Shepard v. Dept. of Corrections: Control of Treatment in Workers' Compensation Cases

Shepard v. Dept. of Corrections is a workers' compensation appeal from the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

In 2005, claimant was working for the state department of corrections when she injured herself.

prison-1431133-m.jpgWorkers' compensation commission for the state determined claimant injured her neck, lower back, both shoulders, and her left arm. Commissioners further found she suffered a permanent partial disability (PPD). Commissioners ordered her employer or its insurance carrier to pay for reasonably necessary future medical expenses, limited to prescription medications and four follow-up monitoring visits per year with her doctor listed on her application for workers' compensation benefits.

The commission's order stated either party could move for a modification at any time with a showing of good cause, and there was no limit on which medications her doctor could prescribe for her treatment. Commissioners also ordered employer or its insurance company to pay any reasonable medical expenses claimant had already incurred.

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Armstrong v. State: Maximum Medical Improvement in Workers' Compensation Cases

Armstrong v. State, an appeal from the Supreme Court of Nebraska, involved claimant who injured herself while working as a staff nurse at a veteran's hospital. Both claimant and her employer stipulated (formally agreed) she tore a hole in the rotator cuff of her right shoulder to a severity entitling her to compensation for her on-the-job injury.

1158314_nurse_1.jpgHer employer paid her temporary total disability (TTD) workers' compensation benefits from May 2010 to April 2010. At this point, doctors opined she had reached her maximum medical improvement (MMI).

MMI means doctors have done all they can feasibly do to improve a patient's condition, and there is nothing else worth doing to improve his or her condition. Essentially, a doctor is saying he or she has done everything that could be done, and it's not worth trying anything else in terms of cost and patient discomfort.

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New Non-Surgical Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Millions of Americans deal with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) on a regular basis. CTS is a type of repetitive stress injury (RSI) often caused by making repetitive movements such as working at a computer all day or working in a factory. It can also be caused by working in a supermarket, placing groceries on the shelves or operating a cash register.

wrist-pain-1445343-1-m.jpgMany people consider carpal tunnel syndrome as something you just have to deal with as part of living and working in our modern world. What many people don't realize is CTS is often a work-related injury, which may qualify the injured employee for workers' compensation benefits. These benefits can include past medical bills, future medical bills, and lost wages from time taken off work to seek treatment and deal with pain.

You could just take over-the-counter painkillers, or buy an arm wrap from a local drug store, and try to deal with the pain, but it will probably not get better on its own. It will probably get worse over time. This is because it is a degenerative condition caused by pressure being placed on the carpal tunnel. This pressure can pinch the bundle of nerves and tendons that controls movement in all parts of the hand. Pain can also radiate up the arm to the patient's neck and shoulders.

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L & L Enterprises v. Arellano: Workers' Compensation and Undocumented Workers

L & L Enterprises v. Arellano, an appeal from the Supreme Court of Wyoming, involved claimant who was injured on the job. After submitting a workers' compensation claim, it was determined he was an undocumented worker and, trial court ruled, not entitled to benefits. His application for workers' compensation was denied and he appealed this decision.

travellers-154258-m.jpgOn appeal, the court looked at the issue of whether he qualified as an employee under the state statute for the purposes of workers' compensation eligibility. It should be noted in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as our Boston workers' compensation attorneys can explain, being an undocumented worker is not a bar to receiving an award an award for workers' compensation benefits.

The Massachusetts case involved a construction laborer who was severely injured when he fell into a deep hole while on the job. He was an undocumented worker. When his employer denied his application for workers' compensation benefits, he filed a claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). An administrative law judge determined injured worker was eligible for workers' compensation, despite his immigration status, and awarded his benefits, including back pay.

Employer appealed, based upon a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court case holding undocumented workers were not entitled to workers' compensation benefits. DIA reaffirmed its earlier decision, citing U.S. Supreme Court did not preclude a Massachusetts agency from concluding employer and employee had entered into an enforceable contract, which upon an on-the-job injury, required payment of workers' compensation benefits.

