguing that since they are at home and not in a traditional workplace setting, then it doesn’t qualify as a work injury. Others however, disagree and argue that if the injury happens during work hours and is work related, then workers’ compensation must be provided.

Women in neck pain working on lap top

Image courtesy of IWP – The Patient Advocate Pharmacy

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board had to find the answer to the question: “Are work injuries sustained at home in New York covered by workers’ compensation?” 

To answer this in short, yes – workers’ compensation is covered by New York for remote workers. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board articulated the following rule: “injuries sustained by employees working from home should only be found to be compensable when they occur during the employee’s regular work hours and while the employee is ‘actually performing her employment duties”. It is tricky to digest who is responsible for a work injury at home when there is no one around to see what happened. Following the honor system and trusting that people are telling the whole truth regarding unwitnessed accidents is not reliable. For this reason, the Workers’ Compensation Board has strongly recommended that in the event of an injury, employees must provide a detailed report of the incident including time, place, and circumstances surrounding the incident. This way, the events are well documented and can allow for proper review by the board. 

Women in back pain from remote working

Image courtesy of IWP – The Patient Advocate Pharmacy

Examples of Common Work from Home Injuries: 

  1. Back related injuries: Many remote workers are getting their work done from their couches, at their kitchen tables, their beds, or their coffee tables. A combination of sitting hunched over and poor posture results in back pain. 
  2. Rotator cuff injuries: Pinched nerves in the neck and cervical spine have gone up 
  3. Eye strain and fatigue: Squinting at a small laptop monitor without taking breaks can lead to eye strain and fatigue resulting In headaches, blurry vision, and dry itchy eyes
  4. Wrist pain and Carpal tunnel syndrome: lack of wrist support can put strain on the wrist. 

Working compensation claims are not always cut and dry, and of course, there is some grey area when defining what a work from home injury consists of. Additionally, It’s no secret that people love to find loop holes especially when it comes to receiving money. With the flexibility that comes along with working from a home setting, it became much easier to do this. An off-the-clock injury can be misconstrued into a work related injury all too easily if worded properly. This is why there must be a clear understanding and distinction between personal activities and work related tasks. Activities like taking a short break, getting something to eat, or exercising don’t fall into the category of being eligible for workers’ compensation. 

The home environment allows for many distractions and opportunities to deter from  employment-related tasks. Making sure that these personal activities don’t get tangled up as a work related task is the most challenging part of classifying which cases are compensable while working remotely. 

If you have any questions… Contact Losi & Gangi to speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers at (716) 854-1446.

 

Understanding Workers Compensation: Is Your Injury or Illness Work Related?

By Workers Compensation

If you have recently been injured and are seeking workers compensation benefits, you will have to show that your injury or illness is work related.  Typically, if you were doing something for the benefit of your employer and you became ill or was injured as a result, then your injury or illness can be classified as work related.  You must meet the following eligibility requirements  to receive benefits: 

  • Be an employee 
  • Your employer must carry workers’ comp insurance 
  • You must have a work related injury or illness 
  • You must meet your state’s deadlines for reporting the injury and filing a workers’ comp claim 

Here are some common situations: 

Lunch Breaks

Usually, injuries that happen on an employee’s lunch break are not considered work related.  If you were hurt while eating lunch on the company’s premises (lunchroom or cafeteria) the injury will generally be considered work related unless you were doing something during the lunch break that wasn’t allowed or fell within exceptions to workers’ comp coverage.  

Company Events 

If your company sponsors special events like parties, picnics or sporting games, injuries that occur at these events are usually considered work related.  There can be an exception if the employer doesn’t require their employees to participate in the off-duty events.  

