Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Hip & Knee Injuries
Knee injuries and hip injuries in the workplace can result from repetitive trauma involving kneeling or crawling at work, or repetitive acts of pulling, pushing or lifting. Many workers suffer from a serious ACL or meniscal tear caused by a specific on-the-job incident.
Hip and knee injuries the can impact your ability to carry out basic job duties, and even compromise your ability to continue earning a living. Our Washington workers' compensation attorneys are committed advocates of employees across the state, and will fight aggressively to help you secure the medical care and time loss benefits you deserve.
Neck & Back Injuries
If you suffer a workplace back injury or neck injury, it is critical that you are diagnosed immediately and accurately following your workplace accident. Proper diagnoses can generally be secured with an MRI, CT scan or myelogram, and will help ensure that you receive the needed treatment for a successful medical outcome. Our workers’ compensation attorneys in Seattle work closely with clients throughout the medical process to make sure they are paired with specialists who will properly diagnose and effectively treat their back and neck conditions.
Emery Reddy frequently handles neck and back injuries including bulging discs, herniated discs, pinched nerves, stenosis, myelopathy, arachnoiditis, failed back or post-laminectomy syndrome, cervical and lumbar disc fractures, and cases involving workers who have undergone or need laminectomies, disectomies, or fusions. We also understand that pain management is indispensible to the treatment program for a neck or back injury. Workers may have difficulty getting approval for physical therapy, medication, injections, facet blocks, or even spinal cord stimulators that can provide needed relief from pain. The Washington L&I lawyers at Emery Reddy can review your medical records and work with your doctor to support your claim for a neck or back injury.
Jobs involving physical labor and repetitive motion increase the risk of shoulder injuries. The impact of repetitive twisting, turning, lifting, and other apparently harmless motions can accumulate over time and lead to serious shoulder damage. Isolated accidents can also disable a worker who is otherwise in perfect physical condition, forcing them to alter physical activities to as a result of a shoulder injury.
A Seattle workers' compensation attorney at Emery Reddy will fight for your interests when the Department of Labor & Industries or your self-insured employer denies compensation, benefits or the medical care you deserve.
Work-Related Hearing Loss
In most cases, acoustic trauma is the primary cause of occupational hearing loss. Impaired hearing or permanent hearing loss may result from a single instance of exposure to an extremely loud noise, such as an explosion. More commonly, though, hearing is progressively weakened by regular and prolonged exposure to noisy work environments.
Noisy Workplaces Cause Permanent Hearing Loss For Washington Employees
Diminishment of hearing can sometimes occur in a very short period of time. However, work-related hearing loss generally occurs gradually, whether that damage involves loss in level, range, or even serious permanent nerve damage. In many cases, workers do not even realize that they’ve suffered an impaired ability to sense normal levels of sound until symptoms are relatively severe.
Determining if Your Workplace is too Noisy
Many factors affect job-related inner ear damage, including loudness, pitch, the length of a workers’ exposure to noise, and patterns and frequency of using ear protection (such as headsets or ear plugs). Ongoing exposure to just 85 decibels of sound can impair hearing over time. The average power tool puts out about 100 decibels of sound; 120 decibels is sufficient to cause permanent hearing loss after just a few hours. Standing in proximity to an active nail gun can expose a worker to as much as 140 – 170 decibels – enough to cause instant inner ear damage.
If there are times when you need to shout to be heard above the noise on a worksite, or must strain to understand someone standing nearby talking in a normal voice, your workplace noise levels may be causing hearing loss.
Employees who are exposed to high levels of noise in the workplace should look for the following signs of potential hearing loss, and take measures to protect their ears:
- sounds becoming muffled or distorted
- diminished ability to hear high-pitched noises
- ringing or roaring sounds in one or both ears
- difficulty understanding others during conversation
Seattle Hearing Loss Attorney
Hearing loss can affect almost every aspect of your life. A worker whose hearing has become seriously impaired or who has suffered permanent hearing loss from exposure to loud noises at work or a sudden workplace injury may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. The Washington Workers' Compensation attorneys at Emery Reddy handle a wide range of L&I claims and appeals involving work-related hearing loss. Call our firm today for a free consultation.
