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Ohio Workers’ Compensation: Fraud, Don’t Do It

If you are claiming that you are temporarily and totally disabled or permanently totally disabled, you are saying you cannot perform the type of work you did before you were injured. For example, assume an individual works in a warehouse packing items into a box. That person injures his back while lifting the box from the assembly table to the ground. He is deemed temporarily totally disabled because of sprain/strain of his lumbar back region. Assume further that he gets ttd compensation while his back is being treated.

That individual would be committing fraud if he is found working, while collecting ttd compensation. The BWC is very diligent about investigating the legitimacy of workers’ claims. They will surveil injured workers, and individuals found to be committing fraud will be criminally prosecuted.

Case in point is Douglas Roop. Apparently this individual was receiving permanent total disability compensation. At the same time he was claiming to be ptd he was working at his brother-in-law’s businesses. He was found guilty of fraud and had to pay back $22k, YIKES!! Bottom line, play fair, play by the rules.

Ohio Workers’ Compensation: Workplace Rule Violation

 Don’t Voluntarily Abandon Your Job!

In Ohio Workers’ Compensation you might hear the word “abandonment” in regards to your job. Abandonment refers to the departure from your job. If you abandon your job you are no longer working there. It is roughly analogous to quitting your job, being fired/terminated, or laid off from your job. What the injured worker needs to be concerned with is whether that “abandonment” was voluntary or involuntary.

In the workers’ comp world, voluntary abandonment can be a bar to the receipt of temporary total compensation; involuntary abandonment is not. There are a few primary ways to voluntarily abandon the workplace: retirement, incarceration, and violation of a written work rule. In this article I will be focusing on the “violation of a written work rule.”

Voluntary Abandonment: Workplace Rule Violation

The “violation of a written work rule” precedent was first set out in the Ohio Supreme Court Case, Louisiana-Pacific Corp. The Court stated that a termination of an employee was “voluntary” where a written work rule or policy:

  1. clearly defined the prohibited conduct;
  2. had been previously identified by the employer as a dis chargeable offense; and
  3. was known or should have been known to the employee.

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Ohio Workers’ Compensation: The Historical Compromise

Worker’s compensation law ohio

ORIGINS

The Ohio worker’s compensation law has had a major impact to business and society throughout its history. Just as any law it has been refined and polished numerous times. The law has gone through many changes in its evolution to what your worker’s compensation lawyer at Malek & Malek has become today.

Worker’s compensation sprouted in Ohio, after a nationwide investigation into industrial injuries. After the results of the investigation became known a constitutional amendment was passed by Ohio voters in 1911. This amendment created a voluntary worker’s compensation program for employers. If the employer decided to participate on the program they were held liable to pay 90% of the employee’s premium while the employee had to cover the remaining 10%. There were two built in exceptions that would cause the employer to be held completely liable; they were: if the injuries were caused by the employer’s failure to comply with an ordinance, lawful order, or statute for the protection of the lives or safety of employees (lawful requirement), and also injuries caused by the willful act of the employer. This created a very lenient program for the employer if they decided to even join the program at all.

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Self-Driving Cars, the end of Auto Accidents ?

car accident lawyer Columbus

IMPLICATIONS

There has been a lot of news recently about automated cars. The wizards at Google have been testing driver less cars for years now. Many current cars on the road already incorporate safety systems which at least echo elements of autonomous cars. Some of the more notable systems are blind-spot detection, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Adaptive cruise control is interesting in that it will speed up and slow down based upon the surrounding traffic. I think the technology will be perfected to the point where driver less cars are pretty dependable and at least as safe as or safer than a “reasonable person.”

So what does this mean for Columbus car accident lawyers? Well a fully autonomous car will not get distracted by updating Facebook, tweeting, texting while driving. No drunk driving, drunk folks will get in their driver less cars and be driven home. There will not be elderly people jamming on the accelerator, where they meant to press the brakes. There won’t be truck drivers driving far beyond the hours they are meant to drive, falling asleep, and causing catastrophic truck accidents. So will you still need an experienced and competent Columbus personal injury attorney? Probably, but at that point instead of a negligence claim against the driver, the victim of an accident may be suing a manufacturer for a defective product.

Continue reading Self-Driving Cars, the end of Auto Accidents ?

