Showing posts with label Work Stress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Work Stress. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Heart Injuries and Heart Attacks

Heart Injuries and Heart Attacks
by Nick Wearne, Associate Attorney
Snow, Carpio & Weekley, PLC

Some work related injuries have special laws that govern whether they are compensable and how much benefit can be received.  One such law is Arizona Revised Statute 23-1043.01.  This section tells us what is required for a heart related injury to be covered under workers compensation. 

Generally speaking, a heart related injury is not covered under workers compensation.  However, the statute says a heart related injury is covered when some injury, stress, or exertion related to the employment was a ‘substantial contributing cause’ of the heart injury.  Whether a work related stress or exertion is a ‘substantial contributing cause’ is a determination that must be made by an administrative law judge on a case by case basis.

While it is hard to know ahead of time how a judge will rule on a heart attack case, we can look at past cases for guidance.  In one Arizona case, Skyview Cooling v. Industrial Commission, a heart attack was considered compensable where the main cause of the worker’s heart attack was the workers underlying heart disease but, a work related exertion precipitated the attack.  The worker in this case was walking through thick mud while doing farm work in Yuma Arizona when he experienced a heart attack.  The worker’s doctors agreed that the main cause of the heart injury was a blocked artery in the workers heart but, one of the doctors testified that the exertion from walking through the mud, and the exertion of having to pull his legs out when he got stuck, contributed to the heart attack and caused the attack to happen when it did.  The heart injury in this case was considered compensable under workers compensation.

If you have a job that requires stress/exertion, have experienced a heart attack while at work, and a claim was never filed or has been denied, call an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.  Do not assume that just because you had heart disease or were somehow predisposed to a heart attack that you do not deserve coverage.  At Snow Carpio and Weekley we will fight to get your past medical expenses covered, we will fight to get you lost wages while you recover, and will fight to get you the best cardiac care possible. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday Stress at Home...It Can Affect your Work

As we are approaching the holidays and I myself am starting to feel the stress of organizing the Thanksgiving meal and the traditional Black Friday shopping trip with all the girls in the family, I started to wonder if feeling so stressed out at home is showing at work. The answer is yes.

The holidays bring a lot of things. There is great food, awesome presents and wonderful company as you spend time with the people closest to you. But there is also the stress and sometimes negativity that often comes with the holidays.

There are also indicators that suggest the higher the stress level in the home, the less healthy and more "sick days" there are in the workplace. Not to mention that when we are stressed at home; we tend to have a shorter fuse and be less attentive when at the office.

Although work can sometimes act as an escape, the pressure to keep up with everything in your life, including your job performance can more feeling of being overwhelmed.

So before you find yourself in the middle of the holiday "swirl" and you feel as if you're being pulled in 20 different directions; try to find some ways to de-stress and relax.

Here are four simple and effective tips for doing just that.

1. Slow down.

Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly. Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens). Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full.)

Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing. Be here and now and focus on doing just one thing at a time. By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things, your body and your mind start to relax.

The stress you feel from doing the things does not come from the things, it comes from how you go about doing them.

2. Take it easy with those expectations.

Things take time. Especially around the holidays as stores, roads etc. are overflowing with people. It is just how it is and if you don’t accept that then it’s going to be some stressful and frustrated days ahead. Take this into consideration when you make practical plans. Realize that things may take longer than you originally planned for. And realize that even though that Christmas etc. is supposed to be a sort of perfect time of the year nothing will ever be perfect (not for long at least).

Striving for or expecting perfection can be pretty dangerous. Because you will never feel like what you do or what you get is good enough. Even though what you do, for example, is just fine 90 percent of the time you still feel let down inside like you are not OK. This robs you of enjoying your holidays.
You have set the bar at an inhuman level. If you expect perfection around the holidays – or around any time of the year – then your self esteem will stay low, your stress levels will shoot up and you will feel disappointed even though things may have indeed been very good overall.

3. Tap into gratitude.

Where you put your focus does to a large degree determine how you feel and think. Focus on the stress and how hard everything is, and you will feel and think about just that. Focus on the positive things in your life right now and you will feel a lot better and think happier thoughts. Your day becomes lighter and brighter.

One of the quickest ways to shift your focus is simply to appreciate the positive things in your life right now. To be grateful for what you have.

Two ways of doing that are:

The two minute exercise. If you’re feeling negative or stressed out use just two minutes in your day to reflect upon things that you are grateful for. It’s a small and quick thing to do but it can have a big effect on your mood – it’s hard to not feel like smiling after those two minutes – and how you view your life. Ask yourself: “what can I appreciate in my life right now? and “what can I be grateful for that I may have been taking for granted this year?”.

The gratitude journal. Basically the same exercise as above. But here you quickly jot down 5 things you are grateful for in a journal. Do this for a few minutes each day or each week. Review the journal whenever you feel the need. Very simple but effective.

