Just another PLM WordPress site
Spring is around the corner, which means that daylight saving time (DST) is here. DST is often a good sign of longer days ahead, but the time change takes a toll on many people. The effects of the time change, like fatigue, often leads to more work accidents and work injuries. Workplace injuries can lead to financial losses, including expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. A victim of a work-related injury should contact a lawyer for legal counsel.
In spring, those across the United States are asked to move their clocks forward an hour so that the evenings have more daylight and the mornings have less daylight. In the process of doing this, people are missing an hour of sleep. Although losing an hour of sleep may not seem like much, studies show that it can severely affect jobs that require alertness and focus.
A study completed by two doctoral candidates at Michigan State University found that when the clocks were set back an hour, individuals lost an average of 40 minutes of sleep. This ultimately led to a nearly six percent increase in work-related injuries and 68 percent more lost work days. The same doctoral candidates also found that there was no increase in workplace accidents in November, despite there being a time change.
DST does not only affects the likelihood of a workplace injury, the time change also leads to an increase in car accidents. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigue resulting from DST leads to a 17 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents. While fatigue is the main reason for this influx, the lack of light in the early morning also contributes to these rates.
Since the clock is moved forward, there is less daylight in the morning. Daylight is a cue for the body to stop producing melatonin, which is a chemical that causes someone to feel tired. Since there is less daylight in the morning, there is a higher likelihood that a driver will drive fatigued. Less light also means that visibility is impacted, which could lead to an accident.
Not all accidents are preventable, but employers and employees can both take steps to prevent the effects of DST. Since DST primarily affects an individual’s energy levels, many of the tips help to prevent fatigue:
Adjust the Clock Early: One easy tip that everyone can follow is to set the clocks back early. If an individual sets their clock back early during the day instead of waiting until night, they are more inclined to go to sleep an hour earlier to stay on schedule. Since this means they will sleep an hour earlier than normal, they will not miss out on their normal amount of sleep.
Plan Ahead: One tip that employers can do to advocate for safety is to reschedule hazardous work that is planned for the week for another time. Since employees are losing an hour of sleep, they are likely not as detail-oriented as they should be, which could lead to mistakes. When an employer reschedules any dangerous tasks for later in the week, they are letting their workers get adjusted to their new sleep schedules.
Go Outside: Another tip to avoid the harmful effects of DST is to get as much daylight in the morning as possible. Since seeing light triggers the body to stop releasing melatonin, it can lead to fewer car and workplace accidents. Those who drive for a living should also take this into consideration and take breaks when necessary. Employers can also advocate for safety by encouraging drivers to take breaks if they are feeling more tired than usual.
Stay Cautious: The final tip is to stay cautious while driving. Many people fail to realize how accident rates are affected by DST. Drivers should stay aware of their surroundings and try to avoid getting in unnecessary traffic.
An employee with a work-related injury should contact a lawyer. Injured employees are likely eligible for Workers’ Compensation. These benefits help cover any expenses related to the injury, including medical bills and lost wages. A lawyer can walk a victim through this legal process and ensure that they receive their entitled benefits.
The time change can lead to more accidents and injuries. If you have a work injury, you should contact a Delaware work accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. A workplace injury can lead to medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, but a lawyer can help you get compensation. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
Food delivery has become big business in recent years. Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, there has been a huge increase in the number of people ordering food. Not all delivery workers are in cars. In big cities, deliveries are often made by bicycle, scooter, or even on foot. No matter the delivery method, the sheer nature of a delivery job has inherent risks to the person delivering the food.
If a delivery worker is injured on the job, they may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation in certain circumstances. Delaware requires almost all employers to provide employees with Workers’ Compensation coverage for work injuries and occupational illnesses. In most states, a delivery driver will qualify for state Workers’ Compensation benefits only if they are classified as an employee of the company. If classified as an employee, they must be employed by the company at the time of injury, and the injury must have occurred while completing a job duty.
With the increased need for delivery drivers nationwide, many companies are hiring delivery workers as independent contractors. These contractors work their own hours, wear their own clothes, and use their own delivery vehicles. Most states do not require employers to provide Workers’ Compensation benefits to independent contractors.
