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GA - New Insurance Commissioner Will Consider Some WC Changes

By William Rabb (Reporter)
01/17/2019 | 286 | 0 | 42 min read

Georgia’s new insurance commissioner says he's willing to consider supporting changes to the way bankrupt workers’ compensation insurance companies are handled. That’s good news to some claimants’ lawyers who say the system lets some companies off the hook on claims, and delays benefits to injured workers. Commissioner Jim Beck, who has held a number of state offices, including deputy insurance commissioner, said he already has met with state officials about the issue. “This is a topic that we will take up early during my term in office,” Beck sai... Read More

MO - State Lawmakers Eyeing Second Injury Fund Again

By Eddie Curran (correspondent)
01/17/2019 | 80 | 0 | 16 min read

A broad range of workers’ comp-related bills face the recently convened Missouri General Assembly, including a bill to exclude bonuses and employer retirement contributions when calculating premiums; two proposals involving first responders; and another aimed at board members of nonprofit organizations. But it’s a pair of dicey, long-running and unresolved issues — one involving the Second Injury Fund, the other, term limits for administrative law judges, and perhaps one judge in particular — that promise to get the most attention. Both matter... Read More

OR - Cops, Firefighters Push PTSD Presumption

By Greg Jones (Deputy Editor)
01/17/2019 | 114 | 0 | 40 min read

Police and firefighters in Oregon say that because of the inherently dangerous nature of their jobs, state law should presume any claim they file for post-traumatic stress disorder is compensable. Lawmakers in Idaho might also find themselves debating whether PTSD should be covered when not accompanied by a specific injury. Although there are relatively few claims for PTSD in Oregon, lobbyists for firefighters said during a recent meeting of the Management-Labor Advisory Committee that there is nevertheless a problem. The typical process of proving that an occupational disease was cause... Read More

TX - Comp Carrier Can't Get Reimbursement From Worker's Recovery

By WorkCompCetral
01/17/2019 | 131 | 0 | 19 min read

A Texas appellate court last week ruled that a workers’ compensation insurance carrier for the prime contractor on a construction project was not entitled to reimbursement from a worker’s tort recovery, but it could take a credit against future benefits owed. Perspectiva had been the general contractor and architect for a construction project at a property on North Florence Street in El Paso. Perspectiva used R.M. Personnel to secure temporary workers. Luis Rodriguez worked for R.M. and was one of those assigned to the project. Perspectiva also subcontracted drywall work and... Read More

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Press - CBWM Announces Laura Lachman as Shareholder

01/14/2019 | 74 | 0

Cuneo, Black, Ward & Missler is pleased to announce that Laura Lachman has become a shareholder of the firm, effective January 1, 2019.  Laura has been employed as an associate attorney with CBWM since 2014 and has practiced workers' compensation law since 2010. Laura represents a wide range of clients including insurance companies, large private sector corporations and public entities, and handles all types of workers' com... Read More

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NATL. - Anders: New Year Brings New Enhancements to MSPRP

By Daniel Anders
01/16/2019 | 96 | 0

Over the past year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been enhancing its web-based Medicare Secondary Recovery Portal, which has improved its usefulness in identifying and resolving Medicare conditional payments. CMS’ latest improvement, effective Jan. 5, is the addition of a self-reporting function providing for reporting a Medicare secondary payer case through the portal versus via phone or written correspondence to the BCRC. CMS has also updated its multi-factor authentication process, which ensures only authorized users can view information in the port... Read More

VA - Applied Underwriters Can't Compel Arbitration of EquityComp Dispute

By WorkCompCentral
01/17/2019 | 97 | 0 | 29 min read

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Applied Underwriters could not compel a disgruntled EquityComp customer to participate in arbitration. Case: Minnieland Private Day School v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co., No. 17-2385, 01/14/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Applied Underwriters is a financial services company that provides a workers’ compensation coverage program through its affiliated insurance companies. The EquityComp program has been the subject of multiple lawsuits across the country, with disgruntled consumers asserting that it ... Read More

NY - Employer Gets Summary Judgment on 3rd-Party Claim for Indemnification

By WorkCompCentral
01/17/2019 | 64 | 0 | 1 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that an injured worker’s employer was entitled to summary judgment dismissing a third-party claim for indemnification, since the record evidence did not establish that he had suffered a “grave injury.” Case: Alulema v. ZEV Electrical Corp., No. 8051 23539/13E, 01/10/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Carlos Alulema worked for Nationwide Maintenance & General Contracting Inc. He allegedly suffered a brain injury while at work, resulting in disabling cognitive and emotional symptoms. He filed a tort claim against ZEV Elec... Read More

NY - Court Won't Excuse Worker's Failure to File Timely Claim

By WorkCompCentral
01/17/2019 | 81 | 0 | 50 min read

A New York appellate court ruled that a worker was not entitled to be excused for missing the deadline to file a claim against the City of New York for her injuries from an assault. Case: Matter of Rodriguez v. City of New York, No. 8070N 152230/18, 01/10/2019, published. Facts and procedural history: Ana Rodriguez worked for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. She allegedly sustained injuries after she was assaulted by an inmate. Rodriguez filed a workers’ compensation claim. Seven months later, she requested permission to belatedly file a claim against the City of New York.... Read More

