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Serious Workers Comp Claims Result From Cold Weather


Very Serious Workers Comp Claims Involves Extreme Cold Weather

A set of serious Workers Comp claims always happen with an arctic cold blast – even when not expected at our HQ.  The lateness of this article and last week’s newsletter will attest to how difficult the recent East Coast storm – snow cyclone bomb – can be to travel and WC claims.

black ice serious workers comp claims on pathway
Public Use – Simon Eugster

Some of the most serious workers comp claims have nothing to do directly with the exposure to cold weather.  These types of claims also carry controversy with them.

I had written on icy slip and fall injuries over the years.  Employee (often truckers) slips and falls on ice or black ice (even worse) can cause heavy duty injuries to employees.   Six of the worst leg injuries I have ever seen come from truckers falling when getting in or out of trucks.    Black ice can be treacherous if the parking lot or roads have been scraped and/or sanded/salted and then refreezing.

That is exactly why this article did not post last Thursday and the newsletter did not go out to my faithful readers.  Driving on refrozen ice that is similar to glass was something I decided to avoid.   Why? – because when I went to check the road conditions in front of my house, I fell over like a freshly chopped tree.   I had no injuries.   I stayed home.

I violated the slick-bottom shoe rule and payed for it.

This all occurred after the road was treated for ice.  However, there was a snow pack that I wish was left as it gives traction until it melts.

I digress – According to a great article by EHS, Accident Fund and American Heartland – 29 to 37% of injuries are caused by ice slip and falls (including me LOL).  Safety tips for employees on ice are also included in the article.

Winter-related slips and falls claims doubled in 2013-2014 over the previous year, representing 29 percent of all workers’ compensation claims, according to Accident Fund Insurance Company of America and United Heartland.

bar graph of Percentage serious workers comp claims Graphics

Here’s the breakdown by states:

  •  Indiana – 37 percent
  •  Wisconsin – 33 percent
  •  Michigan – 32 percent
  •  Illinois – 32 percent
  •  Minnesota – 29 percent

One hidden number is the seriousness of the claims reported.   A fracture knee cap or dislocated shoulder results in very serious workers comp claims.

One specific area for serious workers comp claims concerns states that are not used to such weather such as the Southeastern US.  If one does not expect to have this weather by living in the south, the level of safety may not be that great.

One controversial area with ice-related claims are the ingress and egress (going and coming) rules.   Each state has their own set of rules and laws on when a person becomes an employee – the old parking lot rules determine the employment situation for these serious workers comp claims.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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