Many of these app-based food delivery services will carry some type of insurance for their contracted drivers. However, these policies usually are not comprehensive and will often be effective only after the driver’s auto insurance is used up. They are often limited in what they will cover, the amount they will cover, and the circumstances under which an accident would qualify for coverage. For example, an insurance policy might cover an accident that happens while the driver is on the way to deliver food, but not one that happens on the way back from the delivery. It is best for independent contractors who deliver food to understand their own automobile coverage and the insurance coverage that is offered by the food delivery company.
Food delivery can be a dangerous occupation. The amount of time spent in a car or other vehicle, along with the pressure to get the food to the customer quickly, can be inherently risky. Common accidents among delivery drivers include:
Slip and Falls: Going into and out of restaurants, customer homes, and businesses in all kinds of weather increases the risk of slip and fall accidents, especially when carrying heavy or bulky items. Driveways, sidewalks, and yards may also present slip and fall hazards.
Vehicle Accidents: No matter how careful a delivery driver is, the sheer amount of time they spend on the road puts them at risk for encountering negligent drivers. Car accidents, no matter how slight, can cause serious bodily injuries.
Assaults: Delivery workers can become the target of assaults, robberies, and car-jackings that can cause serious injuries.
Additionally, performing the same activities for many hours a day, such as loading and unloading, can lead to various soft-tissue injuries, including muscle and tendon strains.
A delivery driver who is injured in any way should report the injury and seek medical treatment immediately. A delivery worker classified as an employee of a company must report the injury to get Workers’ Compensation benefits. An employee who is an independent contractor should contact the food delivery service to report the accident and follow the claim procedure.
Both food delivery employees and independent contractors should also contact a lawyer to understand what compensation they may be eligible to pursue for their financial losses. The lawyer will also review the employment contract for an independent contractor to discern what insurance coverage the delivery service may provide.
In some cases, a third party may be liable for negligence if a delivery worker is injured while on the job. Examples include a motorist who caused a car accident or a property owner responsible for a fall that resulted in injuries. This is why consulting a lawyer can be beneficial to all injured workers.
Trying to receive compensation for a work injury can be complex. Legal requirements surrounding employment status and the type, nature, and location of the accident all play into whether an employee can receive compensation for work injuries and illnesses. A dedicated Delaware work accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help you uncover and maximize your entitled work injury benefits. Call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online for a free consultation today. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, Stephen T. Morrow was invited to speak at the Delaware State Bar Association (“DSBA”) Workers’ Compensation Winter Seminar, which was held virtually this year. Steve spoke on the topic of “Shifting Liability.” The topic addressed, among other issues, who is responsible for paying an injured worker’s medical expenses and lost wages when that worker has been injured in multiple work accidents or a subsequent non-work related accident. Stephen is a frequent speaker at the DSBA Workers’ Compensation Seminars and is the past Chair of the DSBA Workers’ Compensation Section. He currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association.
For more information or to contact the attorneys at Rhoades & Morrow, fill out an online form or call 302-427-9500 today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, the firm serves clients throughout the state, including Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
After a serious work-related injury, there are many doctor appointments and discomfort and pain. The daily activities of life, like walking up steps and running errands, can also be quite challenging for the injured worker.
Knowing when the right time to return to work can be unclear. While some employees try to extend their time off, others look forward to heading back. Pressure from employers to return to work can complicate matters, and going back to work too soon could make the injuries worse.
Workers’ Compensation covers medical expenses and time lost from work due to injuries, but it is normally less than a full-time salary. The claim should be enough to cover surgery, doctor appointments, medications, physical therapy, and assistive devices, like walkers. This insurance also provides for a portion of the injured employee’s wages until they are able to go back to work.
There are four categories for Workers’ Compensation:
An injured employee will likely receive a note about their work status each time they visit their physician for follow-up appointments. At some point, the doctor may determine that the employee is ready to return to work with or without limitations.
Some insurance plans require that the employee reaches a maximum medical improvement (MMI) before being cleared for work while others may not. Medical evaluations can lead to a Workers’ Compensation disability rating. After an injured worker is recovered and cleared by their physician, they may return back to their job and salary with possible restrictions.
