Partner Declan Gourley recently won an appeal that defines what a good faith effort and a “meaningful work search” is for a highly-qualified claimant. By winning this appeal, all money benefits were terminated! This decision illustrates the value of a carefully-prepared cross examination when challenging the validity of a work search conducted by the claimant.
The claimant, a registered nurse, sustained a work-related injury while lifting an oxygen tank on November 5, 2012. An IME was conducted by Dr. Pagano, who opined that the claimant had reached MMI and had no more than a mild disability. Dr. Pagano found that the claimant could return to work with a 50-pound lifting restriction. The carrier raised the issue of labor market attachment and directed the claimant to produce evidence of her search for work. At the next hearing, the WCLJ directed the carrier to suspend payments because the claimant did not attend a hearing held and failed to produce the directed work search evidence. Continue reading LOIS Attorneys Prevail on Appeal Regarding Meaningful Job Search→
This is the video from our November 19, 2018 live webinar presented by attorneys John Marzolla and Tim Kane. The experienced workers’ compensation defense attorneys discuss their approaches to evaluating New York workers’ compensation claims for exposure.
The New Jersey Department of Labor has announced that the maximum workers’ temporary disability compensation benefit rate for 2019 will be $921.00 per week and the minimum rate will be $246 per week. These rates take effect for new injuries occurred on or after January 1, 2019. Benefit rates in cases with dates of loss prior to January 1, 2019 do not get this higher rate – New Jersey does not have a cost of living increase for established claims. Continue reading New Jersey Announces 2019 Benefit Rate Change: $921 Per Week→
The New Jersey Workers Compensation Act specifies that in the case of total disability, the petitioner is entitled to payments for a period of up until 450 weeks. See N.J.S.A. 34:15-12(b). If the petitioner perishes as a result of his workers compensation injury, the Act provides us with guidance for the petitioner’s dependents at the time of death. For example, in the case of a surviving spouse, the Act directs us to N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(j), which states that the surviving spouse shall receive payments for the “entire period of survivorship or until such surviving spouse shall remarry.” See N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(j).
In the case of children as dependents, the plain language of N.J.S.A. 34:15-13 tells us that us that they are entitled to payments up until the age of 18, unless they are physically or mentally deficient which would allow them to collect on the “full compensation period of 450 weeks.” See N.J.S.A. 34:15-13(i). The plain meaning of this statue leads one to interpret the language as limiting disabled dependents to 450 weeks of compensation following the death of the petitioner, unless they are a surviving spouse.
About one-in-five of the new cases filed in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation this year will be a “re-opener” claim. Formally called an “Application to Review or Modify a Formal Award” or “Application for Modification of Agreement” as per N.J.S.A. 34:15-27, these claims are brought by petitioners who allege that they have a need for treatment, have new lost time, or have an increase in the amount of permanent partial disability.
What types of cases are eligible for “Re-Opener?”
Compensable workers’ compensation claims are often resolved by way of an “Order Approving Settlement.” Such a settlement requires the employer/respondent to continue providing medical treatment for the injuries described on the Order Approving Settlement. In addition, a claimant has the right to “re-open” her claim for a period of two years from last compensation paid. Additionally, claims resolved by way of Judgment (award following litigation) are subject to re-opening by the petitioner.
As per the statute: A formal award, determination and rule for judgment or order approving settlement may be reviewed within 2 years from the date when the injured person last received a payment upon the application of either party on the ground that the incapacity of the injured employee has subsequently increased.Continue reading “Re-Opener” Awards in New Jersey→