Workers’ Compensation Injuries
Hip & Knee Injuries
Knee injuries, especially traumatic injuries that require surgery or total knee reconstruction, can occur from blunt trauma, repetitive stress, or simple aging. Acts such as lifting, crawling on an already injured knee, slipping, falling, or maneuvering in tight spaces or on ladders can result in serious injury requiring medical care and filing of a Workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, workers may have claims against others, in addition to the worker’s employer, if a third party is involved. A workers’ compensation claim against a worker’s employer fails under the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries Permanent Partial Disability Category Awards schedule. http://lni.wa.gov/ClaimsIns/Files/SelfIns/ClaimMgt/2017PpdSched.pdf. Call Emery Reddy’s experienced L&I litigation team to talk to an Intake Specialist and learn more about your options and whether you have a case.
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 Seattle 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
Following a serious spine, neck or back injury, the first step is to immediately seek medical attention, which includes a full diagnosis. Often, medical facilities do not want to order an MRI, CT Scan, x-ray, or myelogram, but these diagnostic tests, and their results, often form the backbone of any injury claim. It is critical to get diagnosed as quickly as possible by a medical professional, and to ensure that the diagnosis is in writing, and unequivocally illustrates your injury. If you cannot get diagnosed, call an attorney for options on medical providers who will be willing to see you and diagnose your injury. The period of time immediately following a spine, neck, or back injury is the most critical in documenting your injury, which is necessary for your eventual workers’ compensation claim. Additionally, this information is critical if you have a third party claim for negligence against an individual or entity other than your employer. We find that a significant portion of workers’ compensation and L&I claims also require a third party claim, and we regularly file third party claims in state court alongside the workers’ comp claims at the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals.
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 for your work injuries.
SEATTLE HEARING LOSS LAWYERS
Occupational hearing loss is a common workers’ compensation and L&I claim in Washington State, especially for workers in the industries of aviation, heavy construction, and services and events. The medical professionals on whose opinions we regularly rely opine that acoustic trauma is a major source of occupational hearing loss, and this trauma occurs most often in industries where workers are exposed to repeated sounds that exceed 80 decibels.
However, hearing loss, either permanent or temporary, may result from exposure to a single instance of a loud noise at or above 120 decibels. Exposure to gunshots, explosions, or extremely loud engine noises that exceed this decibel threshold may give rise to a workers’ compensation and L&I occupational hearing loss claim. We have successfully represented clients who have worked at gun ranges, as airplane mechanics, in demolition careers, and in heavy construction. Our award-winning attorneys regularly file occupational injury claims before the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals. We have successfully litigated hundreds of similar claims. Call us to find out if we can help you.
WASHINGTON WORKERS’ COMP PPD CLAIMS FOR HEARING LOSS
Most hearing loss occurs gradually over time; most workers are unaware of the damage that has occurred until the finally see an audiologist or ENT for a complete diagnosis. 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. However, hearing loss can occur rapidly after a single traumatic event at work.
Hearing loss outside of work may also give rise to an L&I claim. In fact, even when a claimant is forced to sustain a high-decibel-related injury at a location other than work, that individual may have a valid workers’ comp claim. In other words, you don’t have to be at work when your hearing is damaged to qualify for a permanent partial disability based on your occupational hearing loss or single traumatic event.
IS YOUR WORKPLACE TOO LOUD?
When considering the noise level at your work and whether it is causing or has caused you permanent inner ear damage, consider decibel level, duration of noise, pitch, the length of your exposure to that noise, and patterns and frequency of any noises over 80 decibels. You should also consider how often you wear ear protection, such as headsets or earplugs. Repeated exposure to just 80 decibels of noise can impair your hearing. The average power tool emits up to 100 decibels of sound – 120 decibels is enough sound to create hearing loss if the sound persists for even a few hours. For example, a worker using a nail gun (or standing near its repeated use) can expose the worker to as much as 170 decibels, which is sufficient to cause instant hearing loss and inner ear damage.
A good rule of thumb to determine whether you are exposed to a noise level that may cause you permanent hearing loss is whether you need to shout to be heard in your workplace. If you have to shout over other noise, or strain to understand someone near you who is not shouting, the volume of the sound in your workplace may be causing you permanent damage.
The best way to accurately measure noise at your workplace is to purchase a digital sound level meter to gauge the minimum decibel level at your workplace. There are many options available online, and you do not need to spend more than $20 to purchase this device. Make certain that you use the device at regular intervals to record your workplace noise level. You should also ensure that you record the exact decibel level, date and time of the reading, and total duration of the decibel level. Building a complete spreadsheet that shows the decibel level at regular intervals over a prolonged period of time is typically helpful to proving an occupational hearing loss claim.
