Recently in Workers' Compensation Procedures Category

November 22, 2014

Compensation for Injured Workers with Pre-Existing Conditions


Workers' compensation benefits are available to any worker who suffers injury or loses his or her life while performing work-related job duties. Some cases can be more complicated than others. For example, drivers who are in an accident while leaving or heading to work or workers who suffer illness. Can a worker collect compensation when they are injured as a result of a pre-existing or chronic condition? Every case is unique and should be reviewed by an experienced advocate. When pursuing workers' compensation benefits after an accident or injury, it is important to know your rights and the potential obstacles you may face.

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In some instances, workers with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, will often take longer to recover from an on-the-job injury. If the worker suffers from partial or permanent disability, workers' compensation costs go up for employers. Even if an employer has advanced knowledge of the condition, workers' compensation benefits may still extend to total cost of an injured workers medical care and lost wages. Some states, including Connecticut, Florida, New York, and California, allow disability benefits to be split between and employer and another responsible entity, such as a former employer or state-controlled injury fund.

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October 31, 2014

Average Salaries for the Most Dangerous U.S. Jobs


While many high-risk jobs are in widely known--industries such as logging, fishing, and firefighting--a new report reveals only a few of these high risk industries are also lucrative. A research company set out to find out the most dangerous jobs in America and how much workers were making. According to the study, which was recently published in Time Magazine, many workers are taking on significant risk for less than average salaries.

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According to the BLS, the average wage for all professions was $34,750. Compared to wages collected by those in the most dangerous positions, only 4 of the top 10 dangerous jobs pay more than $10,000 above the average. The others pay around median or less than average. The highest paid dangerous job was airplane pilots who made an average of $129,600 per year.

So what are the most dangerous jobs in America and are they worth it? Here is a summary according to the FindtheBest data combined with wages posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census:

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October 26, 2014

Can Injured Workers Recover Damages for Pain and Suffering?


In the event of a workplace accident, victims do not have to prove that the company or another employee was at fault. Even if the injured worker was ultimately responsible for the accident, he or she is still entitled to workers' compensation. The only requirement to qualify for workers' compensation is that the injury occurred "while in the course of performing work-related duties." In personal injury law, victims are entitled to compensation for personal and financial damages, including pain and suffering. One of the trade-offs in workers' compensation law, is that victims are not entitled to direct payments for pain and suffering.

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While you have likely heard about plaintiffs taking defendants to court in personal injury litigation, workers' compensation claims do not usually involve a dispute of facts. In most cases, a worker will file a claim after injury, and collect compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Though injured workers are not able to collect for pain and suffering, they do benefit from the quicker turnaround of the workers' compensation system.

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October 24, 2014

Marta v. Reid: On Penalties for the Late Payment of Workers' Compensation Benefits


Marta v. Reid, an appeal heard by the Supreme Court of Georgia, involved the issue of whether there is a penalty for the late payment of workers' compensation benefits.

1018806_the_color_of_money.jpgThe facts in the case were not disputed by either party. Claimant filed for workers' compensation benefits following a 1999 on-the-job injury. A short time after filing the claim, employer started making payments. Claimant was determined to be entitled to 32 payments under a temporary total disability (TTD) rating.

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October 7, 2014

North Carolina Workers Killed on the Job: Proving a Workers' Compensation Claim


Sometimes an accident is simply an accident where nobody is at fault. In the context of most personal injury cases, the plaintiff tries to establish that, while we often use the term accident, it was actually negligent conduct by the defendant that caused personal injury or wrongful death. This is required for a plaintiff to collect. However, in a workers' compensation claim, an injured employee can receive benefits if he or she was injured on the job, even if the injury really was caused by an accident that nobody could have prevented.

wood---tall-838468-m.jpgAccording to a recent news report from the News & Observer, a worker was killed at a wood products company in Moncure, North Carolina when a large piece of machinery fell on him. Authorities are saying that the 29-year-old worker's death is under investigation, but they have not released details. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been contacted, as it is their responsibility to investigate all work-related deaths and other serious injuries in the United States.

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October 3, 2014

Walston v. Boeing Co.: Workers' Compensation as an Exclusive Remedy


Walston v. Boeing Co., a case from the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, involved petitioner who was acting as the personal representative for the estate of decedent. Court records indicate that decedent was employed by respondent from the mid-1950s through the mid-1990s. In 1985, decedent was exposed to asbestos. That year, maintenance workers were repairing pipe insulation in the ceiling above the hammer shop in which decedent worked.

airplane-1445545-m.jpgThe maintenance workers wrapped the pipes to contain flaking of the asbestos insulation. These workers were also using ventilators and wearing hazmat suits to protect them from exposure to asbestos dust. Asbestos fibers can become embedded in the tissue of the lungs and other organs and cause a deadly type of cancer known as mesothelioma, as well as lung cancer.

