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confused about workplace violence and wc Wisconsin Wisconsin

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  • confused about workplace violence and wc Wisconsin Wisconsin

    HI everyone , I have a question about workplace violence and workmans comp, I work w/ people with disabilities, I got hit violently and needed to have surgery on my shoulder . I went back to work while waiting for my surgery date and was verbally threaten again , my gp took me off of work for the 2nd time because of this. I had my shoulder operated on and was in rehab and back to work and I was hurt again by the same person.This person knew exactly what he was doing both times.. My surgeon took me off of work for another period of time and my shoulder has not done very well .I have problems sleeping, my shoulder pain is between 2 and 5 all the time {pain rating } The insurance CO now wants to know what's the hold up on my shoulder for getting better. How can I protect myself from further injury when I go back to work,or should I go back to work. When is it a good time to start seeing a lawyer about this matter. Its seems w.c and my employer can,t positively address my question about my safety at work ? i am confused and at my wits end.... thank you

  • #2
    I too work where we have employees who are injured by those with disabilities, many of whom are unable to fully understand the consequences of their actions. Believe me there is no easy answer. On the one hand someone must care for these individuals, on the other, no one wants to see an employee injured as a result.

    I'd suggest discussing the matter with your supervisor or whomever is in charge of your program. Perhaps this person who caused the injuries is in need of some special treatment or handling. I can't imagine your employer wants to keep losing you or others to injuries inflicted by a client. You know the situation and circumstances better than they do. If this person is truly a danger to staff, they need to know that before they can look at ways to address it. I'm always amazed at what my employees assume I know about a situation. I'm not there day in and out and it isn't clear what are flooks or genuine accidents, and what is a pattern that requires outside intervention.

    In the meantime, make sure you doctor knows the true physical demands and dangers of your job. Just telling him or her that you work with those who are disabled doesn't cut it. Don't exaggerate it but don't downplay it either. This will help your doctor determine what restrictions make sense for you both while you are healing and after you are released from care. It may be that you are assigned light duty elsewhere where there is less of a chance of client inflicted injury for a while. It may be that you don't work with this individual any longer or those with similar temperments and demands. Take it one step at a time.

    while you could file a suit against the person who injured you, your chances of recovering against someone with a disability are remote at best. Unless the disability in no way impairs their reasoning or cognitive abilities nor is related to the attacks, you aren't going to get very far. Your best bet is to try to work withing the system to remedy the situation and follow your doctor's advice as far as restrictions and treatments.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


    • #3
      You might also bring the situation to the attention of whomever is in charge of quality or risk management at your agency. When we have a resident who repeatedly assaults staff, my role is to ensure that the clinical team is discussing how to better handle this, that they are holding interdisciplinary meetings with all of his providers, and track their progress. At some point my dept points out where the risk to staff (and WC costs) outweighs our commitment to keeping this client in our services.

      Like the Elle said, we don't want to keep losing employees to this kind of problem, and also we have to consider the other residents in our service. The people who fight to keep the violent person in our services often back down when we point out how the other residents are in danger, and how the amount of attention this person requires affects the quality of the supervision the other residents get.

      We have also transferred staff who have been injured by clients to another setting that may "see less action." I don't know if that's something you can request at your setting.


      • #4
        Oh, I forgot to include this. Depending on the client's disability (is it a developmental disability, a serious mental illness, or something less serious like impulse control problems, substance abuse) you might press criminal charges against the person for assault.

        While I would never advocate doing this with a seriously impaired person who doesn't know right from wrong, we have had guys with substance abuse and mood disorders assault staff, and we called the police on them and pressed charges. This is a natural consequence for anyone in the community who assaults someone else, and we aim to teach our consumers to live a "normal" life in the community, which includes obeying the law.

        If you decide to do this, you would need the support/agreement of your agency. The agency may agree, weighing this against possible action by you in the future.

        Oh, the title of this thread is "workplace violence," but I tend to define workplace violence as violence perpetrated by an employee against another employee. Not a disabled consumer receiving services.


        • #5
          waiting in pain and confusion

          I am currently waiting for my I.M.E to come back .I know the chances of the ime will agree with my current Dr diagnoses are close to none ,My DR is treating me for nerve damage in my neck/Shoulder area ,Which the insurance co said they will not pay for treatment . My Dr ordered spine therapy rehab to see if a nerve block was in order, which prompted the ime from the all knowing insurance co. So i am currently in rehab with my private insurance and things are not getting better. If the ime comes back not supporting my current method of treatment, i will get my wc lawyer to repeal the decision. My million dollar question is i was attacked at work by a person who has some disabilties ,The first time required surgury and the second time nerve damage to the neck shoulder area . THis person has a voilent history going back yrs. Besides the 2 attacks i was threating 3 other times . I am in contact with my imployer and my wc carrier and neither wants to address this issue about workplace safety. If don,t go back to this work situation i lose my health ins and my income . Im totally screwed . please advise me


          • #6
            As I said previously, sometimes there is only so much an employer can do. Someone needs to provide services to those individuals who are likely to strike out and cause injury. There just isn't a way around it. If you are no longer able to do this type of work, I'd sugggest looking elsewhere. Perhaps you could request an internal transfer or you may need to apply for jobs elsewhere with a different client base.

            I can tell you that reason most carriers deny nerve blocks is that they are not a cure, they merely cover up the problem. The patient gets the nerve block and feels better and goes back to work and gets hurt worse. Or the nerve blocks eventually lose effectiveness and you are facing surgery or more drastic treatment anyway. I'm not saying that it is never the approrpriate treatment, but this is why it is often sent for an IME.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


            • #7
              Go see an attorney. Quickly.


              • #8
                got my back what a joke..................

                My W.C carrier told me that i need to fix a small tear in my R.cuff. My surgeon is the best in the state. My i.m.e came back and said my neck pain is from a pre existing condition, HA HA .. TO ellen i,ve worked in this field for along time and take great pride in serving people with disabilties,and very good at it , But you miss the point I have a right to have my shoulder,and Neck repaired but, Im kinda stuck in a catch 22 .Repair the tear and not the neck or send it to my lawyer and wait for a year for Court. My surgeon thinks its radiating pain from the neck , but said he would fix the tear ,but in his opinion it,s more neck issues than tear.And last but not least i,ve had no one assure me or imform me that anyone has a plan for my safety at work .My W.C. carrier says they don,t have anything to say or do about it. And it,s hush hush ,at the job about it ........... THe whole system is to scam the injured worker ,s for the most part , but not all carriers . Go packers


                • #9
                  It shouldn't take a year to get a WC hearing. Those are set fairly quickly and your attorney can request an emergency hearing if it is warranted. Talk to him/her. Not knowing how you were hit and what the claimed injury is to the neck, I can't begin to guess whether it is related or not. It really could go either way. It is very common to have degenerative changes in the cervical spine which have nothing to do with a torn rotator cuff. Your attorney and doctor are your best sources of information on how to proceed.

                  As for the safety issues when you return to work, again, it is not easy for your employer. Trust me. I've been trying to find ways to protect my employees from being injured by those who we care for, for years. The carrier doesn't have any say in the matter as they aren't the employer.

                  Talk to your employer. If you have an idea that would improve safety, by all means share it.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.


                  The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.