Court Reviews Evidence to Support a Finding that the Petitioner was deemed Permanently and Totally Disabled due Solely to the Last Compensable Accident

Karen Vincent, Esq.
Karen Vincent, Esq.

On October 30, 2017, the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey in D’Angelo v. Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. Super. App. Div. (per curiam) (22pp.) issued a written decision affirming a prior compensation judge’s ruling that the petitioner was permanently and totally disabled from the last accident.

The petitioner, Teresa D’Angelo, was employed as a school bus driver for the respondent, Archdiocese of Newark/Christ the King Preparatory Schools at the time of the accident. On November 28, 2011, while driving the school bus, she was hit by a stray bullet from an AK-47. The bullet lodged in to petitioner’s pelvis causing multiple internal injuries. The respondent accepted compensability of the claim and authorized the petitioner to submit to treatment. Petitioner underwent authorized surgery and treatment to the pelvis, hips, abdomen, lumbar spine and PTSD. Continue reading Court Reviews Evidence to Support a Finding that the Petitioner was deemed Permanently and Totally Disabled due Solely to the Last Compensable Accident

Can an Incapacitated New Jersey Beneficiary Receive Dependency Benefits for Life?

Michael Gervolino, Esq.
Michael Gervolino, Esq.
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.

In the case of Apperman v. Visiting Nurse Ass’n of Westfield, a father and son challenged this interpretation of the statute by arguing that a disabled dependent is entitled to benefits for the entirety of his life. Continue reading Can an Incapacitated New Jersey Beneficiary Receive Dependency Benefits for Life?

Video: Evaluating Exposure in New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Claims

Attorneys Karen Vincent and Greg Lois discuss the role of defense counsel in providing timely and accurate exposure analysis to clients. The attorneys discuss the “when” of providing an exposure analysis – when during the litigation lifecycle the attorney should be providing estimates of exposure and likelihood of prevailing at trial. The attorneys also discuss the “how” of exposure – how estimates of permanent disability are made. This webinar presentation is a must-watch for risk professionals and adjusters relying on outside counsel to provide exposure analysis.

Subject: New Jersey, Workers’ Compensation Law, Exposure, Permanency, MMI
Date Presented: November 27, 2017
Presenter(s): Karen Vincent and Greg Lois
Run time: 31:46

Continue reading Video: Evaluating Exposure in New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Claims

New York Workers’ Compensation Board Proposes a “Second Draft” of the 2018 Impairment Guidelines – and these are Not Favorable to Employers and Carriers.

The day before Thanksgiving the Board released new proposed Guidelines – and these are not great for employers. But wait, what about the draft Guidelines that were issued in September and we were so excited for? Those Guidelines, widely viewed as favorable to carrier and employers as they appeared designed to curtail the worst abuses of the current impairment determination guidelines, have been scrapped.

The new proposed Guidelines are here. When you check them out it will be clear that the old “range of motion” system that the Board was supposed to scrap and start over from has returned. The whole point of the April 2017 statutory reform was that the Board had to adopt updated Scheduled Loss of Use guidelines that reflected “medical advances” (i.e., better outcomes for basic injuries) and were supposed to address the fact that employees with minor injuries, with little or no impact on their working ability, were collecting giant SLU awards, often with only a few days of lost time (which goes to show that there really wasn’t any impact on their working ability). Instead, the Board has caved into pressure from union and “pro-worker” groups (read: trial attorneys representing workers and collecting fat fees) and issued new Guidelines that are bad for businesses and carriers.

Why is this a big deal?

The Board must adopt new Guidelines for Determining Impairment in Schedule Loss of Use cases (think fingers, hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees, ankles, feet, toes) which will take effect on January 2, 2018. The first proposed impairment guidelines were a departure from the prior practice before the Board – in a good way! The initial draft was favorable to employers in that the most frustrating and unfair cases – where the claimant loses minimal time from work for a Schedule Loss of Use Injury (meaning, a minor injury) would result in giant Scheduled Loss of Use awards based on range of motion testing. In those cases, where there was neglible (if any) impact on the claimant’s working ability, it is patently unfair that the employer must pay large Schedule Loss of Use awards based on turn of the century medical guidelines that don’t reflect anything more than subjective range of motion tests. These latest draft guidelines bring back that old range of motion system.

What can we do about it?

The proposed Guidelines are now in “comment period.” Comments can be made here. The Board was clearly persuaded by the flood of comments from the unions and trial attorneys – we are recommending that our clients review the “new” Guidelines and make comments urging the Board to adopt the first proposed impairment guideline.

Training on the New Guidelines.

We will be running training on the new Guidelines, in whatever form they take, on January 8, 2017 in multiple sessions. Register here:
Register for 12PM EST January 8 – New Guidelines Training
Register for 3PM EST January 8 – New Guidelines Training

Both webinars are LIVE and Questions-and-Answer sessions will be held.

Video: Evaluating Permanency Exposure in New York Workers’ Compensation Claims

Attorneys Tashia Rasul and Tim Kane lead a presentation and answer questions on evaluating exposure for Loss of Wage Earning Capacity awards in New York workers’ compensation claims.

Subject: New York, Workers’ Compensation Law, LWEC, Permanency, Exposure
Date Presented: November 20, 2017
Presenter(s): Tashia Rasul and Tim Kane
Run time: 29:30


Continue reading Video: Evaluating Permanency Exposure in New York Workers’ Compensation Claims

Lois LLC Welcomes Nidhi Shetye to New York Workers’ Compensation Defense Practice

Today the Firm welcomes attorney Nidhi Shetye who joins the New York Workers’ Compensation Defense Practice at Lois LLC.

Attorney Nidhi Shetye joins LOIS.
Nidhi Shetye, Esq.

Nidhi focuses on representing insurance companies and self-insured employers before the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Nidhi’s prior experience includes representing business clients by drafting answers to complaints, motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, writing appeals to District Court, performing discovery functions including depositions, drafting production requests and responses and representing clients in court and at status conferences. Continue reading Lois LLC Welcomes Nidhi Shetye to New York Workers’ Compensation Defense Practice

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