Mattioli & Munley are partners with the Law Firm of Minora, Minora, Colbassani, Krowiak, Mattioli & Munley.

Workers’ Compensation

If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation.

This compensation could cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Especially if you are working in a high-risk environment, it’s important to know your rights and the steps to follow should you be injured on the job. The lawyers at Mattioli & Munley know workers’ compensation laws and can help you uphold your legal rights and recover damages.

Workers’ Compensation News

One-Person Train Crews Pose too Much Risk to Workers and the Public

A significant victory for public and workplace safety occurred on Sept. 10, 2014, when the lead union representing freight railroad conductors and ground crew members rejected a proposed revised work agreement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe to use one-person crews on more than half of the company’s trains. BNSF had been offering extra pay and more-flexible scheduling for compensated rest periods in return for operating most of its trains with a single engineer on open track equipped with positive train control technology. Increased use of single-operator remote systems would also have been implemented in BNSF rail yards. Representatives from the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART) declined to sign off the plan on the grounds that reducing crews raised the risks for accidents, injuries and deaths.SMART was previously known as the UTU, or United Transportation Union. As an attorney who has spent decades representing railroad employees hurt on the job, I applaud SMART’s stance. For each operator taken of a moving train, the odds of a crash, missed switch, ignored signal and inadequate response to an emergency situation increase. “When you have two people in the locomotive, you have two sets of eyes to look at things, to look at the track, see what they are doing, what’s up ahead,” a  rail safety expert explained to an Ohio television station investigating the possibility of one-person crews for CSX and Norfolk Southern trains. “What if you only have one person? Now you’ve only got one set of eyes. You’ve only got one brain. And to me the safety [just diminishes] … and the only reason they would do that... read more

OSHA Under Fire For Issuing Lax Penalties After Worker’s Death

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is at the receiving end of some harsh criticism from family members of an industrial worker after the man was crushed to death while at work. Frank Johnson, 62, was crushed between two railroad cars back in February and OSHA ruled that his employer owed only a $7,000 fine for the deadly accident. His wife, Debbie, says that while she’s not vindictive and isn’t looking to profit from her husband’s tragic death, she does think the minimal fines represent a slap in the face to her and her children.By handing down such small penalties, OSHA is allowing companies to shirk responsibility for the safety of their workers, setting a dangerous trend for the future. According to an accident report, Johnson was crushed to death at a Republic Steel plant when one end of a rail car that he was riding on hauling scrap crashed into a derailed railroad car. After the tragedy, OSHA launched an investigation and found that Republic was at fault for failing to clear the railroad tracks of ice, a problem that led to the derailment of the other rail car. OSHA’s regional director said that investigators turned up enough evidence to show that the company had some knowledge of the hazard and should thus be fined for failing to provide a safe work environment. OSHA handed down a generic fine because there are no existing standards in place concerning railroad tracks located on private property. An investigation into the company revealed previous OSHA violations and fines. Since 1990, the Republic plant was inspected 30 times by OSHA employees who... read more

Injured at Work: Do I have more than one claim?

It is Monday morning and you report to your job as a file clerk in a major corporation. You go to the filing cabinet to get a file and trip over a drawer that was left open again, despite numerous complaints to management about the number of times this has happened and the danger it presents. You have tripped over this drawer before, which is often left open because the file cabinet doesn’t close correctly and is due to be replaced. You and other co-workers have put in requisition forms to your supervisor to replace the cabinet, but the budget is tight this year and the company has not replaced it. Usually you just stub your toe or stumble and catch yourself, but today you actually fall and break your ankle and twist your back while falling. What are your rights? Who will pay your medical bills? Who will pay your salary while you are off work? In Nebraska, your only option against your employer is workers’ compensation under the Exclusive Remedy Doctrine. Plock v. Crossroads Joint Venture, 239 Neb. 211, 475 N.W.2d 105 (1991). Despite the fact that your employer failed to replace the filing cabinet and/or disregarded your complaints and didn’t make any changes in procedure, you will not have a lawsuit against your employer outside of workers’ compensation. There is no claim for an intentional tort against your employer in the State of Nebraska. The exclusive remedy doctrine provides a “give-and-take” remedy for addressing work-related injuries in which the employee relinquishes the right to sue an employer in civil court in exchange for specific and guaranteed benefits... read more

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