• PTSD

    Vermont Bill Would Allow Workers’ Compensation For Mental Injuries

    The State of Vermont House of Representatives on April 13 advanced a bill that would make it easier for emergency workers’ compensation claims for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) up to three years after retirement and would also allow all workers in Vermont to file workers’ compensation claims for job-related mental injuries. The bill was shaped

  • injured-undocumented-worker

    Florida Lawmakers to Review Law Targeting Injured Undocumented Workers

    NPR and ProPublica found that nearly 800 undocumented workers in Florida have been charged with workers’ comp fraud for using illicit Social Security numbers to either get their jobs, file for workers’ compensation benefits or both. More than 560 didn’t actually file workers’ comp claims but still were charged with fraud. Another 130 suffered legitimate

  • Hobby Lobby Store

    Oklahoma Supreme Court Declares Part Of State Workers’ Compensation Law Unconstitutional

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court last month that it is unconstitutional to deny an injured employee workers’ compensation benefits because of missed medical appointments. The ruling came in a case filed against Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. by Brandon Michael Gibby, who injured his right wrist and left knee when he fell three to four feet from

  • Insurer Must Pay Damages Not Covered By Workers’ Compensation, Georgia Court Of Appeals Says

                The Georgia Court of Appeals agreed with a trial judge that an insurer must pay $100,000 in uninsured /underinsured motorist coverage to a car wreck victim, even though workers’ compensation had already paid him nearly twice that. Although the injured man did receive workers’ comp benefits for his injuries and some lost wages, that

  • New Data Suggests Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Reforms Slashed Benefit Payments and Claim Duration

                In 2013, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed into law the legislative changes applying to workplace injuries occurring on or after July 1, 2014. Among the law’s provisions was revamping the entire dispute-resolution process by moving it from civil courts to a purely administrative system and creating the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. Moreover, to

  • How to Reduce Workers’ Compensation Costs?

    Workers compensation is a “no fault” system. Every state has laws and regulations mandating the prompt reporting of all injuries and accidents. Most of these laws are in place to protect the rights and benefits of injured workers. What many employers do not realize is that immediate reporting of all injuries can actually be a

  • Mental Health and Well-being in Workers’ Compensation

                At any given time, one-in-five American adults suffers with a mental health condition that may impacts their daily life. Mental health conditions remain the most expensive health challenge in the nation along with cancer and heart disease. Mental health is the leading cause of disabilities in high-income countries. In the workers’ comp system, mental

  • Relationship Between Provider Choice Policies And Workers’ Compensation Cost Explored In New WCRI Study

    The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) released a new study, The Effects of Provider Choice Policies on Workers’ Compensation Costs. The study found nuanced evidence about how provider choice policies are related to workers’ compensation medical and indemnity costs. On one side, employees argue that the matter of choice is important in establishing provider trust.

  • Workers’ Compensation Income Benefits Fall Short for Injured Workers: WCRI

    Adequacy of income benefits is one of the long-standing concerns about the performance of workers’ compensation systems. However, there is little known about whether income benefits (also known as indemnity benefits) provide adequate financial support for injured workers. According to a new study, the total earnings and income benefits an average worker received within 10

  • Pennsylvania Supreme Court Held Impairment Rating Evaluation Unconstitutional in Workers’ Compensation Cases

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week altered drastically the landscape for workers’ compensation carriers and created future uncertainties when it struck down portion of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The state’s highest court held in Protz v. WCAB (Derry Area School District) that the impairment rating evaluation (IRE) section of the act was an unconstitutional delegation

  • How Today’s Trends Affect Workers’ Compensation

    Current economic and medical trends could have a huge impact on workers’ compensation insurance in the years to come. Some of the shifts may bring positive change, and some may create serious problems for the industry. Digitization – many industries have recently made tremendous progress in using Internet and mobile records online. They also have

  • Workers’ Comp Drug Spending Down 7.6% Nationwide In 2016.

    A research survey shows that in 2016 employers spent 7.6% less in workers’ compensation drug costs compared to 2015. More control over drugs such as powerful opioids, better integration with pharmacy benefits managers (PBM) and prescriber interventions are among the reasons employers spent less. Many pharmacy benefits management company studies revealed the same decrease in

  • Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI): Why Workers’ Compensation Is Especially Needed Now.

