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Council Bluffs Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Is it important to treat mental injuries seriously?

As a worker in Iowa who has experienced a debilitating physical injury, you might find yourself dealing with emotional or mental side effects as well. These effects can be just as crippling as a physical injury, and at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., we work to help you understand just what kind of damage you might be facing.

Many people write off psychological injuries as somehow being "less important" or "less real" than physical injuries. Things like anxiety or depression are often called invisible illnesses due to the fact that they don't have outward symptoms like a flu or a broken limb might have. However, that doesn't make them any less taxing for you.

How long will my back injury take to heal?

As a worker in Iowa whose job involves a lot of manual labor, you understand just how big of a deal a back injury can be. Even if it's something as minor as a sprain or strain-related damage, the recovery period of a back injury can impact you negatively.

On the other hand, these recovery periods absolutely must be adhered to. If you try working before your back is ready, you risk worsening the injury and adding even more time onto your overall recovery period. Spine-health lists out different recovery periods for different back-related injuries, which should generally be adhered to even if it means you can't work at your full potential for a while.

What is PTSD?

Have you experienced a traumatic accident in Iowa? Whether a work-related incident, a serious motor vehicle accident or something else, these experiences can leave you with more than just physical injuries and financial challenges. The emotional trauma that can accompany an accident of any type may be as severe or more so than any of the other results you may live with. Posttraumatic stress disorder is one example of a long-lasting emotional scar of sorts that requires prompt and professional intervention.

WebMD explains that the brains of people who have posttraumatic stress disorder function as though the people are almost constantly in an emergency state, releasing higher levels of certain hormones that promote a fight or flight type of response. While these hormones can help people in the time of an actual crisis, they are not ideal for everyday living in the same way. They can increase the chance of a person being irritable, angry, unable to sleep well and even reduce a person's ability to feel or process emotions properly.

Pesticides found in Iowa tap water

Recent studies have found evidence of neonicotinoids, a farm pesticide, in Iowa drinking water. As the Washington Post reports, some hold this insecticide responsible for a decrease in the bee population after a study linked it to the death of local bees. Now, neonicotinoids are showing up in water samples across the country, including in samples of Iowa City tap water.

The pesticide was present in tap water samples in a University of Iowa and taps in Iowa City. Concentrations of the neurotoxin found were small--only “0.24 to 57.3 nanograms per liter.” This measurement is parts per trillion, but the finding itself is not clear how much exposure to neonicotinoids is safe for human consumption. There is currently no recommendation from the Environmental Protection Agency about how much of the pesticide is acceptable in tap water.  Neonicotinoids are often fatal to insect nervous systems, but they do not easily work on a mammal’s brain in the same way.

Long and short term effects of workplace electrocution

Workers in Iowa may face the possible danger of electrocution, regardless of whether or not their primary job involves electronics or high sources of electrical energy. A single electrical outlet can deliver enough volts to severely harm or even kill a human, so the dangers of workplace electrocution apply to anyone who works in a building with a source of electricity.

Medline Plus delivers detailed information regarding the immediate injuries that a person can sustain when coming into direct contact with electricity. This can include severe issues like cardiac arrest, unconsciousness, or lung failure. Other side effects can include the sensation of numbness or tingling, such as pins and needles over the body. Muscular spasms or weakness may also occur, and the victim may even have a seizure. Broken bones and damage done to soft tissues is also common.

New workers’ compensation law slashes benefits

A new workers’ compensation law was signed by Governor Branstad that changes the benefits Iowa workers are afforded when injured on the job. According to U.S. News, the new law goes into effect on July 1, 2017. This will affect workers across the state who suffer from shoulder injuries, as they will see a decrease in overall benefits.

According to The Des Moines Register, $1.8 million has been cut from the Workers’ Compensation Fund annually. The law also includes language about a new training program for workers with shoulder injuries, and it is not clear how this new program will impact the Fund. What this means for Iowa workers who have been hurt on the job is that approximately 176 fewer shoulder injuries will be covered each year.

Temporary disability benefits in Iowa

No matter what your line of work or what industry you are in, a job-related accident can happen at any time in Iowa. When you are hurt on the job, you should be able to trust that you will be able to receive appropriate help. One type of help available to you may well be workers' compensation benefits.

Iowa Workforce Development explains you may be eligible for workers' compensation even if your injury is expected to heal. These are called temporary disability benefits. You may also be eligible for what are referred to healing period benefits which means you may receive assistance during the time in which you are healing until you can resume some form of work and your injury is not able to improve further.

What are common sources of workplace injuries?

Workers in Iowa are exposed to many different hazards on the job. However, there may be some that you aren't aware of simply because they aren't obvious. At the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., we work to inform you about all of the potential areas of harm your job could offer.

Many people believe that you'll have a higher risk of workplace injury if you work in a dangerous location. For example, if you process dangerous chemicals, work in difficult environments like a mine, or working with heavy or sharp equipment, it's natural to assume that you're at an elevated risk for harm. This is partially true; known occupational dangers make up a good chunk of workplace-related incidents and injuries.

How can I prevent work-related toxic exposure

Toxic exposure can happen without your full realization. It could be hours, days or even years before you notice the effects of dangerous substances. Imagine working on a construction site and inhaling the fumes that a welder emits. You could become very ill due to this exposure. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to avoid exposure. However, even wearing all the appropriate safety gear and using proper ventilation techniques, accidents still happen. An attorney in the Council Bluffs area can help you file a workers' compensation claim so that you receive the benefits you deserve.

Read further for tips to avoid toxic exposure in the workplace.

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