TN - Council Reports on 33 Court Rulings That Shaped WC in 2018

01/17/2019 | 80 | 0 | 27 min read

The Tennessee Workers' Compensation Advisory Council has released a summary of 33 of the most significant state Supreme Court decisions in 2018, along with one appellate court opinion. The council is required by law to produce the report each year. It includes a synopsis of each case and topical headings for the areas of law addressed by the court rulings. In Tennessee, final appeals of workers' compensation cases are handled by a special panel of judges appointed by the Supreme Court. The panel includes a sitting justice, and the decisions become the judgment of the full Suprem... Read More

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Press - Pritchard & Jerden and Swift Currie Attorneys at Law Host Risk Control Workshop in Atlanta, Georgia

01/14/2019 | 87 | 0

Tampa, FL (January 14, 2019) – The fifth annual risk control workshop hosted by Pritchard & Jerden and Swift Currie Attorneys at Law will be held in Atlanta, GA on February 12, 2019. ReEmployAbility will be a sponsor of the event and will attend to answer questions about return-to-work and the savings companies realize when advocating for their employees and their well-being throughout the return-to-work process.   This workshop provides valuable information on risk exposures and mitigation strategies for Pritchard & Jerden clients. Presenters are experts in their given ... Read More

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CA - 9th Circuit Clarifies Appeals Process for Defense Base Act Claims

By WorkCompCentral
01/17/2019 | 298 | 0 | 12 min read

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals clarified the process for appealing a compensation decision under the Defense Base Act, and it upheld an award to a linguist for his mental injuries from his service in Iraq. Case: Global Linguist Solutions v. Abdelmeged, No. 17-72516, 01/16/2019, published. Facts: Abdulraouf Abdelmeged worked for Global Linguist Solutions as a linguist, supporting American troops in Iraq. After a two-year tour, Abdelmeged returned to the U.S. and filed a workers’ compensation claim seeking benefits under the Defense Base Act. The DBA extends the rights and remed... Read More

CA - DWC Updates Pathology, Lab Section of Fee Schedule

01/17/2019 | 118 | 0 | 8 min read

The California Division of Workers’ Compensation posted an order incorporating changes made by Medicare into the pathology and clinical laboratory section of the Official Medical Fee Schedule. The division said the order adopts revisions that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made to its 2019 Pathology and Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule file on Tuesday. The revised file corrects various technical errors and supersedes the original file, the division said. The order updating the pathology and lab section of the fee schedule is effective for services provided on or after J... Read More

OK - Commission Proposes Permanent Non-Coverage Affidavit Rules

01/17/2019 | 87 | 0 | 5 min read

The Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission has proposed permanent rules that would allow businesses that are exempt from mandatory workers’ compensation coverage to file an “affidavit of exempt status” to show they are in compliance with the law. The state Legislature mandated that the commission return to the use of affidavits, instead of using the more cumbersome “certificate of non-coverage” process, with passage of Senate Bill 1249 last year.  Many Oklahoma employers are exempt from the statute that requires employers to provide covera... Read More

NATL. - New Reference Guide Addresses Non-Submission of MSAs to CMS

By Elaine Goodman (medical/business Reporter)
01/16/2019 | 842 | 0 | 47 min read

Payers are growing more skeptical about Medicare's voluntary set-aside approval process. Perhaps in response, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is emphasizing the advantages of MSA review in a new manual. CMS this month issued an update to its Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement Reference Guide, now in Version 2.9. In addition to making some minor modifications from the previous version — such as removing Virginia from a list of states without workers’ comp fee schedules — the WCMSA Reference Guide now inc... Read More

KS - Bills Would Restore Fourth Edition, End Prevailing Factor Requirement

By William Rabb (Reporter)
01/16/2019 | 108 | 0 | 79 min read

While the Kansas Legislature remains a deep shade of red, the new governor is a Democrat who has signaled her support for a kinder, gentler workers’ compensation system. That has given labor advocates encouragement to try to undo almost a decade of laws that they have seen as harsh to injured employees and generous to employers. The 2019 Legislature convened Tuesday. On Monday, state Rep. John Carmichael, a Wichita claimants’ attorney and one of the most vocal backers of pro-worker reforms, introduced four bills that would significantly alter the comp landscape in Kansas. &l... Read More

CA - Reprieve From CIGA Surcharge Could Extend to 2020

By Greg Jones (Deputy Editor)
01/16/2019 | 343 | 1 | 47 min read

The California Insurance Guarantee Association is holding a large enough surplus to cover the costs of its open workers’ compensation claims without tacking a surcharge this year onto the premiums employers pay. And the reprieve from the annual CIGA surcharge might not be a one-time deal. The new head of the association that steps in to pay claims when carriers go bust said that while he can’t predict the future, he doesn’t think a surcharge will be needed in 2020 so long as there are no major insolvencies or legislative changes that drive up the cost of benefits. CIGA has ... Read More

IA - Court Revives Part of Injured Worker's Bad Faith Claims Against Employer, Comp Carrier

By WorkCompCentral
01/16/2019 | 116 | 0 | 27 min read

The Iowa Court of Appeals last week revived part of an injured worker’s bad faith claim against his employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Thomas Dunlap had worked for Action Warehouse. He fell while attempting to pull a heavy box from a shelf in July 2007. After a hearing in 2009, a deputy workers' compensation commissioner found the accident had caused compensable injuries to Dunlap’s back, leg and arm. The deputy awarded temporary partial disability benefits and healing period benefits but denied Dunlap's request for penalties. ... Read More