Appleton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Lawmakers Considering Reforms to the Wisconsin Workers Compensation System

by Keith Adkins | October 10th, 2013

October 10, 2013

When an employee is injured on-the-job, they often have a right to file for compensation for medical bills and lost wages through their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz explain the system in Wisconsin is considered strong, with some of the lowest costs and fastest recuperation times in the nation. But recent rate spikes have some legislators considering changes to the law.

According to the LaCrosse Tribune, one study shows the costs for two different groups of patients to have Wisconsin doctors perform the same arthroscopic knee surgery differed by $2,155. The only difference between the two groups was one set of patients was covered by a group insurance policy, while the other was covered under the state’s workers’ compensation system. Those receiving procedures paid for by workers’ compensation coverage were being charged much more.

Now, lawmakers are considering measures that would create a fee schedule for the prices of procedures. Officials say the fee schedule would be set at 175 percent of what Medicare pays for a procedure, and they believe the measure would control inflating costs.

The law firm’s team of Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers recognizes just how complex the claims process for workers’ compensation can be. Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz is here to help anyone who has been injured while on-the-job.

Doctors Often Stuck in the Middle of Workers’ Compensation Claims

by Keith Adkins | March 14th, 2013

March 14, 2013

When a worker is hurt on the job, Wisconsin law requires the employer to cover medical expenses related to the injury by providing Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation benefits. Each year, roughly 6,500 employees take advantage of these benefits. However, doctors are saying that it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance an employer’s needs of getting a worker back on the job and a patient’s complaints of being unable to perform their duties.

A story from Medill Reports told of a Janesville, Wisconsin, woman who suffered a slip and fall accident on a patch of ice outside of her place of employment. She visited Dr. Mike Angeline, who determined she would be unable to walk for at least several weeks due to the injury. The note did not satisfy the victim’s employer, and another letter explaining the woman’s condition and the cause of the accident had to be drafted.

Dr. Angeline says he is often put in the middle of a battle between an employer trying to cut costs associated with a workers compensation claim and employees who need time off. Angeline goes on to explain he tries to find a balance between both needs.

The Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorneys with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz understand the complexities of the workers’ compensation system. That’s why the firm says it may be able to help if you have been injured on the job and are preparing to file a claim for benefits.

OSHA Forms Partnerships to Reduce Wisconsin Work Accidents

by Keith Adkins | December 20th, 2012

Dec. 20, 2012

Work-related accidents are a leading cause of injuries in Wisconsin today. To help battle the problem, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it has formed several partnerships with businesses spanning several industries to improve worker safety. OSHA officials hope the programs will reduce the number of work-related accidents, and in turn, reduce costs associated with Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation claims.

According to an OSHA press release, the organization will be working to reduce the number of incidences of musculoskeletal injuries with some of the largest foundries in northeast Wisconsin, considering the industry has one of the highest rates for this type of injury. This can be attributed to tasks related to the job, like moving heavy equipment, handling hazardous materials, and the usage of equipment like grinders and sanders.

The partnership aims to reduce accidents by educating employers and their employees about work-related dangers, conducting hazard assessments, and reworking policies and procedures to make the work environment safer.

OSHA announced it would be participating in a similar partnership with the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association in an effort to reduce the number of grain elevator accidents the state sees each year.

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz are hopeful these new partnerships will successfully protect our state’s workers from preventable workplace injuries.

Wisconsin Iron Foundry Cited for Safety Violations

by Keith Adkins | November 15th, 2012

Nov. 15, 2012

A Berlin, Wisconsin, iron foundry has been issued nine citations and fined more than $56,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for safety violations. According to an article from workerscompensation.com, several violations were repeat offenses.

In Aug. 2010, OSHA conducted an inspection at the facility and found two safety violations. The first involved a grinder that did not have a protective guard in place. The other was for failure to cover an electrical switch box.

This May, OSHA conducted a follow-up inspection and found the safety issues had not been addressed by management. Furthermore, investigators discovered seven additional safety issues, including:

  • unguarded open-sided platforms,
  • employees working without fall protection equipment,
  • unsafe crane conditions,
  • and failure to have proper guards in place on moving equipment.

In addition, electrical safety was found to be compromised after inspectors discovered puddles of water near electrical equipment and excessive dust on machinery. Inspectors stated the company had failed to take down the faulty equipment.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 states that employers have an obligation to provide employees with a safe work environment and failure to do so may be considered negligent.

The  Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz understand that workplace accidents often lead to a workers’ compensation claim, and encourage anyone who has been injured in a work-related accident to discuss your legal options with an Appleton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer immediately.

Forklift Operator Killed in Work-Related Accident

by Keith Adkins | November 8th, 2012

Oct. 8, 2012

A 54-year-old forklift operator from Dodgeville, Wisconsin, was killed earlier this week as a result of an on-the-job accident. According to a story published by The Cap Times, the incident occurred at around 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday at Wick Homes, located at 341 Walter Road in Mazomanie, Wisconsin.

A spokesperson for the Dane County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Elise Schaffer, stated the man was moving a load of wooden trusses onto a flatbed trailer to be taken to a jobsite when the load suddenly shifted and fell back on top of the machine. Rescue crews rushed to the scene and attempted to save the man’s life, but he had died from the traumatic Wisconsin personal injury he sustained in the accident.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been contacted to conduct an investigation into what may have caused the accident and if it was preventable.

Accidents like these are all too common, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics saying roughly 15 percent of all workplace fatalities in the United States last year were the result of contact with a piece of machinery or an object at a jobsite.

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz understand the dangers of handling equipment and large objects on the job. Our law firm is here to answer any questions you may have if you have been injured in a work-related accident through no fault of your own.

