Workers Compensation Workers Compensation by jolinmilioncherie


 Workers’ Compensation

How to Effectively Counsel HR and
          Safety Directors

           Vernon F. Dunbar, Esquire
       Turner Padget Graham & Laney, PA
             E B dS             S i
         200 East Broad Street, Suite 250
              Greenville, SC 29601
            Telephone: 864-552-4600
       Email: d b @              d
       E il
              Objectives of
          Workers’ Compensation
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Historically, six basic objectives underlie the workers’ compensation

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1. Provide sure, prompt, and reasonable income and medical
   benefits to work-related accident victims, or income benefits to
   their dependents, regardless of fault;

2. Provide a single remedy and reduce court delays, costs, and
   judicial workloads arising out of personal injury litigation;

3. Relieve public and private charities of financial demands incident
   to uncompensated occupational accidents;
                Objectives of
            Workers’ Compensation
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4. Minimize payment of fees to lawyers and witnesses as well as
   time-consuming trials and court appeals;

5. Encourage maximum employer interest in safety and
   rehabilitation through an appropriate experience-rating
   mechanism; and,

6 Promote frank study of the causes of accidents (rather than the
   concealment of fault) in an effort to reduce preventable
   accidents and human suffering.
        Quick Summary of SC Workers
            Compensation System
   No Fault System
   Types of Benefits Paid
     M di l (paid in full)
      Medical ( id i f ll)
     Temporary Disability

     Permanent Disability

   Who Decides -
Things that Drive Employers Crazy
  about Workers Compensation
     Weekly Checks - Incarcerated
   Employers may not be
    able to stop weekly
    checks for a totally
    disabled claimant that is
      Weekly Checks - Pregnancy
   Employers may not be
    able to stop weekly check
    if claimant becomes
    pregnant and refuses
    medical treatment for
         k l di j         h
    work related injury, thus
Weekly Checks - Full Duty but not at
   No       h i for
    N mechanism f
    employer to request a
    hearing to stop weekly
    checks even though
    claimant has been
    released to full duty work
    (with no work offer), but
    is not at MMI
          Weekly Checks - Fired or
   Employers may not be
    able to stop weekly
    check if claimant is
    fired or incapacitated
    while on light duty if
    he has
    h h worked lk d less
    than 15 days
         50% to Back Presumption
   Presumption of automatic
    500 weeks for 50% disability
    or more to the back
   2007 Reform Act makes this
    presumption rebuttable
   Burden of proof is now on
    the employer to show that
    claimant is not permanently
       d    ll di bl d
    and totally disabled
        Intoxication or Willfulness
   42-
   No compensation
    shall be payable if
    the injury or ddeath
    was occasioned by
    the intoxication of
    the employee or by
    the willful intention
      f h        l
    of the employee to
    injure or kill
    himself or another.
        Intoxication and Willfulness
   Must prove both:
     Intoxicated at time
      of accident AND
     Intoxication caused
      the accident
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   Tempting defense,
    but very hard to
   Use Social Networking Sites to
   Workers’ Compensation Claims
1. Blogs
2. Forums
2 F
3. Social Networking Sites
 Use of Social Networking Sites to
Investigate Workers Compensation
   Facebook has over 600,000,000 active users.
    Facebook contains profiles of individuals regarding
    age, education, general background information
    and social interests. Postings on Facebook with
                 h          d          f       id
    respect to photos and messages often provide
    updated information about an individual’s
    interests and activities
 Use of Social Networking Sites to
Investigate Workers Compensation
   LinkedIn is a business oriented Social Networking
    Site for Professionals. It is estimated that over
    90,000,000 registered users utilize Linked In to
                b       f i l interests and
    converse about professional i              d
   My Space. L sophisticated version of F b k
    M S       Less     hi i    d    i    f Facebook
    and is now more music oriented.
                                     Space,
    Friendster is predecessor to My Space Facebook
    and LinkedIn. Friendster has in excess of
    115,000,               users.
    115,000,000 registered users.
1. Benefits of Using Employee Social
          Networking Sites

   Useful recruiting tool
   Greatly assists in evaluating applicants and
    conducting more detailed background checks
   Employers are better able to identify and
    assess personality traits and social skills. Also,
    postings by a prospective employee lends great
    insight into writing and verbal skills
   Marketing tool for employers
        2.  Negative Aspects of Using
      Employee S i l N
      E l                     ki
                Social Networking as an
       Investigatory Tool for Worker’s
            Compensation Claims
   Content may b i
    C                          discriminatory, and
                be inaccurate, di i i            d
   Because access to these sites are often password
    protected, some employers may be tempted to violate
      i     l         i                   l    ’   bi
    privacy laws to gain access to an employee’s website
    without proper authorization.
 Potentialcivil and criminal penalties for violating
 Stored Communications Act, Electronic
 Communications Privacy Act and HIPAA.
 Do not rely exclusively upon Social Networking
 Site Postings to contest a valid claim. The denial
 of a workers’ compensation claim should also be
 based upon expert medical opinion.

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