As the owner of www.truckerlawyers.com, Mr. Rod Rehm has been helping truckers through workers’ compensation and personal injury claims since the mid-1990s. So it was with a good deal of enthusiasm (and the fun of giving away around 125 insulated mugs in about 48 hours) that Rehm, Bennett & Moore chose to be a sponsor for this year’s convention.
Meeting the variety of truckers, trucker advocates, and trucking industry folks made the experience memorable for me, as did learning more about the industry itself with the many regulations, requirements, and challenges that truckers and their families face. And having recently been a volunteer coordinator of a reunion for hundreds of people, I appreciate the work that Allen and Donna Smith of www.askthetrucker.com did before, during, and after the convention!
There was the luxury of meeting others face-to-face who previously were known via “the Internets” and I even got to sit by some folks who I interact with on at least a weekly basis, if not more often. And meeting friends of friends was fun, too. Of course, there were also some excellent speakers who addressed the participants’ wide variety of experiences with social media. But it was pretty funny to look up from my phone and/or laptop to see others’ typing madly away, but also paying attention. That was encouraged by the Twitter hashtag #TDSMC. And speakers also addressed some social issues in trucking, such as stopping human trafficking and having safe places to park, that truckers encounter and can affect through their actions.
I was happy to read via http://www.truckingsocialmedia.com/ that the next convention dates have been announced: “3rd Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention Tentative Dates: October 12th – 13th, 2013; Harrah’s Hotel and Convention Center; North Kansas City, Missouri.” I look forward to hearing more details as next year’s event approaches!
Today’s post comes from guest author Paul J. McAndrew, Jr. from Paul McAndrew Law Firm in Iowa. Most temporary employees are treated the same as any other employee in Nebraska, Iowa, and many other states. There are a few exceptions in Nebraska that include some but not all agricultural workers, for example. If you have questions about a workers’ compensation situation, feel free to contact a workers’ comp attorney to be advised about the details of your case.
According to a recent decision by the Texas Supreme Court, a temporary employee cannot be excluded from an employers’ workers’ compensation policy.
In 2005, Rafael Casados was killed on his third day at work at a grain storage facility owned by Port Elevator-Brownsville L.L.C. Because Casados was a temporary employee of Port Elevator at the time of his death, he was initially awarded a liability ruling of $2.7 million directly from Port Elevator. However, according to the latest Supreme Court ruling, Casados’s family should receive remedy under Port Elevator’s workers’ compensation policy instead. Port Elevator’s insurance provider is liable for Casados’s death benefits, despite the fact that Port Elevator never paid workers’ compensation insurance for any of their temporary employees.
According to the decision: “If Port Elevator’s policy had set out certain premiums solely for temporary workers and Port Elevator had not paid those premiums, Casados would still have been covered under the policy and the failure to pay premiums would be an issue between Port Elevator (their insurance provider).”
Do you have, take, or make the time to think about what is going well and what could be better in your life? As they say, ’tis the season. But it’s not the Christmas season … yet … no matter what the retailers want! To me, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and beyond is a chance to think about the big picture; be thankful for blessings; and be in the moment to participate in relationships (the buzzword for this idea is “being present”). Is it during a certain time of the year that you have the luxury of stopping and thinking about life, or can you do it weekly or even daily?
I know I get very caught up in the day-to-day, hour-to-hour concerns and forget to think about and be thankful for the most-important things that are too-often called the little things: looking at the stars with my family when we’re out in the country and can really see the sky; hearing my 4-year-old son tell his great-grandma he loves her without us reminding him to; remembering to thank my spouse for unloading the dishwasher, even though he does it all the time (let’s face it – his tolerance of clean dishes not being put away quickly is lower than mine); having good health; enjoying a roof over our heads; and being productive at work. And I am glad for relationships that are good in my family; among the friends I choose to call family (my son thinks many of our friends’ children are his cousins because he sees them so often and we don’t correct him because he’s growing up with them); and at work with colleagues, whether in person or via social media.
Most of us have time to count our blessings, living in one of the most fortunate nations in the world, whether we choose to make and take the time or not. But the reality is that there are people who are not as fortunate, even in our own nation. And often that is because challenges with health or work mean a person doesn’t have as many choices as others might due to poverty, mental illness, or getting hurt. A smaller, but still emotional, challenge may include having to work on a holiday, for example. And though some folks would rather work than be with family, many people, like truckers on the roads and health-care workers taking care of the elderly, don’t have a choice, but have a great attitude and make others’ holidays really special through their actions and words.