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Nealy v. City of Santa Monica: Retaliatory Termination and Workers' Compensation

Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, an appeal from the Court of Appeal for the State of California, involved a recycling worker who was injured on the job. Claimant injured his right knee while he was moving a bin full of food waste in 2003. A treating physician determined he was temporarily disabled as a result of his knee injury. He underwent two operations on his knee in 2003 and 2004. His temporary disability rating was extended until May 2005, when his doctor cleared him to return to light duty.

recycling-2-1364013-m.jpgHis restrictions were he could not move large trash bins that weighed 750 pounds when empty and as much as 1,200 pounds when full of garbage. In 2005, the city accommodations committee convened to make reasonable accommodations for claimant, due to his light work status.

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Central Flying Serv. Inc. v. Circuit Court: Workers' Compensation and Wrongful Death

Central Flying Serv. Inc. v. Circuit Court, an appeal from the Supreme Court of Arkansas, involved claimant who was killed in a plane crash. Claimant was a licensed pilot employed by an airline. He was to fly from Little Rock, Arkansas to Monroe, Louisiana, pick up passengers, and fly them to Beaumont, Texas.

propeller-1428908-m.jpgOn his flight from Louisiana to Texas, his plane crashed, and claimant and all three passengers were killed. Claimant's estate filed a wrongful death civil action against employer on grounds he was not trained or certified to fly the particular aircraft he was flying the day of his crash. The aircraft involved in the deadly crash was a Beechcraft "Bonanza" A 36.

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Barnes v. Charter 1 Realty - Idiopathic Versus Unexplained Injuries

One of the cornerstones of Massachusetts workers' compensation law is that in order to be compensable, an injury or condition must arise out of and in the course of one's employment.
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That means there must be some causal link between one's work and injuries.

Courts have generally held that idiopathic injuries should not be considered compensable. However, there is often dispute about what exactly it means for an injury to be "idiopathic," and courts have struggled to reach a consensus about the exact test that should be applied. Some states consider any unexplainable injury to be idiopathic. Others, however, make the distinction that idiopathic doesn't necessarily mean "unexplainable," but rather an injury brought on by a purely personal condition.

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Demetres v. East West Construction - Exclusive Remedy Underscored in Near-Fatal Work Accident

In Massachusetts, workers' compensation is considered the exclusive remedy against employers (and their agents) by a worker who is injured on-the-job.
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There are a few rare exceptions that involve intentional injuries resulting from willful and serious misconduct. In those instances, there is a doubling of benefits. However, approval of an exception in these cases is rare. The only other option for additional compensation - and it will depend on the circumstances of the case - is third-party litigation.

Third party litigation stemming from a work-injury can be pursued if another person or entity aside from the employer and/or its agents played a significant role in causing the worker's injuries. There are several differences between workers' compensation benefits and third-party litigation, the most obvious being one needn't prove negligence in workers' compensation cases, while the burden of proof requires such a finding in third-party litigation. Another difference is that while workers' compensation tends to be awarded faster, it's also often markedly less than one might receive in a successful personal injury lawsuit. That's why those severely injured may find it worthwhile to pursue such a claim, even if it takes some time to wind its way through the system.

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Moore v. K-Mart - Occupational Illness and Reimbursement for Medical Costs

The concept of workers' compensation benefits is most often associated with work-related injuries. But occupational illness are equally as pervasive and can be just as serious.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates between 26,000 and 72,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. as the result of occupational diseases. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates approximately 300,000 new work-related illnesses occur annually. These run the gamut, from occupational cancers like mesothelioma to work-related heart disease to negative impacts on reproductive health.

Establishing a link between a worker's condition and his or her job can be challenging, particularly when there is a period of latency between the exposure to illness-causing agents and development of the disease. But making this connection is critical to ensuring the person affected can obtain workers' compensation benefits.

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Elevator Mechanic Killed when Falling Down Shaft

According to a recent report from NY1, an elevator mechanic fell to his death while on the job. He was working in a luxury tower building on the Upper West Side in New York at the time of fatal workplace accident.

elevator-200538-m.jpgOne resident interviewed couldn't believe what happened as she had just spoken with decedent prior to the tragic work-related fall accident. Another resident said they were headed to the lobby to leave the building and saw chaos as the building was filled with police and rescue workers and the elevator shaft was locked open.

Police say victim was pinned between two elevators, one of which came down directly on top of him. He was crushed when the elevator hit him and pronounced dead on the scene. When emergency personal first arrived, victim was unconscious and not responsive. The workplace accident occurred just before noon.

