Your Injuries Prevent You From Working Your Job

Many of my injured workers’ compensation clients ask about this.  Their doctor says they can work, but they are not fully healed.  They are still receiving medical care and they have limitations.  They are not capable of working full regular duty.   This means they have a light duty work capacity.  When you have a light duty work capacity and your injuries prevent you from working your job, what should you do?

According to Connecticut’s workers’ compensation laws, you should first check with your employer.  See if they are able to accommodate your light duty restrictions.  They might be able to give you work that fits within your light duty medical restrictions.

If your employer is unable or unwilling to do this, you will be eligible to receive a workers’ compensation wage replacement benefit.  But you will need to jump through some hoops to do this.  You will need to show that you are making a reasonable effort to find temporary alternative work.  You do so by performing and documenting job searches, every week.

The best thing you can do is to have an experienced Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney representing you and guiding you through this process.

Of course, it can be hard enough to go through this for a short period of time.  Unfortunately, for many people, this can be a very long period of time.  Your own workers’ compensation lawyer will take steps to protect you so that you receive income during this period of time that your injuries prevent you from working your job.

 

Is Medical Marijuana Covered By Workers’ Compensation

Connecticut workers’ compensation covers medical marijuana.

In Connecticut workers’ compensation, there are Commissioners who decide disputes about medical coverage.  If one of the parties wishes to appeal a Commissioner’s decision, the appeal is decided by what is called the Compensation Review Board (“CRB”).

In a case of first impression in Connecticut, the CRB just issued a unanimous and well-reasoned decision on May 12th that workers’ compensation covers medical marijuana in Connecticut.

It is important to understand that this does not permit blanket use of medical marijuana in all workers’ compensation claims.  The CRB decision makes it clear that coverage for medical marijuana will be limited and will require that numerous standards are met.  But this is an important decision because it is the first of its kind in Connecticut, and it clearly establishes medical marijuana as a legitimate treatment option under certain circumstances.

Of course, if medical marijuana is something you and your physician are considering for your workers’ compensation claim, you need a Connecticut workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with these issues.

What is Product Liability?

Consumers, according to product liability laws, are entitled to expect that the products they purchase or use will be thoroughly tested, safe and reliable.  When products fail or are defective, accidents happen that can cause pain, suffering, disability and sometimes even death.  There is a special responsibility for the safety of the public undertaken by one who enters into the business of supplying human beings with products which may endanger the safety of the product user.

Whoever markets and provides a product for use has undertaken and assumed this special responsibility toward members of the consuming public who may be injured by it, and the burden of accidental injuries caused by products intended for use is to be placed upon those who market and provide them.

There are some limits to the protections provided by product liability laws, however.  In one case where the injuries occurred due to the use of a product (exercise machine) at a health club, the court ruled that health clubs do not fall within Connecticut’s product liability laws.  See the article below.

Conn. Judge Bars Product Liability Claim After Plaintiff’s Stair Climber Mishap
Read more: http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202756814794/Conn-Judge-Bars-Product-Liability-Claim-After-Plaintiffs-Stair-Climber-Mishap#ixzz47tdkugGe

The bottom line is that if you are injured from use of a product, consult with an experienced attorney to discuss the possibility of a product liability lawsuit.  Even if it is unclear whether your situation falls within the scope of the product liability laws if you have suffered a personal injury, you want an attorney aggressive enough to at least make the effort for you.

What Should I Do, I Was In A Car Accident

What should I do, I was in a car accident?

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, there are many considerations and issues that come into play.  I’ve been representing clients in Connecticut with personal injuries from motor vehicle accidents for over 22 years.  Here are some issues from this personal injury attorney’s point of view.

