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Top Stories

CA - WCIRB Panel: State Faces 'Long Haul' Recovery, Even if COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
09/25/2020 | 486 | 0 | 36 min read

After officials from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau spent the first day of their annual conference describing the harsh reality California has faced because of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts from economic, medical and legal fields spent the second day exploring how the state could get on the road to recovery. “It's going to be a long haul,” Jon Haveman, executive director of the National Economic Education Delegation, said Thursday. “We’re going to find that a lot of the economy that existed before the pandemic is going to be gone.” ... Read More

NATL. - COVID is 'Here to Stay,' Say Doctors At WCRI Event

By William Rabb (Reporter)
09/25/2020 | 243 | 0 | 33 min read

Two Ohio physicians who have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic gave a glimpse Thursday into how treatment of the disease has evolved and offered advice on how employers should be handling it. For starters, the doctors said the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus is “here to stay,” in part because so many Americans have failed to follow safety precautions, such as wearing face masks in public areas. “It's very discouraging. Most doctors are discouraged with the number of viral infections that are continuing to happen across the country, becau... Read More

WA - Court Finds L&I Responded Properly to Public Records Requests

By WorkCompCentral
09/25/2020 | 135 | 0 | 29 min read

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled that the inability of the state Department of Labor & Industries to find erroneously requested documents was not a violation of the Public Records Act. Case: Zellmer v. Department of Labor & Industries, No. 53627-7-II, 09/15/2020, unpublished. Facts: Joel Zellmer collected workers’ compensation benefits for several years due to work-related injuries. In 2010, a jury found Zellmer guilty of second-degree murder for the drowning death of his 3-year-old stepdaughter. The alleged motive of the drowning was to collect life insurance proceeds. ... Read More

IL - Supreme Court Clarifies Everyday Activities Can Constitute Employment Risks

By WorkCompCentral
09/25/2020 | 89 | 0 | 29 min read

The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated an award of benefits to a sous chef who hurt his knee while kneeling to look for a misplaced pan of carrots, ruling that the injury from the worker's commonplace activity had arisen from an employment-related risk. Case: McAllister v. IWCC (North Pond), No. 124848, 09/24/2020, published. Facts: Kevin McAllister worked as a sous chef for the North Pond Restaurant in Lincoln Park. While he was getting ready to begin meal service on Aug. 7, 2014, he saw one of the cooks looking for a pan of carrots that had been misplaced. Since he had s... Read More

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Press - Federal Appeals Court Rules Advantage Plans - Contractors Can Bring MSP Private Cause of Action for Double Damages Against Primary Payers

09/21/2020 | 62 | 0

Federal Appeals Court Rules Advantage Plans - Contractors Can Bring MSP Private Cause of Action for Double Damages Against Primary Payers Rafael Gonzalez, Esq., Partner, Cattie & Gonzalez, PLLC On September 4, 2020, the United States Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit published its opinion on MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC, v. ACE American Insurance Company, MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC, v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company, MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC, v. Owners Insurance Company, MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC, v. Southern-Owners Insurance Company, MSP Recovery Claims, Series LL... Read More

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Industry Insights

NATL. - Paduda: Lots Going On in Workers' Comp

By Joe Paduda
09/21/2020 | 224 | 0

It's been a very busy week, indeed. Here’s what happened. MedRisk’s management changes Longtime CEO Mike Ryan has stepped up to executive chair, and President Ken Martino is moving up to CEO. Mike has led the organization as president for more than seven years. Founder and Chair Shelley Boyce named Ryan CEO several years ago. I know Shelley, Ken and Mike very well. MedRisk’s annual growth has averaged over 20% for the last decade. The company now employs 1,200 people, all located here in the U.S. There’s no question MedRisk, per... Read More

WV - Supreme Court Denies Additional TTD, Treatment, for Coal Miner

By WorkCompCentral
09/25/2020 | 60 | 0 | 31 min read

The West Virginia Supreme Court unanimously upheld a denial of additional temporary total disability benefits and treatment to a coal miner for his alleged neck injuries. Case: Tobias v. Kanawha Eagle Mining LLC, No. 19-0639, 09/15/2020, published. Facts: Gary Tobias worked as a coal miner for Kanawha Eagle Mining LLC. In May 2017, he reported an injury to his neck and back. Tobias stated he was crossing over a conveyor when he stepped down four feet and jammed his back. He went to the Raleigh General Hospital and he was diagnosed with neck and low back sprains.  A claims adjuster fo... Read More

