Dugan & Associates, P.C.
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Serving all of Western Pennsylvania
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October 2012 Archives

Was man's disability claim denial discriminatory?

Even short-term illnesses, like the common cold, can make working a full day challenging. So imagine the difficulties an employee with sciatic nerve pain, diabetes, obesity, and depression experiences when trying to work. One man who has all of these conditions had to stop working in fast food management because his sciatic nerve pain made it impossible to stand or sit for extended lengths of time.

Pennsylvania involved in opioid use study

Long-term use of opium-derived narcotics in workers' compensation cases was the subject of a recent study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute. In their study they looked over nearly 300,000 claims from injuries sustained from Oct. 1, 2006 to Sept. 30, 2009. According to the study, few of the physicians overseeing these workers' compensation patients were following the "recommended treatment guidelines to prevent opioid misuse." The study found that nearly one in 12 of the workers' comp patients who started using narcotics due to injury were still on them three to six months later.

Disabled family stuck in home since adapted van was stolen

When a person becomes disabled, many tasks that were previously simple may become challenging. Disabled workers in Pennsylvania may rely on various resources on a daily basis to get by. For instance, Social Security disability benefits can significantly help people with disabilities. Many of these people may have other invaluable resources. For one family, their adapted van is an invaluable resource.

Serious head injury results from industrial accident

An Ohio man sustained a serious head injury at his worksite while he was there, off-duty, to pick up his paycheck. The block and brick plant uses a series of rollers to move their product out of the building. The young man, aged 25, was injured when a stacked load of cinderblocks was rolled out of the break in the wall and his head became wedged in between. Industrial accidents like this one can happen in the blink of an eye, but have lasting and serious consequences.

Without General Assistance, disabled Pennsylvanians struggle

Many Pennsylvanians relied on the state's General Assistance to pay rent and buy groceries. General Assistance provided financial help to disabled individuals, some of whom may be waiting for their Social Security disability application to be approved. The state cut funding for this program in June 2012 to save $150 million each year.

Facilities that treat workers' comp affected by meningitis outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a list of facilities that received a medication being linked to the meningitis outbreak. Pennsylvania is one of the more than 20 states that received this medication. Several health care facilities that treat claimants on workers' compensation are on the list. The CDC has joined with the Food and Drug Administration to investigate this outbreak of more than 200 cases, but not all those who received the tainted epidural steroid injections will become ill.

OSHA announces new methods for whistleblower complaints

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health administration is launching a new program for dispute resolution in regards to their Whistleblower Protection Program. OSHA provides 22 statutes for whistleblowers, covering millions of employees in various industries and received 2,500 whistleblower complaints annually. Some people who are injured on the job may also be interested in finding more information about whistleblowers and how OSHA may be able to assist them.

SSDI benefits application now available online

While many people who suffer from a disability may know that Social Security disability insurance benefits could help them, actually securing the benefits can be challenging. As with other applications, the process can take a while and requires submitting various pieces of information. Recent changes by the Social Security Administration aim to make the application process easier for people trying to receive benefits.

Construction collapse injures two workers

The second floor of a Middletown home under construction collapsed last weekend, injuring two people who were working on the first floor of the home. Fortunately, they have both been treated and released from the hospital. The framing of the second floor collapsed, falling in on top of the workers on the first level, an event which could have easily been fatal to those workers and any others working below. At this time, it is unclear why the framing collapsed.

Ladder Safety: Avoiding injury and what to do if you are hurt

Falls are the number one cause of death in and around the home, according to the National Safety Council. More than 6,000 people die each year and 30,000 people are injured by ladder falls. Workplace falls from ladders can have much more severe injuries than the average ladder in a home. Following safety guidelines can prevent these injuries -- both at home and in the workplace.

Does a mental illness make work challenging for you?

Many illnesses have the potential to affect a person's work and home life. People with psychological disorders may find it challenging to fully function at work and at home. Psychological illnesses can affect all aspects of a person's life.

Workers' comp insurance for firefighters to increase

Last year, a law was passed meant to benefit volunteer firefighters. The law enables these volunteers to collect benefits if they develop cancer as a result of exposure to carcinogens at fire scenes. Now, two insurers which cover the municipalities will be dropping their workers' compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters.

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