Fatalities caused by falls continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees. Lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA. In response to the number of fall related injuries and fatalities, OSHA launched its National Safety Stand-Down Campaign to Prevent Falls in Construction. The annual event strives to raise fall hazard awareness. The 4th annual National Fall Prevention Stand-Down will take place May 8-12, 2017.
New Jersey workers’ compensation benefits are governed under N.J.S.A. 34:15 et seq. There are three benefits you are entitled to when you get hurt at work in New Jersey: payment of medical bills, payment of temporary disability benefits or wage replacement and payment of an award of permanent disability. I will address each of these in a series of blogs.
This is the first in a series of three blogs. With regard to the payment of medical bills, the statute requires the employer to provide medical treatment that is reasonable, necessary and related to your accident and that is designed to cure your condition. You are NOT permitted to seek treatment with your primary care doctor or specialist without the prior consent and approval of your employer and their workers’ compensation carrier. Your employer is also obligated to pay 100% of the bills. There are no deductibles, co-pays, or out of pocket expenses, including prescription medications and any other medical devices prescribed by the authorized doctor. Absent any obvious broken bones or other critical medical conditions, your treatment will generally begin with conservative treatment which might include rest and prescription medications. If your symptoms do not improve, you may be referred for diagnostic tests to help the physician arrive at a diagnosis. You may also be referred for physical therapy to help alleviate your symptoms. If that fails, you may then be referred to a specialist. This process could take weeks or months.
At some point in the process the authorized doctors will indicate that your condition is as good as it is going to get or maximum medical improvement. When this happens, the carrier’s obligation to you ends, even if you are not back to normal. You are not entitled to additional treatment that is not designed to cure your condition, even if that treatment might make you feel better. However, there are some limited circumstances under which you may be eligible for ongoing medical care and you should seek legal advice to determine if you fall within those exceptions. If you are still having complaints and problems, you will then be entitled to additional benefits which will be address in this blog series. At Stark & Stark, our experienced attorneys and legal staff can help you understand your rights. Please call us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a Medical Device Safety Communication update to provide new information about Mycobacterium chimaera infections associated with the use of the LivaNova/Sorin Stöckert 3T Heater-Cooler System during cardiothoracic surgery. The update includes recommendations and additional steps for health care facilities to take in order to mitigate the risk of infection associated with the use of these devices.
A recent database study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that the rate of medical malpractice claims paid on behalf of physicians in the United States declined substantially from 1992 to 2014. The study analyzed data from the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), a centralized database of paid malpractice claims that was created by Congress in 1986. Researchers found an overall drop in the amount of paid claims across all specialties, but the extent of the decline was markedly different by specialty, according to Adam Schaffer, MD, lead author of the paper. The findings are published in the March 27, 2017 issue of the JAMA Internal Medicine journal.
According to a recent news article, Scott Becker spent 12 days in a burn center after his e-cigarette exploded a year ago and still requires daily treatment for his injuries. Becker was quoted as saying, “These things are dangerous. If I’d known…I could have saved myself a tremendous amount of anguish.”
As discussed in previous blogs, e-cigarette explosions not only cause devastating thermal burns, but also chemical burns from the lithium batteries. The chemicals sometimes damage multiple layers of the skin because they continue to “burn” long after skin exposure. Becker suffered third degree burns including a massive deep burn in his thigh requiring skin grafts.
Many experts agree that injuries caused by e-cigarette use are on the rise and that the public should be warned about the risks. Continue Reading
Imagine driving home from work and seeing smoke rising from beneath your car’s hood. You pull off the road and into a nearby parking lot. You call your spouse to say there is a problem with the car and within seconds, the car erupts in flames. Luckily, you exited the vehicle safely before the fire began. Luckily, no one else was in the car.
This scenario was described to me recently by my brother. His wife’s car burst into flames as she was driving home from work a few months ago. An electrical failure caused a fire in the engine compartment. The vehicle was completely destroyed, but thankfully, she recognized the danger signs before it was too late and exited the car unharmed. Vehicle fires like this one happen more than one might expect and can have catastrophic consequences in terms of lives lost, severe injuries and property, damage.
The Senate recently voted to nullify an Obama-era OSHA safety regulation – the so-called “Volks rule” – which extends the time period for OSHA to cite employers for failing to report workplace injuries and illnesses.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced on March 10 that first-year doctors will be allowed to work 24-hour shifts in hospitals starting July 1. The cap currently limiting physicians to 16 consecutive hours of patient care will now be lifted. The new standards will allow four hours to transition patients from one doctor to the next, so first-year residents could work as long as 28 straight hours, the same as more senior medical residents.
New Jersey health officials report that 31 patients developed infections after receiving injections to treat knee pain at the Osteo Relief Institute in Wall Township. The New Jersey Department of Health says the patients developed cases of septic arthritis, a painful infection surrounding their joints. The infections are all linked to the Osteo Relief Institute Jersey Shore.
A recent University of Michigan study revealed that e-cigarette use may act as a bridge to traditional tobacco use. The study showed that teens who vape are four times more likely to start smoking traditional tobacco cigarettes within a year of smoking e-cigs. Continue Reading