CA - DWC Adopts Guidelines for Drugs Used to Treat Nausea, Vomiting

09/25/2020 | 178 | 0 | 45 min read

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation posted an order updating the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule that adopts guidelines for the use of antiemetics. The order incorporates the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine’s most recent treatment guidelines covering these medications, which are used to treat nausea and vomiting, into the clinical topics section of the MTUS. The ACOEM Antiemetics Guideline was last updated March 27. The updates apply to services provided on or after Oct. 26. A copy of the order is available here. ... Read More

SD - Advisory Council Meets Oct. 27 to Review NCCI Medical Report

09/25/2020 | 54 | 0 | 1 min read

The South Dakota Workers' Compensation Advisory Council will meet Oct. 27 at 10 a.m., via the Microsoft Teams conference call platform, the Department of Labor and Regulation said in a bulletin. The agenda includes a medical report from the National Council on Compensation Insurance and a draft of the advisory council's 2020 report. The link to the teleconference is here, or participants may call in by phone. The phone number is 605-679-7263 and the conference identification number is 343 457 587#. ... Read More

CA - WCIRB Relays Overriding Message on Day 1 of Conference: COVID Has Changed Everything

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
09/24/2020 | 748 | 0 | 86 min read

Dave Bellusci might as well be the poster child for changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau’s executive vice president and chief actuary said he planned a lot of things before the pandemic: seeing his oldest child go off to college; taking a nice vacation; and even thinking about easing into retirement. “Then the pandemic hit,” Bellusci said Wednesday during Day 1 of the WCIRB’s annual conference, held online this year because of the pandemic. Now he’s working remotely and his daughter is taking class... Read More

NATL. - Labor, Democrats Say DOL Rule Will Mean More Worker Misclassification

By William Rabb (Reporter)
09/24/2020 | 182 | 0 | 136 min read

Worker advocates say a proposed federal rule that would create an economic reality test to decide who is a contractor is a finger in the eye to recent reform efforts and would make it easier for employers to misclassify workers and avoid workers' compensation insurance. The proposed test would consider factors including whether a person is dependent on the employer for work, has an opportunity for profit and loss and the amount of skill a job requires. Opponents of the Trump Administration's proposal also noted that the Department of Labor has offered an unusually short comment perio... Read More

OK - Supreme Court Strikes Limitations on Payment of Death Benefits as Unconstitutional

By WorkCompCentral
09/24/2020 | 177 | 0 | 11 min read

A divided Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down the Workers’ Compensation Act's limitation on the availability of benefits payable upon a worker’s death and allowed a worker's mother to proceed with a wrongful death claim. Case: Whipple v. Phillips and Sons Trucking LLC, No. 118360, 09/21/2020, published. Facts: Taylor Ray Borth worked for Phillips and Sons Trucking LLC. In October 2016, he was killed while working at an oilfield near Yukon. Borth was 23, unmarried, and without children. Procedural history: Borth’s mother filed a wrongful death action against Phillip... Read More

FL - Worker Didn't Need to Prove Major Contributing Cause of Need for Treatment for Back

By WorkCompCentral
09/24/2020 | 110 | 0 | 31 min read

A Florida appellate court overturned a denial of a worker’s claim for additional treatment for a back injury, finding the worker was not required to provide additional medical evidence of the major contributing cause for his need for treatment because of a prior stipulation by the carrier. Case: Sanchez v. Yellow Transportation, No. 1D19-4231, 09/21/2020, published. Facts and procedural history: Julio Sanchez worked for Yellow Transportation Inc. as a truck driver. Over the years, he sustained several workplace injuries, including injuries to his shoulders, neck, and back. Judge of Co... Read More

WV - No Permanent Total Disability Benefits for Retired Coal Miner

By WorkCompCentral
09/24/2020 | 133 | 0 | 85 min read

The West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a long-time coal miner was not entitled to permanent total disability benefits after he retired from his position. Case: Alexander v. Murray American Energy Inc., No. 19-0613, 09/15/2020, published. Facts and procedural history: Alfred Alexander worked as a coal miner for over 30 years. He retired from a position with Murray American Energy Inc. in February 2014. Alexander completed an application for permanent total disability benefits in November 2017. Alexander stated that he had previously received permanent partial disability awards for his oc... Read More

CA - Forestry Tech Accused of Double-Dipping

09/24/2020 | 321 | 0 | 77 min read

A 23-year-old forestry technician was arraigned on charges of fraud and grand theft for allegedly concealing that he was working while receiving temporary disability benefits, the California Department of Insurance announced. Lance Steven Pasalich, was arraigned in Shasta County Superior Court on Tuesday. He allegedly received $8,600 in benefit that he would not have received if he reported that he was able to work, the department said. Pasalich filed a claim for a knee injury he said he sustained in a slit-and-fall injury while working as a seasonal forestry technician responsible for condu... Read More