American Patriotism Honored: 9/11 First Responders Receive the Health Benefits They Deserve

On September 11, 2019, some of New York’s greatest heroes were honored as Gov. Cuomo signed legislation to aid first responders who developed a qualifying health condition due to harmful exposure after those dreadful attacks 18 years earlier. This legislation reminds all New Yorkers that while the effects of this horrific day continue to live physically and emotionally within first responders, New York City will continue to connect them to health benefits.

First responders who helped in providing service on September 11 suffered drastic health …

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Maryland’s Second Highest Court Finds Despite Full and Final Settlement, Death is Only the Beginning

In a hot-off-the-press opinion, Maryland’s Court of Special Appeals has held that language within an agreement of final compromise and settlement releasing an employer/insurer from all future claims could not bar a spouse’s claims to death benefits in a workers’ compensation claim.[i]

On June 13, 2012, Bernard Collins (the decedent) filed a workers’ compensation claim against Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department, and two of its insurers, Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company and Selective Insurance Company of America, seeking an occupational disease claim for heart disease and …

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Maryland Court of Appeals Holds That for Occupational Diseases, It’s About the Whole Picture

In a recently reported opinion, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the Circuit Court for Baltimore County did not abuse its discretion in finding that the claimant, an employee of Baltimore County, had degenerative meniscal tears classifiable as an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his employment. Baltimore County. v. Quinlan, 215 A.3d 282 (Md. 2019).

In October 2015, the claimant filed a claim against Baltimore County with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, asserting that he had developed meniscal …

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Maryland’s High Court Reverses Course and Strengthens Modification Powers of the Workers’ Compensation Commission

The Maryland Court of Appeals recently overturned the lower court’s decision limiting the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s (WCC) revisory powers. The Court of Special Appeals previously found the WCC did not have authority to retroactively modify a claimant’s rate of compensation. However, the high court has reversed course and affirmed the commission’s broad powers in the case of Peter Gang v. Montgomery County, No. 67 Sept. Term 2018, 2019 WL 2574657 (Md. Ct. App. June 24, 2019).

By way of background, the claimant, Peter Gang, …

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Bunk Dicta is Bunk Dicta: New Jersey Appellate Division Rejects Residency as a Sufficient Condition for Jurisdiction

When can an employee who was injured in another state pursue a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey? On July 22, 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Division approved for publication a decision dealing with exactly that question. In Marconi v. United Airlines, A-0110-18T4 (App. Div. July 22, 2019), the petitioner alleged he sustained work injuries in Pennsylvania. Testimony showed that United initially hired the petitioner in San Francisco. At the time of the accidents, the petitioner lived in New Jersey but worked at the …

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Garrett v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

In a recent case, Garrett v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (Garrett II), the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the Industrial Commission’s determination that a claimant was not disabled due to her failure to engage in a reasonable job search. This case was before the North Carolina Court of Appeals a second time.

In its first hearing on the matter, the Industrial Commission concluded the claimant’s neck injury was compensable and awarded her total temporary disability compensation (TTD) for a 14-month period. Both parties …

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Two Common Myths About Medicare Set Asides

When settling a workers’ compensation claim in any state, carriers and self-insured employers often make one of two crucial errors based on two commonly accepted compliance myths. Most focus solely on $25,000 and $250,000, the two threshold markers for determining if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approval is required (the former if the claimant is Medicare enrolled, the latter if the claimant is expected to be enrolled within 30 months of settlement). However, the real issue that both parties in a workers’ …

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The Importance of Safety in the Food & Beverage Industry

Restaurants and bars are susceptible to a variety of workers’ compensation claims based on their fast-paced nature. As attorneys, identifying areas of concern when walking into a restaurant or bar becomes second nature. We consider: how do you address an accident before it becomes one? How do you prevent injuries when working in an environment and an industry that is so susceptible to them?

The clear and concise answer is to focus on training and awareness. It is imperative that safety remains the top priority …

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Timing Negotiations Where Claimant Has a Third Party Action

Clients frequently seek advice on how to resolve workers’ compensation claims. Often, as attorneys, we are in the best position to negotiate a settlement when we have some leverage on issues impacting a claimant’s entitlement to benefits, such as cases where labor market attachment has been raised or a client’s consultant is of the impression that a claimant has no further causally related disability. In short, timing is everything in negotiations.

Timing is also important when attempting to resolve a workers’ compensation claim where the …

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Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission Issues Important Update to Professional Guidelines Regarding One-Time Evaluations and Second Opinions

On August 29, 2019, Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC) Chairman Stephen M. Morelli issued Memorandum No. 2019-07 regarding updates to the Professional Guide for Attorneys, Physicians, and Other Health Care Practitioners Guidelines for Cooperation. Specifically, the memorandum highlights changes to the Professional Guide with respect to one-time medical evaluations and second opinions.

By way of background, the Professional Guide is a guidance document produced by the Workers’ Compensation Commission intended to improve the interaction between attorneys, physicians, and other health care professionals in the …

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