Recently in Workers' Compensation Procedures Category

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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March 14, 2014

Private Prison Industry is Responsible for a Growing Number of Work Injuries


The private prison industry is one ofthe most dangerous places to work, according to research from the United States Department of Labor.

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Our Anderson worker's compensation lawyers note the private prison industry is one of the most dangerous sectors for employees in the United States.

The industry is responsible for 459 injuries per 10,000 full time workers while the average for the private sector and state and local governments is 112 injuries per 10,000 full time workers.


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March 8, 2014

National Severe Weather Safety Week - Does Your Company Have a Plan?


In a combined effort, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has teamed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to institute national severe weather safety week. During the week two participants aim to encourage the public to prepare to respond in the event of severe weather.

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Our Asheville worker's compensation lawyers know that severe weather, such as tornadoes, can strike without warning and all employers should establish a plan for a severe weather emergency.

Severe weather can be deadly, particularly when there is no plan in place and workers are not equipped to handle the emergency. All businesses should develop an emergency plan that includes a number of basic and simple steps to implement procedures aimed at saving lives in the event of a severe weather emergency.

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February 27, 2014

Fighting for South Carolina Workers' Compensation Coverage


It is to be expected in filing Anderson workers' compensation claims that there is a high likelihood the company will challenge the assertion that the injuries involved are compensable. shoelace.jpg

In South Carolina, in order for a claim to be compensable, the worker must have suffered a personal injury or death by an accident that arose out of and in the course of his or her employment.

Basing an argument on this definition, many workers' compensation defendants will attempt to assert that the injuries were the result of a pre-existing condition - not a work-related accident. You should know, however, that even those with pre-existing medical conditions can still receive workers' compensation, so long as you can show that work complicated or worsened their condition.

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February 12, 2014

Insurance Bad Faith Claims & Rights of the Injured


A recent court case addressed the issue of whether a worker could recover additional tort damages after his employer's insurer wrongfully, and in bad-faith, refused to pay worker's compensation due to him.

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Insurance companies and employers may pull out all the stops to avoid paying an employee in the wake of an injury claim. OurSpartanburg worker's compensation lawyers can help review your situation and determine the proper course of action.

The district court which reviewed this case initially erroneously determined that the insurer had only committed a breach of contract when it refused to pay the plaintiff's worker compensation claim.

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February 10, 2014

Carolina Construction Worker Killed at Manufacturing Plant


Construction work continues to be a dangerous way to make a living. According to a recent article on foxcarolina.com a construction worker was killed while working at a manufacturing plant construction site.

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Our workers' compensation lawyers in Charlotte know construction work is consistently ranked among the most dangerous occupations.

The worker was killed when a 10-inch pipe fell and hit him in the head, the report stated.

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January 21, 2014

Worker Compensation and Statute of Limitations


On-the-job injuries in North Carolina are generally grounds for a workers' compensation claims to help workers cope with medical expenses and lost wages.
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However, anyone needing to file a workers' compensation claim in Winston-Salem should understand the narrow time frame during which they must act. This is called a statute of limitations, and in North Carolina, that limit is two years.

That is 24 months from the date of the injury or illness. In some situations, that's a very straightforward matter. For example, if you slip and fall at a construction site and break your back, you have exactly two years from the date of that incident in which to file your claim.

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