Monthly Archives: September 2012

darvon-darvocet

Drug Watch: Darvon and Darvocet Deadly Side Effects

Today’s post comes from guest author Brenda Fulmer from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

Darvon and Darvocet, the branded versions of the prescription medication also known as propoxyphene, have been used for decades to treat mild to moderate pain. These drugs have been taken by millions of patients who suffered from arthritis, back injuries, trauma, surgery, and other painful conditions. These drugs have been the “go-to” painkillers for a number of primary care physicians and ER doctors for years.

Their widespread use, however, has given patients and doctors a false sense of safety. Darvon and Darvocet, which most recently have only been sold as propoxyphene by generic manufacturers, were finally recalled and pulled from the market in late 2010, after a number of patients suffered injuries or died as a result of their ingestion of the drugs.

Since propoxyphene was first launched in 1957, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has received more than 2,100 reports of serious problems relating to use of the medications, including the following:

  • Cardiac arrest;
  • Death;
  • Overdose; and
  • Suicide.

Since the FDA may only receive reports for less than 1% of adverse drug reactions, and the safety issues associated with Darvon and Darvocet have not been well publicized prior to 2010, it is likely that tens of thousands Continue reading

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Paul McAndew Listed As A 2013 Lawyer Of The Year By Best Lawyers in America

We are proud to announce that Paul J. McAndrew, Jr. was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2013 in the field of Workers Compensation – Claimaints for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 36,000 leading attorneys cast almost 4.4 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Expense report

Well-documented Expense Records Increase Value of Your M&T Reimbursement

Today’s post comes from guest author Michael Furdyna from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

While receiving medical treatment related to a workers’ compensation case, claimants often have additional expenses such as mileage, fuel costs, transportation fares, and out-of-pocket prescriptions. Yet many claimants don’t realize they are entitled to reimbursement for expenses they incur in obtaining treatment. Submitting information related to these expenses is an important part of the workers’ compensation process. Problems can arise, however, when incomplete or disorganized information is provided to an insurance carrier. This can result in delays and errors in receiving the proper amount to which they are entitled. Claimants can avoid these sorts of problems with small acts of diligence and record keeping.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Save your receipts and keep a record of your doctor visits. Keeping a log and saving receipts incurred from specific doctor visits provides a “narrative” that makes it easier to tie together dates and expenses.
  • Make sure to use the correct form. The New York State WCB requires Continue reading
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Misdiagnosed Worker Can Amend The Cause Of Injury More Than 2 Years Later

Today’s post comes from guest author Matthew Funk from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

The Appellate Division Third Department issued a decision (Searchfield v. Lowe’s Home Centers) that is interesting case because it pertains to the establishment of an injury that was originally misdiagnosed.

  • In October 2005, an employee was injured at work while lifting a hot water heater. As a result of the injury the employee went to the emergency room. He was diagnosed by an emergency room physician with myofascial strain of the legs and hips.
  • A November 2005 physician’s report diagnosed the claimant with hip/thigh sprain and sciatica. The later medical reports focused on the groin, lower back and leg pain.
  • In July 2006, a Law Judge established the claim for a work related injury to the claimant’s lower back. However, the employee continued to report worsening symptoms in his hip area.
  • In 2009, the claimant saw an orthopedic surgeon. The doctor performed a MRI of the right hip. The MRI revealed a right hip labral tear that required surgury. According to the surgeon the claim was originally misdiagnosed and the claimant had, in fact, sustained injuries to his right hip as a result of the October 2005 accident.
  • The claimant applied for a hearing to amend the claim for the right hip.
  • The Judge ruled that the right hip claim was time barred (pursuant to Workers’ Compensation Law Section 28). This states that a claim for a causally related condition must be made within two years of the date of accident.
  • On appeal the Board Panel reversed and the Appellate Division affirmed the Board Panel.

The Appellate Division stated that the early medical reports reflect initial concerns relating to the claimants hips. Also, there was supporting medical evidence that the claimant’s ongoing pain was the result of a labral tear in the right hip, a condition which is often misdiagnosed as a low back injury. The Court went on to add that the claimant could not have filed a claim for a causally related right hip injury at the time of the accident because it was not properly identified and diagnosed.

This case is important as it allowed the amendment of a claim for a serious injury that misdiagnosed early on in the case. You can find the entire court decision here.  

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The Hidden Dangers Of Holiday Employment

Our post for today comes to us from our colleague Jon Gelman from New Jersey.