It is important to listen to a doctor’s recommendations about a return-to-work-date, but if the employee disagrees, they can communicate this to their provider. There could be new symptoms or other reasons why the worker feels that they are not ready. The employee may also be getting pressured by their company, but this should not outweigh health concerns.
Going back to work can also impact or end the Workers’ Compensation benefits when an employee still needs them. This is one reason why some Workers’ Compensation providers pressure employees to return to work too soon. In order to make a full recovery, the employee needs to follow their treatment plan and should never return to work if is not approved by a physician.
Anything unusual should be discussed with the medical provider. In many cases, employees are able to get back to work, but they may be in a different capacity that is less strenuous, either temporarily or permanently. Keeping in touch with the employer as the process unfolds is a good way to plan for a smooth transition.
An employer is required by law to hold the job open until the injured worker can return unless a medical report indicates that an employee cannot perform their previous job duties. A company can help out by creating a return-to-work plan that takes the employee’s current disability into consideration.
After going back to work, the employee should keep their medical restrictions in mind. Pushing too hard too soon could lead to medical complications and further injuries. To help with this, the physician should be involved with creating and monitoring the return-to-work plan.
There is also a possibility that other company employees have experienced job-related injuries, so their experiences could be used as guidelines. If the injured employee cannot perform their job in the same way as they did pre-injury, it may be possible to change the role to better accommodate them.
If an employee returns to their job at the appropriate time, working can actually help with the healing process. Rest is important, but being sedentary for too long can lead to other problems, like heart disease. Going to work and having some physical activity can aid in recovery as it can promote strength and mobility. Combining this with physical therapy and light exercise can be a good plan. Staying home too long can also lead to overeating, alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety, and even depression.
Work is important, and going back to the job can be good for one’s confidence. There is also the benefit of being around more people, and trusted colleagues can provide a good social support network. Even if the injured employee cannot be physically present at the place of employment, they may be able to join in remotely during their recovery.
Keeping in touch with co-workers during the recovery process can also be helpful, and there are also companies that provide workplace rehabilitation services. These outside contractors provide allied health professionals that liaise with employees, employers, and insurance companies. Additionally, a lawyer can help with the process by ensuring that their client receives the proper amount of compensation until they are fully capable of returning to work.
If you have a work injury and you are encountering problems with going back to your job, one of our skilled Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can offer assistance. For a free consultation, call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
On September 15, 2020, Rhoades & Morrow partner, Stephen Morrow, spoke at a continuing legal education program hosted by the Delaware State Bar Association. The full-day virtual program was co-sponsored by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Delaware State Bar Association and the Industrial Accident Board. Stephen spoke on a panel titled “Hot Topics in Ethics.” He frequently represents injured workers in cases heard before the Industrial Accident Board. In addition, Stephen represents clients in all areas of personal injury. The team at Rhoades & Morrow is dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured individuals and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Rhoades & Morrow online or call 302-427-9500 for a free consultation.
Many people associate summer weather with outside recreation, but for outdoor workers, summer brings a variety of occupational hazards. The most common summer safety concerns for outdoor workers are heat stress, sun exposure, noise pollution, and biological hazards.
Employers have an obligation to provide a safe work environment for their outdoor workers, including training and education about the different types of workplace injuries and accidents, occupational illnesses, and the proper use of personal protective equipment.
Heat stress and heat-related illnesses are major concerns for outdoor workers. Workers who are 65 years old and older may have heart disease or high blood pressure, are overweight, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.
Exposure to extreme heat can result in heat rashes, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, which can be fatal. To prevent heat-related illnesses, employers should provide cool, shaded areas for workers to take frequent breaks, and avoid scheduling strenuous work during the hottest hours of the day. Workers can also be rotated in shifts to do outdoor tasks.
Outdoor workers may experience various types of injuries and illnesses. Some heat-related injuries and illnesses are more common. Workers should be aware of outdoor hazards so that they are prepared for summer work.
A common hazard in summer is heat rash. Heat rash is the irritation of the skin caused by excessive perspiration. It appears as a cluster of red pimples or small blisters usually in skin creases at the elbows, groin area, under the breasts, or on the neck and upper chest. Workers can use powder to keep the rash area dry and should not use ointments or creams to treat heat rash.
