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TX - Legislature Considering Bills to Allow for Remote Hearings

03/29/2023 | 0

By Steve Nichols, Contributor Texas lawmakers have introduced bills that would require the Division of Workers’ Compensation to conduct contested case hearings telephonically or by videoconference in some instances. House Bill 4214, by Rep. Carrie Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, and companion measure, Senate Bill 1640, by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, would require the commissioner to adopt rules allowing remote contested case hearings upon mutual agreement of the parties. Contested case hearings are currently live proceedings held in the DWC field office closest to the injured employee... Read More

LA - Family of Pilot With Joint Employment Gets Death Benefits From Both Employers

03/29/2023 | 0

A Louisiana appellate court upheld a finding that a pilot was jointly employed by two companies that shared his services and that both were liable for the payment of benefits for his death in a plane crash. Case: Biggs v. Southern Lifestyles Development LLC, No. 22-463, 03/22/2023, published. Facts and procedural history: On Dec. 28, 2019, Ian Biggs died while piloting a plane that crashed shortly after takeoff in Lafayette. His wife and minor child filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits against his alleged employers Southern Lifestyles Development Co. and Global Data S... Read More

OH - Court of Common Pleas Has Jurisdiction to Consider Worker's Motion to Set Aside Prior Ruling

03/29/2023 | 0

An Ohio appellate court ruled that the court of common pleas had jurisdiction to consider a worker’s motion to set aside a prior judgment in his workers’ compensation case. Case: Smith v. SOCI Petroleum Inc., No. C-220245, 03/22/2023, published. Facts and procedural history: Brian Smith worked for SOCI Petroleum Inc. He filed a claim with the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, seeking benefits for an alleged injury. Smith prevailed administratively on the claim, but SOCI filed an appeal in the court of common pleas. Under Ohio law, a claimant in a workers&... Read More

NY - No Summary Judgment for Worker Allegedly Struck by Bag of Cement Mix

03/29/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a Labor Law claim by a worker who was allegedly struck by a falling bag of cement mix was not amenable to summary judgment. Case: Kim v. Franklin BH LLC, No. 2019-13372, 03/22/2023, published. Facts: Jin Kil Kim worked for World Hub Construction Inc. He allegedly suffered injuries when he was struck by a falling bag of tile cement mix at a construction site. According to Kim, there was an opening in the ground of the first floor through which 50-pound bags of tile cement mix were being lowered to the basement. The bags were being handed f... Read More

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Press - CompSource Mutual recognizes, honors safe Oklahoma businesses through $2.5 million in dividends

03/28/2023 | 0

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 28, 2023) CompSource Mutual Insurance Company, Oklahomas premier workers compensation provider for 85+ years, is dedicated to promoting and encouraging safe work environments throughout the state. Underscoring that goal, the companys board recently approved a payment of $2.5 million in dividends to be allocated to policyholders with the best safety track records.  Our mission at CompSource is to serve and protect Oklahomas workforce. By providing our policyholders with this dividend, we are celebrating customers who go above and beyond to ensure sa... Read More

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CA - Grinberg: WCAB: May I Have Your Autograph?

By Gregory Grinberg
03/28/2023 | 0

Aside from another storm getting ready to pound the Bay Area, there’s a smaller storm a-brewin’ in our beloved swamp of workers’ compensation. The Workers' Compensation Appeals Board has issued an en banc opinion rescinding several emergency procedures put in place in light of the COVID-19 state of emergency in California. The opinion was issued Wednesday, so presumably, it is effective as of that date and all compromises and releases executed previously are still safe. But, going forward, any C&Rs to be submitted to the WCAB and executed on ... Read More

NY - Worker Struck by Waterlogged Board Prevails on Labor Law Claim

03/29/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker struck by a waterlogged plywood board was entitled to summary judgment on his Labor Law claim. Case: Spero v. 3781 Broadway LLC, No. 36235/17E, 03/21/2023, published. Facts: Ralph Spero allegedly suffered injuries while working on a construction project when he was struck by a waterlogged plywood board. The board weighed between 60 and 100 pounds. The board had been placed vertically to cover an exterior door frame and keep cold and wind from delaying the curing of newly installed clay tiles, and to prevent others from walking ov... Read More

CA - WCAB Rescinds Pandemic Orders

03/29/2023 | 0

California’s Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board issued an en banc decision lifting any remaining provisions it implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. The order lifting the pandemic orders took effect March 22. After Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in March 2020, the WCAB issued a series of en banc decisions to temporarily suspend specific rules. The first decision, In Re: COVID-19 State of Emergency, No. 260, issued March 18, 2020, the WCAB temporarily suspended Rule 10500(b)(6) regarding witness signatures. The next decision issued April 6, 2020, In Re: COV... Read More