Occupational Disease Attorneys
An occupational disease can be any chronic illness or condition that results from an individual’s job or work-related activities. Generally, occupational diseases are identified when a particular group of workers suffer a medical condition at a higher rate than the general population.
The laws and regulations of Washington’s L&I system presume that certain medical conditions are caused by one’s work environment and activities, placing the burden of proof on the employer or insurer if they seek to demonstrate that that disease arose from another cause outside the workplace.
Some examples of occupational disease include:
- Lung diseases including asbestosis among asbestos miners and those who work with friable asbestos insulation; black lung (coal miner’s pneumoconiosis); byssinosis among cotton textile workers.
- Occupational asthma: Occupational asthma occurs when an individual is exposed and reacts to an asthma trigger in the workplace. Triggers are external factors or conditions in one’s own body that cause asthma to arise or worsen. Workers who experience a high incidence of occupational asthma include healthcare workers, construction workers, food preparation and processing or food service employees, metal workers, factory workers, agricultural workers, electronics workers, carpet makers, janitors and cleaning staff, painters and textile workers.
- Skin diseases including eczema, urticaria, sunburn and skin cancer. High-risk occupations include hairdressing, healthcare, printing, motor vehicle repair, construction, and many others.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: CTS is common among persons who work in jobs involving repetitive motions with the hands and wrists (common examples include workers in information technology and the poultry industry).
- Lead poisoning affects workers in industries that previously or currently process or use lead or lead compounds.
- Latent injury claims can involve substances like asbestos, mold, silica, carbon monoxide, lead paint, benzene, and various chemicals, carcinogens, and EPA-regulated substances.
L&I Assessment of Occupational Disease
One of the first factors that L&I assesses in an occupational disease claim is the age or duration of a workers’ medical condition. Occupational illness claims are quite different from more straightforward work injuries that can be traced to a particular moment in time (for example, a wrist facture that occurred one day or one week ago). An occupational disease may have begun to develop ten or twenty years earlier while an individual worked in a completely different industry. Many of these medical conditions are latent, meaning the worker does not know precisely when he or she began to suffer the effects of the disease, which worsens progressively over a period of time.
A wide spectrum of factors can go into an occupational disease claim, including employment history, the length of time worked at particular jobs, the work conditions at each place of employment, when the illness began to develop, etc. In addition, pinpointing the moment in time when an occupational disease arose twenty or thirty years earlier can be fraught with speculation. For help recovering the maximum benefits from your occupational disease claim with L&I, contact a Washington Workers' Compensation Lawyer at Emery Reddy.
Read more about the difficulties of identifying causes of occupational disease.
Download L&I claim forms for Occupational Disease.
Construction Site Accident Attorneys
Construction jobs rank among the most dangerous work in the U.S. Thousands of Washington workers are killed or seriously injured each year in construction site accidents. Frequent injuries may involve:
- Scaffolding accidents
- Crane accidents
- Accidents involving compressed gases or chemicals
- Defective machinery or equipment
- Welding and cutting accidents
In many cases the party identified as responsible for a construction site accident is the employer, a coworker, or simply the injured worker. Under these circumstances, a Workers’ Compensation claim is handled by the Department of Labor and Industries, which determines benefits according to its own guidelines and regulations. However, when the negligence of someone other than the regular employer contributes to a construction site injury – or if an accident takes place off-site from the usual workplace – workers may be eligible to bring a third-party liability claim for additional compensation and benefits. Unlike workers’ compensation claims, there is practically no limit to the amount of awards in third-party liability claims. This means that an injured worker may receive further medical benefits, wage-loss compensation, and additional damages for personal pain and suffering.
