Tuesday, April 23, 2019
This is the Location of the First District Worker’s Compensation Commission in Hartford. There are 8 District offices around the state and we appear in all of them. Which office handles your claim is a function of the location you were injured. Feel free to call with any questions about case venue.
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Sacroiliac joint Injuries Overview Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is felt in the low back and buttocks. The pain is caused by damage or injury to the joint between the spine and hip. Sacroiliac pain can mimic other conditions, such as a herniated disc or hip problem. Accurate diagnosis is important to determine the source of pain. Physical therapy, stretching exercises, pain medication, and joint injections are used first to manage the symptoms. Surgery to fuse the joint and stop painful motion may be recommended. What is sacroiliac joint pain? The SI joints are located between the iliac bones and the sacrum, connecting the spine to the hips. The two joints provide support and stability, and play a major role in absorbing impact when walking and lifting. From the back, the SI joints are located below the waist where two dimples are visible. Sacroiliac joint anatomy Figure 1. The sacroiliac joints connect the base of the spine (sacrum) to the hip bones (ilium). Strong ligaments and muscles support the SI joints. There is a very small amount of motion in the joint for normal body flexibility. As we age our bones become arthritic and ligaments stiffen. When the cartilage wears down, the bones may rub together causing pain (Fig. 1). The SI joint is a synovial joint filled with fluid. This type of joint has free nerve endings that can cause chronic pain if the joint degenerates or does not move properly. Sacroiliac joint pain ranges from mild to severe depending on the extent and cause of injury. Acute SI joint pain occurs suddenly and usually heals within several days to weeks. Chronic SI joint pain persists for more than three months; it may be felt all the time or worsen with certain activities. Other terms for SI joint pain include: SI joint dysfunction, SI joint syndrome, SI joint strain and SI joint inflammation. What are the symptoms? The signs and symptoms of SI pain start in the lower back and buttock, and may radiate to the lower hip, groin or upper thigh. While the pain is usually one sided, it can occur on both sides. Patients may also experience numbness or tingling in the leg or a feeling of weakness in the leg. Symptoms may worsen with sitting, standing, sleeping, walking or climbing stairs. Often the SI joint is painful sitting or sleeping on the affected side. Some people have difficulty riding in a car or standing, sitting or walking too long. Pain can be worse with transitional movements (going from sit to stand), standing on one leg or climbing stairs. What are the causes? The SI joint can become painful when the ligaments become too loose or too tight. This can occur as the result of a fall, work injury, car accident, pregnancy and childbirth, or hip/spine surgery (laminectomy, lumbar fusion). Sacroiliac joint pain can occur when movement in the pelvis is not the same on both sides. Uneven movement may occur when one leg is longer or weaker than the other, or with arthritis in the hip or knee problems. Autoimmune diseases, such as ankylosingspondyloarthropathy, and biomechanical conditions, such as wearing a walking boot following foot/ankle surgery or non-supportive footwear, can lead to degenerative sacroiliitis. How is a diagnosis made? A medical exam will help determine whether the SI joint is the source of your pain. Evaluation includes a medical history and physical exam. Your physician will consider all the information you provided, including any history of injury, location of your pain, and problems standing or sleeping. There are specific tests to determine whether the SI joint is the source of pain. You may be asked to stand or move in different positions and point to where you feel pain. Your doctor may manipulate your joints or feel for tenderness over your SI joint. Imaging studies, such as X-ray, CT, or MRI, may be ordered to help in the diagnosis and to check for other spine and hip related problems. A diagnostic SI joint injection may be performed to confirm the cause of pain. The SI joint is injected with a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. The injection is given using X-ray fluoroscopy to ensure accurate needle placement in the SI joint. Your pain level is evaluated before and 20-30 minutes after injection, and monitored over the next week. Sacroiliac joint involvement is confirmed if your pain level decreases by more than 75%. If your pain level does not change after the injection, it is unlikely that the SI joint is the cause of your low back pain. What treatments are available? Nonsurgical treatments: Physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, and stretching exercises help many patients. Some patients may require oral anti-inflammatory medications or topical patches, creams, salves or mechanical bracing. SI joint injection Figure 2. A needle is gently guided into the sacroiliac joint using x-ray fluoroscopy. An anesthetic and corticosteroid mixture (green) is injected into the inflamed joint. Joint injections: Steroids can reduce the swelling and inflammation of the nerves. Joint injections are a minimally invasive procedure that involves an injection of a corticosteroid and an analgesic-numbing agent into the painful joint (Fig. 2). While the results tend to be temporary, if the injections are helpful they can be repeated up to three times a year. Nerve ablations: Injections into joints or nerves are sometimes called “blocks.” Successful SI joint injections may indicate that you could benefit from radiofrequency ablation – a procedure that uses an electrical current to destroy the nerve fibers carrying pain signals in the joint. Surgery: If nonsurgical treatments and joint injections do not provide pain relief, your physician may recommend minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery. Through a small incision, the surgeon places titanium (metal) implants and bone graft material to stabilize the joint and promote bone growth. The surgery takes about an hour. The patient may go home the same day or following day. For several weeks after surgery, the patient cannot bear full weight on the operated side and must use crutches for support. Sacroiliac joint fusion Figure 3. In a sacroiliac joint fusion, rod and/or screw devices are placed across the joint to stop painful motion. Recovery and prevention A positive attitude, regular activity, and a prompt return to work are all very important elements of recovery. If regular job duties cannot be performed initially, modified (light or restricted) duty may be prescribed for a limited time. Prevention is key to avoiding recurrence: Proper lifting techniques Good posture during sitting, standing, moving, and sleeping Regular exercise with stretching /strengthening An ergonomic work area Good nutrition, healthy weight, lean body mass Stress management and relaxation techniques No smoking Our office is well versed in SI joint injuries and can help you find appropriate treatment and receive compensation where appropriate. Call us anytime with any questions we can answer.
