Tag Archives: workers’ compensation

Opioid Task Force, Recent Studies, and CDC Opioid Recommendations

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Today’s post comes from guest author Kristina Brown Thompson, from The Jernigan Law Firm. Nebraska is considering legislation to implement drug formularies to control opioid use among injured workers. I believe Nebraska should consider Massachusetts program of essentially having a workers compensation drug court to deal with opioid use.

The North Carolina Industrial Commission recently joined many other states (i.e. Massachusetts) in tackling the issue of opioids in the workers’ compensation cases by creating a Workers’ Compensation Opioid Task Force. The goal of the task force is to “study and recommend solutions for the problems arising from the intersection of the opioid epidemic and related issues in workers’ compensation claims.” According to the Chair, “[o]pioid misuse and addiction are a major public health crisis in this state.” 

As of last June, a study by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) noted “noticeable decreases in the amount of opioids prescribed per workers’ compensation claim.” From 2012 – 2014, “the amount of opioids received by injured workers decreased.” In particular, there were “significant reductions in the range of 20 to 31 percent” in Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and Texas. 

Additionally last March, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain “in response to an epidemic of prescription opioid overdose, which CDC says has been fueled by a quadrupling of sales of opioids since 1999.” 

Currently, the CDC’s recommendations for prescribing opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care will likely follow these steps:

1.  Non-medication therapy / non-opioid will be preferred for chronic pain.

2.  Before starting opioid therapy for chronic pain, clinicians should establish treatment goals and consider how therapy will be discontinued if benefits do not outweigh risks.

3.  Before starting and periodically during opioid therapy, clinicians should discuss with patients known risks and realistic benefits of opioid therapy. 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in CDC, centers for disease control and prevention, chronic pain, Health, opioid, task force, work comp, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , , , , , .

I was injured at home while working for my employer. Am I entitled to workers’ compensation benefits?

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2478049891_6cdc054a10_oToday’s post comes from guest author Kristina Brown Thompson from The Jernigan Law Firm in North Carolina.

Nebraska law is similar to the blog below. In Nebraska, it has never firmly been determined what kinds of accidents and injuries would be covered while working at home. However, the question of whether a “home-office injury” would be covered under workers’ compensation would almost certainly come down to the extent that the activity leading to the accident or injury “arises out of” and is “in the course of” the employee’s employment.

The answer to this question would be heavily dependent on the facts of the case. With that said, the more that an activity is directly related to the benefit of the employer, the greater the chance of recovery. In addition, other states have found home-office injuries covered in situations where the work was something directed by the employer or the work was furthering an employer’s business. The blog below should also give some guidance as to how a home-office injury would be handled in Nebraska. Please contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer with questions about your or a loved one’s specific situation.

We’ve all seen the ads for “work from home” jobs (spoiler alert – many are scams). However, corporations like Apple, IBM, CVS, and many, many more are frequently advertising work-from-home or telecommuter jobs to employees thus providing a flexible work schedule. The question then arises – what happens if the telecommuting employee is injured at home? For example, what if the employee is injured during a personal coffee break? What if he slips on his driveway? Or, if she trips over her pet while walking to her van to get work supplies?

 

In deciding on whether an employee’s injury may be compensable, courts have generally considered (1) how regularly the employee works from home, (2) the presence of work equipment at home (e.g. work computer or corporate phone), and/or (3) other conditions particular to that employment that make it necessary for the employee to work from home. The courts specifically look to whether the employee is working from home for his or her convenience, or if it’s necessary from the employer’s standpoint that the employee work from home (e.g. there is no other suitable place of employment offered by the employer).