So if you are working on Thanksgiving (or any upcoming holiday), thank you for your work and be safe! And I hope you have, take, and make the time to think about what is going well and what could be better in your life. Blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving!
Today’s post comes from respected colleague Jon Gelman from Jon Gelman, LLC – Attorney at Law in New Jersey. Mr. Gelman addresses how an injured worker’s treatment rapidly gets more expensive when other health issues are present. And sometimes the workers’ compensation situation causes those other issues, which is important to share with your lawyer. Working with an attorney can help folks sort out the complications of how a workers’ compensation claim interacts with other conditions to make sure the worker gets the best care and coverage possible in each individual situation.
Employers and their insurance companies are responsible for the treatment of all medical conditions that arise from an industrial accident or exposure. A recent study published by The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) concludes that costs are soaring as medical conditions become more complicated by other conditions known as comorbidity diagnoses. These conditions are frequently: obesity, hypertension, drug abuse, chronic pulmonary conditions, and diabetes.
“While the average medical cost for a workers’ compensation claim is approximately $6,000, the medical cost of an individual claim can be a few hundred dollars or millions of dollars. In 2010, an NCCI study found that claims with an obesity comorbidity diagnosis incurred significantly higher medical costs than comparable claims without such a comorbidity diagnosis. Relative to that study, this study expands the number of comorbidities examined and provides additional information on both the types of claimants receiving comorbidity diagnoses and the types of providers submitting comorbidity diagnoses.”
The share of workers’ compensation claims with a comorbidity diagnosis nearly tripled from Accident Year 2000 to Accident Year 2009, growing from a share of 2.4% to 6.6%. Claims with a comorbidity diagnosis have about twice the medical costs of otherwise comparable claims.
Comorbidity diagnoses for hypertension are the most prevalent of those investigated.
The initial comorbidity diagnosis tends to occur early in the life of a claim.
Hospital and physician visits account for a majority of visits resulting in a recorded comorbidity diagnosis.
Only a small portion of visits result in the recording of a comorbidity diagnosis.
In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you have to prove that you have one or more physical and/or mental impairments that are severe and that prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.
Substantial gainful activity is measured by the amount of money per month that you can earn.
The Social Security Administration will take into account your educational background, job history, and the skills you have acquired in determining whether or not you meet this standard. The fact that you cannot go back to the job you have done for most of your life does not necessarily mean that you can qualify for Social Security disability payments.
I am licensed in Nebraska and Iowa and handle workers’ compensation, personal injury, and Social Security disability appeals for the firm. If you have questions about Social Security disability benefits or the appeal process in another state, I can refer you to another expert attorney.
Today’s post comes from guest author Ryan Benharris from Deborah G. Kohl Law Offices in Massachusetts. Mr. Benharris talks about the continued relationship a worker has to an employee. Workers should also have the expectation of safety from an employer. And I hope we can work towards the day where Mr. Benharris writes about “no need for workers’ compensation.” Until then, it is important to communicate with and trust your workers’ compensation attorney.
Prevention of accidents should be the first step in establishing a successful workers’ compensation system. If an employer were truly concerned about the health and safety of the employee there would be no need for workers’ compensation. Unfortunately the profit motive of the employer sometimes corrupts the process, and shortcuts are taken at work to increase production at an anticipated lower cost to the employer.
Employers need to understand that the human and financial costs of industrial accidents and exposures can be devastating. Injured workers, through the workers’ compensation process, may seek the payment of medical benefits, lost time payments and permanent disability awards.
Hopefully, the relationship between employees and employers can improve, and the workplace can become a safer environment.
When people are hurt at work, they are often compelled to file for unemployment benefits. This may be because they are fired for not being able to do their job or end up quitting because they are no longer physically able to do their job.
If you quit, you will have to show that you did so with good cause. If you physically can no longer do your job because of your injury, that qualifies.
If you have been terminated, your employer may attempt to withhold unemployment benefits. To do this, your employer will have to demonstrate that you were terminated because of a misconduct on your part. Misconduct is intentional behavior by you. For example, if you are not performing at work even though you are medically capable of doing your job and have been told to improve, if you call in sick numerous times for unnecessary reasons, or if you don’t show up for work, these behaviors would qualify as misconduct.
Your employer would have to show documentation of these behaviors at an unemployment hearing. If documentation is not available and it comes down to your word versus your employer’s word, the likelihood is that you will win your case and will be able to collect unemployment benefits.
If you have questions about employment issues or unemployment benefits, our attorneys are licensed to practice in Nebraska and Iowa. I can also refer you to an expert attorney in another state if needed.