Many benefits & protections lost in new, joint-employer economy

Jan 22 2016

Since the Great Recession (and before it, to some extent), American companies have been moving away from hiring and retaining full-time employees. Instead, American workers are increasingly being treated as temporary, part-time and expendable. Companies hire workers through temp agencies, with the understanding that the work could end at anytime and that the temp agencies would ultimately be responsible for most problems that arose. This is often a good way for companies to do business (from a financial standpoint), because they can scale up and down easily and don’t need to invest as much money in their workers. But more…

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Labor Dept. and DOJ team up to fight workplace safety violators

Jan 16 2016

Government regulations are necessary across many aspects of life. But regulations are only effective if they can be enforced. Lack of enforcement capability is a common complaint about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Although OSHA is certainly well-intentioned, its resources, manpower and authority are often limited. The agency often gets involved after a serious workplace accident or fatality, but by then the damage has already been done. Underfunding and understaffing make it a practical impossibility for OSHA inspectors to conduct preventive safety inspections for all (or even most) workplaces. Sadly, some employers boldly violate safety regulations because they know…

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Common reasons for denied workers’ compensation claims: Part II

Jan 12 2016

Last week, we began a discussion about denied workers’ compensation claims. There are many reasons why valid claims may be denied, including the worker’s failure to properly submit paperwork and handle other bureaucratic requirements. In today’s post, we’ll discuss other reasons why seemingly valid claims are sometimes denied. In many cases, these are challenges to either the severity of the reported injury or challenges to how it occurred. Workers’ compensation insurers sometimes deny claims after determining that the employee’s injuries may have been overstated. Concerns over fraud and abuse sometimes prompt insurers to deny claims that should be compensable, so…

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What adversely affects a workers’ compensation claim in Colorado?

Jan 10 2016

People filing for workers’ compensation benefits should be aware of the factors that could adversely affect their claim. Next year, many businesses in Colorado will see lower workers’ compensation premiums, which experts say is due in part to safer workplaces. According to The Daily Sentinel, programs that get injured workers back on the job quicker may also be credited for keeping costs low. While those improvements are good news, the truth is that injuries do still happen. Employees in Colorado who suffer an on-the-job injury should know the factors that will affect whether or not a claim is accepted or…

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Common reasons for denied workers’ compensation claims: Part I

Jan 06 2016

Workers’ compensation is supposed to be a fast and efficient way to resolve claims for injuries suffered on the job. When everything works as designed, injured workers are compensated without the need to sue their employer, and employers don’t spend valuable time and money defending themselves in court. Unfortunately, the claims process is not always a smooth one, usually to the disadvantage of the injured employee. Claims are sometimes denied, even if they are legitimate. In our next two posts, we’ll discuss some common reasons for claims denials. Insurance is a bureaucratic industry, and your claim may have been denied…

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Workplace Injuries

Jan 01 2016

Workplace injuries happen every day, in every type of work setting. Whether you work in a factory, an office or you drive for a living, if you are suffering from an injury that occurred while you were on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. At Alverson + O’Brien, we are prepared to help you pursue these benefits and help ensure that you and your family receive the support you need during this difficult time. Often, injured workers come to our firm after their requests for workers’ compensation coverage for medical treatments or medications have been denied. Others…

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Preventing common workplace accidents in 2016

Jan 01 2016

Now that 2016 is here, many Americans will be trying to follow through on the New Year’s resolutions they made in December. Unfortunately, a lot of resolutions are destined to fail because the goals are too lofty and the planning too minimal. Experience shows that success is far more likely if we set realistic goals and exert effort on a daily basis. This is a good reminder for businesses as well as individuals. The 2016 calendar provides an opportunity for companies to rededicate themselves to promoting safety in the workplace. And rather than worrying about huge overhauls to procedures and…

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Criminal conviction for CEO years after coal mine explosion

Dec 17 2015

Many people don’t realize that workers’ compensation insurance contains what is supposed to be a mutually beneficial trade-off for workers and employers. Injured workers can usually expect their injury claims to be paid quickly and efficiently, while employers can protect themselves against the time and expense associated with defending themselves in a lawsuit. Often, workers’ compensation is the “exclusive remedy” for a workplace injury. But there are some instances in which workers may wish to pursue a lawsuit instead – usually because their employer caused the injury through intentional actions or a reckless disregard for safety. In rare cases, employer…

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Remembering one of the deadliest work accidents in U.S. history

Nov 25 2015

With Thanksgiving coming up later this week, many Americans are evaluating their current situations and their histories with the ultimate goal of cultivating gratitude. We can be thankful for what we have now and grateful for the challenges we have overcome. This kind of perspective is also important when thinking about workplace safety. A somber anniversary marked last week suggests that the average person’s workplace is much safer today than it was decades ago. At the same, time, it serves as a reminder that we must preserve workplace safety regulations and the integrity of workers’ compensation programs. On November 20,…

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Power tool use can lead to vibration-related occupational injuries

Nov 21 2015

Have you ever finished mowing the lawn with a power mower and felt an odd sensation in your hands and fingers? Other objects may feel temporarily different than they normally would. This change in sensation is most likely related to the vibrations of the mower transferring into your hands and arms. In moderation, exposure to vibrating tools may be perfectly safe. But there are millions of people who use such tools all day, every day for work. Many of them develop symptoms of a little-known (but common) condition called hand-arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS. According to one expert, approximately 2…

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