                In WCRI conference in Boston recently, experts urged the workers’ compensation professionals and public policymakers to turn their attention to the needs of injured workers and think of themselves more as players in a broader safety net. The experts stressed the need for a more credible system for injured workers, including job security, employer

  • Alabama Judge Rules State’s Workers’ Compensation Act Unconstitutional

                A Jefferson County Circuit Judge in the case of Nora Clower v. CVS Caremark struck down Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act on May 8. The Circuit Judge found two provisions of the Act, the $220 a week cap on benefits and the 15% cap on attorney’s fees, unconstitutional. However, because one or more provisions were

  • Opt-Out Plans: The New Battle for Injured Workers

    The current emerging debate in the world of workers’ compensation today is whether the states should allow employers to opt out of workers’ compensation and develop their own workplace injury plans. The workers’ compensation experts all join in this debate discussing the pros and cons of such plan. But nothing can demonstrate the effectiveness of

  • Florida Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill: A Victory For Injured Workers.

    A Florida workers’ compensation reform bill that responds to the outcome of recent major workers’ compensation rulings in the state passed 7-1 Monday in the Florida Senate’s Committee on Banking and insurance. The bill amends Florida’s workers’ compensation law to codify an increase in temporary total disability and temporary partial disability benefits from 104 to

  • Defining “Employers with at least three employees regularly in service” under Georgia Law

    Under Georgia law, employers that have regularly in service at least three employees are required to have workers’ compensation insurance in place.  The flat reading of the statute seems to be very straightforward. But the question is how do you construe “three employees regularly in service.” Does it depend on the nature of business, the

  • New Technology To Benefit Workers’ Comp

    New technologies are improving workers’ compensation programs in everything from communications and training to healthcare delivery and claims, according to experts. A market research leader identified several areas of workers’ comp that can benefit from technology: Communications with Employees. Information regarding prevention of injuries or claim updates can be provided through apps, or online web.

  • The 2017 Firefighter-Cancer Legislation

    Georgia House of Representatives on Tuesday, February 1 voted 171-1 voted to approve a piece of legislation for firefighters. The legislation is now being sent to the state Senate. The new bill requires “legally organized fire departments to carry insurance coverage beginning on January 1, 2018, to pay claims for firefighters diagnosed with cancer if

  • Arkansas: Estate of Worker Without Comp Remedy Can’t Sue Employer in Tort

    Recently a court in Arkansas ruled that the estate of a worker, Guy Hendrix, who died from an asbestos-related illness could not bring a civil suit against the workers’ former employer, even though the worker could not get a remedy through the workers’ comp system. In Arkansas, there is a three-year filing window for asbestos

  • Georgia’s Ranking In Workplace Injuries

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that Georgia was no. 6 most deadly state for on-the-job deaths in 2015. According to the report, 180 people were killed in Georgia by workplace injuries. That was 4.3 per 100,000 full time workers. The number was up sharply from 152 fatal workplace injuries reported in Georgia

  • DEA Reduces Opioid Production

      The supply of almost every Schedule II opioid manufactured in the U.S. will be reduced 25% or more in 2017, as required by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). DEA expects the new quota will be sufficient to meet the estimated medical scientific research, industrial and export needs for the year, and for the maintenance

  • OSHA Releases Fall Protection Rule for 112 Million Workers

    OSHA recently issued a final rule for general industry fall protection. The rule is expected to cover an estimated 112 millions workers, and will take effect January 17. Deadlines to comply with regulations start in November 2018. In its statement, OSHA says it believes advances in technology and greater flexibility will reduce worker deaths and

  • Workers’ Compensation Issues to Watch

    In previous blog posts, I have discussed some upcoming changes and latest news on workers compensation. Here is summary of issues the industry should have on its radar for upcoming months or in the year of 2017. What some may not realize is that the workers’ compensation protections are not available to all workers within

  • Does Workers’ Compensation Have A Future?

