Is That Offer Bona Fide?

Did you know that a voluntary offer to settle a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey must meet three specific criteria to comply with state law?

  1. The offer must meet the 26-week rule — this means the offer must be made within 26 weeks of the last active treatment or return to work, whichever is later.
  2. The letter to the petitioner must explain the weekly payments are meant to be a bona fide offer of permanent disability. The start and end dates of the benefits
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The Interweb of Lies: Why Employers May Want to Look a Little Closer at Claimants’ Job Searches

Stop the presses — the majority of job applications are completed online now!

Obviously, this comes as no surprise in the realm of New York Workers’ Compensation Law — the Full Board Panel handled this precise issue in Matter of Suffolk County Health Services (2016 NY Wrk. Comp. 0713095). Ultimately, the Full Board slightly modified the landmark decision of American Axle and determined that, when applying online, the claimant must either:

  1. Provide a confirmation e-mail or reference number; or
  2. If no such evidence is available,
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New York’s 2017 Workers’ Compensation Reforms: What They REALLY Mean for Employers and Carriers

When New York’s 2017 budget recently passed — bringing some significant changes to the state’s Workers’ Compensation Law with it — a great deal of misinformation as to how those changes would impact employers and insurers followed in its wake.

Importantly, the passage of reforms as part of the budget did not include Senate Bills S4014, S4554, S4520, or S4345. Rather, changes were made as part of the budget bill S2009, and they are substantially different from these prior bills.

Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation team …

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“High Anxiety” for Carriers: Medical Marijuana Progressing in New York

For New York workers’ compensation carriers, the budding industry of medical marijuana will likely provide an interesting new set of challenges and concerns in the administration of treatment for eligible patients and injured workers.

The growing trend across the United States has recently been towards expansion of medical marijuana programs — and as of March 31, 2017, approximately 28 states, including New York, have legalized some form of medical marijuana usage. New York’s Compassionate Care Act specifically details that patients with specified conditions (cancer, HIV …

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Should Adjusters Consider Using Vocational Reports to Achieve Better Loss of Wage Earning Capacity Findings?

A hot topic at many workers’ compensation hearing locations is permanency: When will it become ripe? What evidence needs to be produced by the parties? How can we ensure the law judge will make a reasonable decision regarding loss of wage earning capacity? This is when the use of vocational reports comes into play.

In simple terms, loss of wage earning capacity (LOWEC) is the reduction in an injured workers’ earning power due to a work related injury or disease. LOWEC is determined by the …

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If the “Last Act” to Trigger Employment Occurred Outside N.C., The Claim May Not Be Compensable

A recent decision by the Court of Appeals of North Carolina highlights, in the context of workers’ compensation claims, the importance of where the “last act” necessary to form an employment contract occurred — particularly for companies that draw workers from other states. The good news for employers is: If that step was taken outside North Carolina, the employer may have a jurisdictional defense.

In Holmes v. Associated Pipe Line Contractors, Inc., _ S.E.2d _, 7 February 2017, the plaintiff was a resident of …

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Medical Marijuana Found Compensable in Connecticut

The Compensation Review Board (CRB) in Connecticut found medical marijuana to be reasonable and necessary medical treatment, and thus, compensable in Petrini v. Marcus Dairy, Inc., 6021 CRB-7-15-7 (May 12, 2016). It is black letter law that “reasonable and necessary” medical care is curative or remedial. “Curative or remedial care is that which seeks to repair the damage to health caused by the job even if not enough health is restored to enable the employee to return to work. Any therapy designed to keep …

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Lessons from Daniel

On August 2, 2016, the Appellate Division upheld a Judge of Compensation’s denial of a petitioner’s motion for medical treatment and temporary disability benefits. In upholding the Division’s decision, the Appellate Division agreed that the petitioner had not met his burden of proof that the need for surgery arose from and was causally connected with the same trauma complained of in the original claim petition. Daniel v. United Arlines, No. A-1252-14T3 (App. Div. August 2016).

The petitioner in Daniel sustained a compensable accident in …

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Legislative Branch Provides Protection to Municipalities from Preclusion: Requires Workers to Send Notice of Claims to Town Clerk

Public Act No. 16-112 amends Section 31-294c, which requires a municipal employee/dependent who files a claim for benefits to send a copy of the written notice of the claim (Form 30C/Form 30D) to the town clerk of the municipality where the employee works. Before the Act, written notice could be sent to almost anyone in a municipality, which created the risk of the claim not being responded to in a timely fashion. The respondent must file a Form 43 contesting a claim, or begin making …

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Paid Vacation Weeks Should Be Included in Total Gross Wages and Number of Weeks Worked When Calculating Average Weekly Wages

Generally, the average weekly wages (AWW) equals total gross wages from the 52 weeks prior to the injury, divided by the number of calendar weeks the claimant was employed during that 52-week time period. C.G.S. §31-310. When making the calculation, we do not include absences of seven or more consecutive calendar days or partial weeks worked either at the beginning of employment or on the week of injury. Id.

However, the Appellate Court in Menard v. Willimantic Waste Paper Co., 2016 Conn. App. LEXIS …

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