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rojo's avatar

Do you think this is a Workers Comp. issue? (details follow)

Asked by rojo (15971 points ) February 11th, 2013

Had a question today about whether a broken prothesis was a workers comp. issue or whether the person just had to suck it up and pay the repairs themselves.

Q: Did it happen on the job?
A: Yes
Q: Was it a consequence of being on the job?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Do you do anything on the job that you would not be doing off the job?
A: Well, I am up and down ladders all day long.
Q: And that stresses out the prosthesis?
A: Definitely, I put all the weight on the leg every other step. And it is a narrow step.
Q: Where it broke, can you make a reasonable tie-in to this activity?
A: Yes.

So, to my way of thinking, even thought it is a mechanical device, it is a workers’ comp. issue just like a stress fracture, a broken ankle or a bad case of carpal tunnel.

What are your thoughts?

BTW: The person was/is working on a construction site and did not end up filing a workers’ comp. claim for fear of being terminated.
It has been my experience that it is not unusual in the construction field to forgo filing. It is the brave individual who will actually make his employers insurance cough up for a valid claim and go through the persecution that is sure to follow. Even if they are not fired, the work environment can be made unbearable enough that they eventually quit.

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9 Answers

Judi's avatar

It might depend on the state. In California it is up to the doctor to decide if its a workers comp claim and it is practically impossible to challenge them.

marinelife's avatar

It sounds like it would be worthwhile to try.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t know what employers you’re used to working with, but mine would be more likely to fire an employee for not reporting a job-related injury or accident. We want to know about those things, because we have hundreds of jobsites around the world, and if our policies and procedures aren’t working or aren’t adequate, then people at all of our sites could be at risk.

delilah75's avatar

For workmans comp you need to be 100% solid in your answers. Like is it something that happened because of work, yes or no? Not well I am unsure maybe I hurt it getting out of the shower. If it happened the injury on the job then yes it was a consequence of the job yes! Be sure in your answers and never say I don’t know and never let anyone twist your words or trip you up in how they reword questions. They try to see if your lying but the way they reword questions can confuse people.

bkcunningham's avatar

I don’t know the answer, but I love this question and I love your answer, @CWOTUS. Where do you work, @CWOTUS? Are they hiring?

I think the answer would come down to a claim being filed and an expert taking a look at the device and seeing how and why it failed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My husband was in construction and making really really good money until he got hurt on a job and magically all the work dried up after he filed (he’d let them slide on another but this required knee surgery to repair.)

Also, I don’t think your friend has a claim because it’s normal wear and tear on the appendage isn’t it? In the course of the job that he was hired to do, which he felt he was qualified for and capable of doing? After all we’ve been through, I don’t think he should file.

rojo's avatar

@KNOWITALL I don’t think so, the device is less than six months old. I would think the the life expectancy of a prosthesis is much longer than this.
As to his qualifications, he returned to work at a job (with a different company) he was fully qualified to do as a Master Plumber and in a crew chief position but, as you are undoubtably aware, construction jobs are sometimes physically demanding, particularly on someone who leads by doing and would not ask someone to do something he is not, or has not, done himself.
On a personal level, do you think that your husbands knee should be considered normal wear and tear? What if it was an artificial knee would that make a difference?

burntbonez's avatar

It’s workman’s comp. As to what happens when you file a claim, I can not tell you. But if employers are pressuring workers not to report by refusing to hire workers with claims, I think that’s a big time law suit just dying to happen. I’m sure there are lawyers who would give you a big finders fee for legitimate information that leads to a suit against an errant employer.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@rojo No, my husband’s knee was injured because the idiot painters kept leaving their crap around his work area after repeatedly being told not to.

All I was saying about your friend is that he has a prosthesis and that’s a very physical job, I’m not sure how much liability the employer has in that case.

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