Friday, October 29, 2010

Six Hours Well Spent: The Medical Education of a Connecticut Workers Comp Lawyer

The neurosurgeons and orthopedists at Neurosurgery Orthopedics Spine Specialists (NOSS) in Waterbury, together with two of their colleagues at Orthopedic Associates of Hartford were kind enough to dedicate their day to educating 100 or so of us lawyers toiling in the fields of Connecticut Workers Compensation Law as to the intricacies of diagnosing cervical spine (neck) problems and shoulder injuries. These knowledgeable professionals shared their opinions on the anatomy of both the neck and the shoulder, radio graphic studies, and operative and non operative treatment modalities to work related neck and/or shoulder injuries. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience. I hope to take nuggets of what I learned today and go forward, better able to represent my Connecticut workers in these complicated but common workplace injuries.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Distracted Drivers and Workers Compensation

The trend nationally is to prohibit the use of cell phones in motor vehicles. Such a ban would make use of a cellphone while working a deviation from employment and accidents involving cell phone use at work would then be considered a deviation from employment and excluded from workers' compensation coverage,
Citing cell phone usage while driving, the Federal Government is making a major initiative to get workers off cell phone while at work. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the agenda for the second national Distracted Driving Summit to be held on September 21st , 2010 in Washington, DC.
Building on the success of last year’s summit, Secretary LaHood will convene leading transportation officials, safety advocates, law enforcement, industry representatives, researchers and victims affected by distraction-related crashes to address challenges and identify opportunities for national anti-distracted driving efforts. U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller and U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar will also speak at the summit.
“Thousands of people are killed or injured every year in accidents caused by distracted drivers,” said Secretary LaHood. “One year after our first national Distracted Driving Summit, we will reconvene to take stock of our progress and reassess the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. I look forward to hearing insights from our distinguished panelists and guests, and know that by working together, we will save lives.”
The 2010 Distracted Driving Summit will be live webcast at, enabling the participation of people around the country. US employers are urged to set policies to prohibit the use of cell phones at work. "Use a variety of organizational channels to communicate with employees the company's commitment to safety and health and specifically to the nonuse of cell phones and texting. Make it clear to your employees that the expectation is that they will NOT talk or text on their cell phones while driving on company time or in company vehicles. Have employees sign a contract that says they will not violate the organization’s ban on texting and driving."
Many State Laws already ban the use of cell phones while driving. Sample legislation to be used as a starting point for states crafting new laws to prohibit texting while driving has been encouraged.
Making the workplace safer is a major purpose of workers' compensation law. Public policy will certainly support the effort to end distracted driving. The trend to exclude coverage for distracted driving is a signifiant move in the right direction to help workers steer clear of accidents.

Your (case may be) Never Too Old

This week I have attended two hearings on behalf of clients that were injured on the job some time ago. In both cases neither client had a lawyer until they hired me. They came to see me because, as so often happens, they heard, through the grapevine, that they were not getting their just due under Connecticut Workers Compensation Law. One was injured in 2005 ad the other in 2009. I both cases, a careful interview of the client revealed that their suspicions were correct---they were both owed benefits that they had never been made aware of and never pursued.

The moral here is that it really is imperative that if you are hurt on the job, you consult an experieced Connecticut Workers Compensation Attorney. The laws are complex and the legal theories leading to recovery are many. Your old case may be found money and you owe it to yourself to get what you are entitled to.