This is a partial list of considerations:

  • Stay safe at the scene.
  • Involve the police.  Make sure they are called.
  • Make sure you receive information about the other vehicle.  You want the driver’s name, the owner’s name, their addresses and all of the insurance information.
  • If you realize at the scene that you are injured, be sure to obtain medical care at the scene for your injuries.
  • Be sure that you obtain names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.  If the police are present, be sure that the police take this information to include in the police report.
  • As long as it is safe to do so, take photos of both vehicles and the accident scene.
  • The next day, be sure that you, a family member or a friend take photos of the damage to your vehicle.  Include photos of the inside of your vehicle if there is any damage.
  • Follow-up with medical care, whether it is the emergency room, an urgent care center or your primary care physician.  Some people know immediately that they have been injured, and others do not feel it until the next day.  Once you experience any pain, discomfort or other symptoms, do not put off medical attention.  Pursue medical care right away.
  • You will need to deal with your insurance company regarding your property damage, and you may also deal with the other vehicle’s insurance company for the property damage.  If they tell you that they want to take a recorded statement or record an interview of you, you should consider holding-off on this until after you speak with an attorney.  Let your attorney decide whether you will give a recorded statement.
  • You should pursue additional medical care and attention for your injuries.  While it is often inconvenient, following-up with your medical care is the best way for you to feel better.
  • Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney.  Most experienced personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free initial consultation.  Remember that attorneys understand the system.  They can help you navigate through it and they can represent you to obtain fair compensation for your injuries.  It’s generally best to have an attorney involved promptly in order to address any issues.  Bear in mind that an experienced personal injury attorney understands the process and the investigation needs.  Of course, in some instances, immediate action is required for a reliable investigation, and an experienced personal injury lawyer is in the best position to determine this and make it happen.

Chronic Pain Requiring Medication

For over 22 years, I have represented injured individuals in workers’ compensation and personal injury, including motor vehicle accidents, falldown and other negligence  cases.  All of my clients have been injured, but of course, to varying degrees, some ending up with long term chronic pain requiring medication.

In the world of workers’ compensation and personal injury, and in general in our society, there are those times when someone is injured so badly that after all of their medical care and after all of their recovery, they continue to suffer such debilitating and disabling pain and discomfort that their life consists of never ending agony.  Those people who suffer such agony, such long term chronic pain requiring medication, those are the people who are the subject of this Blog piece.

I find it inhumane to force them to suffer.  It is draconian, medieval in thought, to deny pain relief to these people.  When drugs or medication will provide relief from long term chronic pain, let people have the relief.

We all know the truth that drugs (both legal and illegal) harm people.  There are side effects.  There is destruction of the body.  Addiction can set in leading to real and significant issues.  The harmful effects of legal and illegal drugs are real and they should never be callously disregarded.

But whether medication is some mild over-the-counter pill, or something more potent, like opiates or medical marijuana, we need to stop demanding that people suffer without relief.  We need to stop the inhumanity.  Let someone who is in agony feel better so they suffer less.  We should stop looking negatively at medication that provides pain relief.

There are things you can do about this.  First, support a physician’s ability to prescribe pain relief without pre-determined limitations or negative judgments.  Second, support loosening restrictions on medical marijuana so it is more readily available.  Third, make sure that anyone you know who is suffering like this is in the hands of a compassionate lawyer willing to fight for the victim, a lawyer willing to point the injured victim to respectable quality physicians who will help and finally, a lawyer experienced and knowledgeable enough to advocate on behalf of the injured victim who has long term chronic pain requiring medication.

Do You Want the Computer of a Driverless Car Deciding Whether You Live or Die?

Do You Want the Computer of a Driverless Car Deciding Whether You Live or Die?

I was enjoying dinner with my wife, an old friend and his wife when we were discussing technology, artificial intelligence and driverless cars.  Things became interesting when we were chatting about the decisions we could imagine a driverless car having to make, and this is clearly something everyone should be considering.

Imagine a motor vehicle operated by a robotic artificial intelligence, in other words, a driverless car.  We might hope this will reduce accidents, but we also know that some accidents will always happen.  Do we want the computer artificial intelligence of a driverless car to make decisions taking into account which vehicle will suffer more damage?  Or which vehicle’s occupants will receive more serious injuries?  Or if catastrophic injuries or death are likely, which vehicle’s occupants to save from more serious injuries if it comes down to one vehicle sustaining worse damage?  Essentially, should a driverless car be deciding who lives and who dies?  Should the injuries that we receive, and the injuries of our family members, be dictated by the decision of a computer to put the safety and protections of another vehicle’s occupants over the safety and protection of you and your loved ones?

I am not comfortable with computer artificial intelligence making these decisions.  I am not comfortable with the chance to save myself or my family members being tossed aside by a driverless car’s computer choosing the safety of others as the computer’s priority at the expense of my safety.

