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West Georgia Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Blog

Fatal workplace injuries on the rise

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released a new report showing a 7-percent jump in fatal workplace injuries between 2015 and 2016. It cited transportation as the most common cause of death on the job-accounting for about two-fifths of all incidences. Violence in the workplace rose 23 percent in the last year, making it the second most common cause of death at work.

The report outlines other notable trends. Slip and fall fatalities went up 25 percent between 2011 and 2016. In 2016 alone, individuals who work at high heights (e.g., tree trimmers, carpenters, roofers) as well as truck drivers experienced a more than 25 percent increase in falls. In addition, workers suffering overdoses on the job spiked 32 percent in 2016.

How to fall correctly

When you think of the dangers of slip and fall accidents, you might expect the serious risks to be borne by construction workers and other people who spend their days working on high ladders, rooftops and other high-risk environments. For the average Joe going about their daily routine, you might only expect a slip and fall accident to result in a sprained ankle or a bruised knee.

However, slip and fall accidents are the most common cause of emergency room visits--about 8 million visits per year. Falls lead to half of all accidental deaths occurring in the home--and most of these happen at ground level. More than 2 million slip and fall injuries per year are the result of the impact with the floor.  

Atlanta ranks #1 in truck congestion; increased risk of crashes

A recent study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) examined freeway bottlenecks commonly accessed by truckers in 300 different sites across the country. It found Atlanta's I-285 at I-85 (North) to be the most congested thoroughfare in the nation for trucks. This was followed closely behind by another Atlanta passageway--I-75 at I-285 (North)--in fourth place.

While the severity of motor vehicle crashes tends to increase when fewer vehicles are on the road (because cars and trucks are travelling at higher speeds), researchers have found that the frequency and numbers of crashes increase when traffic is more congested.  If the accident involves a semi-tractor trailers even a lower-speed crash can cause significant damages and injuries.  

What is your injury worth? Maybe less than you think, study finds

When it comes to seeking compensation for injuries after a work-related accident, it's oftentimes easy for insurers to total the damages that should be covered. That's because the cost of a doctor's visit, medical procedures, a hospital stay, an ambulance ride, prescription costs, other medical treatments and lost wages are relatively easy to calculate because they have a monetary cost associated with them. Psychological injuries, on the other hand, aren't so easy to calculate.

In workers' compensation cases involving psychological injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) -- which we outlined in an October blog post --recovering damages can be a challenge without help from a seasoned workers' compensation attorney. This is, in part, due to the fact it can be difficult to calculate a cost for pain and suffering. But as a recent study points out, recovering adequate damages for emotional losses may be trickier than most people think.

Georgia construction company cited for improper trenching safety

In a recent inspection of Dustcom Limited Inc., the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the company to be negligent in providing suitable safety conditions for trench workers--putting these workers at unnecessary risk of trench collapse. Dustcom received the maximum allowable fine: more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Trench collapses (also known as "cave-ins") are a serious--and often fatal--type of construction accident. OSHA requires that any of the following trench protective systems be in place at a construction site to reduce the risk of cave-ins:

Top 10 ways to maximize your workers' compensation claim

The moment someone suffers an injury at work is the moment most people start to worry about their financial situation and ask questions like: How will I pay my medical bills? How long will I be away from work? What will this do to my finances? Will I be compensated for childcare? What will happen if the doctor says I'm disabled?

Because of the serious financial impact workplace injuries can have on individuals and their families, it's incredibly important for workers to maximize the amount of compensation they can get from their claim. How can they do that? Simple, follow these 10 recommendations:

Get ready for the Georgia Safety Stand Down: January 22-26

This month, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Georgia is joining forces with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to put on a week-long campaign aimed at educating workers in the construction industry about workplace safety during the winter.

What does it involve?

How comparative negligence affects your personal injury claim

In a previous post, we discussed whether you have the right to sue if you were injured in a motorcycle accident but weren't wearing a helmet. Georgia law requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet will riding. However, failing to wear a helmet does not automatically mean the other driver is off the hook. It depends on the amount of negligence each party has--which, in the legal community, is known as "comparative negligence." Today we will examine this concept in more detail.

Under Georgia's comparative negligence statute, the court will assess the respective negligence of both parties. If the defendant is found to more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, then the plaintiff may be eligible to claim some compensation for the injury. The greater the defendant's negligence, the greater the compensation for the plaintiff. If the plaintiff is shown to have a small amount of fault (e.g., 20 percent fault), then the plaintiff's compensation will be reduced proportionally.

New bill could lead to advancements in truck safety

While on-road collisions involving a tractor-trailer may be less frequent than accidents involving other types of vehicles, such accidents are nonetheless a growing concern in the U.S., and they are almost always fatal.

Picture this: you're driving down the freeway on a rainy night. As you go to switch lanes, you forget to check your blind spot--and you fail to see the semi-truck approaching you to your left. The side of your car collides with the truck. Now, if this were a collision with another similarly-sized vehicle, your car would have likely ricocheted off of it. But a heavy truck's high ground clearance doesn't give you anything to ricochet off of. Instead, your car slips underneath the trailer, tearing off the roof of your care and likely resulting in critical injury or even decapitation.

How Uber is paving the way for workers' compensation

If you know anything about workers' compensation, you probably know that a fundamental factor of eligibility is your employee status. If you're an independent contractor, you're excluded from such benefits. This division can be especially frustrating for contractors working in dangerous fields.

When you think about particularly dangerous professions--workers who put their lives on the line every day--you might summon to mind images of fire fighters or highway construction workers. But you might be surprised to learn that rideshare drivers have also joined the ranks of the most dangerous jobs in the country.

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