During the entire time the work was being performed overhead, the workers in the hammer shop down below were not wearing any protective clothing or ventilators. Decedent placed a plastic sheet over his toolbox to protect it from the flakes that were falling onto it. At one point, decedent and his coworkers complained to a supervisor, but they were told to get back to work but try to avoid working directly under the overhead activity.

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September 29, 2014

Malcomson v. Liberty Northwest - Denial of Insurer's Ex Parte Communication With Doctors


Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys know that in some cases, insurers providing coverage will seek to communicate with medical providers outside the patient's knowledge or participation. This is called ex parte communication, and it can only be done with a patient's explicit, written consent.
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While that communication may sometimes necessary for certain administrative purposes, the Montana Supreme Court recently ruled in Malcomson v. Liberty Northwest the communication should not be unlimited, particularly when information gleaned is broad and not relevant to the immediate case. Further, the court affirmed an earlier ruling by the state's workers' compensation commission that a patient's refusal to allow unmitigated access to her health care providers regarding her case violated her constitutional rights to medical privacy.

This is a case that illustrates why it is important to have an attorney assisting you from the outside of filing a claim.

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July 29, 2014

Isack v. Acuity: Workers' Compensation and Reimbursement Rights


Our Spartanburg workers' compensation attorneys know that complex litigation can result when a person files a lawsuit after already receiving a workers' compensation award.

480202_broken_car.jpgIn Isack v. Acuity, a case in the South Carolina Supreme Court, a worker was injured in a serious automobile accident. A co-worker was driving the van during the course of employment. The accident was reportedly caused by the negligence of a third party who was also driving in the course of his employment.

After the accident, the claimant's employer's workers' compensation insurance company paid benefits to the injured workers. A couple of weeks later, a family member of the claimant contacted a car accident lawyer seeking representation for the accident. The attorney contacted the workers' compensation insurance company to speak with them about their right to offset any benefits paid, and then entered into an engagement agreement with the claimant.

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July 23, 2014

Lenz v. Cent. Parking Sys. of Neb., Inc.: Workers' Compensation Claims and a Substantially Worsened Condition


Our Winston-Salem workers' compensation lawyers understand that the effects of an on-the-job injury can become substantially worse as time passes. This can further complicate an already difficult situation due the two-year statute of limitations on applying for workers' compensation benefits.

hospitalroom1.jpgIn Lenz v. Cent. Parking Sys. of Neb., Inc., a worker developed frostbite while working as an outdoor parking lot attendant. The frostbite was on his right foot, and he could no longer work while receiving treatment. He applied for and received workers' compensation benefits under a temporary permanent disability rating and, later, a partial permanent disability rating of 20%.

During the course of treatment, the worker moved from Nebraska to Colorado and applied for additional benefits under the state indigent care program, rather than the company's workers' compensation insurance carrier. The following year, he returned to Nebraska. The frostbite had still not healed, and he developed ulcers that became infected, and he was hospitalized.


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July 15, 2014

State Office of Risk Mgmt. v. Carty: Workers' Compensation Death Benefits and Third-Party Settlements


Our workers' compensation attorneys know that a wrongful death settlement is typically a complex undertaking, which can lead to further litigation when an insurance carrier demands to be reimbursed for benefits already paid. When those benefits were paid under a workers' compensation claim, it can become even more complex.

sterilisation.jpgState Office of Risk Management v. Carty, shows us just how complicated matters can become.

In State Office of Risk Management, Jimmy Carty was participating in training in Texas when he died. His wife and three young children survived Carty. In Texas, the State Office of Risk Management ("Risk Management") serves as the workers' compensation insurance company that covers all state employees. Risk Management paid for Carty's medical bills and funeral expenses. Risk Management also paid workers' compensation in the form of death benefits to Carty's wife and children.

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July 2, 2014

Fowler v. Vista Care: How an Employee's TTD Rating Can Affect Workers' Compensation Benefits


Charlotte Workers' Compensation lawyers understand that your Temporary Total Disability (TTD) rating can have a major impact on the amount of benefits you receive after being injured on the job.

surgeon.jpgIn Sherrie Fowler v. Vista Care and Emergency Home Insurance, the Supreme Court of the State of New Mexico ruled on the issue of whether state statutes imposed a limit on TTD benefits.

