Augusta, GA Paper Mill fined after an employee dies from injuries sustained at work

Recently, OSHA recommended a fine for an Augusta-based paper mill, International Paper, after an accident that killed a worker earlier this year. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that OSHA handed down 37 citations and proposed more than $120,000 in fines against this Employer. The OSHA violation came after a worker was hit and killed by a timber loading crane in February. It was reported that this injured worker was an employee for approximately 43 years. OSHA says the company was running the crane without any kind of warning device. At the Ramos Law Firm, our attorneys have handled similar construction accident claims involving the untimely death of an employee.  These benefits must be handled carefully and swift action is needed.  If your loved one was in a fatal work accident, contact our firm.  There is no charge for this...

Gainesville, Georgia Poultry Farm Fined for Endangering Workers

The local poultry plant, Mar-Jac, in Gainesville Georgia was recently fined almost $380,000 by OSHA. OSHA proposed $379,800 in penalties against Mar-Jac Poultry Inc., of Gainsville, Georgia, for safety and health violations. The company was cited with four willful violations with a proposed penalty of $252,000. Mar-Jac Poultry has also failed to perform required compliance audits. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. Additionally, Mar-Jac Poultry was cited with 37 serious safety and health violations with $127,800 in proposed penalties. The safety hazards included: a failure to place proper machine guarding, uncovered floor holes, obstructed emergency exit routes, a lockout/tagout device not being affixed to electrical disconnect, and portable fire extinguishers not being readily available. It was also cited for failing to develop an emergency response plan for employees responding to ammonia emergencies. A serious citation is issued when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. One day after receiving almost $400,000 in penalties from citations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mar-Jac Poultry released a statement disputing the violations as “unfounded” and said it intends to contest them. At the Ramos Law Firm, we have represented many injured workers who were at similar poultry or chicken processing plants.  If you have been injured, contact the Ramos Law Firm for a free...

Georgia’s Injured Employees and Workers’ Compensation

Generally, when an employee is injured in Atlanta or any other city in Georgia, the employee may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are primarily made up of medical treatment as it relates to the work injury and income benefits to a certain point. In most cases, the Employer may have a list of medical doctors from which the injured workers may obtain treatment.  These doctors may consist of occupational, orthopedic, or neurological specialists.  The Employer has the burden of having this list of doctors posted in a prominent place.  The Employee has the choice of selecting any doctor on this panel.  Also, the injured worker may also change or switch doctors one time without the Employer’s permission. The income benefits are determined by averaging the injured employee’s weekly wages from the previous 13 weeks and taking 2/3rds of it. Moreover, the 2/3rds of this average weekly wage is capped depending on the date of the accident or injury. This is called the workers’ compensation rate.  If the injured employee is not making the maximum workers’ compensation rate, the Employer/Insurer is required to outline their calculations for the State Board.  It is important to scrutinize these numbers to ensure proper payment. These workers’ compensation benefits should be started in a timely fashion as outlined by the law.  If you have been injured on the job and would like to discuss your claim, please contact the Ramos Law Firm for a free consulation with an expert in the...

Recent Court of Appeals Decision on Workers’ Compensation

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently reversed a decision rendered by the Superior Court of Lowndes County on the issue of appellate jurisdiction.  The case at bar was Strickland v. Crossmark, Georgia Court of Appeals, A09A0491 (06/26/09). In this case, the claimant was an employee at Wal-Mart who was tasked with stocking shelves in a store located in Valdosta, Georgia.  In order to perform this job, she was using a ladder.  The claimant, who had pre-existing back problems, missed a step on the ladder and experienced lower back pain.  This injury allegedly occurred between 11:00 and 11:30 in the morning.  However, the Employer presented evidence that the claimant had not signed in until noon that day.   Moreover, the Employer presented other contradictory evidence to the claimant’s case.  The presiding administrative law judge denied the claimant’s claim for benefits, as well as her claim for attorney’s fees. Initially, Employer/Insurer voluntarily commenced benefits, but later controverted the claim.  The claimant contested the controvert on the grounds that the Employer/Insurer failed to pay her all compensation due at the time of filing, in violation of O.C.G.A. § 34-9-221. The claimant successfully appealed the ruling and the Appellate Division vacated the decision and remanded the matter for additional proceedings on the procedural issues surrounding the controvert.  The Employer/Insurer filed an appeal to the Superior Court, who reversed and remanded the case back to the Appellate Division to review only the issues raised before the trial administrative law judge.  As a result, the claimant requested assistance from the Court of Appeals to review the Superior Court’s order and sought a reinstatement of the Appellate...

Bryan Ramos and Gail Bailey, Featured Presenters at Document Management In The Trenches

On September 23, 2009, Bryan Ramos and Gail Bailey will speak at the Cobb Galleria at a seminar hosted by the Institute for Paralegal Education.  The seminar is Document Management In the Trenches: How to Get (and Stay) Organized.  Bryan Ramos will speak regarding “Manual versus Automated Retrieval Systems” and Gail Bailey will follow him with information regarding “Leveraging Technology to Manage Documents”. For more information or to register go to...