4. Take a break.

Working nonstop can sour your mood and stress anyone out. Slow down but also remember to take breaks. Take 20 minutes or half an hour to just rest. Take a walk in the crisp and cold winter landscape. Escape via music, a book you have that you may have never finished or by watching classic holiday movies/TV. I usually watch Elf or A Christmas Story. Both are great for a holiday chuckle and watching them every year with the family has become a tradition.

Do something that snaps you out of the working, shopping and preparing mindset, even if it is just for while. That short change in scenery and change of mental head space may be all you need to feel revitalized again.

The whole point to the holidays is to share and enjoy our time with family and friends and to have a good time. Remember that the holidays are more than the perfect table settings at Thanksgiving or the perfect gift at Christmas. Stop and remember the true meaning of the holidays.

Enjoy your holidays......

In the absence of Attorney Chad Snow, blog posted today by: April Lang-Snow, Business Manager @ Snow and Carpio, PLC.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

General Worker's Comp Information

Arizona Workers Compensation Information

The attorneys at Snow and Carpio, PLC are an experienced advocate for the rights of Arizona workers. Arizona law requires almost all employers to carry workers compensation insurance. This insurance pays for medical treatment, rehabilitation therapy, lost wages, and some other expenses in the event a worker is injured on the job. While this coverage is for the purpose of helping workers who suffer injuries, it is not always easy to obtain the compensation to which an employee is entitled. To get the full amount of compensation you are entitled to and you deserve, contact Snow and Carpio, PLC for a free case evaluation.

No Fault System

One of the most important aspects of the workers compensation system is that it is a no fault system. Benefits are neither increased nor decreased by whose fault caused the injury. If the injury arises out of and in the course of employment it should be covered. The elimination of any fault issues is one of the ways the system has been designed to insure the delivery of prompt benefits without dispute.


Worker’s compensation pays limited benefits. Generally, any medical expense related to the injury must be covered. You are also entitled to a percentage of your lost wages for time off work. In some cases, there is also a permanent disability benefit. In exchange for giving up full compensation for your injuries and losses the system has been designed to provide you speedy benefits. However, sometimes insurance carriers abuse the system with frivolous delays and denials. The hearing process instead of being used for resolutions of good faith disputes gets used as a built in delay mechanism to coerce settlement or claim abandonment. This can be worker’s compensation bad faith.

Reporting a Workplace Injury

Once an on-the–job injury has occurred, the employer has the right to be notified so that it may investigate the circumstances of the injury, and provide treatment to minimize the injury. This legal requirement operates in the interests of both parties. A prejudicial failure to report an injury may act to bar the entire workers compensation claim, therefore it’s important to report an injury to an employer as soon as you reasonably believe you have suffered an injury that will involve medical care or time off work.

Filing an Arizona Workers Compensation Claim

It is also important to file an Arizona workers compensation claim as soon as possible, because it generally takes about 30 days to receive an initial determination of the insurance carrier’s acceptance or denial of a claim. The workers compensation claim may be filed with the Industrial Commission of Arizona in one of two ways. The injured worker may file the claim directly with the Arizona Industrial Commission or the physician or hospital attending an injured worker will do so, as they are required to report any industrial accidents to the Industrial Commission.

Claim Acceptance or Denial

Once the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) receives the filed claim, it will notify the employer’s insurance carrier of the claim. There is no limit for the ICA to perform the notification, but it generally takes 7-10 days. Once the insurance carrier is notified of the claim, it has 21 days to formally accept or deny the claim. If the carrier does not respond to the claim within those 21 days, the carrier is responsible to provide benefits from the date of notice as if it had accepted the claim until such time it issues a formal denial.

Workers’ Compensation Hearing Process

If a claim is denied, a hearing request must be filed with the Industrial Commission of Arizona. The claim will then be set for hearing before an Arizona Administrative Law Judge. Both sides have a right to present evidence, including witnesses, medical records, and physician testimony. Once an issue becomes contested and the hearing process has begun, it generally takes a minimum six months and frequently up to one year for resolution by a judicial award. Having an experienced workers compensation lawyer at the hearing is often critical, as there are numerous issues that can be disputed and be presented at hearings in a workers’ compensation claim.

Medical & Disability Stages

Generally, there are three stages to an accepted workers’ compensation claim; temporary total disability (TTD), temporary partial disability (TPD), and permanent partial disability (PPD). Each of these stages is based upon medical decisions. Stage changes will be based on the opinions of your treating physician or from the carrier’s “independent” medical examination physician. While not all medical examiners are biased, carriers will sometimes schedule so-called “independent” medical examinations, with physicians who are reputed to provide biased opinions in favor of insurance companies, in order to avoid medical and disability benefits to its insured workers. This is one of the ways in which disputes arise which need to be resolved through the hearing process, or in some circumstances, through a bad faith action.

