Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Partial Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Partial Injury

Workers’ compensation is designed to award financial recovery for workers who get injured or harmed from their jobs. This is based on the principle of strict liability; therefore, an employer is obliged to pay for the damages his/her employee has sustained. He/she will be held legally responsible no matter of who was at fault.

But what if an on-the-job accident caused damages to a plastic surgery, such as breast implants? This was the case – and predicament – of a worker who was injured on a work-related car accident. Read more about this on “Asymmetry in Workers Comp” .

Her workers compensation claim was not entirely successful. Full compensation for her damaged breast implants was not awarded to her because her insurer contested that only one implant was damaged from the accident. The insurance company declined to pay for the replacement of her breast implants.
In accordance with the workers’ compensation rules which state that the injuries should be a result of an accident on the workplace, the court denied her claim on being fully-compensated for her breast surgery since the damage on the other half was from another cause.
Workers’ compensation benefits are defined by statutes. Hence, there are guidelines to follow in assessing a claim. As with the case of the worker discussed above, I agree that the insurers should not be responsible in covering for the entire costs of her breast surgery since there was only partial injury that was caused by her work-related car accident.
Workers’ compensation benefits in California are administered by the employers’ insurance companies or the employers themselves, who can afford workers’ compensation to their employees, and not by a government agency.
Thus, it is also their duty to determine whether the injury was sustained from the work or not. Prior to accepting a claim or providing provisional liability compensation, insurers require certain facts. An investigation shall be conducted on the claim. The worker, employer and the treating doctor will be asked to give their statements.
Disputes may arise out of a contention on whether the injury was indeed caused on-the-job or not; or an argument on the payment the worker is entitled to. When a dispute arises out of a worker’s compensation claim in California, the Division of Worker’s Compensation (DWC) comes in to help resolve the dispute.
On the other hand, a legal advocate may also assist individuals in earning their workers’ compensation claims. If a conflict regarding a claim arises, a lawyer may help prove the extent of damage the worker is entitled to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wrongful Death Claim in a Mysterious Death

Different speculations regarding the mysterious death of a New Jersey college student continue to grow as the family of the victim has filed wrongful death lawsuit against the school, the state and the operator of the school’s trash compactor.
The article, “Family of Student File Wrongful Death Lawsuit against College”, posted in March 6, 2008, reports about the disappearance of the 19-year old college student whose remains were later found in a landfill almost a month later. The young student was believed to have been killed in an accident caused by the trash compactor system.
According to the article, the victim’s parents later sued the college for its alleged failure to protect their son. To make things worse, the complaint also said that the school administration delayed the investigation into the disappearance and refuse assistance from state authorities.
Until now, authorities are still baffled at the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death. They are still trying to figure out how the victim died and ended up in the landfill.
But judging on the situation, the parents held the school responsible for their son’s death, as under the premise liability the school is highly accountable for the safety of a student who is within their care and protection during the period of schooling. The boy was last seen alive sleeping in the dorm’s room, a few days before the accident.
In regard to the liability of the state and the operator of the trash compactor system, authorities may look into possible negligence and improper maintenance of the machine as possible causes of the accident that led to the victim’s death.
If proven right, the relatives of the victim are entitled to recover damages based on their wrongful death claims.
Wrongful death laws recognize that certain people or victim’s relatives suffer their own economic and non-economic losses due to the wrongful death of persons close to them. Hence juries may award them compensation based on these losses.
As economic losses, they entitled to receive the following:
  • the financial support that the wrongful death victim would have contributed to the heir during either the life expectancy of the victim or the heir, whichever is shorter
  • the loss of benefits that the heir would have expected to receive from the victims
  • the reasonable value of the household services that the wrongful death victim would have provided to the heir
  • funeral and burial expenses
Non-economic losses include:
  • the loss of the victim's love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, and society
  • the loss of the training and guidance of the victim, if applicable
  • the loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations, if applicable
No matter what happens to this case, may this accident serve as a lesson so that it may not happen again in the future.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Impact of Worker’s Compensation Claims on Small Businesses

Workers are the most important member of the labor force. Without them, capital would be futile. Thus, it is but proper to give them the proper and maximum benefits for their sustenance and well being.
Workers' compensation is a compulsory type of business insurance that gives employees who become injured or ill while on the job with medical coverage and income replacement. It also protects companies from suits filed by employees for the workplace conditions which results to such injury or illness.
Given the compulsory nature of workers' compensation coverage and the potential cost involved, workers' compensation insurance policies have become a huge concern for small business owners. In fact, premiums paid on workers' compensation stand as second largest operating expense for most companies.
Unlike in health insurance costs, small business owners have minimal control over the cost of workers' compensation coverage. Moreover, in this kind of coverage, co-payments do not apply as the state legislatures set the level of benefits and employers pay the full cost.
Does it mean then that small businesses shall have a different method of paying worker’s compensation claims?
Of course not!
I believe that the legislators, in enacting workers compensation laws, do not distinguish between small and big businesses. These laws must be implemented in order to give workers the protection in case of injury or illness which may leave them unable to render service.
I have some suggestions on how small business may lessen their workers' compensation premiums. These may include:
  • Selecting the right insurer
  • Monitoring all aspects of work safety record and insurance coverage and ensuring that all subcontractors carry workers' comp coverage
  • Adopting policies and programs to reduce exposure to workers' comp claims such as ergonomic training
Following the above, owners of small business can still keep up with their responsibility of providing compensation claims without compromising the well-being of their workers.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Alternative Avenue in claiming worker’s compensation benefits

With a few exemptions, every state in the United States requires the employers to have or purchase workers’ compensation insurance.
Workers' Compensation laws are designed to ensure that employees who are injured or become ill or been disabled on the job are provided with monetary benefits, like payment for lost wages and payment of medical bills. This was a move to al least eliminate the need for litigation.
Through worker’s compensation insurance, the injured worker may file his or her claim directly with the insurance company, the latter being obligated to pay the medical and disability benefits as per their assumption of liability under the insurance policy.
Irrespective of the degree of the injury, whether it is minor or a major one, you must take the initiative to properly put it on record so that your claim would not become inutile.
The possibility of an injury to develop some complications is high, that is why a need to report the same is primordial.
There are varying stages or steps in filing a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. The stages are relative from different states.
There are different applications or pattern that insurance companies used in extending the benefits, but always in consideration to a state-approved formula.
When injury, illness mishaps have happened and a claim for worker’s compensation is at hand, the employee concerned should seek medical attention right away. Having attestation of the medical attendant is crucial in your claim for compensation.
The injured employee is required to give an official notice to its employer, which is usually coursed through the Human Resource department or direct supervisor.
The employer should be able to supply the required form in filing a claim with the insurance company.
After having trailed the aforesaid medical treatment and notification process, the employee may then file a claim with the Workers' Compensation office.
The whole process for a claim is complex and taxing.
On different score, aside from claiming benefits through the worker’s compensation method, the injured employee may bypass the latter method and instead claim directly with the employer.
In case the employer denies or dispute your claim, s proper suit may be filed in court. In the latter instance, full amount of damages may be recovered as well as other remuneration or form of compensation may be recovered.
Interestingly, choosing either method of claiming benefits is permissive. The need for good representation of a Lawyer may be had along the process.