    Not much, at least according to a workers’ comp specialist Frank Neuhauser, an U.C. Berkeley professor. In an article published in last month’s Perspectives, the IAIABC journal. Neuhaser argues that workers’ compensation is no longer needed for 90% of America’s employees, as the workplace has become safer. Noting that the occupational injury rate has dropped

  • Workers’ Compensation Rates in 2017: The Unsolved Puzzle

    Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) recently announced that the pure premium rate for workers’ compensation insurance in the state would drop by an average of 9.3 percent in 2017. The rate in Michigan has decreased 39 percent since 2011. The decrease is a reflection of a sweeping legislation reforms that Michigan went

  • The Proposed Use of Genetic Testing in Today’s Workers’ Compensation.

    Recently, a blood test developed by researchers in London appears to be able to predict whether a patient who is suffering from depression will respond to commonly prescribed antidepressants, according to research published by Kings College this month. The finding is among the most recent example of development of “personalized medicine,” which includes genetic tests

  • A Change In Condition – The Game To Suspend The Employee’s Benefits

    In my fifteen years of practicing workers’ compensation, I have seen a lot of situations, including, but not limited to, employers denying workers’ compensation benefits, denying medical treatments, and employers trying to find reasons to suspend claimant’s benefits. Nothing feels better than seeing progressive judges working hard to protect justice and rights of injured workers.

  • 20160817_210847

    Paralegal: An Important Nexus Between Attorneys And Clients

    I am very honored to have been invited to speak at the State Bar of Georgia Paralegal Seminar on August 17, 2016 regarding the paralegal’s role in preparing for depositions.   Words cannot express my appreciation to all the paralegals out there enough (especially to my paralegal). Without you, it would not be possible.  Thank

  • Drug Testing Injured Workers: Is it allowed?

    Employers conducting post-accident drug and alcohol test will face scrutiny by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the new regulation.                 The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published its final rules on electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses on May 12, 2016. Specifically, effective on August 10, 2016, employers must establish “a

  • A Victory for Injured Workers in Georgia

    Georgia, like many other states, places workers’ compensation way down its list of legislative priorities. It is likely difficult to see any legislative “fix,” or “clarification” if an ambiguity in workers’ compensation law exists. And the task of interpretation of the law rests in the hands of judicial branch. A recent Georgia Supreme Court ruling

  • ALJ Blasts Quarry in Workers’ Comp Award

     As I have mentioned, some employers often employ the “blame game” to point fingers at every potential cause other than their own liability when it comes to workers’ comp. Yet, the truth is far more powerful than anything else.  I recently represented a client who suffered a deliberating lung disease after years of working as

  • Could Georgia follow suit? Florida ruled to provide help to injured workers in efforts to adequately protect him/her when the Employer/Insurer denies a claim…

    On April 28, in the case of Castellanos v. Next Door Company, the FL Supreme Court issued a decision to strike down a cap on attorney fees. Marvin Castellanos is an injured employee who sued his employer Next Door Co. and its insurer, Amerisure. The then-enacted FL. Stat. 440.34 provided a mandatory attorneys’ fee schedule

  • Shout Out to ALJs

    Last Thursday I went to court against a very aggressive defense attorney and had the liberty of witnessing an equally aggressive Judge who ensured that my client’s rights were also protected. What a breath of fresh air. I know we all fight hard day in and day out for our injured  clients’ rights but on the

  • Julie Poirier to moderate an ALJ panel May 11th

    Julie Poirier will moderate an ALJ panel with Judge David Imahara, and Judge Viola Drew at a GTLA event May 11th.

  • Seminar image

    Pre-Trial Issues / Motions / Conference Calls – Alternatives To Having Your Day In Court

      Pretrial Issues/Motions/Conference Calls Alternatives to Having Your Day In Court By: The Honorable Nicole D. Tifverman, Julie M. Poirier and J. Benson Ward   A General Background Of The Workers’ Compensation System Workers’ Compensation in Georgia is a creature of statute—the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, O.C.G.A. §34-9-1, et seq. (the Act), and the accompanying

  • Julie Poirier Speaking at The State Bar of Georgia

    Julie M. Poirier co authored the paper “Pre Trial Issues, Motions, and Conference Call Alternatives to Having your Day in Court” with The Honorable Judge Nicole D. Tiverman and J. Benson Ward of Drew, Eckl & Farnham, LLP. They will be speaking at the State Bar of Georgia, to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation in

  • The Fight to Protect Our Georgia Heroes

    Everyone agrees that we have a duty to protect those who protect us, like our heroic firefighters and other emergency personnel.  Unfortunately, this has not always been the case when it comes to firefighters whose work causes them to become ill.  But the Georgia legislature is trying to change this: on February 25, 2016, a

  • Here, There, and Everywhere . . .

