Kids’ Chance is a Family That Changes Lives

Today’s post was shared by WC CompNewsNetwork and comes from www.workerscompensation.com

This is a great article about Kids Chance. I’m one of the founding members of Kids Chance of WI, providing scholarships to children of severely injured parents in Wisconsin.

I spent last Friday and Saturday in Little Rock, Arkansas, attending the annual convention of Kids’ Chance, an organization that provides scholarships and secondary education opportunities for children who have had a parent seriously injured or killed on the job. The group that gathers for this event each year are primarily volunteers from the 33 state Kids’ Chance chapters and 3 affiliate organizations, along with representatives of the national organization and interested parties. This is my second time attending. There is one thing you learn very quickly at a Kids’ Chance event; Kids’ Chance is family, and it is a family that is changing lives.

This is a grassroots, volunteer organization, a group whose members work vociferously towards a successful end goal – "More money for more kids". In its almost 30 year history, Kids’ Chance has issued well over 5,000 scholarships totaling around $16 Million. Just as impressively, the group has doubled in size over the last 4 years, growing From 19 states to the current 36. Two of the country’s most populated states, Florida and Texas, just formed chapters, and simply by population size they should have significant impact on those numbers in coming years.

If you spent a day with the KC veterans from around the nation you would quickly understand my assessment of them as “family”. They are passionate volunteers joined by a common cause. They refer to their scholarship recipients as their “kids”. And…

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Workers’ Compensation Reforms by State

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from projects.propublica.org.

Scary stuff for injured workers in Wisconsin around out country…

Over the past decade, states across the country have been unwinding a century-old compact with America’s workers: A guarantee that if you are injured on the job, your employer will pay your medical bills and enough of your wages to help you get by. In all, 33 states have passed laws that reduce benefits, create hurdles to getting medical care or make it more difficult to qualify for workers’ comp." Related Story »

Ever filed for workers’ comp? Help ProPublica investigate.

Methodology

Over the past 10 months, ProPublica has analyzed reams of insurance industry data, studied arcane state laws, and interviewed hundreds of workers, businesses, attorneys, policymakers, doctors and insurance experts. Journalists obtained often confidential medical and court records and reported on the ground in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

To track the impact of the reforms nationwide for this graphic, ProPublica assigned a starting value for each state by combining a ranking of average statutory benefits conducted by Actuarial & Technical Solutions of Bohemia, N.Y., and a report from the U.S. Department of Labor that monitored how many recommendations of a 1972 presidential commission on workers’ comp that each state was following. ProPublica then analyzed state reform laws, using data from the National Council on Compensation Insurance Annual Statistical Bulletin, which rates the effects of legislation on benefit payments. In addition, ProPublica…

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Paid Family Leave and $15 Minimum Wage Coming to New York

Today’s post was shared by Workers Comp News and comes from www.jdsupra.com

New York has enacted legislation that, over the next several years, will phase in 12 weeks of paid family leave for all employees, as well as a $15 minimum wage in New York City and other parts of New York State.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

The paid family leave provisions were enacted as an amendment to the temporary disability provisions of New York’s Workers’ Compensation Law. New York’s temporary disability law provides partial wage replacement during an absence due to an employee’s own (non-work-related) medical condition. Paid family leave complements temporary disability by providing partial wage replacement when an employee is absent from work to care for a family member.

Just like temporary disability in New York, paid family leave is an insurance-style program that will be funded entirely through a nominal weekly payroll deduction. Employers will not be required to fund paid family leave.

Benefit Amount and Length of Leave

Both the benefit amount and maximum length of paid family leave will gradually increase between 2018 and 2021. Beginning January 1, 2018, an eligible employee may take up to 8 weeks of paid family leave within any 52-week calendar period and will receive 50% of his or her average weekly wage or 50% of the state average weekly wage, whichever is lower. On January 1, 2019, it increases to 10 weeks of leave and 55% of the employee’s average weekly wage, not to exceed 55% of the state average weekly wage. On January 1, 2020, it…

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FL Supreme Court to Hear Oral Argument on Constitutionality of Workers’ Compensation

Today’s post was shared by Jon L Gelman and comes from workers-compensation.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 Daniel Stahl v Hialeah Hospital, et al., SC15-725 statewide – starts about 9:00 a.m.