Seasonal employment can provide welcome income during the holidays, but it can bring dangerous working conditions along with it. This holiday season, more than in the past, there will be a serious challenge to workers who are taking on temporary jobs. As the economy continues to be in the ditch, more people are being hired for jobs for which they are untrained and unfamiliar. Injuries will result. Temporary employees who are injured at work are not accustomed to the procedural requirements to give their employers notice of the injury, and the correct manner and method to seek approved medical treatment. Additionally, benefits paid to seasonal workers are notoriously low and paid sporadically so the computation of rate benefits becomes an issue. As Eve Tahmincioglu recently pointed out, “employees who end up in retail stores often face grueling conditions Continue reading

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Can I Move To Another State If I Have A Work’ Comp’ Claim?

Today’s post comes from guest author Emanuel Aron from Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano.

Question: Can I move to another state even though I have a workers’ compensation claim in New York?

Answer: Absolutely! Many claimants move to other states during the course of their workers’ compensation claims.

Here are the top five things to consider when moving to another state:

  1. Tell your workers’ compensation attorney that you are moving, and update your contact information such as telephone number and address.
  2. Find a doctor in your new state that handles workers’ compensation claims in New York state. A simple Google search should give you several hits. Be sure to ask if the doctor handles workers’ compensation claims for claimants.
  3. As there is often confusion at the initial stages of treatment as to why a patient is seeing the doctor, be sure to tell your doctor that you have an ongoing workers’ compensation claim in New York for which you need continuing treatment.
  4. Have your Notice of Decision authorizing medical treatment handy! This is how the doctor knows that he or she is allowed to treat you for your work-related injury. If you do not have a copy of that Notice of Decision or have lost it, ask your workers’ compensation attorney to send you a copy ASAP.
  5. Be proactive. This is your workers’ compensation claim: you have a right to your medical records. Ask for them after each visit! Give your workers’ compensation attorney the doctor’s contact information, including telephone number, fax number, and address. Get in touch with your workers’ compensation attorney if the doctor is having any difficulty getting your medical treatment paid for by the insurance carrier.

trust

How Do We Earn Your Trust?

Today’s post comes from guest author Roger Moore from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

In its most basic form, trust is defined as “reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of a person”.

Trust can also be defined as “a person on whom one relies”.

I was reminded of this earlier this week when a client for whom I had settled a case dropped by our office. This client had been a truck driver and lived out of state. While we were working on his case we never had the opportunity to meet in person, yet he came to trust me to look out for his best interests and advise him along the course of his workers’ compensation injury. He came by to thank me for the work I had done for him which had been completed over a year and a half ago.

As I spoke with him I began to understand how stressful it must be to trust someone who lives halfway across the country and with whom you may never meet in person. This is a unique aspect of trucking cases we handle which isn’t found in other types of work-related injuries.

Due to his injury he was unable to return to trucking. However, we were able to negotiate a settlement which allowed him to live his life Continue reading

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Injuries to In-Home Care Providers: Compensable?

Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer from The Domer Law Firm.

A growing segment of the workforce involves individuals providing in-home medical care and assistance to private individuals. The assistance can range from a few hours per day, to 24/7 medical and domestic care for incapacitated individuals.

If the in-home care provider gets hurt while performing work duties, does this entitle the care provider to worker’s compensation benefits?

In a previous blog post, we discussed nannies, baby-sitters and domestic servants. “Home care providers” are treated differently (though an argument could be made that the care recipients from a nanny or from an in-home care provider are equally dependent — a baby and an elderly individual often have similar needs). The Commission held that persons providing personal/medical care to an “invalid” are not domestic servants (and thus, not statutorily exempt from the Act’s coverage). (Ambrose v. Harley Vandeveer Family Trust, WC Claim No. 86-39393 (LIRC Feb. 28, 1989); Winkler v. Vivian Smith, WC. Claim No. 1998059089 (LIRC Jun 29, 2000))

The Department generally considers that persons hired in a private home to give primary care to an individual whose duties involve assisting  in walking, bathing, preparing meals and special diets, supervising use of medications and exercise therapy and other duties commonly associated with the meaning of primary-care giver, meet the definition of home-care provider.

 If the domestic servant exemption does not apply, the question is: are home care providers to be considered as employees of the cared-for individual?

Interestingly, another statutory exception which may apply involves that of the cared-for individuals enterprise, as the person providing personal/medical care does not perform these services as part of the trade, business, occupation or profession of the cared-for individual (102.07(4)(a)2). Since the cared-for individual is not in the business of providing in-home care, there would be no worker’s compensation coverage, unless the cared-for individual elects to award these. Thus, the Department, based on this statutory exception, suggests that no employer-employee relationship exists under the Act.

As the Commission has left this issue largely undecided in the case of a private cared-for individual hiring their care provider, arguments exist both for and against coverage. Alternatively, if a county referred the home care provider to the individual and the county set the provider’s rate of pay, the county is the employer for worker’s compensation purposes. (See Cobb v. County of Barron, WC Claim No. 2006-043003 (LIRC Dec. 11, 2008); Nickell v. Kewaunee County, WC Claim No. 94064155 (LIRC Sept. 24, 1996)).