Heat cramps are also common. Heat cramps occur because excessive sweating in extreme heat can deplete the body’s salt and moisture levels. Workers may experience heat cramps as pain or spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs. To combat heat cramps, avoid salt tablets and drink water. In addition, have a snack or sports drink to replace electrolytes every 15 to 20 minutes. Workers with heart problems, low sodium diets, or whose cramps do not subside within an hour, should seek immediate medical attention.
One serious danger is heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is a severe bodily response to the loss of water and salt that is caused by excessive sweating. Workers should be aware of certain symptoms:
Anyone suffering from heat exhaustion should be taken to an emergency room for treatment. While waiting for help to arrive, the worker should be moved to a cool area and given frequent sips of cool water and cold compresses to the head and neck area.
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat stress and can cause permanent disability or even death if emergency treatment is not given. With heat stroke, the body temperature rises rapidly, and the sweating mechanism fails. The body is unable to cool down and regulate its temperature. It is important to be mindful of heat stroke symptoms:
Emergency medical care must be called. Until help arrives, the worker should be moved to a cool area and treated with cold, wet cloths, or an ice bath, if possible.
When workers are outside all day, sun exposure can cause many issues. Sun exposure can have short and long-term consequences for outdoor workers. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can penetrate beyond the top layer of the skin and alter the structure of the skin’s cells.
Unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays can cause painful sunburn and skin cancer. The risk of sun exposure is high between 10 a.m. until four in the afternoon. Additionally, light-colored surfaces or water that is reflecting sunlight increases sunburn and exposure.
Even on cloudy days, outdoor workers should protect themselves from sun exposure by wearing light long-sleeve shirts made of tightly knit fabric, and wear sunscreen and wide brimmed hats. Workers suffering from sunburn can use topical creams to moisturize the area, cool the skin, and ease discomfort. Outdoor workers who develop any irregularly shaped moles or discolorations should see a dermatologist immediately.
Noise pollution can result in occupational hearing loss, which is one of the most common work-related injuries in the United States. Almost all work-related hearing loss is permanent and can profoundly impact a person’s quality of life.
Many outdoor workers use power tools that expose them to hazardous noise levels. If it is difficult to speak with someone at arm’s length and you have to raise your voice, then your work environment is too loud. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has strict guidelines for workplace decibel levels. Employers should use the quietest equipment available and provide workers with hearing protection.
Workers can also experience biological hazards. Biological hazards for outdoor workers include venomous insects, poisonous plants, and vector borne diseases, which are contracted by insect bites.
Depending on the region of the country, outdoor workers may encounter venomous snakes, spiders, and insects. Also, poisonous plant oils can cause severe reactions to the skin. Clearing dangerous plants and brush can release toxins into the air.
Mosquitos and ticks can carry bacteria, parasites, and viruses. Diseases carried by mosquitoes include Zika virus, West Nile virus, dengue, and malaria. Tick borne diseases include Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis.
Outdoor workers are more at risk for insect bites in the summer months and should protect themselves by wearing light long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and socks that cover the ankles. Make sure to carry insect repellent. Work sites should have tall grass and brush cut back and all sources of standing water eliminated.
Outdoor workers have the right to a safe working environment during the hot summer months. There are many preventative measures that can be taken to protect outdoor workers from heat stress, sun exposure, noise pollution, and biological hazards. If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, report it to your employer, and seek medical care immediately.
After you suffer an injury or illness, it is important to contact a lawyer who will help you with a Workers’ Compensation claim. A lawyer will guide you through the process and ensure you receive necessary compensation.
If you have a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible for compensation. Our dedicated Delaware work accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you get the maximum benefits available to you so that you can recover. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.
Working remotely, or telecommuting, offers numerous benefits for both employees and employers; companies can hire qualified workers from distant locations and employees can save money on gas and make their own hours. It is a good option for many, and some can split their workweeks between their employer’s office and their home offices.
There are important considerations to understand for both sides, one regarding Workers’ Compensation insurance. Although state laws vary, every organization is required by law to have a remote Workers’ Compensation plan. Companies that do not have these plans in place can be sued by employees.
Workers’ Compensation provides benefits to employees that experience work-related illnesses and injuries. Employers make payments into the fund, and compensation is provided for injuries that occur during work hours on work property. This includes medical benefits, including surgery, hospitalization and prescriptions, temporary or permanent disabilities, and death benefits.