Travel 

Under the “going and coming rule,” workers comp generally doesn’t cover injuries sustained during your commute to and from work.  There are exceptions to this rule including: 

  • Driving a company vehicle 
  • Required to bring your own car for business use during the work day 
  • Doing special errands for your employer 
  • Traveling on a business trip 
  • An employee who regularly travels for work or doesn’t have a regular fixed work site 

Misconduct

If you were injured while breaking a workplace safety rule or doing something that your employer has prohibited, your injury might still be covered by workers’ comp.  This is part of the workers’ compensation bargain. Employees do not have the right to sue their employer for work-related injuries but those injuries are usually covered by workers’ comp regardless of fault.  There are some exceptions to the rule.  For example, workers’ comp usually doesn’t cover injuries that happen because an employee was under the influence of alcohol or using illegal drugs.  Several states rule our workers’ comp coverage when the injured employees were: 

  • Trying to hurt themselves or someone else 
  • Committing a serious crime 
  • Horseplay
  • Breaking a workplace rule on purpose 

Illness, Cumulative Injuries and Stress-Related Conditions

Workers’ comp may also cover cumulative injuries developed over time (repetitive stress injuries RSIs) occupational diseases and other illnesses resulting from on the job exposure and physical or psychological illness resulting from workplace stress.  In these cases, it may be difficult to prove that the illness or injury is work related especial in the case of infectious diseases like COVID 19.  If a pre-existing condition was irritated at work, it could possibly be considered a workplace injury.  

If you have questions regarding your injury or illness call Losi & Gangi today at 716-854-1446.  Our attorneys will help answer all of your questions and find out whether you might be eligible for benefits under worker’s comp.  

Article adapted from: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/workers-compensation-injury-or-illness-32964.html

Warehouse Safety

By Workplace Safety

In the past few years there was been a significant increase in the number of warehouse and warehouse workers in the world.  In the United States alone, there are more than one million warehouse workers!  These employees can be exposed to many hazards and it is important to train your staff so that everyone stays safe while at work.

Back injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries and in warehouses, they usually arise from improper lifting techniques.  Improper lifting or twisting while carrying a heavy load can lead to sprains, torn muscle or cartilage and displaced vertebrae.  The most repetitive lifting your employees do, the more at risk your employees are for back injuries.  Mechanical lifting methods, like a pallet jack or dolly, should be available on site but if you do not have any mechanical lifting methods, you should train your employees on ways to reduce the risks of a manual lift.  Safe manual lifting practices include:

  • Planning lifts before getting started
  • Checking the load for information tags
  • Using the handles on the load or adding some if not already available
  • Testing the load’s stability and weight
  • Asking for assistance if the load is too heavy or awkward for one person
  • Wearing gloves and long sleeves to protect hands and forearms
  • Bending your knees to lower yourself in front of the item, instead of bending your back
  • Keeping the load between your chest and knees

By properly handling and storing materials it will help reduce the risk of multiple hazards including slips, trips and falls, fires and dropped objects.  To prevent boxes and materials from falling, they should be stacked evenly in a straight line with the heaviest materials on the bottom.  Employees should only remove items from shelves one at a time.  By blocking, interlocking or limiting the height of the pile, this will help loose materials from falling.  Materials should be stored safely to help prevent fire hazards, explosions and pest infestation.  Keep the floors clean and free of slip and fall hazards.

Forklifts and trucks can be located on a loading dock and where heights and heavy lifting can take place.  Open loading dock doors should be blocked off when not in use and the edges of the dock should have visual warnings and signage.  Never jump off or climb up a loading dock; use the ladder or stairs.

If the warehouse has chemicals or compressed gas, each chemical should have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) associated with it.  The SDS will tell you how to handle and safely store the chemical.  Employees should never attempt to use or clean up a chemical even after reading the SDS, unless they have been trained on how to properly handle the chemical.  An emergency plan should be put into place which delegates what roles people should be responsible for in case of an emergency.  The plan should include emergency exit locations, evacuation procedures and the location of all emergency equipment including fire extinguishers.  This plan should be reviewed thoroughly and constantly revised so that your team is up to date on all safety precautions.

