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OH - Supreme Court Denies Widow Compensation for Worker's Loss of Use of Limbs, Eyes, Ears

02/23/2024 | 0

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a denial of compensation to the widow of a worker who lost his sight, hearing and use of his limbs for the brief period between his industrial accident and his death. Timothy E. Walters worked as a mechanic for Paradise Lawn Care Inc. On May 16, 2018, co-workers saw him repairing a small bucket loader. They later discovered Walters pinned under the machine, unconscious. Co-workers were able to lift the loader off, but when paramedics arrived, Walters had no pulse. Walters was flown to a hospital. Upon arrival, he was unresponsive and hi... Read More

NY - Tax Court Says Disabled Worker Underreported Income

02/23/2024 | 0

The U.S. Tax Court ruled that a woman underreported her taxable Social Security benefits by omitting the portions subject to a workers' compensation offset. Case: Ecret v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 5238-22, 02/14/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Kristen Ecret worked as a registered nurse until 2014. That year, she became disabled by an on-the-job injury and began collecting benefits through New York’s workers’ compensation system. She received approximately $42,000 in benefits annually. In 2015, Ecret applied to the Social Security Administrati... Read More

NY - Labor Law Defendants Get Partial Summary Judgment on Negligence, Indemnification Claims

02/23/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that some defendants in a Labor Law action were entitled to summary judgment dismissing negligence claims against them and granting conditional summary judgment on their indemnification claims. Case: Weidtman v. Tremont Renaissance Housing Development Fund Co. Inc., No. 20106/18, 02/13/2024, published. Facts: Gregory Weidtman worked for NYC Crane Hoist & Rigging LLC. He was directed to operate a crane to hoist concrete planks at a construction site while supervised by another worker. However, a supervisor wound up operating the crane w... Read More

NY - Bridal Shop Worker Gets Benefits for COVID-19 Infection

02/23/2024 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a seamstress was entitled to benefits for her COVID-19 infection. Case: Matter of Leonard v. David's Bridal Inc., No. CV-23-0298, 02/15/2024, published. Facts and procedural history: Gayle Leonard worked as a seamstress for David's Bridal Inc. She filed claims for workers' compensation benefits alleging that she contracted COVID-19 through her work. A workers’ compensation law judge established the claim for occupationally contracted COVID-19 on March 8, 2021, the date Leonard tested positive. The Workers’ Compensation Board affi... Read More

Industry Insights

CA - Kamin: The Importance of QMEs Early in Claims

By John P. Kamin
02/23/2024 | 1

Getting the right specialty of qualified medical evaluators in cumulative trauma claims is an important tool to successfully defend against them, and there are several things that claims departments can do to help get the correct QME on a case. Early on in a claim, it's important for adjusters to grant authority to the defense attorney to get a QME in the correct specialty. For example, if the case features an injury to a joint, an orthopedic surgeon (MOS) is going to be the best specialty. (I recall multiple doctor depositions where a surgeon incredulously asks why an appl... Read More

DE - Worker's Prior Petitions Don't Bar New Claim for Recurrence of Disability

02/23/2024 | 0

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that a worker was not procedurally barred from pursuing his claim for recurrence of total disability. Case: United Parcel Service v. Hawkins, No. 233, 2023, 02/19/2024, published. Facts: Rudolph Hawkins worked for United Parcel Service. On Oct. 28, 2018, Hawkins' vehicle was rear-ended while he slept inside its sleeper berth compartment during a break from work. Hawkins suffered injuries and began receiving total disability benefits from UPS. Procedural history: In December 2019, Hawkins filed a petition for additional compensation with the Industr... Read More

CA - Bill Would Kill Yet-to-Launch Coverage Requirement for Contractors

02/23/2024 | 0

California contractors who don’t have employees would not be required to have workers’ compensation coverage to receive a state license, under a bill authored by the same senator who penned a 2022 measure requiring proof of coverage for most contractors starting in 2026. Senate Bill 1071, by Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, would create another exception to the proof-of-coverage requirement that Dodd included in his earlier measure, SB 216. Gov. Gavin Newsom in September 2022 enacted SB 216 requiring all concrete, heating and air conditioning, and tree service contractors to carry comp co... Read More

CA - Senate Measure Would Apply '4850 Time' to County Park Rangers, Housing Authority Officers

02/23/2024 | 0

Peace officers designated as county park rangers and housing authority officers would be eligible to receive up to one year of salary continuation benefits in lieu of temporary disability, under the latest legislative proposal to expand who is entitled to so-called “4850 time.” Sen. Angelique Ashby, D-Sacramento, introduced SB 1058 earlier in February. The bill, which is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Committee on Labor, Public Employment and Retirement, would eliminate a provision in Labor Code 4850 that effectively limits eligibility for salary continuation benefits for ce... Read More

AK - Lawmaker Aims to Shield Guaranty Fund From Constitutional Sweeps

02/23/2024 | 0

The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund would be protected against raids to replenish a constitutional reserve account, under a bill moving through the Legislature. Senate Bill 183, sponsored by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, would eliminate language establishing the guaranty fund as part of the state’s general fund and instead establish it as separate in the state treasury. The Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund was created in 2005 to pay benefits to injured workers whose employer was uninsured. The fund is financed by civil penalties a... Read More

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Press - Meet Our Newest Junior Partners!

