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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:
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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.

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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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Travolta Movie Filmed Across From Our Office

A bit of excitement in Columbus now that John Travolta is in town to film his new movie, “I Am Wrath.” Even more exciting is the fact that parts of the film are being film across the street from the office. Doug, Kip, and Ed Malek took a break today to watch a scene being filmed. We didn’t see Travolta, but we did see extras walk back and forth for a scene. Fun Stuff. I’ve included some pictures I took of the filming. If you’re interested you can read more about the movie here: http://www.thewrap.com/john-travolta-in-talks-to-star-in-vigilante-action-movie-i-am-wrath-exclusive/

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Show Proof of Car Insurance With Smartphones

In Ohio you need proof of insurance in order to drive. This is encapsulated in Ohio’s Financial Responsibility Law. As of March 23 drivers can now show their proof of car insurance with smartphones and tablets. I’m not sure how much of an advantage or benefit this is to the everyday driver. A car insurance policy in the form of a card or a printed piece of paper can simply be thrown into the glove compartment and forgotten. Having the information seems a bit redundant.

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On the other hand, I could see situations arise where a person has insurance but never opened the mail with the card. I could see a spouse calling his partner, “hey honey, I don’t have my insurance card, could you check if its at the house, and then email it to my phone.” <receives the email>. Here officer, here’s the proof of my insurance. <shows the officer proof of car insurance with his smartphone>.

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Tort Reform: Unintended Consequences

I’ve briefly defined Ohio Tort reform in this section of our site: http://www.maleklawfirm.com/resource/basic-personal-injury-terms-defined/

Essentially it caps the amount of non-economic damages, i.e. compensation for non-monetary harm. In Ohio, where a plaintiff does not suffer a major physical injury, then her non-economic damages cannot exceed the greater of $250k or three times the economic damages not to exceed  $350k.

So this NBC 4 article discusses a situation where the jury awarded a minor who was molested by a youth pastor, $3.6 million dollars. Unfortunately this award was essentially for non-economic damages, therefore her award was statutorily capped at $250k. The article points out the lopsided situation whereby the damage award of a 95 year old grandmother whose leg was scarred, would not be statutorily capped. That is since she suffered a major physical injury, i.e. scarring, she is not subject to the caps. The molested minor will have a lifetime of emotional suffering to overcome.

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Auto Accident Patients at OhioHealth, Read This Article

An article in the Columbus Dispatch illuminates instances where OhioHealth has been pursuing payment of medical bills under the injured’s auto-insurance rather than hishealth insurance. Essentially, OhioHealth is skirting the discounted fees they negotiate with health companies, and instead charging the full or near full-rate to the injured individual.

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The take-away I get from this article is that if you go to an OhioHealth Hospital for auto-accident injury, insist that OhioHealth submit your bill to your health insurance company rather than under your auto-insurance.

The full article is available here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/03/11/aggressive-billing-called-into-question.html

Workers’ Compensation Hearings At The Industrial Commission

This might seem obvious, but its incredibly important to show up at Industrial Commission hearings. If you have a hearing before the Industrial Commission you’ll receive a notice in the mail. I’ve attached an example of a notice with our client’s information redacted. If you notice the highlighted section says, “You Are Urged To Be Present.”

You might take this to mean, “we’ll I’m urged, but not ordered to be present, so my presence is optional.” It might says this but you should always show up. for your own sake and the success of whatever you are trying to achieve at the hearing, your presence is absolutely mandatory.

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Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Special Investigations Department

The purpose of Workers’ Compensation is to compensate an injured worker for workplace injuries. A number of types of compensation including temporary total disability compensation are predicated on the injured worker being unable to return to the type of work they performed at their job as a result of their workplace injury. Sometimes so-called injured workers are not in fact injured, yet continue to collect compensation.

In this case that would be fraud. It is not fair to legitimately injured workers to do so. To combat fraud, the BWC has a Special Investigations Department. They will surveil workers quite doggedly. There have been instances where the SID has surveiled our own clients. The bottomline is, they are pretty thorough, they will discover fraud.

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