In Fowler, the appellant, Sherrie Fowler, injured her back on the job while working for Vista Care. As a result of her injuries, she had back surgery in 2003. After three years of treatment, a doctor determined that she reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). In Charlotte, the applicable MMI is set pursuant to Chapter 97 of the North Carolina Code (Workers' Compensation Act). Basically a workers' compensation claimant reaches his or her MMI when a doctor reports that everything feasible has been done to treat the employee's injury. It does not mean that the patient is no longer experiencing pain or that the injury has fully healed. It just means that in the doctor's opinion, there is no point in further treatment, because it won't improve the patient's condition. In other words, the employee has received the maximum level of benefits allowable under a TTD rating and cannot receive any further benefits unless he or she qualifies for a permanent disability.

In Fowler, after the appellant had reached her MMI limit, she applied for a lump-sum payment under the Partial Permanent Disability (PPD) statute.

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July 1, 2014

Lee Law Offices, PA Salutes America's First Responders this Fourth of July


Each year, during the Fourth of July period, millions of Americans will be off from work spending time with friends and family. Many will go to a backyard cookout, and others will go to a local celebration and end the night by watching a fireworks display. Our workers' compensation lawyers understand that while most of us are out enjoying the festivities, there will be those still on the clock, working hard to keep us safe.

There will be police officers directing crowds and patrolling the roads to keep us safe from drunk drivers. There will be EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters staffing sporting events and fireworks displays across the county. These brave men and women are putting the health and safety of others in the community above their own.

fireworks12.jpgAccording to a report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which examined the occupational health and safety of those working in emergency preparedness and response, these individuals have significantly increased incidence of workplace accidents and illness.

It should come as no surprise that professional firefighters and police officers are high on the list of occupations in terms of fatality rate. Statistically, the fatality rate for these first responders is between three and four times the national average. In the case of firefighters, we often see injuries related to burns or "fire attack," falling debris during search and rescue operations, and smoke inhalation. For police officers, about 90 percent of all work-related injuries are from vehicle crashes and assaults. EMTs and paramedics deal with many of the same on-the-job dangers but also bear the risk of contracting infectious disease through patient contact and accidental needle sticks.

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June 23, 2014

Louie v. BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc.: On New Law and Ongoing Workers' Compensation Cases


Greensboro workers' compensation attorneys know that employers and their insurance companies often try to deny paying benefits by claiming that an employee's injuries were not work-related. In Richard Louie v. BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc., and Ace USA, Richard Louie worked for the appellee (BP) as an auditor. He was a highly paid employee and earned over $100,000 per year. His job required him to travel, and, in January of 2000, he was traveling to London when he suffered from deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This condition resulted in a small clot in his leg traveling to his brain. When the clot reached his brain, Mr. Louie suffered a major stoke that left him disabled. After the stroke, Mr. Louie was left paralyzed on one side of his body. He also suffers from aphasia and muscle spasms. Mr. Louie's DVT was determined to be related to air travel.

plane.jpgAfter suffering the stroke, Mr. Louie filed for workers' compensation benefits. At first, BP claimed that Mr. Louie's injuries were not work-related. Eventually BP agreed to pay temporary total disability (TTD) at a rate of $700 per week. Mr. Louie continued to fight for additional compensation for his on-the-job injuries, and the parties eventually entered into a partial compromise and release (C&R) agreement. A C&R agreement is basically a workers' compensation settlement agreement. In North Carolina, the state Industrial Commission has outlined procedures pertaining to C&R agreements.

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April 21, 2014

Whistleblower Protection and Worker Discipline


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has the responsibility of regulating safety on worksites and has the authority to set rules designed to protect workers. OSHA has too few inspectors and too tight of a budget to be as effective as it should be at doing this job. Because of understaffing, OSHA cannot inspect businesses frequently and companies could get away with safety violations for years. fire-hydrant-booster-and-pipes-1434480-m.jpg

Things got worse at OSHA recently when the agency had to cut its budget due to the federal sequester. However, amidst the cuts, OSHA increased its resources for investigating whistleblower cases. Whistleblower cases let employees, those most likely to be aware of safety problems, come forward and provide information about violations or wrongdoing on the part of employers.

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March 16, 2014

Temp Workers, Workers' Compensation & Staffing Agencies


The United States is often considered advanced in areas of employee rights. However, the U.S. is behind in the protections provided to temporary workers when compared to other countries.

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Our Asheville worker's compensation lawyers know that the temporary workers in the United States deserve better treatment and more beneficial employment laws.

Arecent articlecompared the fate of a temp worker in the United States with what might have happened in other countries with more favorable laws for temporary workers.

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