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Top Stories

CA - DWC Proposes Extending Time Frame for QME Evaluation

10/03/2022 | 1

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation on Friday proposed changes to its qualified medical evaluator rules that would allow an extra 30 days to schedule appointments. Instead of requiring a qualified medical evaluator to evaluate an injured worker within 60 days of being selected from a panel, the proposed rule would require that the exam be held within 90 days. The longer time frame will apply to requests for a comprehensive medical-legal evaluation and to requests for a follow-up evaluation. The DWC said in an initial statement of reasons that it is proposing the change to ... Read More

CA - Newsom Shortens Window for Claim Decisions, Extends COVID Presumption

10/03/2022 | 0

California employers will have less time to accept liability on certain presumptive injury claims and face penalties of up to $50,000 for unreasonably denying them, under a bill enacted by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The governor also extended the presumption that COVID-19 is compensable through 2024 and signed a bill giving the insurance commissioner more authority to meet with county prosecutors, insurers and self-insured employers to discuss potential fraud. At the same time, the governor vetoed measures that would have expanded the post-traumatic stress disorder presumption to additional firs... Read More

MO - Supervisor Can't Be Held Liable for Worker's Death From Heat Stroke

10/03/2022 | 0

The Missouri Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment dismissing a family’s claims that a worker’s supervisor was responsible for his death from heat stroke by exposing him to a risk for injury not normally associated with his job. Case: Channel v. Walker, No. WD85172, 09/27/2022, published. Facts: Thomas Channel worked for Cintas Corp., which allegedly had a protocol that included heat stress abatement and/or medical intervention in effect during his employment. According to his family, Channel was employed as a route delivery driver under the supervision of Stephen Walker... Read More

WV - High Court Upholds 0% Permanent Partial Disability Award to Worker Struck by Rock

10/03/2022 | 0

The Supreme Court of West Virginia unanimously upheld an award of a 0% permanent partial disability to a worker struck by a rock that had rolled down a hill. Case: Campbell v. Henkels & McCoy Group Inc., No. 21-0418, 09/19/2022, published. Facts: Joseph Campbell worked for Henkels & McCoy Group Inc. He was injured when he was struck by a rock that rolled down a hill on Nov. 8, 2018. He filed a workers’ compensation claim, which was held compensable for head contusion and upper arm, clavicle or scapula fracture. In December 2018, a claims administrator for Henkels’ ... Read More

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Press - Free Webinar w/ Bradford & Barthel, LLP - Common Rating Issues

09/29/2022 | 0

Common Rating Issues Presented by Tim Mussack OCTOBER 26 @ 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PDT In this one hour session, Timothy Mussack will review common Permanent Disability Rating Issues using the Rating Schedule and the AMA Guides. Register at:  https://bradfordbarthel.com/event/common_rating_issues/.  CE Credits: 1 hour of continuing education credits will be provided for workers compensation adjusters in California. MCLE credits are not being offered for this training. Certificates for CE credits will be emailed to all attendees at the conclusion of the trai... Read More

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Industry Insights

NATL. - Langham: Thoughts on Safety

By David Langham
10/03/2022 | 0

We pause and think about safety periodically. There is a vast assortment of challenges out there in the world that may result in an accident. Workers' compensation is built for such instances and remains focused on safety after about 100 years (in some jurisdictions a bit more, in others a bit less). The thing about workplace accidents is that none should be ignored. We can learn from any event. However, that said, it is tough to get over some of the most tragic. This month, the news brought us Jermani Thompson. She was just 26 and working in one of those jobs that involve a great de... Read More

IL - No Benefits for Retail Worker Injured in Parking Lot

10/03/2022 | 0

The Illinois Appellate Court upheld a determination that a retail worker was not entitled to benefits for her injuries from a fall in a parking lot adjacent to the store where she was undergoing new-hire training. Case: Hoots v. IWCC, No. 4-22-0041WC, 09/19/2022, unpublished. Facts: Brooke Hoots worked for Dollar General as a sales associate at a store in Woodson. At the time she was hired, the Woodson store was under construction, so Hoots attended mandatory training with others in South Jacksonville instead. According to Hoots, she was scheduled to train at the South Jacksonville store fo... Read More

FL - Emergency Order Prohibits Cancellations, Non-Renewals for Two Months

10/03/2022 | 0

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier, acting on the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis, signed an executive order prohibiting carriers from canceling any policies for the next two months as the state works on repairing damage caused by Hurricane Ian. “Between Sept. 28 and Nov. 28, no insurer or other entity regulated under the Florida Insurance Code shall cancel or non-renew, or issue a notice of cancellation or non-renewal of a policy or contract of insurance covering a property or risk in Florida, except at the written request or written concurrence of the policyholder,” th... Read More

NJ - NJCRIB Proposes 4.7% Rate Cut

10/03/2022 | 0

The New Jersey Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau on Friday announced a proposed 4.7% decrease in the overall premium and rate level, effective Jan. 1. In addition to lower rates, the bureau said the filing submitted to the state Department of Banking also proposes several changes to experience and retrospective rating values. The bureau said it anticipates that revised rates and other amendments will be issued in time for carriers to prepare new and renewal policies. As such, NJCRIB said member companies should delay the issuance of policies that incept on or after Jan. 1 until ... Read More

