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NATL. - Experts on NCOIL Panel Disagree on Comp's Role in Pandemic

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
06/01/2020 | 308 | 0 | 17 min read

A panel of industry observers who convened via conference call Friday during a National Council of Insurance Legislators meeting agreed that COVID-19 has caused wide-scale health concerns and economic fallout, but they disagreed over what role workers’ comp should play in alleviating the damage. “The workers’ comp system is not the answer to a pandemic crisis,” said Erin Collins, vice president of state affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. Collins said the workers’ compensation industry was not designed to rescue people from a ... Read More

LA - Worker's Misrepresentations About Medical History Result in Forfeiture of Benefits

06/01/2020 | 85 | 0 | 7 min read

A Louisiana appellate court upheld a denial of benefits to a worker for her alleged injuries due to dishonesty about her medical history. Case: White v. WIS International, Nos. 19-747 and 19-748, 05/20/2020, published. Facts: Debra White worked for Washington Inventory Service Inc. On May 28, 2016, she fell while working at an Office Depot Store. White completed an incident report indicating she had tripped over a rail, injuring her knees, her back and her right elbow. She sought medical treatment from the emergency room at Christus Cabrini Hospital. The hospital’s records indicate W... Read More

NY - Defendant in Labor Law Dispute Gets Defense Reinstated, Partial Summary Judgment

06/01/2020 | 78 | 0 | 3 min read

A New York appellate court issued dual rulings in a Labor Law dispute reviving a comparative negligence defense and granting partial summary judgment for that defendant. Case: Martinez v. 281 Broadway Holdings LLC, Nos. 2017-04471 and 2016-07259, 05/13/2020. Facts: In December 2010, Hilario Martinez was working on a project to construct a new building for 281 Broadway Holdings LLC. Pavarini McGovern LLC was the general contractor. It hired S.J. Electric Inc. to do electric work, and it hired Martinez’s employer as the cement subcontractor. While Martinez was carrying a heavy sheet of ... Read More

WA - Court Clarifies Procedural Requirements for Appealing BIIA Decisions

06/01/2020 | 65 | 0 | 1 min read

The Washington Court of Appeals ruled that there is no statutory requirement that a party appealing a decision of the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals file proof of service on all parties within 30 days in order to perfect the appeal. Case: Aguirre v. Kroger Inc., No. 53072-4-II, 05/19/2020, published. Facts and procedural history: On Feb. 28, 2018, the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals issued a decision affirming a Department of Labor and Industries order related to Jason L. Aguirre’s workers’ compensation claim against Kroger Inc. On March 22, Aguirre filed a notice o... Read More

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Press - Nancy Strater Promoted to Account Executive as ReEmployAbility Expands National Sales Team

05/21/2020 | 109 | 0

Tampa, FL (May 15, 2020) - ReEmployAbility is pleased to announce the promotion of Nancy Strater to Account Executive for the West and South-Central Regions as part of the expansion of their national sales team.   Strater started with the company as a Client Services Manager in September 2019 as the company began planning to grow the sales team. Strater was instantly recognized as a potenti... Read More

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Industry Insights

NATL. - Paduda: What's Keeping Workers' Comp Execs Up at Night

By Joe Paduda
06/01/2020 | 117 | 0

After 28 calls with workers’ comp execs over eight days it’s quite clear that many are very concerned about specific issues. Premiums With payrolls plummeting, small businesses closed and many not likely to re-open, and many governmental entities under severe pressure due to lack of income from sales and other taxes, insurers are quite nervous about premium income. With the Paycheck Protection Program expiring at the end of next month, more employers may lay off workers they had to keep on payroll. Impacted most will be carriers focused on smaller businesses, espe... Read More

OK - WCC Issues Guidelines as In-Person Trials Resume

06/01/2020 | 62 | 0 | 55 min read

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission said attorneys shouldn’t linger in its building when it resumes in-person trials today. Interim guidelines the commission sent to system users say attorneys should not come early for scheduled trials, and any meetings with clients or witnesses should be held before arriving, or conducted outside. Attorneys should not conduct any other business in the building when admitted for trial, the agency said. “Filings are to be done by mail or email,” the notice reads. “Record searches in the basement are by appointment only.... Read More

CA - Lien Conferences to Resume June 8, With Limitations

06/01/2020 | 267 | 0 | 4 min read

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board announced that they will resume lien conferences on June 8. In a joint statement, the DWC and WCAB said they’ll hold up to three telephonic lien conferences per judge per calendar session. The proceedings will be conducted using conference lines assigned to the judges. All lien trials will be continued and district offices will not hold in-person hearings. Meanwhile, the division said it will continue to hear all mandatory settlement conferences, priority conferences, status conference... Read More