Workers’ Comp: Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part Two

THE SETUP

In the last entry we were talking about treatment and diagnostics. So lets assume that your doctor has submitted a C9 requesting two different things. For the sake of this example, the C9 will be requesting an MRI of the lumbar spine and an epidural steroid injection. Let us also assume the only allowed condition in the claim is a lumbar sprain.

Workers Comp columbus

So here’s the scenario, Joe the Warehouse Worker is packing inventory into cardboard boxes and carrying them over to a conveyor belt. Joe goes to pick up a box, as he is lifting the box he feels a pinch in his back. He continues working throughout the day and he continues to feel more pain and discomfort in his lower back. He tries going into work the next day, but he just cannot get up. Joe calls his boss and explains that he injured his back at the warehouse.

Joe goes to the emergency room. They prescribe some pain killers and muscle relaxers. Joe doesn’t really understand what to do next so he comes to us, the Columbus Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Malek & Malek.

Continue reading Workers’ Comp: Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part Two

Massive Fire on May 1st

There was a massive fire at an industrial business on the Southside of Columbus. The pictures are reminiscent of volcanoes erupting.Power was shut down for about 20k according to an article on  10 TV . Our office was one of the 20k customers whose power was affected.

The article mentions that sparks from a forklift caused some pallets to catch fire. Must have been pretty extreme sparks.

I actually drove past the particular business affected last Thursday as I had a matter I had to handle for a client. There are a bunch of different business and workshops in that area. I hope the employees still have a job to go to. Anyways be safe everyone.

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Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part One

DIAGNOSTICS v. TREATMENT

The Ohio workers compensation attorneys at Malek & Malek often find ourselves down at the Ohio Industrial Commission in regard to treatment issues. At its most basic form, treatment is “something done”, like surgery/epidural steroid injections/physical therapy/etc , and diagnostics are “searching for something.” Diagnostics come in the form of x-rays/ct scans/mri’s/emg’s/discograms/etc.

The medical provider requests treatment and diagnostics through the C9 form. One is below for your reference:
c9_Page_1

 

Continue reading Showdown at the Ohio Industrial Commission: Part One

Big Rig Tires Not Safe Over 75 MPH

Interesting article on CBS News about the fact that most big-rigs are equipped with tires that are meant to be driven at maximum constant speeds over 75 mph. There are no tires rated in excess of 81 mph. The article throws out a statistic that between 2009 and 2013 heavy trucks and buses were responsible for 14,000 fatal accidents. Of those 14,000 fatalities, 223 were linked to heavy truck tires.

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Apparently this tire blowout issue is not a problem for 70% of big rigs because their companies limit the trucks to a max speed of 65 mph. Its the remaining 305 which are not limited where the truck tire issue comes to the fore.

Continue reading Big Rig Tires Not Safe Over 75 MPH

ARAWC’S Race To The Bottom

Another day, another alarming article on the efforts of Big Business to dismantle State Workers’ Compensation Funds

This article in Mother Jones discusses large corporations financial backing of a lobbying group, the Association for Responsible Alternative to Workers” Compensation (ARAWC). ARAWC’s goal is to pass laws in all 50 states allowing private employers to opt out of traditional workers’ compensation plans. The laws would still require employers to purchase workers’ comp coverage, but the employer would define what is actually covered.

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I think this would be okay if employers actually had the best interests of their employees in mind. But lets be honest, employers are in the business of making profits. Thus employers will do anything to increase their profits and decrease costs. Makes sense. I suppose there’s is nothing wrong with this, but tell that to the 23 year old man in Tennessee who was paralyzed by his workplace injury. ARAWC is apparently lobbying A Tennessee senator to introduce a bill that would allow a company to stop paying lifetime benefits after three years or $300, 000, whichever comes first.

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Texting While Driving Causing Auto Accidents

 TEXTING AND DRIVING IN OHIO

In Ohio its actually illegal to write, send, or read a text while driving. This is true for both minors and adults. Minors are prohibited from talking on a cell phone while driving. More information is available on the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles here http://bmv.ohio.gov/texting_ban.stm.

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Despite this reality, people still continue to text and drive. We’ve all encountered these drivers. For all intents and purposes the driver appears drunk, he drifts into different lanes, he will drive slow then speed. Then you’ll drive past them (because who wants to be driving around a drunk driver ), and wait, what is the driver doing, looking down at his or her phone. The problem is people die and suffer grievous injures when another driver fails to follow safety rules, and drives distracted.

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