Mr. Stahl, a nurse who was injured while working at Hialeah Hospital, filed a claim for benefits under Florida’s workers’ compensation law but was denied the benefits he believed were appropriate. He challenged the constitutionality of the law, pointing to its failure to provide benefits for workers who are permanently and partially disabled from on-the-job injuries. The First District Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the workers’ comp law and this appeal followed.

Video Portal: Florida Supreme Court Online Video Portal

Florida Supreme Court DocketCase DocketCase Number: SC15-725 – Active DANIEL STAHL vs. HIALEAH HOSPITAL, ET AL.Lower Tribunal Case(s): 1D14-3077, 04-022489

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Voter ID (aka Suppression) in Wisconsin

On the heels of Wisconsin’s election results this past Tuesday, we are starting to see the potential true intent of the state voter ID law: vote supression.

One former Republican staffer expressed his views about Republican giddiness about the voter ID laws and the opportunity to suppress the voting power of certain group.

Then, on election night, we see an a Republican congressman–on the televised news!–explicitly state that the voter ID law will “make a difference” for Republicans in upcoming elections.

Reports of any alleged voter “fraud” is just a red herring.  We are seeing what many expected all along–the true intent of voter ID law is to eliminate certain voters and votes.  What an undemocratic callous and insidious idea.  If your party’s policy and positions do not hold enough weight to gain a majority of votes, let’s impose voter ID to gain an unfair advantage and suppress the vote.

Tips on Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

I just returned from New Orleans where I made a presentation to about 150 workers’ compensation lawyers (both for workers and for employers) on “Case and Client Evaluation In Workers’ Compensation”.

Since many in the audience represented insurance companies and employers, I paid particular attention to their response to my presentation. As one would expect, their best chance to win a case on behalf of the employer and insurance carrier occurs when several items come into play:

  1. When there is no actual report of the injury. [Worker’s Tip: No matter how small the work injury, make sure it is reported in some fashion – cell phone, voice recording, or Accident Report and the worker keeps a copy (BEST).]
  2. Failure to report that a work injury occurred to the first treating practitioner (whether Emergency Room, employer-directed medical facility, hospital, or primary care physician). The single most difficult hurdle in a workers’ compensation claim involving a traumatic injury occurs when no report of the injury is found in the initial medical record.
  3. In “Occupational Exposure” cases, no discussion with the doctor about work duties or prior incidents. (In Wisconsin, a worker can recover for workers’ compensation in one of two ways: 
    1. A traumatic injury where a single incident has caused the disability (lifting a box, falling, etc.)
    2. Occupational Exposure, where the wear and tear of a worker’s job causes the disability over time. In this latter category, workers routinely do not indicate with any kind of specificity the type of work they perform when they see the doctor.

These three tips can help us as workers’ compensation lawyers win claims, more so than any “Clarence Darrow” court room techniques or strategies.

Attack on Workers’ Rights Around the Country

As this article correctly notes, “Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing”!  Our work comp colleague in Pennsylvania are facing further attacks on their workers’ compensation system.  The article astutely points out: “Across the country, in state houses largely influenced by insurance industry interests, there is an insidious attack on workers’ rights masquerading as ‘workers’ compensation reform’.”

These deform measures are creating a race to the bottom across the country for workers’ benefits and rights.  Medical providers and the medical community should be on high alert when legislation mentions fee schedules or treatment guidelines.  Putting aside the political double-speak, many of these legislative efforts result in a direct burden shift for the costs of medical expenses from the worker’s compensation insurance company to the worker (through private health insurance) or the public (in the form of government insurance, like Medicaid and Medicare).  Be aware.

Podcast: National Implications on Opt Out

Great listen via the Legal Talk Network: National Implications of Opt Out in Workers’ Compensation . 


The “opt out” movement took hold in Oklahoma and is being pushed in many states around the country.  Wisconsin has historically been an incredibly stable and top-notch worker’s compensation system.  Here’s to hoping “opt out” is not going to find footing here.