However, some compensation plans also cover no-fault workers. This means that some can cover situations where the injury was caused as a result of the worker’s negligence. Benefits are not provided for pain and suffering, and independent contractors do not have Workers’ Compensation coverage.
Different states have certain restrictions for mandatory coverage. Some specify the number of employees an organization must have to maintain Workers’ Compensation. Others state that the injury must occur within the course of employment to be covered. Insurance providers will also take the circumstances, location, and timing of the injury into consideration. Based on this, a worker that is injured while working from their home office can receive similar compensation to one that was working on-site.
Since remote workers are not visually supervised, companies may have to find ways to manage them. This can be done through a comprehensive telecommuter policy that defines the remote work environment and responsibilities. Some employers use cameras for monitoring purposes and conduct periodic inspections to ensure worker safety. The latter can include checking for fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and adequate lighting and ventilation.
Working hours should also be specified, since injuries that do not occur during this time will not be compensable. Cameras and computer software can also track this information. It is also important for the company to clearly define what the job role and responsibilities are.
Remote workers may be tempted to spend some of their working hours on personal business, which can complicate matters. The employer may still be responsible for an injury that occurs while the worker is not at their desk if they only left their duties for a short amount of time. If the employee physically departs from their work area for a longer period of time and gets hurt, there may be no coverage.
If you were injured at work, contact an experienced Bear, DE Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We will evaluate your case and fight for the benefits you deserve for your injuries. For a free case evaluation, call us at 302-834-8484 or complete our online form. Located in Bear, Milford, and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
A repetitive stress injury (RSI), such as wrist tendonitis, is a common work injury that results from repetitive motions, such as typing on a keyboard or working factory assembly jobs. When employees are injured during the routine performance of their job, their injury should be covered under Workers’ Compensation benefits.
The most well-known type of RSI in the wrist is carpal tunnel syndrome, which causes painful symptoms as a result of inflammation pressure on the nerves in the wrist. Tendonitis, in contrast, causes damage to tendons, which are tissues that connect muscles to bones. Tendons provide muscle-bone connectivity throughout the body, making tendonitis possible in areas other than the wrist as well. It is worth noting that similar tendonitis injuries in other areas of the body are also eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if the injury occurred as a result of performing work duties. Though wrist tendonitis is very different from a RSI, many of the symptoms and treatments are the same for both types of injuries.
The symptoms of tendonitis in the wrist are similar to those caused by the more-familiar carpal tunnel syndrome. Wrist tendonitis sufferers experience pain and loss of feeling in their wrists and hands. Their dexterity and grip strength may also be affected.
If the symptoms are diagnosed as tendonitis early enough, further injury can be avoided. Mild cases of wrist tendonitis may require rest or temporary avoidance of the offending motion. Use of a wrist brace or splint may protect the area from further injury. Anti-inflammatories may ease symptoms. Sufferers may also benefit from physical or massage therapy as well.
More severe wrist tendonitis injuries may require surgery to correct, especially if nerve damage is present. As is customary during any post-surgery recovery period, there will be some doctor-recommended limitations, which are likely to include avoidance of wrist-related work activities during healing.
If you suspect that your job is causing your tendonitis symptoms, it is imperative that you notify your employer. A responsible employer will take the issue seriously and provide ways to address your condition. Your boss may take the suggestions of your doctor or an on-site medical professional to alter your work tasks to avoid aggravating your injury. Frequent breaks may be instituted. Wrist guards, braces, or other equipment may be provided.
Workers’ Compensation laws vary among jurisdictions. An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer in your area should be able to help you file for the benefits you deserve. You may be able to collect Workers’ Compensation benefits to help with medical bills, as well as the economic impacts caused by your injury, such as wages lost during treatment and recovery. Additional Workers’ Compensation benefits may be available to deliver damages for an injury that results in permanent impairment or other ongoing health problems, especially if they prohibit your return to normal work.
Often starting out as mild symptoms, tendonitis work injuries can become serious. If you suffered a work injury, speak to a Bear DE Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow today. We have the experience to help you obtain the benefits you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 302-834-8484 for a free consultation. Located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.