COMMON WARNING SIGNS OF OCCUPATIONAL HEARING LOSS
If you experience one or more the following symptoms, you should take immediate steps to protect your hearing using ear plugs or a headset; make an appointment with an audiologist, ENT, or both, and call our Intake Team to discuss your potential claim:
- sounds or distorted strange
- difficulty hearing higher pitches (or complete loss of hearing some pitches, when compared to others at your workplace)
- ringing sound in one or both ears
- roaring or rushing sounds in one or both ears
- difficulty understanding others
- having to regularly ask others to repeat themselves
SEATTLE HEARING LOSS LAWYERS
Hearing loss can negatively affect many facets of your life. It may make you less productive at work, and it can detrimentally affect your personal life. If your hearing has been damaged as a result of your work, you may have a valid workers’ compensation and L&I claim. The award-winning attorneys at Emery Reddy regularly handle a wide variety of occupational illness claims and can assist you in your claim and potential appeal for your work-related hearing loss. Call us today to find out how we can help you.
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE L&I ATTORNEYS
An “occupational disease” is defined as any chronic condition or illness that occurred as a result of an injured worker’s job, career, or work-related functions or activities. An occupational illness can be proven on an individual basis, with expert testimony from a qualified physician, or it can be proven by statistics, when a worker suffers from an occupational disease at a significantly higher rate than the population or the worker’s peer group.
OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES – BURDEN SHIFTING
Washington L&I and workers’ compensation law presume that certain specific medical conditions are caused by work-related activities. The occurrence of these diseases in a worker shift the burden of proof to the employer to prove that the occupational disease was not caused by workplace activities. In these instances, the employer or insurer must show that the disease occurred as a result of activities outside the workplace.
EXAMPLES OF OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES
One of the most common types of recognized occupational disease is asthma, which occurs when a worker suffers from asthma-related triggers as a result of a workplace exposure. These triggers can either cause asthma to occur for the first time, or aggravate an existing asthma condition, causing it to worsen. We typically see these types of claims occur most often in specific industries, such as construction, manufacturing, painting, and agriculture. Certain workers, such as painters, construction workers (especially those on demo crews), metal workers, factory workers, field workers, electronics workers, janitors and cleaning workers, and textile workers are also more likely to face exposure to substances that can cause asthma. However, we have also seen cases of occupational disease strike healthcare and office workers, depending on the location, environment and duration and rate of exposure.
Lung diseases also create L&I claims for occupational diseases. Asbestos exposure, which can cause a range of occupational diseases, occurs most often in those who work with asbestos removal, asbestos insulation, and textile chemicals. Byssinosis is common to textile workers and those who work with friable asbestos insulation; and black lung (coal miner’s pneumoconiosis) is common among miners.
We also file workers’ compensation claims for skin diseases, such as eczema, urticaria, and skin cancer. We find that certain occupations are at a higher risk for these occupational illnesses, such as cosmetology, healthcare, printing, and vehicle repair.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common occupational illnesses giving rise to an L&I claim. CTS often plagues those workers with jobs that require repetitive hand and wrist motions. This occupational disease often affects those who work daily with computers, such as IT professionals, programmers, copywriters, and data analysts. However, this disease also affects workers in non-tech industries.
We have also successfully prosecuted claims for lead poisoning, which may affect workers in any industry that at any time processed or used lead or lead compounds. This occupational disease is most common to gun range workers and those in the automotive and steel industries.
We also litigate latent injury claims that involve substances like asbestos, mold, silica, carbon monoxide, lead paint, benzene, and various chemicals, carcinogens, and EPA-regulated substances. These L&I claims are often difficult and to prove and require an experienced litigator and the right resources to move a case forward.
PROVING THE L&I OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE
Occupational disease claims are unique in that they must be traced back to an exposure at a particular moment in time. The disease may have resulted from an initial exposure or a prolonged exposure, but in either case, the worker must first prove that at one point they came in contact with a substance that caused the illness. This can be particularly challenging to prove if the exposure occurred ten or twenty years earlier, for example. When we pursue occupational illness claims, our award-winning L&I attorneys review all available factors such as employment history, medical history, prior claims, work conditions, and the history of the particular claimed disease. Our goal is to put together a comprehensive story that pinpoints the original exposure and how that exposure led to the development of the occupational disease.
If you feel like you developed an occupational disease as a result of a workplace exposure to a harmful substance, please call us to find out how we can help you. Our Washington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers are highly trained in identifying and pursuing these types of L&I claims.
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 case analysis concerning your workers’ compensation injuries.
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 case analysis.
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 work injuries 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 case analysis, we invite you to contact us, or request a meeting on our client scheduling calendar.
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