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NATL. - Lawsuit Challenges Constitutionality of Occupational Safety and Health Act

02/03/2023 | 3

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear a case asking whether Congress unconstitutionally delegated unlimited authority to the executive branch with the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1970. Ohio-based furnace manufacturer Allstates Refractory Contractors says the Occupational Safety and Health Act offered no guidance on what would constitute reasonably necessary or appropriate workplace safety rules, thereby giving OSHA unfettered discretion to make whatever regulation it thinks is appropriate based on nothing other than the agency’s subjective ... Read More

PA - Fee Review Hearing Office Lacks Authority to Order Reimbursement of Overpayments

02/03/2023 | 0

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania ruled that the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Fee Review Hearing Office does not have the statutory authority to order reimbursement for overpayment of medical services. Case: Philadelphia Surgery Center v. Excalibur Insurance Management Services LLC, No. 420 C.D. 2022, 01/27/2023, published. Facts: Leah Beckley worked for Luzerne County. She suffered an on-the-job injury in June 2020 and received medical treatment from Philadelphia Surgery Center. The center submitted bills to the county’s insurance carrier for  $134,016.13. The... Read More

WV - Split Supreme Court Overturns Denial of Worker's Claim for Neck Injury

02/03/2023 | 0

A divided West Virginia Supreme Court ruled that further proceedings are necessary to determine if a worker’s neck injury was compensable, given her preexisting neck problems. Case: Edwards v. Kanawha County Board of Education, No. 21-0480, 01/23/2023, published. Facts: Barbara Edwards worked for the Kanawha County Board of Education. She allegedly suffered a neck injury in September 2019, asserting that her neck was jammed when the school bus on which she was riding struck a pothole. Edwards sought treatment from chiropractor Jody Fisher, who diagnosed cervical radiculitis, cervical ... Read More

DC - High Court Vacates Order Terminating Benefits as Unsupported by Evidence

02/03/2023 | 0

The District of Columbia’s highest court vacated an administrative order terminating an injured worker’s benefits for a back injury, finding the record did not support a conclusion that her condition had changed. Case: Perry v. District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, No. 21-AA-764, 01/26/2023, published. Facts: Janell Perry worked for the District of Columbia Department of Child and Family Services. In 2003, her right foot was fractured while she was riding in an elevator that malfunctioned. Perry received workers’ compensation benefits for the injury u... Read More

Industry Insights

TN - Salem: 2022 Appeals Board Opinions, Part 2

By Jane Salem
02/03/2023 | 0

Welcome back to our series on last year’s workers’ compensation appellate opinions. Notice I noticed this was an issue in a handful of opinions (See what I did there? I know; my comic genius is being wasted as a staff attorney. But it’s hard to make a blog post about opinion after opinion interesting.) In Scruggs v. Amazon.com, the employee conceded she didn’t notify the employer of her alleged injury until 21 days later, but she testified that she attributed her symptoms to everyday “aches and pains” until a second injury to the s... Read More

NATL. - Study: Apprentice Plumbers Have Lower Rates of Injuries

02/03/2023 | 0

Journey-level plumbers who underwent apprenticeship training had fewer industrial injuries and workers’ compensation claims than their colleagues with no apprenticeship training, according to a study out of Washington state. Researchers with the state’s Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention Program also said apprentice graduates experienced a greater decline in the rate of total claims between the five years preceding certification and the years after graduation, according to the study published in the National Safety Council Journal of Safety Research. Rates o... Read More

MO - Bill Would Preserve Authority for SIF Surcharge

02/03/2023 | 0

The Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation would be able to assess employers and insurers a special surcharge to support the state’s Second Injury Fund through 2028, under recently introduced legislation. Rep. Terry Thompson, R-Lexington, on Wednesday introduced HB 1017, which would amend a provision sunsetting the SIF surcharge authorization at the end of the year and extend it through the end of 2028. The bill would also declare the supplemental surcharge shall not exceed 2.5%, down from 3%. And it would allow the DWC to adjust the assessment by a quarter of a percentag... Read More

NATL. - ODG to Release Updated RTW Benchmarks for 2023

02/03/2023 | 0

ODG by MCG announced the release of updated datasets within its return-to-work guidelines that it said would support prospective case management and retrospective benchmarking for time away from work. The update includes revisions to the U.S. return-to-work duration values as well as new duration values for Canada across the workers’ compensation and non-occupational disability market. ODG said updates to duration values for the Australian market are planned for later in the year. The updated return-to-work benchmarks will be included in both the ODG for Workers’ Compensation... Read More

