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St. Louis Legal Issues Blog

Liberty Mutual releases top 10 list of workplace injuries

Each year, thousands of workers in Missouri and across the country suffer serious injuries while performing their jobs. These injuries cost the U.S. billions of dollars in medical costs and lost wage payments.

According to the Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index, which documents the top 10 causes of serious on-the-job injuries nationwide every year, overexertion was the most expensive type of injury across all industries in 2019, costing $13.11 billion and accounting for 23.65% of all worker injuries. The second most expensive type of injury was falls on the same level, costing $10.38 billion and accounting for 18.72% of all injuries. The third most expensive type of injury was being struck by an object or piece of equipment, costing $5.22 billion and accounting for 9.42% of all injuries. Other top causes of workplace injuries on the list included falls to a lower level, other exertions or bodily reactions, motor vehicle accidents, slips or trips without falling, individuals getting caught or compressed in equipment, repetitive motions and workers getting struck against objects or equipment. When combined, these injuries cost a total of $18.22 billion.

Self-driving cars may need billions of more miles of testing

A recent report from the Rand Corporation supports the misgivings that drivers in Missouri may have about self-driving cars. The report says that automakers and the developers of self-driving technology are rushing to introduce autonomous vehicles to the public and that, as a result, they are neglecting to test the vehicles for a sufficient number of miles.

The report goes on to say that even under aggressive testing assumptions, the self-driving cars that are currently out may require decades or centuries to undergo sufficient testing. It may take millions or billions of miles before the vehicles are deemed safe enough. Waymo has tested its vehicles for the longest time, clearing 10 million miles in the real world and 7 billion miles through its in-house simulation technology, but this may not be enough.

Weather Channel faces lawsuit after fatal "Storm Wranglers" crash

Missouri residents who watch the Weather Channel may know how the two stars of the show "Storm Wranglers" died. On March 28, 2017, the duo was speeding down a highway in Texas in search of a tornado when they ran a stop sign and collided with a jeep. Both stars and the driver of the jeep, a 25-year-old storm spotter with the National Weather Service, died on impact. The mother of the 25-year-old is now suing the Weather Channel for $125 million.

The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the network was negligent in the way it dealt with the storm-chasing duo's history of reckless driving. The pair was often documented speeding, ignoring traffic lights, driving on the wrong side of the street, traveling on private property and proceeding through hail storms, among other things.

Date for SSD benefits calculations

Missouri residents who submit an initial claim for disability benefits, or file an application for disability, and who have their case approved will have their established date of onset determined by the disability examiner. The EOD is the date that the Social Security Administration determines an applicant's disability began.

The EOD can be a significant factor in determining how far back disability benefits can be awarded. However, there are distinct differences between the SSI and the Social Security Disability programs that can affect the outcome. Other factors to consider are the substantial differences in how the claims approvals are handled at the reconsideration appeal level or application appeal level and how they are handled at the disability hearing level.

5 tips for documenting your workplace injury

When you experience a workplace accident, you may have a desire to move on as quickly as possible so you can put it behind you. However, rushing through the process can hurt your chances of getting monetary compensation for your injuries.

The documentation of the incident can make or break your shot at filing a successful workers' compensation claim. Use the checklist below to ensure you collect the necessary proof to get your rightful compensation.

Raising awareness of the dangers of drowsy driving

The vast majority of Missouri drivers know just how dangerous it can be to drive while tired. When a person is drowsy, they have trouble making good decisions and reacting quickly when they are behind the wheel. To help bring awareness to the issue, March 15 was designated World Sleep Day.

If a person is awake for about 18 hours, most experts would say that their ability to drive is impaired. The condition they are in is quite similar to that of a drunk driver. In order to help more people appreciate the dangers that exist when driving while tired, Ford Motor Company designed a sleep suit. The suit, which Ford has incorporated into its free young driver training program, includes goggles, a vest, a cap and armbands/ankle bands that all connect to a smartphone app.

Daylight saving time can mean higher risk for crashes

Daylight saving time means losing one hour of sleep, which may pose a danger for many drivers in Missouri. Experts recommend at least seven hours of rest every night, but missing one or two hours within a 24-hour period can double one's risk for a car crash. This is according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Moreover, getting behind the wheel after only five hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours is like driving drunk. Drowsiness can impair judgment, slow reaction times and much more. This is why AAA advises drivers to make the appropriate changes to their sleep schedules.

Pedestrian safety is an increasing concern

Highway safety is typically thought of in terms of crashes involving two or more motor vehicles. While it is a legitimate safety concern, most Missouri residents take reasonable precautions by obeying traffic laws and driving alertly. Thankfully, the majority of vehicle crashes are in fact minor, and advanced safety equipment has helped to protect drivers and passengers. However, when one of the people involved in an accident is a pedestrian, the potential for a serious or fatal injury is significantly higher.

Government research statistics paint a grim picture: The number of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2018 reached an almost 30-year high. This is not simply an aberration but rather the culmination of a continuous upward trend that began in 2009 when pedestrian fatalities began rising after decades of decline. Several factors are cited as contributing to these disturbing facts.

'Disability" has a specific meaning under SSA rules

The Social Security Administration has an often complex set of rules and regulations governing the requirements that a claimant must meet before disability benefits are granted. Many Missouri workers who have experienced difficulty working due to a mental or physical condition believe they are disabled but do not meet the SSA's standards. In fact, over 50 percent of first time applicants are turned down. Consequently, it is important to have an understanding of what disability means when applying for SSD benefits.

The first issue to consider is the type of work the claimant does. The SSA will not only look to work that has been performed in the most recent job but also past relevant work plus other work activity. Past work includes that done in the last 15 years in which training was received. Other work includes jobs that based on training, education, and skills may be reasonably learned.

Is your injury found among top workers’ compensation claims?

The largest workers’ compensation carrier in the U.S. conducted a survey of 1.5 million claims to identify the most common injuries reported.

Researchers for the Travelers Companies listed the top five injuries and their causes and grouped results by industry and business size. Do you have a work-related injury named on that list?

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