Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Year in Review: Significant Workers' Compensation Cases of 2015

by Robert Ferreri, Esq.

With 2015 in the books I thought it would be interesting to offer this look back at some significant cases decided by Kentucky's Court of Appeals and Supreme Court last year. The first two cases addressed the statute of limitations and the statute of repose respectively regarding reopening of claims.

Other issues addressed in these decisions included the ongoing modification of the parameters of qualification for temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, facts necessary for a claimant to prove entitlement to the 2x enhancement of benefits for cessation of earning an equal or greater average weekly wage, and the end of apportionment of liability between employers in cumulative trauma claims.

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

5 Ways Collective Bargaining May Impact Workers' Comp Claims

by James D. Hamilton, Esq.

As much as many of us might hate to admit it, we all have a tendency to become creatures of habit when we become comfortable. There is no place this is more evident than in our professional lives.

Specifically, for professionals handling workers' compensation claims, we are no different. When we have performed our particular job for a certain period of time and have become comfortable in our knowledge of the subject matter and our duties as claims professionals, legal counsel, or human resource professionals, we form habits that we repeat over and over and over again.

This behavior certainly has its advantages. We create efficiencies that allow us to perform our jobs faster, handle and resolve claims more quickly and even handle more claims. It also creates consistency which is always a good thing.

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Is "Light Duty" Really Light Duty?

by Jon Rehm, Esq.

One phrase that is thrown around in the world of workers' compensation is "light duty."

Light duty refers to a job done by an injured worker while they are on work restrictions. However "light duty" isn't always light duty if the employee physically struggles with doing their light-duty job. To me, light duty can be a misleading description of what injured workers go through when working alternate-duty jobs.

Here are three situations where I think the term light duty is misleading.

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Pregnant Employee Who Was Denied Light Duty Accommodation

by Bryan Pieper, Esq.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of a pregnant employee who claimed United Parcel Service (UPS) committed sex discrimination in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) when it refused to accommodate her doctor's restriction that she not lift more than 20 pounds. Young v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 575 U.S. ___ (2015)

The trial court granted summary judgment to UPS, dismissing the lawsuit prior to trial, and the Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal. The Supreme Court reversed that decision and sent the case back to the trial court, stating that the plaintiff was entitled to have her case decided at trial.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

What Should You Do After Sustaining a Work Injury?

by Russ Haugen, Esq.

1. Notify your employer of the accident

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act requires an employee to notify their employer within 45 days of the accident. However, the sooner the better. A delay in reporting the accident to your employer may give them (or their insurance carrier) an opportunity to argue that the injury resulted from a non-work related accident.

While the law allows the notice to be given verbally or in writing, we strongly recommend that it is done in writing.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is It a Good Idea for Employers to Disallow Light-Duty Work?

by W. Britt Isaly, Esq.

We have researched current ADA case law regarding 100% healed policies and reasonable accommodations under the ADA to assess whether such 100% healed policies are ever advisable.

A simple review of relevant case law, particularly in the 7th Judicial Circuit, (whose cases apply to most employers in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) demonstrates that disallowing light duty is a violation of the ADA.

Such a recommendation is a blatant violation of the ADA because as it fails to include any individualized assessment to determine whether a reasonable accommodation can be made for disabled employees.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

SC Supreme Court Clarifies Circumstances Under Which an Injured Worker Is Entitled to Temporary Disability Benefits

by Ashley Rudisill Forbes, Esq.

The South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission often wrestles with the question of whether an injured worker ("claimant") is entitled to temporary disability benefits while they are out of work, or working in a different capacity, due to their workplace injury. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court provided more guidance on the issue of payment of temporary total disability benefits following a claimant's termination.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Temporary Disability Benefits Denied After Termination For Cause

by Matthew R. Cook, Esq.

Over the years, the issue of whether a claimant is entitled to temporary disability benefits when they are terminated for cause while on light duty as a result of a work-related injury has been hotly debated with results varying. No bright line test had been established and both sides brought their respective arguments to the table with each side touting fairness in support of their cause. The debate may now come to an end with a definitive ruling on the matter from the South Carolina Supreme Court.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

When the FMLA and ADA Intersect: Double Trouble for Employers

by James D. Holman, Esq.

Most employers agree that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is the most annoying of the federal employment acts: inconvenient, difficult to administer, with substantial penalties if you get it wrong.

An eligible employee is entitled to twelve weeks of unpaid leave in a twelve-month period in order to care for the employees' serious medical condition or that of a spouse, parent or child. At the end of the leave the employee gets his or her job back. Complying with the FMLA is at best inconvenient, at worst a substantial hardship, particularly if the employer loses a key employee for twelve weeks.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vocational Rehabilitation and Retraining

by Linda Slough, Esq.

When an injured employee is released to return to work with restrictions and his or her employer cannot or will not provide light duty, then the vocational rehabilitation process is initiated. Most clients are eager to work with a professional counselor to find a job; however, they are soon disappointed in the process and ask if they can be retrained for another position. While Virginia Code §65.2-603(A)(3) does provide for retraining, very few claimants receive retraining.

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