FL - Lawmakers Cut Pay Boost From Witness Fee Bill

03/29/2023 | 0

Members of a Florida legislative committee took the ax to a provision that would have boosted physician and surgeon payments before passing a measure that would boost witness fees by 50%. Under current law, a health care provider who gives a deposition is allowed a witness fee of up to $200 an hour. House Bill 1299, by Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, would increase the maximum hourly fee to $300. At the same time, Florida law allows an expert witness who never provided direct patient services to a party but who only reviewed medical records and provided an expert opinion, or who has pr... Read More

NATL. - Study: Providers Greatly Differ by Specialty

03/29/2023 | 0

Medical providers who offer care to injured workers vary greatly by specialty, as doctors such as orthopedic surgeons and pain management specialists are more likely to have a roster of comp patients than those in primary care services, according to a study from the Workers Compensation Research Institute. Tuesday’s study, “Workers Compensation Providers: Describing the Marketplace,” examined records from physicians and non-physicians who treat injured workers, according to WCRI researchers Bogdan Savych and Olesya Fomenko. It analyzed the workers’ comp physician... Read More

OR - WCD Updates Hospital Fee Schedule, Rating and Prescription Forms

03/29/2023 | 0

The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division announced updated hospital reimbursement rates, impairment rating forms and forms providers must use to justify certain high-cost prescriptions. The division on Tuesday issued Bulletin No. 361 to provide the form that medical services providers must use for certain prescriptions written before April 1. Providers must complete a clinical justification form when prescribing more than a five-day supply of high-cost drugs including Celebrex, Cymbalta, Lyrica and OxyContin if the prescription is written before April 1. The division said it&rsq... Read More

NJ - NJCRIB Puts Mandatory Email Requirement on Hold

03/29/2023 | 0

The New Jersey Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau said it’s putting a hold on plans to mandate that all Workers' Compensation Policy Reporting Specifications system transactions include the email addresses of insureds and agents or brokers. The bureau in January announced plans to require email addresses for all new policies and renewals taking effect after April 1. On Tuesday, the bureau said some carriers have expressed concerns about the length of the email address field. “While the field is generally large enough to accommodate most email addresses, it may not fit... Read More

TX - DWC Reviews Old Rules

03/29/2023 | 0

The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation is reviewing a handful of rules to determine whether they should stay on the books or be repealed. The division said it’s reviewing the first 17 chapters in Title 28 of the Texas Administrative Code, which address issues ranging from benefits and coverage to fraud and unethical claims practices. “DWC is accepting public comments on whether the reasons for initially adopting the rules continue to exist, and whether these rules should be repealed, readopted or readopted with amendments in accordance with Texas Government Code Sectio... Read More

KY - Supreme Court Unanimously Upholds Coverage for Replacement of Worker's Arthritic Knee

03/28/2023 | 0

The Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously upheld an award of benefits for a worker’s knee replacement surgery. Mark Campbell worked for the Perry County Board of Education. He fell while attempting to hang a banner in the Perry County High School gymnasium in April 2018. He first saw the school nurse, then went to a hospital for assessment and treatment that same day. Medical staff closed an open wound on his head, then performed preliminary scans on his shoulder and knee. The radiology report indicated that Campbell's knee had mild changes from arthritis, as well as a... Read More

NY - Court Upholds Summary Judgment for Worker Struck by Falling Objects

03/28/2023 | 0

A New York appellate court upheld a grant of summary judgment to a worker on his Labor Law claim for his injuries from being struck by the legs and beam of a sidewalk shed as they fell. Case: Iuculano v. City of New York, No. 151380/20, 03/21/2023, published. Facts: Andrew Iuculano suffered injuries while working on a crew to assemble a sidewalk shed. According to Iuculano, he and his foreman and several co-workers raised a set of vertical legs and a horizontal beam to form one side of the shed before he went about cleaning garbage and debris on the job site. He had been cleaning for 1... Read More

AL - Auto Parts Maker Must Pay More Than $1M for Worker's Death

03/28/2023 | 0

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has affirmed more than $1 million in fines against an Alabama automotive parts manufacturer after the 2016 workplace death of a 20-year-old machine operator who had worked at the plant for only about three months. In a decision posted Thursday, the commission affirmed penalties against Cusseta-based Joon LLC, doing business as Ajin USA, over the June 19, 2016, death, which occurred one day after the woman suffered serious injuries when a robotic arm struck her as she attempted to troubleshoot a piece of malfunctioned equipment. The Oc... Read More

NATL. - Feds Update Firefighter Claims Process

03/28/2023 | 0

The federal Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has updated its policy in the Federal Employees’ Compensation Program to further streamline claims processing for federal firefighters with certain occupational diseases. FECA Bulletin 23-05 builds on changes made last year and further implements provisions of the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act recently signed into law by President Joe Biden. In April 2022, OWCP changed the policy to ease the evidentiary requirement for federal firefighters to connect their exposure to toxic substances with certain diseas... Read More