Monthly Archives: February 2012

Cell-phone Ban for Many Neb. Rigs Set for 2013

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Starting in 2013, Nebraska is adopting a federal regulation that bans cell-phone use in any truck over 10,000 pounds. The rule applies to truck-driving professionals with 18 wheels, as would be expected. But it also includes pick-up trucks pulling horse trailers and lawn-care companies – anyone who meets the weight requirements. Many more folks in the state will benefit from decreased distracted driving, so plan ahead to change cell-phone habits!

Put that Cell Phone Down and Come Out with Your Hands Up
www.nebraska.tv
Let me call you back when I get to Kansas! That’s what commercial truck drivers will have to start saying starting January 1st of next year.

Understanding Dystonia

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Dystonia FoundationToday’s post comes to us from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina.

 

Several years ago I had a client in North Carolina who was an insurance man. While taking some papers out of the back of his car at work he slipped, hit his head and developed a neurological conditon called “Dystonia.” I did some research and discovered that it is a disorder that affects the nervous system, causing muscles to contract involuntarily.

it is a disorder that affects the nervous system, causing muscles to contract involuntarily

Significantly, I also found out it can be caused by trauma, although often dystonia develops without any trauma and may be genetic. The case was denied by the workers’ compensation carrier (and Continue reading

Workers’ group: What an “Independent Medical Exam” really means

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Good information from NAIDW. The “Independent” part of the medical examination is a misnomer. One judge on the Nebraska workers compensation court refers to IMEs as DMEs — Defense Medical Examinations. Regardless, injured workers need to treat the examiner with courtesy and respect as the defense medical examiner can hurt a worker’s case. In Nebraska, workers can also be sanctioned by the court for failing to attend examinations. On the positive side, defense medical examinations sometimes confirm the opinions of treating doctors. When that happens, my experience is that it comes up in cases where the injured worker is severely disabled. If a DME confirms the treating doctor’s opinion, then this a positive development for an injured worker, leading either to a good award or settlement.
What is a Independent Medical Exam? (IME)
www.naidw.org
Independent medical examination An independent medical examination (IME) occurs when a doctor/physical therapist/chiropractor who has not previously been involved in a person’s care…

Why Is The Social Security Administration Trying To Take My Money Away?

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National GuardI wrote the attached article, When Did I Get My Windfall and Why Is the Social Security Administration Trying to Take It Away? (link is to a PDF) for the January edition of Social Security Forum, a publication of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. I thought this information would be valuable to a broader audience than just other Social Security Disability lawyers, so I am republishing it on our blog.

The Social Security Administration has been reducing benefits to former National Guard members based on an obscure provision, and lately the courts have been overturning these benefit reductions. If you or someone you know has received a notice from the Social Security Administration indicating that the “Windfall Elimination Provision” applies to them, you should read the attached article immediately or contact us for more information. We want to make sure that you receive the maximum benefits that you are entitled to under the law.

You can read the article by clicking here: When Did I Get My Windfall and Why Is the Social Security Administration Trying to Take It Away?

Your Employer May Be Committing Workers’ Compensation Fraud – Here’s How to Tell

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Your Employer May Be Committing Fraud

Today’s post comes to us from our colleague Len Jernigan of North Carolina. We feel strongly that employer workers’ compensation fraud is a widespread and costly problem. If you see fraud in your workplace in Nebraska, report it to Nebraska’s Attorney General on his website or by calling 402-471-2682 or if you see fraud in your workplace in Iowa, report it to Iowa’s Attorney General on his website or by calling 515-281-5164.

All employees should be on the lookout for signs that their employer or potential employer is engaging in workers’ compensation fraud.

The list of signs below was inspired by this one from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.

These signs may indicate that your employer is not paying workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. If they aren’t, this could put you in a very difficult situation if you are ever injured on the job.

If any of these signs sound familiar, report the employer to the Fraud Investigations Department of the North Carolina Industrial Commission and, if at all possible, find another job.

Your employer may be engaged in workers’ compensation fraud if:

  1. They pay you in cash and don’t give you any kind of payroll stub.
  2. They give you a 1099 form instead of the standard W-2.
  3. They pay you other than in cash or check, by such things as free rent, reimbursement of expenses, barter, etc.
  4. They pay you on a piecework basis and do not record hours. Continue reading

What Nebraskans In Farming Industries Should Know About Workers’ Comp

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Farming and agricultural operations don’t have to provide workers’ comp, with some notable exceptions.

Known as “The Good Life” state, Nebraska is recognized for its farming and agriculture prowess and its rich heritage. However, agriculture is also one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Nebraskans working in agricultural and farming operations must be aware that state laws generally exempt employers in those industries from providing workers’ compensation coverage to employees.

The law doesn’t paint a black and white picture, however. If you have been injured in this line of work, there are certain circumstances that do mandate workers’ compensation coverage.

For example, under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act, employers engaged in an agricultural and farming operation are required to provide workers’ compensation for employees if:

• they employ 10 or more full-time employees, none of whom are family members,
• those full-time employees work on each work day for 13 weeks during the calendar year.

This includes Continue reading

Unsafe Workplaces Mean More Injuries

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Unsafe Working Conditions

Today’s guest post comes from our colleague Tom Domer or Wisconsin.

The connection between unsafe workplaces and the increased frequency of work injuries seems like a no brainer. A study released by NCCI Holdings indicated worker’s compensation claims rose by 3% during 2010 (the first rise in frequency in over a dozen years). The study attributed the increased frequency to several factors

Because of these repeat violations,OSHA cited United Contracting and placed the firm on its “Severe Violator Enforcement Program”

including increases in employment since the onset of the recession in 2008, workers possibly being less fearful of losing their jobs for filing claims, and a lack of light duty jobs to which injured workers could return because of the poor economy.

One factor not referenced is the connection between increasingly unsafe work environments and work injuries. Two recent news stories in Wisconsin underscored this connection. OSHA fined a Wisconsin contractor $150,000

for violations while working on two bridges along highways in Wisconsin. The violation is more alarming because the contractors were working under a State contract to repaint the bridges. OSHA charged that the company did not have proper scaffolding at the bridges exposing workers to falls, and in fact one worker was injured in June after falling from a scaffold at one of the bridges. Because of these repeat violations, Continue reading

Employers Must Obtain And Maintain Workers’ Compensation Insurance Coverage

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Your employer is required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance for you.

Every employer not in agriculture, farm or ranch operations is required to obtain and maintain workers’ compensation coverage for all employees. Those employers who voluntarily and willfully fail to obtain and maintain coverage violate the law and subject themselves to significant risks.

If you are an employee who is injured in the course of your employment and you learn that your employer has not maintained workers’ compensation coverage for you, you can either file a claim against the employer in civil court or file a claim in the Workers’ Compensation Court.

Employers who try to avoid their legal obligations and avoid providing workers’ compensation coverage expose themselves to monetary judgments in civil court, stop-work orders from the Attorney General’s office, injunctions from continuing to operate their business, assessments against their property, daily penalties of Continue reading