Temporary Total Disability (TTD)

TTD means that you are temporarily, totally disabled or unable to work because of your injury. A physician has documented that the injured worker is unable to work, either because time is needed to diagnose the injury and the physician does not want to risk further injury, the injury needs time to heal, or any other reasoning in the physician’s opinion. During this stage, the industrial carrier should pay the totality of medical expenses related to the industrial injury that are provided by the approved physician.

In addition, it should pay 2/3 of lost wages, with checks coming in two-week intervals. The highest wage recognized by the Workers Compensation Act depends on the year you were injured. For 2009 injuries, the highest wage recognized by law is $3,600.00 per month, and therefore the maximum disability benefit payable is $2,400.00 per month. An insurance carrier may dispute a TTD status with the opinion from its own physician that the worker is capable of working. In that event a hearing may be necessary.

Temporary Partial Disability (TPD)

TPD means that you still need medical care, but a physician feels that you are able to return to the duties of your regular work, or perhaps modified or light duty. During this stage, the carrier continues to pay the totality of medical expenses from the approved physician, but now pays 2/3 of the difference between your established average monthly wage (AMW) and the wages you are “able to earn” within your medical restrictions. This is an issue that is litigated with increasing frequency. The worker will often contend that his employer does not have light duty available, and that he has looked for other light duty jobs without success, and therefore, is entitled to continuing full disability benefits. Carriers may respond that the worker could have found other light duty jobs, and the carrier will then reduce disability benefits, taking credit for wages it claims the worker was able to earn, even if no wages were earned. Denial of disability benefits is a tactic sometimes used to force desperate workers to settle for less than what is owed. Disability checks during this stage must be paid at least every 30 days.

Permanent Partial Disability (PPD)

PPD means that the case has closed from further active medical care, but that the worker has suffered a permanent disability as a result of the injury. Either the worker’s physician, or the carrier’s physician, has stated an opinion that the patient has received maximum benefit from medical treatment, and that further treatment will not provide any additional permanent improvement to the injury. Serious injuries may then be awarded a permanent disability through a permanent impairment rating.

Permanent impairments may or may not pay permanent disability benefits. There are two types of permanent disabilities, scheduled and unscheduled. A scheduled disability will pay a “scheduled” amount of money for the disability, without regard to the impact of that disability on your life or ability to work. An unscheduled disability will pay lifetime benefits, on a monthly basis, based on a loss of earning capacity (LEC). Generally, if a worker can return to date-of-injury wages, there is no LEC, and no disability benefit is paid. If the worker can only return to lesser wages, because of the injury, then a disability benefit based on 55% of the recognized loss is paid monthly. These are frequently disputed issues in Arizona workers’ compensation cases.

Change of Address

All clients must notify our office of a change in address or phone number immediately so that as required by law, it can be reported to the Industrial Commission of Arizona and the Insurance Carrier and any/all interested parties to the claim. It is also very important because as your attorney, we must have current information on file for you so that we may contact you regarding Depositions, Hearings, Medical Appointments and any information relating to your case.


Clients must be aware that Insurance Carriers can and will conduct surveillance on clients to confirm that the injuries and restrictions they are claiming are true. Clients must be aware that all of their actions may be videotaped and used as part of the court process.

Supportive Care

Serious injuries in Arizona may be awarded supportive care. This is generally a right to return to the physician several times a year to receive medications, or other minor treatments for flare-ups or exacerbations of the residual injury. Under supportive care, the claim remains closed, but treatment is authorized to the injured worker. In addition, once the claim has been accepted, if that medical condition is ever found to present something new, additional, or previously undiscovered from the time the claim was closed, the claim may be reopened for additional medical care to treat that condition. Reopening begins the process for payment of medical and disability ben

To speak with either myself or another attorney at the firm, please call and schedule your free consultation. You can reach us at 602-532-0700 or contact us through our website at Snow, Carpio, and Weekley.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Work Related "Stress" Injuries In Arizona Work Comp

We get a lot of calls from potential clients who want to file a workers comp claim because they have a lot of stress at work or their boss is just a jerk and they can't handle it anymore. The short answer is, "get over it. We're all stressed!" The long, more legal and politically correct answer is, in order to be compensable, a mental injury must be precipitated by an event that is "unexpected, unusual, or extraordinary stress."

The proof required for mental injuries is more stringent than that required for physical injuries because of the difficulty in proving a causal connection between mental illness and work-related stress. As the Arizona workers Comp Handbook so eloquently states, "in today's society, emotional stress has multiple causes. Some are work-related, others are not.

There are two types of emotional stress cases: in the first, the mental injury is caused by a single incident. In the second, the injury producing event is gradual in nature. The former are usually easier to prove compensable. Examples would be where an employee sees a co-worker get shot or die or where the employee hits and kills a pedestrian while on the job. The latter (gradual) are less likely to be accepted because of the difficulty in proving a causal connection.

Summary: if you're stressed because your boss is a jerk, you're overworked, your hours got cut, or your co-worker makes annoying nose sounds, man up and get over it.
If you have a truly stressful event at work, call Snow, Carpio, and Weekley at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000.