Construction site accident claims are often highly complicated because of the multi-faceted structure of the industry. Building projects can include multiple contractors and sub-contractors, rental businesses, workers hired by different companies, various property owners and equipment manufacturers. This can make it challenging to identify a responsible party. Injured workers need experienced, knowledgeable and dedicated legal representation to evaluate the viability of their claim and aggressively pursue the benefits and compensation they deserve. Emery Reddy’s Construction Accident Attorneys can help clients recover the maximum compensation entitled by Washington law. We founded our practice on a commitment to advocating for workers’ rights, and are proud of our record protecting the injured and disabled. Contact one of our attorneys today for a free consultation on your third party liability or workers’ compensation claim.
Repetitive Stress Injuries
Repetitive stress injuries – also known as repetitive strain – involve conditions that arise from placing excessive stress on a joint. A repetitive stress injury results when the same or similar actions are performed again and again. Stress to a joint pulls on surrounding tissues, including tendons, muscles and bursae. The repetitive nature of the action means that an important part of the anatomy has insufficient time to recover, until the affected area swells and becomes painful.
The most frequent repetitive stress injuries are tendinitis and bursitis. Tendinitis is a condition where the tendon or surrounding sheath becomes highly inflamed. Bursitis is inflammation occurring in the bursa.
Particular types of repetitive stress injury accompany certain actions: these include Bicipital Tendinitis (often from scrubbing motions), Tennis Elbow from bending the wrist backwards (as when using a paint brush), Golfer’s Elbow from bending the wrist forward (when pulling ropes, for instance), and DeQuervain’s Tendosynovitis (from cumulative pinching or twisting of the wrist).
If you have a repetitive stress injury related to tasks performed at work, contact an Emery Reddy Workers' Compensation lawyer for a free consultation and thorough investigation of your case.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel syndrome is compression of the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel, and is most commonly associated with long spells of typing on a keyboard, although exact causes remain disputed within the medical community. Primary symptoms of CTS include sporadic numbness of the thumb, index, long and radial side of the ring finger. Numbness tends to occur at night because many people sleep with their wrists flexed. Long-standing CTS can result in serious and permanent nerve damage, with workers eventually experiencing constant numbness, atrophy of muscles in the hand, and weakness of palmar abduction.
Upper extremity conditions like carpal tunnel and tendinitis are not always caused by repetitive motion. In some cases, a job-related wrist fracture can trigger immediate medical difficulties and prevent an individual from completing even routine tasks at work. Workers suffering from these conditions need an advocate who understands the legal and medical aspects of disability claims, and who will aggressively represent their interests. To ensure that you receive the maxim L&I benefits you deserve, contact a Washington Workers' Compensation attorney at Emery Reddy for a free consultation.
Work-related injuries have multiple outcomes. While outward physical symptoms can be the easiest to recognize, anxiety and depression can also develop when an injury or illness causes prolonged pain, prevents someone from carrying on their work, or alters the nature of their family and social life or personal activities. While mental conditions cannot be diagnosed with a stethoscope or x-ray, it is important to identify and treat these conditions so that depression and anxiety do not impair a patient’s ability to return to work.
The Washington Workers' Compensation lawyers at Emery Reddy take depression as seriously as any other physical injury that clients suffer, and will fight to ensure that you get the full treatment you need from your L&I claim.
Navigating the L&I claims process can be extremely complex and time consuming. An experienced Washington L&I attorney can help you through the following stages of your claim:
Our Philosophy: Compassion & Commitment
After the initial ordeal of an injury, victims may face another round of difficulties as they cope with chronic pain, medical bills, lost wages and emotional stress. We know how challenging this can be for you and your family, and are committed to supporting you through every step of the process with a full range of legal services. Knowing that you are represented by an attorney who will work tirelessly on your behalf can significantly lighten your burden, allowing you to focus on the highest priority of all: your recovery.
For a free consultation, we invite you to contact us, or request a meeting on our client scheduling calendar.
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