 

For example, in Utah, the Court of Appeals held that a sales manager who was spreading salt on his driveway in anticipation of an important business delivery sustained a compensable slip and fall at work. The Court determined that the manager’s motivation in spreading the salt was to assist the employer’s business. [AE Clevite Inc. v. Labor Comm’n, 2000 UT App. 35, 996 P.2d 1072 (2000)]. Also, where a custom decorator for J.C. Penney was walking out to her van in her garage to get fabric samples and tripped over her dog, that injury was also compensable [Sandburg v. J.C. Penney Co, Inc., 260 P.3d 496 (2011)]. The Court explained that the home premises was also her work premises and the decorator had to keep samples in her van to show potential customers.

 

The bottom line is that when telecommuters are injured at home during the actual performance of their jobs, regardless of how insignificant, the injury may be compensable.

 

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in injured at home, telecommuting employees, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .

Thursday’s ‘Truth About Trucking ‘Live’ on Blog Talk Radio’ to Feature Rod Rehm

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Allen and Donna Smith serve truck drivers as advocates and also as the hosts of the “Truth About Trucking ‘Live’ on Blog Talk Radio” show. Firm owner Rod Rehm is scheduled to be a featured guest on Thursday night’s show at 5 p.m. Central Time (6 p.m. Eastern Time). 

According to their website The Truth About Trucking, “As host of the trucking blog, Ask The Trucker, Allen Smith is known as being the most recognized advocate for assisting students and new drivers, giving thousands of CDL students, as well as new and inexperienced truck drivers, an inside look into the OTR trucking industry.”

One way the Smiths are allied with truckers is by hosting their “Truth About Trucking ‘Live’ on Blog Talk Radio” show, “which continues to break new grounds by innovative methods to assure that the voice of the professional trucker is heard.” The Smiths also work tirelessly year-round to advocate for drivers through social media and technology.

Rod Rehm is scheduled to be Thursday’s guest at 5 p.m. Central Time because of his work representing truckers for over 30 years, 16 of which have been through the websitewww.truckerlawyers.com.

“Mr. Rehm joins us as our special guest and to take your calls as we discuss this specialized area of law and what you need to know as a professional truck driver,” according to the Smiths. “His law firm also often helps truckers nationwide through referrals to attorneys in their own state due to differences in state laws.”

The Smiths said that there are a number of ways to access and participate in Thursday’s show, both through listening and by asking questions.

From a computer: Go to the show link at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthabouttrucking and then clicking on the show’s link, which will be available very soon.

This option “also gives the opportunity to join the chat room and get in the conversation. If they want to be more than an observer in the chat room, they’ll need to have a free BTR account. All you do is create a login and password to do this. You can even sign in with Facebook or Twitter. Note: You don’t need an account to just listen to the show, just to be active in the chat room,” according to Donna Smith.

Folks are also welcome to listen from a computer using the embed code found here:

Listen to internet radio with Aubrey Allen Smith on BlogTalkRadio

To hear the show from a phone or to ask questions: Call 347-826-9170. Then to ask questions, just follow the prompts to “Speak with Host”: press 1.

We invite you to listen in and also call with your questions and thank the Smiths for the opportunity for Mr. Rehm to be Thursday’s featured guest!

The conversation continues on social media via @truckerlawyers on Twitter, on Google+  by searching for Trucker Lawyers, and at www.facebook.com/truckerlawyers on Facebook.

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in Firm News, Trucking and tagged , , , , .

Proposed Silica Standard Needs to Be Strengthened

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Today’s post was shared by Gelman on Workplace Injuries and comes from www.aflcio.org

Strengthening the silica standard has been discussed and delayed for far too long. In fact, I have written about this issue on Facebook and other social media, but more work needs to be done to make these proposed standards both stronger and implemented.

In the past 18 months or so, National Public Radio has also had a couple of excellent in-depth reports on the dangers of silica in the workplace. While this discussion over updating standards from the 1970s has been ongoing, a relatively new industry, fracking, has been identified as being a likely problem for exposure that “has been shown to sometimes lead to serious diseases like silicosis and cancer,” according to this NPR report. Although workers wore respirators, there was a lot of silica dust in the air at job sites studied relatively recently. “… About one-third of the air samples they collected had such high levels of silica, the type of respirators typically worn wouldn’t offer enough protection.”

