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Top Stories

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

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
05/29/2020 | 79 | 0 | 3 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 | 39 | 0 | 3 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 | 38 | 0 | 1 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

CA - 6th DCA Clarifies Apportionment for Permanent Disability

05/29/2020 | 94 | 0 | 6 min read

A California appellate court clarified the availability for apportionment of a worker’s permanent disability caused, in part, by a pre-existing pathology. Case: County of Santa Clara v. WCAB (Justice), No. H046562, 05/27/2020, published. Facts: Barbara Justice worked for the County of Santa Clara as a workers’ compensation claims adjuster. In November 2011, Justice fell at work and tore the menisci in her left knee and developed problems in her right knee as a result. In June 2012, Justice underwent total replacement surgery of her right knee. In September 2013, she un... Read More

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

05/21/2020 | 84 | 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

CA - Grinberg: A Moment on 4060 Exams

By Gregory Grinberg
05/29/2020 | 47 | 0

I am guessing that your inbox is pretty saturated with coronavirus posts, articles, webinars, etc. Since California is looking at an exposure rate of 90,000 cases as of May 23, for a population of around 40 million, the odds of exposure at the moment are relatively low .225%. Maybe it’s OK to do a blog post or two about something other than COVID-19. Assuming that it is, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite workers’ compensation subject: panels. So, a big chunk of litigation and the expedited hearing calendar at the Workers' Compensation Ap... Read More

NY - Part of Worker's Suit Can Proceed Over Accident

05/29/2020 | 53 | 0 | 1 min read

A New York appellate court partially revived a worker’s Labor Law action based on an accident that resulted in part of his finger being severed. Case: Spencer v. Term Fulton Realty Corp., No. 11489 154446/16, 05/14/2020, published. Facts: Jhon Spencer worked as a carpenter for a construction project. He claimed he was directed to pass iron rods to workers above him for installation. Spencer and his coworker had to move a cart loaded with dozens of iron jacks. The cart’s wheel became stuck, and a coworker began pulling it, pinning Spencer’s hand severing the ... Read More

NY - Worker Can Proceed With Suit Against Friend

05/29/2020 | 35 | 0 | 2 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker could proceed with a Labor Law claim for a fall that occurred at his friend’s residence. Case: Parra v. Cardenas, No. 11518 24965/17E, 05/14/2020, published. Facts: Jorge Parra went to friend Juan Cardenas’ house and suffered injuries when he fell through the roof of the residential garage. Parra alleged that Cardenas had told him to go onto the roof to assist contractors with demolition work. Cardenas claimed he had hired Parra to clean up debris at ground level. He said he had specifically told Parra not to go on the roof, but Par... Read More

CA - DWC Adjusts Pathology, Lab Section of Fee Schedule

05/29/2020 | 49 | 0 | 20 min read

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation posted an order incorporating Medicare’s updated COVID-19 testing codes and fees into the Pathology and Clinical Laboratory section of the Official Medical Fee Schedule. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services published fees for three additional COVID-19 testing codes on May 19, the division said. The DWC on May 21 adopted the three new codes to supplement COVID-19 testing codes and fees previously adopted in an April 15 order. One of the new Current Procedural Terminology codes, 87635, for infectious agent detecti... Read More

OR - Temporary Rules Cut Penalty for Uninsured Employers

05/29/2020 | 51 | 0 | 20 min read

The Oregon Workers’ Compensation Division adopted rules that temporarily reduce the penalty for a first violation of operating without workers' compensation insurance in what it described as an effort to reduce economic burdens on businesses that might be struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Civil penalties for not carrying insurance are intended to promote compliance with the law. “An appropriate penalty amount in a normal economy may prove excessive during a recession when a sanction is more likely to affect the viability of the business,” the WCD sai... Read More

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Press - Michael Sullivan & Associates Provide Free Legal Guide and Resources to California Employers

05/27/2020 | 49 | 0

General Managing Partner Michael Sullivan, the authors of Sullivan on Comp, and MS&A's Employment and Immigration Departments provide free access to Navigating COVID-19: A Legal Guide for California Employers to help California businesses. Michael Sullivan & Associates (MS&A) introduced Navigating COVID-19: A Legal Guide for California Employers, a comprehensive guide that helps decision makers, human resource professionals, risk management teams, and the like interpret and apply employment law, immigration law, and workers' compensation. From compensability and rea... Read More

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WA - Report: $737,589 Paid on 931 COVID Claims

05/29/2020 | 55 | 0 | 19 min read

The Washington state Department of Labor and Industries has paid $737,589 in benefits on workers’ compensation claims for COVID-19, according to a report by the Bellingham Herald. As of May 20, the department accepted 931 of the 1,074 claims for the disease caused by the new coronavirus. L&I estimates COVID-19 claims will cost more than $3.7 million, according to the report. The Herald reports 26 claims were filed in Whatcom and Skagit counties combined, with health care workers accounting for 22 of the claims. The newspaper reports that L&I was not able to provide information... Read More

CA - Woman Allegedly Steals Half-Million in Client Premiums

05/29/2020 | 66 | 0 | 1 min read

A Southern California woman acting as an unlicensed insurance agent faces nine felony counts after her arrest on suspicion of stealing approximately $500,000 worth of client premiums, according to the California Department of Insurance. Ai Ling Lee, 60, of Hacienda Heights, was arrested Friday after allegedly stealing premium payments and failing to secure appropriate coverage for her clients’ businesses, CDI announced in a news release. Lee was the owner of Jubilee Insurance Services, where she allegedly acted as an agent despite not being licensed by the state. Accord... Read More

CA - DWC: Recommendations From 2019 Audit on QMEs Delayed

By Mark Powell (Reporter)
05/28/2020 | 748 | 0 | 43 min read

Six months after a scathing audit criticized the Division of Workers’ Compensation for its qualified medical evaluator process, the DWC has failed to fully implement recommendations laid out by the California State Auditor’s office, according to online records. The DWC’s lack of implementation — and its lack of communication to stakeholders — has some relevant parties concerned about the division’s direction as businesses and employees continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and its economic repercussions. “Not only does it show a lack sensit... Read More

MA - 'Didn't Get It at Dunkin' Donuts,' Say Nurses Demanding a COVID-19 Presumption Law

By William Rabb (Reporter)
05/28/2020 | 194 | 0 | 57 min read

Massachusetts, one of the states most affected by the COVID-19 health crisis since its beginning, has yet to adopt a presumption rule for workers hit by the disease, and nurses, worker advocates and union leaders said Wednesday that needs to change. “Many states have already taken action. Massachusetts is behind on this,” said Jodi Sugerman-Brozan, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for Safety and Health. She was one of more than a dozen people who spoke Wednesday at a Boston City Council virtual hearing. Two council members said they took the unusual step... Read More

MO - Out-of-State Worker Can't Maintain Tort Suit Against Supervisor

05/28/2020 | 102 | 0 | 12 min read

The Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that an out-of-state employee could not maintain a tort claim against her supervisor for her injuries from an in-state car crash. Case: Hill v. Freedman, Nos. WD82657 and WD82771, 05/19/2020, published. Facts: Tonda Hill worked for the University of Kansas School of Law. Her supervisor was Steven Freedman. In January 2014, Freedman drove himself and Hill to a work-related event at a law firm in Kansas City, Missouri. During the drive, Freedman allegedly began yelling at Hill about an upcoming speaker panel. After the vehicle entered the law firm’s ... Read More