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Amazon is one of the largest employers in the Connecticut As a global leader in the shopping and deliver logistics, Amazon employs a wide range of people in Connecticut from ooffice professionals, to drivers, to package handlers. Unfortunately, workplace injuries are a major issue at every company. If you are an Amazon employee who was hurt while on the job, whether you were working on the road, on the plant floor or in the office, you need to know how to protect your legal rights At The Law Offices of James F Aspell, P.C. Hartford workers’ compensation lawyers are proud to be committed advocates for employees throughout the state of Connecticut. Here, we highlight the five most important steps that injured Amazon workers need to take after a job-related accident. Report Your Injury & File Your Claim Within the Deadline Under Connecticut workers’ compensation regulations, both employers and employees have certain basic legal obligations. Injured workers must report their accident to their employer (usually your supervisor). Reporting your injury is also the first step in filing a worker’s compensation claim. Once you report your injury, your supervisor (or perhaps a human resources worker or another representative) may provide you with a worker’s compensation claim form. If one isn’t provided, however, simply ask. Fill out the form and return it to your supervisor (or whomever your supervisor directs you to). This will begin your claim. However, you will also need to formally file a claim with the Connecticut Workers Compensation Commission through proper service of a Form 30C. You Should Seek Immediate Medical Attention It is critical that you seek medical care and let your provider know you were injured on the job. First and foremost, injured workers should see a doctor for their own health and well-being. Second, a medical provider should complete a report indicating you were injured on the job and what your restrictions are. Your claim will not be allowed without medical support. A medical provider will help document your injuries and notify Amazon about what benefits are appropriate for you. This could save you time and trouble if you do it as soon as you reasonably can. For many benefits, a medical provider’s opinion and certification will be required before appropriate benefits will be paid, which is another important reason to begin treatment. File your Claim Within the Deadline All your paperwork must be properly completed and submitted before the relevant deadline. For job-related injuries, Amazon workers generally have one year to file their claim. For occupational diseases, Amazon workers in Connecticut generally have two years from the date a physician tells them in writing that they have an occupational disease and that they may file a claim for it. If you do not file within the appropriate deadline, your claim will be forever barred. The sooner you file your workers’ compensation claim, the better your chances for a successful result. You Have the Right to Protest a Claim Denial Ideally, your workers’ compensation benefits will be paid in full soon after you submit your initial workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, that is not how the system always works. If your Amazon work injury claim is denied, (You receive a Form 43) you have the right to request a hearing with the Commissioner. You Should Speak to a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Full and fair workers’ compensation benefits can sometimes be difficult to recover. If you were hurt on the job while working at Amazon, and your work injury claim was denied, it is crucial that you seek professional legal guidance. Your Hartford, Connecticut work injury attorney will be able to conduct a detailed review of your claim to determine what action must be taken to protect your rights. You may still be eligible to recover workers’ compensation benefits. At The Law Offices of James F. Aspell, P.C., our legal team is committed to fighting for the rights and interests of injured workers. If you or your family member was injured while working at an Amazon facility in Connecticut, we can help. For a free consultation, whether your claim has been allowed or denied, please contact our law firm today. We have offices in Farmington and represent Amazon employees throughout Connecticut.
For those interested in the topic, I welcome you to join our facebook Group, "Ask a Connecticut Workers Compensation Attorney." Simply follow the link below! Lots of good information! https://www.facebook.com/groups/316379752275068/
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
The news yesterday told a story of a Connecticut Transit bus driver who was attacked by an irate passenger while simply trying to complete his route. Sadly, Workplace assaults are for more common than you might think. Every day, transit workers, nurses, teachers and paraprofessionals, as well as social workers and convenience store attendants sustain injury when they are attacked while just doing their job. The Connecticut Workers Compensation system stands ready to help these folks with wage replacement, medical treatment and a host of other benefits. The procedure for filing a claim is no different that instituting any other Connecticut workers compensation claim. That is, the injured worker, or their attorney, properly serves a Form 30C on the employer and the District office having jurisdiction other the location where the injury occurred. From there, the process proceeds in due course. Please be aware an injured worker in Connecticut typically has one year from the date of injury to bring their claim.