To reduce the risk of fires, flammable and explosive materials must be stored in appropriate storage areas away from other materials and any source of ignition.  Chemicals should be stored according to manufacturer recommendations and relevant fire codes.  Smoking and open flames should be prohibited in the warehouse especially in battery charging or compressed-gas storage areas.

Providing your employees with mechanical equipment to help them lift heavy or bulky objects can help speed up the process and reduce the risk of injuries but come with their own risks.  Forklifts alone cause approximately 8,500 injuries and 90 deaths each year across all industries.  Lifting equipment involves pinch point hazards and cranes create overhead, struck by and dropped object hazards.  Before allowing any employee to use any equipment, you should properly train them and make sure they are following manufacturer instructions.  Forklift is a term commonly used for a group of vehicles that OSHA classifies as “powered industrial trucks.”  The most common types of powered industrial trucks (PITs) are electric and internal combustion engine rider trucks.  Forklift tractors, narrow aisle trucks, motorized pallet jacks and rough terrain forklifts all classify as PITs.  Employees should be trained on using a forklift from the controls, to any specific hazards that are found in the workspace.

Warehouses are a necessity in many industries but they come with their own risks such as heavy machinery and hazardous substances.  Training is an important part of running a safe warehouse and will be an effective communication tool for your staff.  Your employees will be working in a safe environment and will know what their role is within the warehouse.

If you have recently suffered an injury in a warehouse contact Losi Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation.  We will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case.

Article adapted from: https://safetyskills.com/warehouse-safety/

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

By Uncategorized

When someone dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another, including murder, the surviving members of the victim’s family may sue for wrongful death. When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you are seeking damages for the survivors’ loss which includes lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship and expenses for the funeral. The right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death is fairly new, common law did not allow this kind of lawsuit. Every state in this country now has some kind of wrongful death law.

Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents from simple car accidents to medical malpractice or product liability cases. People, companies and government agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently. To file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York State the following must be shown:

– The death of a person
– The death was caused by wrongful conduct or negligence of another
– The wrongful conduct/negligence could be subject of a lawsuit where the person harmed could have recovered damages if they didn’t die (pain and suffering)
– Survivors who have suffered specific damages due to the death

A wrongful death claim must be filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the decedent’s death, otherwise known as the real parties in interest. Unlike many other state, New York places the responsibility for filing a wrongful death claim to the personal representative of the deceased persons estate. New York State will not allow a family member to bring a wrongful death claim to court unless that family member is also the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. New York law allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

– The decedent’s spouse
– The decedent’s children
– The decedent’s parents
– The personal representative for the estate of the decedent

Damages awarded in New York wrongful death cases depend on the specific facts that are demonstrated in court. Damages have been awarded in New York wrongful death cases for losses such as:

– Funeral and burial expenses
– Reasonable medical, nursing and other health care expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness
– Wages and benefits lost between the deceased person’s final injury or illness and his or her death
– Value of support and services the deceased provided to family members
– Value of parental nurturing, care and guidance to surviving children
– Lost inheritance suffered by surviving children
– Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased due to the final injury or illness
– Nine percent interest on the damages award, calculated from the date of birth

New York State does not allow surviving family members to recover their own damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish or loss of companionship even if the deceased is a child. Parents may recover damages for the lost value of services such as household chores, performed by the child but the amount is reduced by the reasonable cost of caring for the children until they have reached adulthood.

A wrongful death claim in New York must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death. This is known as a statute of limitations, bars wrongful death claims from being filed in New York courts if more than two years have passed between the date of death and date of filing. New York does not stop the statute of limitations from running if the personal representative of the deceased person is a child or legally incapable of filing the claim. In these specific cases, the guardian of the child or incapable person is expected to file the wrongful death claim instead.

Nothing can take away the pain and suffering of losing a loved one but if the loss is due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages. Contact Losi Gangi if you feel you have a valid wrongful death claim at 716-854-1446.