What do you think?

Follow the discussion on my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/LawOfficeMichaelPollack/?fref=nf

Driverless Cars and Issues of Fault

Driverless Cars and Issues of Fault, that’s something we all need to start thinking about.

We are not talking about the distant future or science fiction.  Rather, we’re talking about what has already started and what is right around the corner.  That would be cars that are driven either completely or partially without a human operator.

What is going to happen when there is a car accident caused by a driverless car?

In theory, one of the benefits of driverless cars will reducing accidents by removing human error.

But what about robotic error?  What about the possibility that robotic vehicle operation will not be flawless?

Presently, when someone makes a mistake and injures another, the injured person has a personal injury case to pursue against the person who is at fault.  But who do you pursue a case against when it is the fault of the robot/computer operating the vehicle?  When it screws up and injures you, who is to blame?  Who do you pursue?  Will you even have legal recourse and remedies available?

We need to make sure that as the motor vehicle system evolves, we protect individuals and their rights so that their ability to be fairly and reasonably compensated remains intact.

Medical Marijuana and Workers’ Compensation

Medical marijuana and workers’ compensation is a topic that several clients have asked me about.

People know that in Connecticut, medical marijuana is now available.  When suffering through injuries and symptoms, they want to know if medical marijuana is a treatment option for them.

The short answer is yes, but there are very strict requirements and most people injured at work will not meet them.  But for those who do, it is something to discuss with your physician and with your attorney.

In Connecticut, medical marijuana is only available for 11 specific qualifying debilitating medical conditions.  While this list will undoubtedly change with time, only two of the conditions might arise from an on-the-job injury.  They are:

  1. damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
  2. post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Remember that in the future, additional medical conditions may be added.  Right now, however, these are the two qualifying medical conditions that might flow from an on-the-job injury.

The idea of using medical marijuana as a legitimate and legal form of medication is here and is starting to play a role in workers’ compensation injury situations, but bear in mind that it will be a long and challenging road to go down.  You will want an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side.

Liability When There Is A Storm In Progress

For falldown injuries, is there liability when there is a storm in progress?

The answer is maybe.

Remember the rule that those who own, possess, maintain and/or control property have a legal duty to maintain it in a a reasonably safe condition.  During the winter months, this includes addressing snow and ice by plowing, shoveling, snow blowing and/or applying a sand/salt mix.

But what if someone slips and falls on ice or snow while the storm, or weather event, is still underway?  The answer is that under our laws in Connecticut, there would not ordinarily be liability.  People need to be afforded some time to address the dangerous condition, and very generally speaking, they do not necessarily need to start doing so while the storm is still taking place.

Bear in mind, though, that there are some exceptions.  One very common exception is that even if the falldown occurs due to ice and/or snow and even if it takes place during a storm, there can still be liability if the ice and/or snow pre-existed the current storm.  In other words, if the the fall is from ice that is underneath the snow from the current ongoing storm, then there can be liability.

So remember, when a storm is in progress, there is leeway afforded to whoever owns, possesses, maintains and/or controls the property.  But the liability protection is gone when your injuries are due to a falldown on snow or ice that was present before the current storm.

In any situation where you become injured this winter due to falling in a parking lot or walkway as a result of snow or ice, please be sure to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your specific facts and situation.  At this office, initial consultations are free.

Winter is Coming – Watch Out!

Winter is Coming – Watch Out!

This coming time of year leads to many nasty injuries suffered as a result of ice or snow on walkways and parking areas where a lousy effort, or no effort at all, leaves these walkways and parking areas unsafe.  People expect to be able to walk though parking areas, walkways and sidewalks.  People are not looking for these areas to be maintained in pristine condition, given that this is New England after all.  But people are right and reasonable to expect snow removed, ice cleared and sand or salt applied.

If you fall and become injured, if you are able, be sure to report what happened, be sure to take photos and be sure to obtain witness information.  Document the condition and seek appropriate medical care.

If a business is going to be so cheap and careless as to leave their property unsafe, and you become injured as a result, you will want to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer.  If you are not sure about whether you even have a good case, most experienced personal injury attorneys will provide you with a free phone consultation.