Fitzpatrick & Associate handles any injury or illness. This ranges anywhere from occupational exposure to someone who works in a laboratory. We’ve handled several of these cases. For example, perhaps there’s a substance that’s being used in the laboratory that the employee has an allergic reaction to. If that creates a disability or an illness, that’s covered under the worker’s comp statute. We handle complex cases like that one, and all the way down to the obvious injuries, such as somebody who lifts something up and hurts their back. That’s also covered, and we’ve had a multitude of those cases. We’ve also handled cases that are a little more complicated such as cardiac event type cases, like exertion cases.
We’ve had individuals for example, who delivered produce and had to carry a large dolly with significant weight. As it was being pulled over a curb, that individual sustained a heart attack. It was established to be arising out of the course of employment, because it was the job duties and the exertion that resulted in that cardiac event. Those are complicated cases. We’ve handled cases with catastrophic injuries for individuals that will never be able to work again. We’ve seen injuries that the mechanism of injury seems simple, but then the injury becomes such that it’s life-changing.
For example, we saw a client with a minor fracture on the leg. Through the series of operations and infections, that individual ended up losing the leg. It was all arising out of that original injury that was all causally related, so we knew we should compensate that person at the end of the day. We’ve represented people in all sorts of forms, from the physical to mental health injuries. People can have significant injuries as far as mental health, depression or anxiety. If it’s arising out of the course of employment, again, it can’t be like a disciplinary matter. “I don’t like the way you’re working” wouldn’t be grounds for a mental health injury, but there are certain things that can happen at the workplace where mental health issues arise and they’re causally related to the injury.
They’re tough to prove, but for example, we had a client who was working in a dialysis lab. She inadvertently got stuck by a needle. As a result, she was afraid that she had accumulated some kind of disease from the individual. It creates such anxiety. She ended up under the care of a psychiatrist, which became a legitimate work injury.
A lot of these individuals with mental health claims started with physical injuries. Maybe they can never work again, but as a result of that, they have issues with mental health. It wasn’t originally a mental health claim, but you filed to join that claim to the underlying bodily injury.
The cases that are purely mental health as some kind of incident within the organization are tricky, but if you can tie it to a physical injury or an actual event, then it becomes a little bit easier. They are just as valid case, purely mental health arising out of the course of employment.