Appleton Changes City’s Policy On Workers’ Compensation

by Keith Adkins | September 27th, 2012

September 27, 2012

The city of Appleton, Wisconsin, decided recently to reverse changes that were made to the city’s workers’ compensation policy. According to the Post Crescent, the reversal was made to create a more equal policy for all city government employees.

This past fall, changes were made to Wisconsin workers’ compensation laws and the city of Appleton chose to follow suit by amending their policy to be more in line with those of the private sector. One of the main differences was benefits would not be paid on the first day of missed work. Instead, employees were required to wait through a four-day grace period before they were allowed to collect benefits at a non-taxed rate of 66 percent of an employee’s monthly salary. The rule did not apply to employees who participate in collective bargaining though, including police in fire officials not in a managerial role.

Ald. Curt Konetzke pointed out under the new rules, a police supervisor and an officer could be hurt at the same crime scene, yet only one would be allowed to immediately collect benefits.

In lieu of Konetzke’s remarks, city officials decided to overturn the policy and allow all workers to collect benefits the first day after an injury is reported.

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz would like to applaud the city for implementing policy changes that benefit the welfare of those who work so hard.

Training Sessions Aimed at Improving Safety for Wisconsin Dairy Farmers

by Keith Adkins | September 6th, 2012

Sept. 6, 2012

Farm work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), agriculture led all other industries in workplace fatalities and injuries, with a fatality rate of 26.8 deaths per 100,000 workers.

With agriculture accounting for nearly 10 percent of Wisconsin’s workforce, safety on the job is vital to prevent injuries requiring a Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation claim. Agri-View reports the National Farm Medicine Center and Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW) have partnered to present safety training sessions to roughly 100 Spanish-speaking dairy workers across the state.

Topics covered during the two training sessions included animal handling, electrical safety, bovine obstetrics, and more. While the final topic may seem out of place, it has been found that during the calving process can be one of the most dangerous times to encounter a cow.

Oscar Duarte, a veterinarian who led the session, stated, “The idea of PDPW doing the obstetrics training and linking it to the safety of the worker is an opportunity for us to tell the worker that you have been trained on how to take care of the cow, now you will learn how to take care of yourself.”

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Wenning, Sewall & Pitz hoe that the sessions were successful in providing safety knowledge that workers can take back on the job and share with others.

Many Employers Fail to See Serious Penalties for Safety Violations

by Keith Adkins | August 16th, 2012

Aug. 16, 2012

Workers depend on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure employers provide safe work environments. However, according to an article from the Post Crescent, Wisconsin businesses that commit safety infractions are rarely fined and, when they are, the penalty is often lessened through settlements.

OSHA data shows that, of the 240 workplace accidents in Wisconsin throughout the past 11 years, only 184 cases resulted in fines. In cases where fines were issued, employers paid an average of $4,200.

After three welders were killed in 2008 after a storage tank explosion in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, their employer paid less than $23,000 in fines. Reports indicate the company had failed to properly check for explosive gases before work began, resulting in four serious violations of safety law.

Earlier this week, another worker was killed in a similar explosion at the same facility.

Laws pertaining to Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation forbid families from filing wrongful death lawsuits when a person dies on the job. This means the family of a worker who dies on the job may receive as little as $20,000 in benefits.

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Stack & Pitz understand how frustrating a work-related injury can be, and they are always available to answer any questions an injured worker has regarding their legal rights.

New Detail Emerge About Wisconsin Crane Collapse

by Keith Adkins | July 19th, 2012

July 19, 2012

New information has been released regarding the crane collapse that recently occurred near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department issued their report on the incident, and according to an article from The Northwestern, many of the details within the report come from witness statements.

Witnesses claim that the crane collapsed either because a 52-ton highway girder was lowered too quickly, or because the crane’s position needed to be readjusted. One worker stated that he noticed the girder was being lowered much too quickly moments before the accident, and he soon witnessed the crane buckle under the enormous weight of the girder. He yelled for workers to move, but the girder fell directly on top of a 35-year-old truck driver before he could escape.

Another crane operator stated that he believes the crane may have shifted because of movement on the barge in which it rested. He stated that the girder was about five-feet above its resting place when the crane suddenly began to tip forward.

The Occupation Safety and Health Administration is investigating the construction company in charge of the project for safety violations connected to this incident, as well as another fatal crane accident that occurred in April.

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz hope that the worker harmed in this accident recovers quickly from his Wisconsin Personal Injury.

Wisconsin Construction Accident Leaves One Dead And Another Man Injured

by Keith Adkins | July 5th, 2012

July 5, 2012

A construction accident has left one man dead and another worker seriously injured. According to The Northwestern, the accident happened on the Butte Des Morts Bridge along US 41 at around 9:00 a.m. this morning.

Reports indicate that the operator of a crane was working to lift a large steel beam, when the crane collapsed and tumbled down onto a construction zone that had been established on the bridge. The crane landed on top of a 35-year-old Green Bay man who was working for one of the subcontractors assigned to the project. The impact killed him instantly. The crane operator was severely injured and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been contacted to conduct an investigation to determine what, if anything, could have prevented this tragedy.

This is not the first accident associated with renovations being done along the highway. In late April, a 58-year-old worker was killed while unloading equipment and materials from a similar crane. OSHA says a final report on the causes of the accident will be released in October.

The Appleton Personal Injury Lawyers with Sigman, Janssen, Stack, Sewall & Pitz understand how devastating the loss of a loved one from a Wisconsin Personal Injury can be. That is why the firm would like to send their deepest condolences to the friends and family of the worker who died in this tragic accident.

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