    The sword wielded by OSHA may be getting a lot mightier. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for American workers, and federal law gives it the power to conduct workplace inspections and punish companies that fail to meet safety standards.  In an important decision issued

  • What a fantastic way to welcome 2016!

    What a fantastic way to welcome  2016! I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love for this gracious and extraordinary gift from my client. Each week I learn lessons from the strength, resilience and determination of my injured workers. Kindness and generosity were the lessons today. It is such an honor to represent injured workers. This incredibly

  • To Approve or Not to Approve a Medical Treatment, That Is the Question

    What happens when a workers’ compensation claims administrator disagrees with a primary doctor and rejects a medical treatment?  This scenario is not uncommon: employee hurt at work, employee needs medication, employee’s doctor prescribes medication, employee’s treatment is evaluated by a workers’ compensation doctor, treatment is denied, treatment ceases, and employee becomes even sicker.  A recent

  • What They Can’t See Can Still Hurt You

    I am willing to wager that when you hear the term “workplace injury,” the first image that comes to your mind is of an employee slipping, falling, or getting a body part caught in heavy machinery.  Yet, not all workplace injuries are entirely “physical” in nature.  Workplace accidents can result in psychological injuries as well.

  • New Report Cries ‘Fowl’ on Tyson Foods’ Influence over Workers’ Compensation

    Tyson Foods, Inc. is a giant. It is one of the largest meat processors in the world, and the largest chicken and beef producer in the U.S., with 113,000 employees and over 400 locations. Tyson supplies chicken, beef, and pork to supermarkets and restaurants worldwide. But meat processing plants are dangerous places, and injuries can

  • Down, But Not Out

    Georgia’s Second Highest Court Reaffirms that Companies Cannot Use Employee Violations of Workplace Rules to Deny Workers’ Compensation Benefits As we all know, no one is perfect. And this is often the case for employees who are injured at work.  Employees arrive late, skip training, disobey instructions, ignore warnings, and violate various workplace rules and

  • Pain, Pain, Go Away . . .

    Chronic pain is unfortunately an all-too-common reality for employees who are injured in the workplace. While the initial pain from an injury may eventually subside with early treatment, many workplace injuries result in chronic, lasting pain and other unexpected medical conditions. But what if there was a drug-free, miracle treatment for various types of chronic

  • Déjà Vu All Over Again

    Federal laws require companies to protect employees who work with dangerous machinery. Two recent finger-amputation incidents at a Primex Plastics Corporation plant in Georgia are a stark reminder that there can be severe consequences for employers and employees when safety efforts fall short. On February 28, 2015, a Primex employee lost two fingers while working

  • If It Walks Like a Duck . . .

    Misclassifying employees as independent contractors – which is a way for companies to avoid fair employment and compensation rules and regulations – is “one of the most serious problems facing affected workers, employers and the entire economy,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor.  But it may have just become a little more difficult for


    Safety Violations Lead to Employee’s Horrific Death in Pressure Cooker  In 1906, American journalist Upton Sinclair exposed unsafe and inhumane working conditions in the Chicago meatpacking industry in the novel, The Jungle.  Yet, recent headlines show that, over 100 years later, many companies continue to sacrifice worker safety to protect corporate profits.  The 2012 tragedy

  • Blame Game

    The “blame game” is common when it comes to workers compensation claims. Employers are often quick to point fingers at every potential cause other than their own liability. I like to remind my clients, however, that the facts are far more powerful than a pointed finger. I recently represented an employee who was severely injured

  • The Verdict

    A key lesson I’ve learned in my years as an attorney is never to underestimate the importance of veracity. As the late Edward Murrow noted, “To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; to be credible we must be truthful.” Never has this sentiment been so relevant to me

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    I am pleased to announce the launch of my new Website!

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