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Super Bowl Setup Workers Dies in Accident

There is a lot of work that goes into setting up a major event like the Super Bowl and that means a lot of workers are on hand. With such a large production, it is an unfortunate reality that some of those workers will be injured. Tragically, it is being reported that a worker hired to help set up a large stage outside the stadium was killed on the job.

limelight-3-616971-m.jpgThe stage was located outside of University of Phoenix Stadium, and was being built to host the NFL Tailgate Party. The victim was a rigger, which is an employee hired to move large object high above street level.

Witness say the worker was on a tower being constructed to hold up the stage when he fell approximately 25 feet. He was severely injured during the fall and required immediate medical attention. First responders arrived and provided initial treatment and transported the 31-year-old victim to a local hospital. However, doctors pronounced him dead shortly after arrival at the hospital.

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New Carpal Tunnel Surgery Available to Injured Workers

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and other repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are among the most common on the job injuries in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, many do not realize they suffer from a workplace injury or that it may make them eligible to receive workers' compensation to assist them in paying for medical treatment, and obtaining compensation for lost wages as result of the injury.

wrist-pain-1445343-1-m.jpgFirst it is important to understand what it is like for someone who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. A CTS victim, whether an office worker, retail employee, or trade worker, spends most of their day trying to ignore the tingling and numbness in their hands and wrist. This can become extremely painful and made worse by repetitive movements a worker is required to make throughout the workday.

The cause of this pain and tingling is an injury to the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is a narrow tube that runs through your wrist (palm side) and serves as a conduit or protective sheath for the nine tendons that control your fingers, and the main nerve in your hand. With repetitive movements, this tunnel can become pinched or compressed. When the carpal tunnel is compressed, the main nerve of the hand will be affected causing the pain, numbness, tingling and weakness of the hand and fingers as well as the wrist.

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Moreau v. Transp. Ins. Co.: Workers' Compensation and Asbestos

Moreau v. Transp. Ins. Co., a workers' compensation appeal from Supreme Court of Montana, involved claimant who work at an asbestos mine from 1963 until 1992. Claimant died as a result of asbestos-related lung cancer in 2009. Claimant's surviving spouse, in her capacity as personal representative of claimant's estate, filed a claim with employer's workers' compensation insurance carrier for benefits due to an occupational disease. Insurance carrier denied her claim.

salt-mine-1-898810-m.jpgIn 2012, she filed a claim before the workers' compensation commission requesting insurance company be found liable for claimant's medical expenses. The following year, insurance company agreed to liability and entered into a settlement agreement to pay for medical expenses.

Employer paid providers who had already paid for claimant's medical expenses and also reimbursed his estate for money it spent prior to his death. One provider, which had already paid $95,000, was a fund set up by claimant's employer (asbestos mine owner) to compensate employees who developed asbestos-related injuries. Both the fund and employer refused to accept any reimbursement from insurance company. Claimant demanded any money declined by employer or fund be given to the estate.


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Schultz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd.: Going and Coming Rule in Workers' Compensation

Schultz v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Bd., a case from the Court of Appeal of the State of California, involved claimant who filed an application for workers' compensation benefits after being injured in a traffic accident. He was driving his personal vehicle at the time of the crash, which occurred on an Air Force base. He worked for employer in a facility located on base.

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City of Danville v. Tate: Workers' Compensation Double Recovery

City of Danville v. Tate, a workers' compensation case from the Supreme Court of Virginia, involved claimant who was employed by the city as a firefighter for 39 years. In March of 2009, claimant suffered a major heart attack and did not return to work. He retired six months after his heart attack.

emergency-269548-m.jpgPrior to becoming ill, claimant had accrued around 6,000 hours of paid sick leave. His employer paid out his sick leave prior to retirement in the amount of approximately $40,000. This sick leave payout was roughly equivalent to his annual salary. He used the balance of his sick leave, as permitted, to earn another year of employment credit with respect to his retirement plan.

However, before he retired, he filed a workers' compensation claim seeking a rating of two-thirds impairment from the heart attack-related disability. The city first denied his claim, but it accepted liability the following year. He was paid for his six months of disability prior to retirement. The city did not ask to be given an offset credit with respect to money it had already paid out in sick leave.

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