CA - WCIRB Webinar to Profile Health Care Industry

02/03/2023 | 0

The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau is hosting a webinar March 1 that will profile California’s health care industry. The webinar will provide insights into the dynamics of one of the largest industries in the state with more than 48,000 work comp policies. The WCIRB will discuss operational characteristics, work comp claim cost patterns and key cost drivers for the sector. WCIRB Executive Vice President and Chief Actuary Dave Bellusci will partner with Esther Li, associate director of data analytics, and WCIRB data analysts Jiamei Wang and Noah Reiner for the p... Read More

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Press - HIRMA: The Hispanic Insurance and Risk Management Association Announces Leadership for 2023

01/24/2023 | 0

            Long Beach, CA - January 24, 2023 - The Hispanic Insurance and Risk Management Association (HIRMA) announced today the appointment of its leadership team for 2023. The appointment of its Board Officers was formalized by the Board of Directors' voting during HIRMA's annual Board of Directors meeting on Saturday, J... Read More

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NV - Deadline to Request COLA Reimbursement Approaches

02/03/2023 | 0

The Nevada Workers’ Compensation Section said the deadline to file requests for reimbursement of cost-of-living adjustment payments made in calendar year 2022 is March 31. State lawmakers in 2019 revised rules for permanent total disability and death benefit claims to require that carriers pay an annual 2.3% cost-of-living increase. And they allowed carriers to request reimbursement for COLAs applied to PTD claims with a date of injury or disablement prior to Jan. 1, 2004, and death benefit claims with dates of injury prior to July 1, 2019. The WCS said it will process requests for rei... Read More

CA - Department of Transportation Not Liable for Fatal Construction Site Accident

02/02/2023 | 0

A California appellate court upheld a determination that the state Department of Transportation could not be held liable for the death of a contractor’s worker who was struck by a drunk driver. Miguel Angel Rodriguez De La Cruz worked for O.C. Jones & Sons Inc. The Department of Transportation (Caltrans) contracted with O.C. Jones to perform construction work along a stretch of Interstate 580 within in Oakland. Due to heavy traffic, much of this work was performed at night because it required lane closures. In September 2015, Caltrans closed two lanes of I-580 so an O.C... Read More

WV - Supreme Court Revives Worker's Request to Expand Scope of Claim

02/02/2023 | 0

The West Virginia Supreme Court revived a worker’s request to expand the scope of his claim to include additional knee conditions. Case: Ferrell v. Northwest Hardwoods, No. 21-0208, 01/19/2023, published. Facts: Mark Ferrell worked for Northwest Hardwoods. He filed a workers' compensation claim asserting a strong wind had blown a piece of tin into his leg, knocking him down and causing injury while he was at work in March 2013. Initially, Ferrell was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and the claim was held compensable on April 2, 2013. Ferrell saw Dr. Joseph Grady in... Read More

TX - Worker Gets Lifetime Benefits for 'Incurable Imbecility' From Traumatic Brain Injury

02/02/2023 | 0

A Texas appellate court upheld a jury’s award of lifetime income benefits to a worker for a traumatic brain injury, finding it caused "incurable imbecility."  Case: El Paso Independent School District v. Portillo, No. 08-21-00021-CV, 01/30/2023, published. Facts: Alejandro Portillo worked for the El Paso Independent School District as a heating and air conditioning technician. He suffered injuries in September 2013 when he fell from a ladder while trying to assist a co-worker. Portillo was diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury as well as a cervical spra... Read More

ID - House Unanimously Passes Bill to Maintain PTSD Coverage for First Responders

02/02/2023 | 0

The Idaho state House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill that would ensure first responders can continue to receive benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder without an accompanying physical injury past July 1. The House on Tuesday voted 69-0 to pass HB 18 by the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee. The measure would repeal a sunset clause included in a 2019 measure that established PTSD as an occupational disease for first responders. SB 1028 exempted first responders from the requirement that a mental health condition is accompanied by a physical injury to be compensab... Read More

NATL. - More State Legislatures Introduce First Responder PTSD Bills

02/02/2023 | 0

New York and Maryland lawmakers will consider legislation that would provide workers’ compensation benefits to certain first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. SB 3367, introduced Tuesday in New York and sent to the Senate Labor Committee, would apply to police officers, corrections officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, emergency dispatchers or those certified to provide medical care in emergencies, and would require diagnosis by a psychiatrist or psychologist. The bill states that if diagnosed, “[I]t shall be presumed to have ... Read More

CA - Gemini Opens Office in Monterey Park

02/02/2023 | 0

Gemini Legal Support Inc. announced the opening of an office in Monterey Park that it said will better support its growing customer base in Southern California. "Gemini has experienced considerable growth throughout the past year, nearly doubling our work volume and employee base," Tony Daugherty, president of Gemini Legal, said in a statement. "Our Southern California operations have grown to a point where a regional office is needed to best support our clients and employees." The Southern California office will improve response times for clients and reduce the need ... Read More