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Huntsville Personal Injury Law Blog

The financial and physical repercussions of falling on a job-site

Alabama employees may be wondering what circumstances are most often associated with on-the-job falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have indicated that injuries from falling while at work often happen when floors are slippery or are cluttered or unstable, holes are in the floor or openings of the walls, ladders are unsafely positioned, and fall protection equipment is not used properly. There are specific federal regulations in place to help prevent falls and protect employees, but many industries still show large numbers of fall injuries each year.

Many experts believe that educating the workplace culture could help to prevent falls from occurring at work. Implementing new protection technology could also help as well as researchers focusing on enhancing the workplace environment. An employee can fall any number of ways, including simply changing a light fixture or walking upstairs. Data compiled from 2009 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that there were 212,760 workers injured and 605 workers killed after falling at work.

What is workers' compensation mediation?

Although an injury on the job can be inconvenient and frustrating to an Alabama employee, workers' compensation typically provides the coverage needed to obtain needed medical treatment. It also may provide payments for lost work time. However, there may be instances in which disputes arise over settlements or other issues. When such disputes arise, mediation serves as a process for attempting to resolve the issues outside of court.

In mediation, an impartial individual called an Ombudsman oversees the discussions as parties identify concerns to clarify their misunderstandings. This may keep the parties from having to go to court as a settlement is negotiated. While an Ombudsman oversees the proceedings related to mediating the work accident claim, that individual may not represent the involved parties. Instead, the Ombudsman must remain neutral.

The risks to others of driving while impaired

Impaired or drunk driving is a huge problem in Alabama and throughout the country. Every year, thousands of people are killed or injured at the hands of a drunk or drugged driver. The problem is pervasive, and yet despite increased enforcement of DUI laws, people continue to drive while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers impaired driving to be a national public health issue. According to the agency, a person dies as a result of involvement in a drunk driving accident every 51 minutes in the country. That number equates to nearly 30 people killed in the U.S. every day. In addition to the costs in terms of human life, the economic costs of impaired driving are astounding, totaling in excess of $59 billion annually.

3-vehicle crash causes multiple injuries

An early morning crash in Alabama left two people injured on Jan. 5. The incident was caused when one vehicle allegedly attempted to make a left-hand turn at an Atmore intersection and entered the path of an oncoming van. A witness to the accident said the van was unable to stop in time to avoid a collision.

According to a representative of the Alabama State Police, the accident, which occurred at about 10:30 a.m., took place where Highway 21 intersects Woods Road. The operator of a Chevrolet S-10 pickup started to make a left turn onto Woods Road from northbound Highway 21, and a Dodge van heading south on the highway crashed into it. The van and the pickup skidded into a second red pickup stopped at Woods Road.

Some causes and effects of whiplash

Whiplash is an injury that can happen to Alabama residents who are in car accidents. This injury can occur when a person's neck snaps forward and then back or to the side when the vehicle they are riding in is hit by another car. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered in car accidents.

Whiplash occurs when an impact causes the ligaments in the neck to be sprained. These are ligaments that help to support and protect vertebrae in the upper back. The muscles and tendons in the neck can be strained. Discs that separate the vertebrae can also be torn and may result in a painful condition called a herniation. Pain and stiffness in the neck are the most common symptoms of whiplash. Symptoms frequently occur at the base of the skull, but also can happen at the front and back of the neck. Headaches are another common symptom. Some victims may feel nauseous and dizzy. In some cases, symptoms may not appear until 48 hours after the car accident.

Tips for operating heavy construction equipment in Alabama

Working in the construction industry can be dangerous. There are approximately 150,000 injuries yearly, and in 2013 alone, over 800 people were killed. A significant percentage of injuries and deaths are caused by the heavy equipment used at construction sites, so it is essential that organizations take steps to ensure that workers are properly trained and that equipment is inspected regularly. It can also be beneficial for managers and business owners to stay on top of current safety protocols, and there are courses available that cover these topics.

A key component of worker safety is ensuring that workers understand and are familiar with the equipment that they will be using. Each piece will respond and work differently depending on the situation, and people working on the site need to know what to expect. Individuals using and working around construction equipment should be well trained to prevent avoidable accidents.

The impact of skin exposure in the workplace

Those in Alabama who work around chemicals or use heavy machinery may face skin exposure issues unique to their profession. Anyone who works in agriculture, health care or around paint may be exposed to chemicals and other materials that can result in a variety of injuries. The two most common forms of skin issues are irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Each year, 13 million American workers are expected to suffer an injury due to skin exposure.

Chemicals may enter the body through the skin through a process called dermal absorption. In most cases, workers don't even know that the chemicals have entered their body right away. Over time, a buildup of chemicals within the blood stream can create a toxic situation within that worker's body. After a chemical enters the body through the blood, it can cause injuries in areas other than where the chemicals entered.

Accident awareness for injury prevention in a vehicle

Alabama motorists may view the use of seat belts as the main way of limiting injury in an auto accident. However, an awareness of the most common injuries that can be prevented may help in formulating a more effective strategy for staying safe while on the road. Safety devices such as airbags and seat belts are important factors, but driver and passenger actions also play a role in injury prevention.

Common injuries in car wrecks include those involving the head, face, neck, and brain. The back and lower extremities are also extremely susceptible to injury. While a seat belt is important in preventing contact between the head or face and the window or door of a vehicle in an accident, a passenger can further protect these areas by covering the face and head, wrapping the arms around the area like a helmet. This may minimize an injury by deflecting some of the possible impact.

1 in 5 Alabamans with a brain injury will be rehospitalized

A recent study by the Brain Injury Association of America states as many as 20 percent of all people suffering from traumatic brain or spinal cord injury will be rehospitalized within one to three years. This is attributed to the demand among health care providers to keep treatment costs as low as possible, meaning these patients may receive less care than they actually require with a correspondingly higher chance of future complications.

In the study, neurological and psychological problems like grand mal seizures and associated mental issues were categorized as medically essential while musculoskeletal problems, such as corrective surgery on the skull and spine, were not. The study found that hospitalization for both essential and non-essential procedures approaches one in five traumatic brain injury patients. These findings strongly suggest victims of catastrophic injury will need to anticipate not only the immediate difficulties involved in recovering from such an injury but also the potential financial repercussions of long-term disability and the associated lifestyle change that may be required.

Reducing the risk of injuries in the workplace

Employees who work in retail or associated industries in Alabama are often at risk for suffering musculoskeletal injuries, which usually result from repetitive movements. If an injury is severe enough, a worker may be unable to work while they recover. However, there are a number of ways that employers can reduce the risk of injuries for their employees.

One of the first steps employers can take is to assess accident records and analyze daily activities. Employers can specifically look at jobs that require employees to lift heavy objects. Once the risks have been identified, the employer is recommended to prioritize the improvements that need to be made in order to reduce the most serious risks of injuries. These improvements should then be made in a timely manner. Finally, after the improvements have been made and a short period of time has passed, the employer should determine if the improvements are effective and have reduced the risk of injury.