Part One: The Growing Costs of Opioids in the Workplace – An NHL Tragedy

Over the coming weeks we will be delving into the lengthy saga that involves Derek Boogaard, his estate, the National Hockey League (the NHL), and the National Hockey League Players’ Association (the NHLPA). This first installment of our three part series will lay the foundation of Boogaard’s career in the NHL, his tragic death, and the tension that erupted as a result of an employee’s prescription drug use and the
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Practice Tips for Securing the Mandatory and Discretionary Penalties under WCL Section 114(a)

Once a claim has been established, there are numerous defenses a carrier may raise to limit exposure in situations where the claimant has not returned to work. One of these defenses can be found under Section 114(a) of the Workers’ Compensation Law. The applicable case law reads:  “If for the purpose of obtaining compensation . . . a claimant knowingly makes a false statement or representation as to a material
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Proposed Pennsylvania Legislation May Increase Workers’ Compensation Claims for Asbestos-Related Diseases

Republican Pennsylvania State Representative, Eli Evankovich introduced a bill on April 2, 2018 to eliminate the ability of employees to sue their employers for asbestos-related diseases. Prior to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s issuance of the Tooey decision in November 2013, Pennsylvania employees were barred from filing suit against their employers due to the exclusivity provision of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation. Tooey v. AK Steel., 81 A.3.d 851 (2013). Those employees
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Noise: How Much is Too Much?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise at work each year. In 2017, employers paid $1.5 million in penalties for not protecting workers from noise. OSHA estimates approximately $242 million is spent on workers’ compensation claims for hearing loss. But how much noise is too much? When should you provide protection? And how in the world do you defend
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The War on Wages

A common issue in the workers’ compensation world is properly setting the claimant’s average weekly wage (AWW). Of course, claimant’s counsel will always look for a way to establish the highest AWW possible. It is important to know the how to properly set the AWW, even in unique situations, because adding even a few dollars to the AWW can greatly affect the value of a claim. The AWW of an
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It’s All About the Money — Recent Developments Regarding the Calculation of Claimant’s Average Weekly Wage

Recently, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland (CSA) weighed in on the calculation of claimant’s average weekly wage when an employee, hired for full-time employment, involuntarily worked in a part-time capacity in the weeks leading up to his accidental injury. In Richard Beavers Construction, Inc., et al. v. Wagstaff, 2018 WL 1129655 (2018), the CSA held that the Workers’ Compensation Commission properly determined a claimant’s average weekly wage based
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Maryland State Senate Passes Bill Requiring Self- Insured Employers to Report Fraud

On March 6, 2018, the Maryland State Senate passed a bill that would require self-insured employers to report workers’ compensation fraud to the Maryland Insurance Administration’s Fraud Division. S.B. 575 was sponsored by Senator Katherine Klausmeier of Baltimore County and is now pending in the Maryland House. Subject to any further changes and amendments, it is expected to be passed by the House and take effect in October 2018. The
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Is Failure to Provide Written Notice to an Employer Still a Viable Defense? Of Course it Is!

One of the more seemingly futile defenses to a workers’ compensation claim is the defense originating from Section 18 of the Workers’ Compensation Law requiring a claimant to provide written notice to the employer within 30 days of an incident. The statute itself provides that late notice can be excused, provided the employer had actual notice or if the employer did not suffer any prejudice for the late notice. In
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The Illinois Appellate Court Narrows the Scope of Compensable Parking Lot, Slip and Fall Claims

As the harsh conditions of winter wind down in the Midwest, slip and fall claims tend to ramp up. Traditionally, injuries sustained as the result of a hazardous condition in an employer maintained parking lot have supported a finding of compensability. Suter v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2013 IL App (4th) 130049WC. However, recent decisions from the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission have narrowed the scope of
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Getting Your Recorded Statement into Evidence Under Rule 608

Most adjusters handling North Carolina workers’ compensation matters take recorded statements as part of their claims investigation. For defense counsel, this is one of the most important documents used to defend denied claims. This post is a reminder of two technical requirements that must be met with regard to all recorded statements. If these requirements are not met, the statement can be excluded from evidence by the Industrial Commission. This
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