Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has ruled the doctrine of res judicata prohibits the re-litigation of a workers’ compensation claimant’s permanent impairment level, as previously established for a Maine work injury. firefighters

The doctrine of res judicata means literally “a matter judged.” In general, the idea is that an issue cannot be re-litigated once it’s already been judged on its merits. This encompasses limits on both the claims and any issues that may be raised in subsequent proceedings. The question was whether this doctrine would not allow a defendant in a workers’ compensation case to re-litigate the issue of permanent impairment level for a worker whose impairment level had already been established by a previous court. The court agreed the doctrine applied.

According to court records, the proceeding that kicked this off was a 2014 decision by the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board that granted the city’s petition to consider the ongoing extent of the plaintiff’s permanent impairment. At the time the board accepted this petition, the plaintiff was 65 years old and had a long history of working with the local fire department, which he joined in 1975.

Back injuries are the most common type of injury suffered on the job, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. What’s more, the Maine Department of Labor reports the problem is getting worse here in The Pine Tree State.worker

Federal analysis indicates that in 2014, there were approximately 200,000 cases in which workers missed at least one day of work because of a back injury. That’s out of 1.15 million total instances of missed time for occupational injuries.

Meanwhile, the Maine DOL reports injuries to the lumbar spine (the lower back) represented 14.3 percent of all work-related injuries. Compare this to 2009, when lower back injuries comprised 10.7 percent of all work injuries.

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An 18-weeks pregnant woman who worked in a Maine psychiatric center was violently attacked with a pen by a mentally ill patient with a history of violence. pen

Worker suffered severe pain and disfigurement, was forced to undergo surgery to remove part of the pen from her right hand and now suffers chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

Typically, injuries like these are covered under the state’s workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault benefits provided to injured workers (or families of those killed) when that injury or death occurred in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ compensation benefits come with a provision of exclusive remedy, meaning injured workers don’t have the right to sue their employer, but their medical expenses and a portion of lost wages are available. Compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress and punitive damages are not paid by workers’ compensation. So what this plaintiff wants to do is make the state – not the private psychiatric center – liable for the injuries she suffered at work. Continue reading

Most of us who live in Maine love Maine. But according to a recent study by financial website Money-rates.com, Maine is among the worst states in the country to earn a living. sad4

While other states in the bottom 10 ranked poorly because of low wages, high cost of living, high taxes and other economic disadvantages, Maine’s ranking was primarily because of workplace injuries.

The site, which ranked Maine the third-worst state, just ahead Hawaii and Oregon, indicated it is tied for the highest frequency of workplace illness, injury and death.

Specifically, Maine public officials reported 5.3 workplace injuries, illnesses or deaths per 100 workers. Continue reading

As a growing number of companies rely heavily on technology to conduct their business, more and more are allowing workers to telecommute from home (or the local coffee shop or wherever else outside the office they can be productive). treadmill

The American Community Survey reports telecommuting has risen nearly 80 percent from 2005 to 2012, and now comprises more than 2.5 percent of the workforce in the U.S. – or about 3.2 million workers. Some estimate the number of telecommuters could balloon to 30 percent of the workforce at some point in the future.

While this often saves on overhead costs, there is one way in which it might complicate matters: Workers’ compensation.

Maine is no stranger to brutal cold. As one of the northernmost states in the country, our municipalities and other infrastructures are well steeled for frigidity.
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The polar vortex, however, has resulted in record-breaking winter weather, with wind chills in some areas causing temperatures to plummet as far as 60 to 70 degrees below zero. In this kind of environment, frostbite can attack exposed skin in a matter of minutes. A person who travels outside without the proper dress would be at grave risk for hypothermia, and even death.

Employers have a responsibility to take every necessary precaution to protect workers toiling under these conditions. Employees who suffer severe cold stress injuries as a result should file a Bangor workers’ compensation claim.

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For the majority of the winter season here in Maine, workers and residents must contend with a potentially hazardous mix of ice and snow.
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While some might consider a slip on the ice or a fall in the snow just one of those inevitable cold-weather nuisances – perhaps even a comical one – there is also a high potential for such an incident to result in a serious injury. The result is sometimes that victims are forced to take leave of their job and suffer serious medical complications, including broken bones and joints, as well as back and head injuries. Filing aspremises liability claim may best protect your rights in the wake of serious injury.

A recent report by the Maine Department of Labor Standards took pains in detailing just how widespread the problem is, and how much it costs us all each year.

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Our emergency medical responders are the people we count on when seconds matter and fast, proper care can mean the difference between life and death.
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But according to a new report by the Maine Department of Labor’s Labor Standards division, these workers, who include EMTs, paramedics and firefighters, are especially vulnerable to injuries. On the job, these employees are at high risk for overexertion injuries resulting from lifting, transporting or otherwise assisting ill or injured persons.

Those type of injuries accounted for more than third of all injuries suffered by emergency medical crews, with strain injuries accounting for some 94 percent of all overexertion injuries. Most often, it was the employees’ back that was affected, accounting for about 45 percent of all cases.

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Did you know that if you’re injured on the job, you’ve got 30 days to report it?sIf you don’t do so within this time frame, your claim will be barred. And the report shouldn’t include just work injuries, but should also include any kind of pain that you experience on the job, even if this pain doesn’t prevent you from completing work.
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According to newly-released preliminary statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 4,300 people who were killed on the job in the U. . in 2012. Although this is down from the 4,600 work-accident fatalities witnessed in the country in 2011, we still have a long way to go.

Our Bangor workers’ compensation lawyers understand that there were millions more who were injured on the job throughout the year. If you’re injured on the job, your employer may require you to see an occupational health doctor. After that, you have the right to see a doctor that you choose. After 7 days of missed work due to your work injury, you are entitled to receive weekly compensation benefits beginning on the eighth day. If you miss more than 2 weeks of work, you will then receive payment retroactive to the date of injury.

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A Deer Isle teen escaped serious injury when her vehicle veered off the road and flipped over. According to BDN Maine, the 18-year-old driver was heading west on Snows Cove when the accident happened just before 2:00 a.m. Her vehicle went off the road, hit a tree and rollover over. Deputies report that the young driver fell asleep at the wheel. The vehicle was deemed totaled.
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The truth of the matter is that teens and young adults have higher accident rates than any other age group of drivers. Traffic accidents continue to be the number one cause of death in this young age group. We not only have to worry about our teens driving drowsy because of a night on the town, but we also have to cautious of the long hours they’re putting in at work and school.

Our Bangor car accident lawyers understand that sleepiness while driving has become a serious problem and a major traffic hazard. Fatigue and sleepiness seriously impairs driver performance, creating a life threatening combination. Safety is more important than productivity or deadlines. You should never get behind the wheel if you’re feeling drowsy or fatigued. It’s a risk no one should be willing to take on.

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