KY - DWC Seeks Applications to Fill Judge Position

10/03/2022 | 0

The Workers’ Compensation Nominating Committee is accepting applications to fill a vacant administrative law judge position in the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims. The judge position is full time and appointees are prohibited from holding other public office or maintaining a private practice. The appointee will serve a term expiring Dec. 31, 2023. State law requires that applicants be licensed attorneys with at least five years of experience practicing comp law or a related field in Kentucky. Applications shall include a cover letter, current resume and an application sup... Read More

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Press - MTI Expands Transportation Solutions To Launch MTiRide

09/28/2022 | 0

POMPANO BEACH, FL (September 28, 2022) - MTI America, the pioneer of transportation and translation services in the workers' compensation industry, today announced the expansion of its blended transportation program, launching MTiRide.  MTiRide's expansion of their partnerships with their proprietary and rideshare networks offers a more comprehensive suite of transportation solutions.  MTiRide matches each unique patient with drivers using Smart Scheduling technology through their state-of-the-art platform, MTi360.  MTiRide will continue to utilize MTI's ... Read More

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CA - Court Publishes Decision That Privette Doctrine Bars Worker's Claim

09/30/2022 | 0

The Court of Appeal for the 3rd District of California has ordered publication of its decision from earlier this month finding the Privette doctrine barred a worker from pursuing a tort claim against a property owner and its employee for his fall from a scaffold on the premises. The court’s decision in Miller v. Roseville Lodge No. 1293, No. C090751, was originally released as an unpublished opinion. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in California. The Federal Insurance Co. and the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel separately filed requests for the court t... Read More

WV - Supreme Court Upholds 0% Permanent Partial Disability Award for Worker With Headaches

09/30/2022 | 0

The West Virginia Supreme Court unanimously upheld an award of 0% permanent partial disability for a clerical worker with persistent headaches following a head injury from a fall. Case: Linkous v. Bluestone Health Association Inc., No. 21-0315, 09/19/2022, published. Facts: Joyce Linkous worked for Bluestone Health Association Inc. as a receptionist. She injured her head and left thumb on Dec. 7, 2015, when she slipped and fell on ice at work. Linkous had a long history of migraines and headaches prior to the fall. From 2010 through 2015, Linkous was repeatedly treated at Princeton Com... Read More

AL - Court Says Maintenance Worker Waited Too Long to File Claim for Back Injury

09/30/2022 | 0

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals upheld the dismissal of a maintenance worker’s claim for benefits for a back injury as time-barred. Case: Dillard v. Calvary Assembly of God, No. 2210341, 09/23/2022, published. Facts: Ron Dillard worked for the Calvary Assembly of God doing maintenance. On Sept. 20, 2017, Dillard fell down some stairs when the tread on a stair came loose. He landed in a seated position and experienced low back pain. Dillard reported his accident to Calvary's secretary. When the secretary asked him if he wanted to see a doctor, Dillard responded that he... Read More

CA - Vocational School Executives Charged With Fraud

09/30/2022 | 1

Executives at a vocational school that sent a carrier an enrollment agreement purportedly signed by an injured worker who had died about five months earlier were arrested for fraud, the California Department of Insurance announced. Rene Carlos Aguero, 71, and Gustavo Adolfo Lopez, 56, were arrested Wednesday for allegedly submitting fraudulent vocational training vouchers and for failing to provide training at their for-profit school, Computer Institute of Technology. They each face 18 felony counts, including conspiracy, forgery, grand theft and insurance fraud. The Insurance Department est... Read More

OR - Study Finds Farm, Construction Worker Injuries Increase With Heat

09/30/2022 | 0

An Oregon State University study found an association with increasing temperatures and increased rates of injury claims that were more pronounced among workers in the agricultural and construction sectors. The study analyzed about 92,000 accepted claims and found that the injury incident ratio for all workers started increasing when the max heat index exceeds 75 degrees. For all workers included in the study, the incident ratio increases to 1.04 when the temperature climbs above 75 degrees, meaning the rate of injuries is about 4% higher than the baseline from lower temperatures. The incident... Read More

CA - Lidocaine Designated 'Exempt' in Formulary Update

09/30/2022 | 0

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation announced changes to the prescription drug formulary that will designate lidocaine as “exempt,” effective Nov. 1. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that is currently classified as “non-exempt” in the Medical Utilization Treatment Schedule drug list, which means it is subject to utilization review. Starting Nov. 1, it will be exempt from prospective UR when used in accordance with the state’s evidence-based treatment guidelines. “This change is adopted after discussions of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics C... Read More

CA - Bradford and Barthel Opens Bakersfield Office

09/30/2022 | 0

California-headquartered workers’ compensation defense firm Bradford and Barthel announced the opening of a new office in Bakersfield. While Bradford and Barthel has served the Bakersfield area through offices in Fresno and Southern California, the new office means attorneys would be assigned to the Bakersfield Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board on full-time basis, the firm said. Partner Manjit K. Batth is the managing attorney of the Bakersfield office. Associate attorney Armen Shakoorian will also practice out of the firm’s new office. The Bakersfield office is the ... Read More