02/20/2024 | 0

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CT - Bill Proposes Presumption for Strokes, Blood Clots

02/23/2024 | 0

Connecticut lawmakers on Thursday introduced legislation that would expand workers' compensation benefits for certain first responders who suffer work-related strokes and blood clots in the line of duty.  House Bill 5279 would create a workers’ comp presumption for municipal firefighters, police officers and constables who suffer injuries caused by cerebrovascular incidents or pulmonary embolisms within 24 hours of responding to an emergency call or attending mandated training events. The two new medical conditions would be added to current law, which already provides a worker... Read More

CA - Defendants Get Judgment Notwithstanding Jury's Verdict of Liability for Worker's Damages

02/22/2024 | 0

A California appellate court ruled that the defendants in a dispute over a worker’s on-the-job accident were entitled to a judgment notwithstanding a jury’s verdict of liability, since substantial evidence did not support the finding that the defendants were employers of the worker.  Jorge Guzman Jr. drove a food truck owned and operated by Philma Alvarez and Hector Chavez. On Jan. 11, 2014, after the truck completed its business at one of its stops, the cook asked Guzman to retrieve a table from outside. When Guzman stepped outside, he was hit by a car and seriously injured... Read More

OR - Court Modifies Prior Opinion, Maintains Decision Overturning Closure of Worker's Claim

02/22/2024 | 0

The Oregon Court of Appeals modified its prior decision overturning the closure of a worker’s claim to provide clarification to the factual and procedural history, but it adhered to its ruling. Case: In the Matter of the Compensation of Gage, No. A177315, 02/14/2024, published. Facts: Monika M. Gage worked for Fred Meyer Stores-Kroger Co. She suffered injuries in a workplace fall in 2005. Fred Meyer accepted liability for the injuries, which included a right lumbar strain and a herniated L5-S1 disc. Gage underwent two back surgeries and received an award of permanent disability.... Read More

KS - Senate Passes Reform Bill

02/22/2024 | 0

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a reform bill negotiated by labor and management that would increase benefits and tighten criteria for injured workers to receive future medical after reaching maximum medical improvement. The Senate voted 40-0 to pass SB 430 by the Senate Committee on Commerce. The bill would increase maximum death benefits to $500,000 from $300,000 and permanent total disability benefits to $400,000 from $155,000. It would also increase the maximum temporary total, permanent partial and temporary partial disability benefit to $225,000 from $130,000. SB 430... Read More

NY - Court Says Worker Entitled to Summary Judgment

02/22/2024 | 0

New York’s highest court ruled that an injured worker was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim for injuries resulting from a fall on a plastic covering placed over a stopped escalator. Case: Bazdaric v. Almah Partners LLC, No. 11, 02/20/2024, published. Facts: Srecko Bazdaric tripped and fell on a heavy-duty plastic covering that was placed on the stairs of an escalator to protect it from dripping paint while he was working. Procedural history: Bazdaric filed suit against Almah Partners LLC and others, asserting a claim for violation of Labor Law Section 241(6). S... Read More

OK - WCC Sets Fee Schedule Hearing for March 14

02/22/2024 | 0

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission announced plans to hold a public hearing on the proposed 2024 medical fee schedule on March 14 in Oklahoma City. The commission said it plans to release the proposed fee schedule Monday. System users and members of the public will have until 5 p.m. on March 13 to send written comments on the proposal to OKfeedback@fairhealth.org. The commission will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. March 14 in the Denver Davison Building, 1915 N. Stiles Ave., in Oklahoma City. The proposed fee schedule will be available here. ... Read More

CA - DWC Announces Additional Update to Pathology, Lab Fee Schedule

02/22/2024 | 0

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation on Wednesday announced additional updates to the pathology and clinical laboratory section of the Official Medical Fee Schedule. The division in January announced that it updated the lab and pathology section of the fee schedule to incorporate Medicare’s 2024 annual update. Since then, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a new clinical laboratory fee schedule file, the DWC said. The division’s latest order adopts Medicare’s 2024 first-quarter pathology and clinical laboratory fee schedule as modif... Read More