OH - BWC Extends Premium Due Date to Sept. 1

06/01/2020 | 57 | 0 | 30 min read

The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is deferring the due date for June, July and August premium payments until Sept. 1. Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement that the deferral is intended to allow employers to focus on safely reopening their businesses. “By extending the premium due date, businesses can continue to focus on the safety and well-being of their employees and customers during this health pandemic,” DeWine said. BWC said this is the second time it has postponed the due date for premiums since the COVID-19 emergency was declared in March. The agenc... Read More

KY - Beshear Appoints Judges, Nominating Committee Members

06/01/2020 | 79 | 0 | 8 min read

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear appointed four administrative law judges and three to the Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee. The governor appointed the following administrative law judges in the Department of Workers’ Claims, with terms set to expire July 14, 2024: Thomas Polites, an attorney at Wilson & McQueen, will replace Jefferson Layson, whose term has expired. Tonya Clemons, an attorney at Kopka Pinkus Dolin, will replace Brent Dye, whose term has expired. Paul Whalen, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Energy, will replace Jane Williams, whose ter... Read More

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Press - One Call Announces Post COVID-19 Solutions to Foster Safe Reentry into the Workplace

05/21/2020 | 171 | 0

Forward-thinking industry leaders Sedgwick and One Call to enhance offerings and create solutions for the future JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 21, 2020) -- One Call, the nation's leader in specialty network management services for the workers' compensation industry, along with Sedgwick, a leading global provider of technology-enabled risk, benefits and integrated business solutions, today announced post-COVID-19 programs to promote safety and injury prevention for employees reentering the workplace. At the onset of COVID-19, both companies focused on offering injured workers solution... Read More

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NATL. - OSHA Issues Advice on Employee Safety During Pandemic

06/01/2020 | 113 | 0 | 17 min read

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued an alert listing steps employers can follow to implement social distancing and try to limit exposure to the new coronavirus. OSHA recommends that employers isolate any worker who shows symptoms of being sick until he can leave work or seek medical care. Businesses should also allow telecommuting or other forms of flexible work sites and should also stagger shifts when possible. Similarly, OSHA recommends employers stagger break periods and rearrange seating in common break areas to maintain physical distance among workers.... Read More

CA - DWC Posts Adjustments to Hospital, ASC Fee Schedule

06/01/2020 | 103 | 0 | 7 min read

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation announced that it adopted changes to the hospital and ambulatory surgery center section of the Official Medical Fee Schedule to conform to revisions made by Medicare. The division on March 30 issued an order incorporating Medicare’s changes into the Hospital Outpatient Departments and Ambulatory Surgical Centers Fee Schedule portion of the OMFS for services provided on or after April 1. On May 4, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued a corrected “Addendum B” to supersede the previous document that was ef... Read More

CA - WCIRB: Fewer — but More Costly — Claims Expected Under Newsom's COVID Presumption

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
05/29/2020 | 909 | 2 | 90 min read

California could see fewer than expected workers’ compensation claims related to COVID-19 under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order, but they on average are likely to be more expensive, according to a new cost evaluation from the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau. WCIRB also predicts more COVID-related deaths than previously anticipated in its high-end estimates, as California cities and counties begin to phase out Newsom’s stay-at-home decree that was issued more than two months ago. “We looked at a lot of research. There’s much more now that&... Read More

NATL. - As Workers Return, Beware of Counterfeit Face Masks, New Regulations, Experts Say

By William Rabb (Reporter)
05/29/2020 | 191 | 0 | 107 min read

Now that one state has tied a COVID-19 presumption rebuttal to providing protective measures for workers — and other states are considering similar moves — many employers have to know intricate details about face masks, respirators and other safeguards. And that's easier said than done, an occupational safety expert said Thursday. For starters, many respirator-grade masks, known as “N95” because they are supposed to filter out 95% of microscopic particles, aren't all the same. Thousands of counterfeit masks have now made their way into the U.S. marketplace, sa... Read More

TN - Judge in Wrongful Death Suit Needs to Revisit Calculation of Attorney Fee, Liens

05/29/2020 | 112 | 0 | 171 min read

The Tennessee Court of Appeals ordered recalculation of the attorney fee and subrogation liens payable in a wrongful death case for a worker killed by a cement mixer truck. Case: Cordova ex rel. Alfredo C. v. Nashville Ready Mix Inc., No. M2018-02002-COA-R3-CV, 05/19/2020, published. Facts: In March 2013, Sergio Lopez died from injuries he sustained in the course and scope of his employment with Lemay Concrete. The company had workers’ compensation insurance coverage with the Travelers Indemnity Co. at the time. Travelers paid death benefits to Lopez’s wife and children... Read More