Articles Posted in Workplace Injuries

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Many asbestos-related lawsuits involve the deadly condition called mesothelioma, which is a particularly aggressive form or cancer that: (1) is almost always fatal; and (2) has a very long latency period (sometimes as long as 30 years). The latency period is the amount of time between exposure to the toxic materials (in this case, asbestos) and the onset of the disease. In Deggs v. Asbestos Corp., the family of a deceased worker tried to bring a wrongful death suit after the worker had previously brought an asbestos-related lawsuit against nearly 40 asbestos defendants 15 years earlier. In the earlier lawsuit, the injured worked settled with a number of the defendants and obtained a $1.5M verdict at trial against the the sole remaining defendant which refused to settle. Unlike other cases that involve mesothelioma, the injuries in this particular case were lymphoma, pleural disease and asbestosis, as a result of many years of exposure to asbestos while the Plaintiff served in the Navy during World War II.

In denying the attempting wrongful death lawsuit, the Court found that “[a] wrongful death action accrues at the time of death as long as there is a subsisting cause of action in the deceased at the time of death subject to exceptions not present here.”  Therefore, the Court found that the suit was time-barred.

Malignant mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs in the thin layer of tissue that covers the majority of your internal organs (mesothelium). Mesothelioma is an aggressive and deadly form of cancer. Mesothelioma treatments are available, but for many people with mesothelioma, a cure is not possible.

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If you are injured on the job, please seek advice from an experienced Georgia Worker’s Compensation Lawyer. Here’s why:

When a worker is hurt on the job, the employer and its worker’s compensation insurer look at every way possible to deny your claim or pay as little in damages as they possibly can. While this is not comforting to know, it is reality. In order to have a fair chance, you must have legal representation and level the playing field. Many employers and their insurers try to steer the injured workers to doctors who are not helpful to the injured worker. This results in great damage to your case and this type of strong-arm tactics by the employer should be resisted at every turn.

Many times, the full extent of your injury is not known until the following are determined by a competent medical doctor: the nature and severity of your injury; whether you have a broken bone or fractured a bone in your arm, leg, or wrist; how much time away from work is needed in order for you to fully recover; whether you need physical therapy or future surgeries; or whether your worker’s compensation injury may cause future medical problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

Worker’s Compensation is an accident insurance type of program which was set up by the state of Georgia and which is paid for by employers. This program eliminates the need to prove negligence on the part of the employer in order for the worker to recover for his or her injuries. The workers compensation program may be able to provide you with medical rehabilitation and income benefits if you have been injured on the job.

You are covered for work related injuries from the first day that you are on the job and, if you are injured while working on your job, you most likely will be entitled to workers comp benefits. It is important that you report any work related accident immediately, so that the facts of your accident and the extent of your injuries can be well-documented. In most work-related accidents that result in serious injuries, a worker compensation lawyer can help protect all of your legal right and increase the amount of recovery.
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The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is looking for a way to minimize a common workplace injury. Musculoskeletal Disorders, or MSDs, have been under OSHA scrutiny since 1979, but because they are cumulative injuries, it is difficult for regulators or attorneys to pinpoint their exact cause. Consequently, it has historically been difficult for the administration to put the onus on the workplace.
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When you are hurt on the job in Atlanta, your case falls under a very specific set of rules. The state of Georgia provides for remedies for most workplace injuries through the Worker’s Compensation laws, which are all contained in Title 34, Chapter 9 of the Georgia Code. Injury, for workmen’s compensation purposes is:

“Injury” or “personal injury” means only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment and shall not, except as provided in this chapter, include a disease in any form except where it results naturally and unavoidably from the accident. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, “injury” and “personal injury” shall include the aggravation of a preexisting condition by accident arising out of and in the course of employment, but only for so long as the aggravation of the preexisting condition continues to be the cause of the disability; the preexisting condition shall no longer meet this criteria when the aggravation ceases to be the cause of the disability. “Injury” and “personal injury” shall not include injury caused by the willful act of a third person directed against an employee for reasons personal to such employee, nor shall “injury” and “personal injury” include heart disease, heart attack, the failure or occlusion of any of the coronary blood vessels, stroke, or thrombosis unless it is shown by a preponderance of competent and credible evidence, which shall include medical evidence, that any of such conditions were attributable to the performance of the usual work of employment. Alcoholism and disabilities attributable thereto shall not be deemed to be “injury” or “personal injury” by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. Drug addiction or disabilities resulting therefrom shall not be deemed to be “injury” or “personal injury” by accident arising out of and in the course of employment except when such addiction or disability resulted from the use of drugs or medicines prescribed for the treatment of the initial injury by an authorized physician. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, and solely for members of the Georgia National Guard and State Defense Force, an injury arising in the course of employment shall include any injury incurred by a member of the Georgia National Guard or State Defense Force while serving on state active duty or when traveling to and from state active duty.

Sometimes parties other than the employer could be liable for work place injuries; for instance, when the injury is caused by a defective product or by a negligent company, other than the employer.
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A jury has awarded more than $14 million after deciding that the plaintiff contracted asbestos manufactured by Union Carbide at his family business during 1970s. The asbestos exposure caused him to contract a deadly form of abdominal cancer called mesothelioma. Mesothelioma also attacks the linings of the lungs and is almost always fatal. While mesothelioma has an extremely long latency period (the period of time between the exposure to asbestos and the manifestation of the disease) of 30 years or longer, once it is diagnosed, the life expectancy of the victim is very short.

Jurors found that Union Carbide was negligent for selling asbestos fibers to other companies, which had used the fibers to make joint compounds used by construction companies. An important fact established in the trial was that, although the asbestos products that the plaintiff was exposed to contained deadly asbestos fibers, the product packaging did not contain adequate warnings nor did the labels warn that the products contained asbestos. This is known as a failure to warn claim.

Jurors also found that four of the compound manufacturers, including Georgia-Pacific, share some of the responsibility for causing the complained of illness. It is not uncommon to find that as many as 20 or 30 asbestos-containing products were located at a factory or plant in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Asbestos, which is a natural product and mined from the earth, was widely used in many insulation products, safety equipment, fire proofing, fire bricks, flooring materials, ceiling tiles, roofing shingles and many other products.

In April 2008, jurors awarded more than $24 million to a doctor who contracted the same illness.

While many of the traditional asbestos defendants have filed for and received bankruptcy protection, there are a number of asbestos injury trusts that have been set up to compensate asbestos victims for their injuries. The first step in this type of litigation is for the victim to complete a work history survey which details every job the victim has had. This should include the dates of the job, location, duties performed and an exhaustive list of asbestos-containing products the victim remembers working with or around. This will also be supplemented with a list of co-workers at each location who may be able to help identify asbestos-containing products that were known to be used at the work location by others who may have been working side-by-side with the plaintiff.
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