Monthly Archives: October 2011

Sense of Injustice, Occupy Wall Street & A Tornado Survivor From Joplin

Posted on by

Today’s post comes to us from our friend Jon Gelman of New Jersey.

In a dramatic turn of events based upon pubic outrage, an insurance company has reversed its decision and now decided to provide workers’ compensation benefits to a first responder who was injured while providing assistance to tornado victims in Joplin, Missouri.

Mark Lindquist saved 3 developmentally disabled adults in Joplin following the tornado that devastated that community. Caught in the 200 mile an hour tornado, Lindquist lost all of his teeth, was in a coma for several months and ran up medical bills amounting to $2.5 Million. The insurance company initially had denied the claim and recent news reports and public outrage resulted in a reversal by the insurance company on the issue of compensability.

The same outrage against Corporate America and an imbalance in the socio-economic system is now being reflected in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Recently Amy Goodman, the host of Democracy Now!, commented about the growing recognition of injustice on the Charlie Rose show.

Continue reading

The NFL’s surprising occupational hazard: obesity that kills, PART 2

Posted on by

Today more then 350 NFL linemen weigh over 300 pounds.

Today we have a follow-up from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina.

Last week, we shared a post about a surprisingly common illness affecting retired NFL players: chronic obesity.

In 1990, less than 70 players in the NFL weighed more than 300 pounds. Today there are more than 350 who weigh that much. All this weight adds up to
higher death rates for retired NFL linemen than for the general public.

Retired NFL players are more likely to have medical conditions that go along with obesity Continue reading

Can I go to my family physician to treat me if I am injured on the job?

Posted on by

In Iowa, your employer has the right to choose your medical care if they have approved your claim.

Many times the biggest conflict you may have after you are injured is what physician is going to treat you and will their bills be paid. Who has the right to control and decide what medical care you receive is different in every state. Can you go to your family physician? It depends on what State you were injured in.

In the State of Iowa, the employer has the right to choose your medical care if they have accepted and approved your claim for benefits. The employer must then provide medical care that is reasonably suited to treat your injury including the right to choose your surgeon.

The employer must then provide medical care that is reasonably suited to treat your injury, including the right to choose your surgeon.

At any time if the employer or insurance carrier denies your claim, or they simply say they are no longer authorizing any further medical care, you then have the right to choose any physician to treat you for your injuries.

If you are dissatisfied with your medical care at any time, you should discuss your dissatisfaction with your employer in an attempt to agree on the type of medical care you are receiving and with what physician is going to treat you. If you cannot reach an agreement, Continue reading

Your employer knows you but does your lawyer?

Posted on by

Is your employer using surveillance?

Many employers or the workers’ compensation insurance companies will go to great lengths in order to avoid paying for an injured worker.

For example your employer will scour your past medical records for any tid-bit that might show a preexisting injury to give even the slightest reason to deny your claim. In addition, employers and insurance companies will often go beyond simply looking to your past medical records for a reason to deny your claim. In addition, they may look to deny your claim through the use of surveillance. As a result, it is imperative that you know what they might be looking for and also that you let your lawyer know everything (especially the unfavorable stuff) about your claim.

It is not uncommon for adjusters or defense lawyers to hire private investigators to follow you around without your knowledge

Video Surveillance

It is not uncommon for adjusters or defense lawyers to hire private investigators to follow you around without your knowledge. The investigators will hide for hours and take videos of you in public places hoping to catch some footage of you lifting something beyond your restrictions or engaging in an activity that your doctor might see as questionable given your injury. Although perfectly legal, these investigators often take hours and hours of video footage in what would seem like semi-private places or moments: weddings, grocery store, swimming pools, parks, getting in and out of your car, even your own yard. Most courts will even allow such footage as evidence in a workers’ compensation case.

Online Surveillance

Similarly, many employers and insurance companies have taken to the internet in search of another way to deny you workers’ compensation benefits. Blogs, message boards posts, and even social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) could all be fair game: this includes past or present postings. Continue reading

The NFL’s surprising occupational hazard: obesity that kills

Posted on by

Today’s NFL linemen have to be bigger than ever.

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina. Football is a topic near and dear to the hearts of the folks at Rehm, Bennett & Moore, as we know it is for so many Nebraskans. As Len discusses, like all athletes professional football players face some dire work-related health problems. We’ll continue to cover this and similar topics from time to time on our blog.

Most people know that football is dangerous. We see reports of NFL players with every kind of gruesome injury imaginable. Even suicidal depression, it turns out, is a potential hazard of playing football. Of course playing in the NFL is both rewarding and risky.

There is one common health problem among NFL players, however, that usually goes unmentioned. We thought it was a fitting topic for our workers’ law blog because NFL linemen must embrace this condition in order to stay in peak performance. It’s called chronic obesity.

These days, to be an NFL lineman, you not only have to be fast and strong, you also have to be fat.

Since the 1990s, Continue reading

Truckers are often entitled to benefits from multiple states.

Posted on by

Truckers are frequently entitled to benefits from multiple states for an injury.

Each state sets rules for applying its workers’ compensation laws. Virtually all states cover accidents that happen in that state.

Many states allow benefits if the employer has it primary location in that state. Others cover claims if the employer is doing business it the state. There are different rules in each state and you should talk to experience workers compensation lawyer to learn what laws cover your injury. However, you do not have to make a choice.

Unless the state law says it will not provide coverage if another state does, you have multiple forums and can file in all of them.

The law established by the United State Supreme court in Thomas v. Washington Gas Light Co. is that compensation does not involve a “choice of law” question. The issue is one of coverage. Does the injury come within the coverage of one or more state? If so, each of the states can apply their law and award benefits even if a claim is being pursued elsewhere at the same time. Unless the state law says it will not provide coverage if another state does, you have multiple forums and can Continue reading

When Do I Need an Attorney?

Posted on by

A good attorney will tell you if it makes sense to work with one.

Most of our clients are hesitant to hire an attorney. We’ll tell you right from the start if we think we can help you or not. However, there are some commons signs which we feel warrant having an attorney or at least consulting with one.

  1. The insurance company tells you your claim is denied. This isn’t always clear, but if your medical bills aren’t being paid or you’re off work and not receiving temporary disability checks these are indications the claim may be denied.
  2. The company is trying to pick your doctors for you. In Nebraska, you have the right to elect to have your family doctor treat you for your work injury. If the employer denies you this right it’s time to contact an attorney. Also, if the employer selects a non-treating doctor for an “Independent Medical Evaluation” this likely means they are trying to fight some aspect of your workers’ compensation benefits.
  3. If a medical case manager or vocational specialist Continue reading

“I’m worried about getting fired”

Posted on by

“I’m worried about getting fired.” 

We hear this from a lot of injured workers who contact us about a work injury. A work injury doesn’t give an injured worker carte blanche to ignore the legitimate workplace rules that apply to all employees assuming they are applied equally to all employees. However, the reality is it isn’t in the best interests of employers to fire injured workers.

On top of it likely having adverse side effects for the workers’ compensation claim in a number of respects it also has potentially negative consequences in other forums.

If wages are reduced, you are demoted or terminated you may be able to sue your employer for retaliatory discrimination in a civil court outside of any workers’ compensation claim.

First, it may subject the employer to a disability discrimination claim. Sometimes employers fire a worker who can’t perform the work without making any effort at a reasonable accommodation or waiting until they heal from a work injury.

Second, there is now Continue reading