This issue is important to folks in Nebraska and Iowa because of the sand and gravel industries in our states and the exposure that workers have from other industrial uses. “A number of employer groups in such industries as sand and gravel, brick, fracking where silica dust is prevalent, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other corporate groups have or will testify against the proposed rule …”

I think this rule is essential to protecting workers’ health. And it needs to be as strong as scientific best practices suggest. I would urge OSHA to implement the proposals after years of discussion. Because, as the article below says, “Every day that a final standard is delayed, workers will continue to be at increased risk of disease and death.”

Trying to prevent those tragic results calls for action now.

 
 

While the AFL-CIO “strongly supports” a proposed new rule that would limit workers’ exposure to silica dust, AFL-CIO Safety and Health Director Peg Seminario outlined several areas that should be strengthened to provide better worker protection from deadly silicosis and other diseases caused by silica exposure.

Testifying before an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) hearing, Seminario noted that changes to the current exposure standard—now more than 40 years old—were first proposed in 1997 and that when the proposed new standard was sent for review to the Office of Management and Budget in 1991, it lingered there for two-and-a-half years.

Every day that a final standard is delayed, workers will continue to be at increased risk of disease and death.

Every year some 2 million workers are exposed to silica dust and, according to public health experts, more than 7,000 workers develop silicosis and 200 die each year as a result of this disabling lung disease. Silicosis literally suffocates workers to death. Silica is also linked to deaths from lung cancer, pulmonary and kidney diseases.

Seminario said that permissible exposure limit in the proposed standard while set at half the current level is still too high. She urged that a stricter standard be included in the final and said that other provisions in the standard should be strengthened, including:

  • Establishing regulated work areas to limit the…

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The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in AFL-CIO, OSHA, silica, silica dust, silicosis and tagged , .

Well-documented Expense Records Increase Value of Your M&T Reimbursement

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Today’s post comes from guest author Michael Furdyna from New York. Mileage and travel expenses are usually part of the medical process in a workers’ compensation claim. It’s essential to keep detailed receipts and have a plan for submitting those expenses in a timely manner. Today’s article includes tips and suggestions on how to ensure you are reimbursed fairly for your expenses.

While receiving medical treatment related to a workers’ compensation case, claimants often have additional expenses such as mileage, fuel costs, transportation fares, and out-of-pocket prescriptions. Yet many claimants don’t realize they are entitled to reimbursement for expenses they incur in obtaining treatment.

Submitting information related to these expenses is an important part of the workers’ compensation process. Problems can arise, however, when incomplete or disorganized information is provided to an insurance carrier. This can result in delays and errors in receiving the proper amount to which they are entitled.

Claimants can avoid these sorts of problems with small acts of diligence and record keeping. Here are a few suggestions:

Save your receipts and keep a record of your doctor visits. Keeping a log and saving receipts incurred from specific doctor visits provides a “narrative” that makes it easier to tie together dates and expenses.

Make sure to use the correct form. The New York State WCB requires Continue reading

The offices of Rehm, Bennett & Moore, which also sponsors the Trucker Lawyers website, are located in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Five attorneys represent plaintiffs in workers’ compensation, personal injury, employment and Social Security disability claims. The firm’s lawyers have combined experience of more than 95 years of practice representing injured workers and truck drivers in Nebraska, Iowa and other states with Nebraska and Iowa jurisdiction. The lawyers regularly represent hurt truck drivers and often sue Crete Carrier Corporation, K&B Trucking, Werner Enterprises, UPS, and FedEx. Lawyers in the firm hold licenses in Nebraska and Iowa and are active in groups such as the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, Workers' Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG), American Association for Justice (AAJ), the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (NATA), and the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). We have the knowledge, experience and toughness to win rightful compensation for people who have been injured or mistreated.

This entry was posted in workers comp basics, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , , .