Can I Apportion to that Prior Injury/Condition?

Apportionment is an excellent mitigation strategy for carriers/employers. There are a couple of different scenarios to review when addressing apportionment; however, the threshold issue is permanency. Generally speaking, New York State Workers’ Compensation Law does not permit apportionment prior to permanency.

The most common form of apportionment involves a prior compensable event. Under this scenario, there is no requirement that the carrier/employer prove an “active and symptomatic condition” at the time of the new/later injury. Addressing apportionment to a prior compensable condition involves: (1) knowledge …

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Missouri Governor Signs Bill Aimed at Reducing Workplace Injury Costs into Law

Throughout his campaign, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens promised to lead efforts to create a more business-friendly environment in Missouri. With only a short time remaining in the 2017 legislative session, the Missouri legislature approved Senate Bill 66, a measure focused at reforming Missouri’s worker’s compensation system.  On July 5, 2017, Governor Greitens made good on his promises and signed Senate Bill 66 into law. The bill contains several reforms that will help businesses better control the costs associated with workplace injuries.

First, the law provides …

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You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too — Maryland Court Interprets Controversial Phrase “Similar Benefits” and its Effect on Disability Pension Offsets

In Zakwieia v. Baltimore County, Board of Education, 231 Md. App. 644 (2017), the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland established the correct interpretation of LE § 9-610 and the controversial phrase “similar benefits.” As a result, the court’s holding provided a basis for the Board of Education of Baltimore County (the Board) to apply ordinary disability retirement benefits owed to the claimant as a credit against the claimant’s workers’ compensation benefits.

Following a December 13, 2007 accidental injury, the claimant filed a claim …

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Seeking Your Nomination

Attention blog readers! This year, the ABA Journal is publishing their first ever “Web 100” celebrating the best of the legal industry on the web. In order to be named, we’ll need your help! Since our launch this past spring, Workers’ Compensation Defense has been your source for current trends and precedent-setting litigation, to claims management and upcoming rule changes. We’ve also established our client portal, where current clients can find information on past and upcoming webinars, along with workers’ compensation reference documents like: state-specific …

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Your Injury Happened Where? New Jersey Appellate Division Rejects Two Attempts to Avoid the Going and Coming Rule

Two recent decisions by the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the strength of the “going and coming” rule to bar workers’ compensation claims that did not occur at work. In New Jersey, injuries that occur during routine travel to and from work are not compensable. This comes from principle found in N.J.S.A. 34:15-36 (defining “employment”) that generally, employment starts when the employee arrives at his place of employment, and terminates upon leaving the place of employment. Section 36 was amended in 1979 to decrease the …

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When is Late Payment of Settlement Monies Excused?

Once a penalty for late payment pursuant to an approved settlement agreement is assessed under N.Y. Workers’ Compensation Law § 25 (3) (f), it is automatic, mandatory, and self-executing. This means that virtually no excuse will get you out of paying the hefty fine of 20 percent of the overall settlement agreement and an additional $50 fine due to the state treasury.

An office error or clerical mistake will not be sufficient to reverse the penalty. For example, a carrier inadvertently sent a check to …

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Opioid Epidemic: Let the Weaning Begin

In the workers’ compensation world, the Board has acknowledged opioid addiction as “a major public health crisis” that “deeply affects” New York’s injured workers. So it comes as no surprise that in that same announcement, the Board re-asserted its opinion that long-term opioid use is rarely recommended and should be done in restricted circumstances with much oversight.

While some claimants’ counsels like to argue that opioid use is not an issue that should be decided upon by a judge and some judge’s may shy away …

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares IRE Provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act Unconstitutional

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found Section 306(a.2) of the Workers’ Compensation Act to be unconstitutional. The decision in Protz v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Bd. (Derry Area School District) means that indemnity benefits are no longer subject to a cap.

In the majority opinion authored by Justice Wecht, the court determined that the General Assembly’s delegation of authority to the American Medical Association (AMA), a private entity, was unconstitutional. The General Assembly must not only make “basic policy choices,” but it must …

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Post-Wilkes Decision Tips for Handling Workers’ Compensation Claims

We recently wrote about the impact of the Wilkes v. City of Greenville decision. In this ruling, the North Carolina Supreme Court significantly expanded the “Parsons presumption,” which posits a relationship between an original work-related injury and additional treatments required.  It is possible that the North Carolina General Assembly will overturn the decision — though there is no guarantee.  If the General Assembly does not act, then we can expect to see a significant increase in claims for new body parts and conditions following …

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Plain Language of North Carolina Statute Withstands Challenge from Claimant

In North Carolina, a claimant’s right to seek additional medical compensation expires two years after the date of the employer’s last payment of medical or indemnity compensation (absent limited exceptions). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-25.1 Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in Anders v. Universal Leaf N. Am, issued an opinion rejecting a claimant’s attempt to get around this time limitation holding true to the plain language of the statute.

In Anders, the claimant suffered from a compensable accident resulting in bilateral …

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