Camp Lejeune residents and employees want compensation for toxic water

President Barack Obama has ordered the provision of disability benefits worth over $2.2 billion over the next five years to military veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Starting March 2017, eligible veterans who were stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 days cumulatively between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 will be receiving cash payouts on top of their Veterans Affairs health care from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Application for benefits can begin when rules are officially published on Friday, January 13. Eligible veterans cover reserve and National Guard members who acquired one of eight diseases. According to the VA, around 1,400 disability claims relating to the Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure are already pending.

If you were injured in an accident at your place of employment in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for coverage of all your medical bills with the help of our legal representatives at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices at (919) 851-3311.

Court rejects workers’ compensation claim for Christmas party injury

A North Carolina court affirmed the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s ruling that denied Melissa Lennon, who worked as a deputy clerk in the accounting division of the Harnett County clerk of court’s office, her request for workers’ compensation benefits when she got injured at her employer’s annual holiday party, noting that Lennon did not sustain her injuries during the course of performing job duties.

According to court documents, employees at the clerk’s office were invited to attend the annual office holiday party at the Chicora Country Club in Dunn. Lennon, who suffered from an acute nondisplaced fracture of the distal radius of her left wrist, coccyx fracture, and superior glenoid tear of her left shoulder after she slipped and fell during the party, filed for workers’ compensation benefits.

The NCIC’s deputy commissioner rejected the claim, saying Lennon had not been wounded within the scope and course of her employment.

If you had been incapacitated as a result of a workplace accident and you have lost the ability to earn your daily wages, either temporarily or permanently, workers’ compensation benefits can protect you from unbearable financial strain. Let our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC help you file a workers’ compensation claim by calling our Raleigh offices today at (919) 851-3311.

Farmworkers dying because of unsafe transport

According to a report from The Associated Press, over a dozen accidents involving migrant farmworkers moving to the United States resulted in at least 38 fatalities and almost 200 injuries since January 2015.

U.S. Department of Labor records show that of the 1.1 million farmworkers in the country, 71% were born overseas, and half of those people acknowledged they were working in the United States illegally. Stony Brook University history professor Lori Flores, who has studied the Mexican farmworker movement, said these scenarios are commonplace. She noted “It’s an honor system.” She referred to the regulatory processes used to ensure safe transportation processes, “And it’s only when accidents … happen that agencies might get involved. But then it’s way too late.”

Lawmakers recently enacted the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). However, transport deaths still occur for a variety of reasons. For instance, even though over 10,000 farm labor contractors are registered under the MSPA, the Department of Labor’s wage and hour division has only 976 investigators to enforce the rules under it.

Employees who have incurred job-related illnesses and injuries have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If this has happened to you in Raleigh or another area in North Carolina, do not hesitate to acquire the legal services of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

AT&T subcontractor employee denied workers’ compensation

Nineteen-year-old Derek Mims jumped at the opportunity to work installing cable fibers for multinational telecommunications conglomerate AT&T Inc., and got hired by Georgia-based Synchronicity LLC. However, when he got injured, he had issues with the company not paying workers’ compensation benefits due to misclassification as an employee. Others also said they had issues with their wages through the company.

Ansco & Associates of Atlanta president George Summers said they are no longer using Synchronicity as a subcontractor, noting on Thursday, December 1, “Our understanding from what they have told us is that they [Synchronicity] were embarrassed this has come up.” Ansco & Associates is AT&T’s main contractor.

A Synchronicity official denied there had been payment issues with their workers.

According to the complaint, Mims had been trying to place a large drill on a Ditch Witch when his glove got stuck in the machine, crushing his fingers. He then filed a workers’ compensation claim with Synchronicity but was anxious that the company would not honor it because he was treated as a contractor.

Filing a workers’ compensation benefits claim can be a tedious and time-consuming process; with the help of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC in Raleigh, your application process might speed up a little bit. Get in touch with a qualified member fo our legal team by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

State audit says development is needed on workers’ compensation oversight

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act mandates companies in the state carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage unless their companies are classified as exempt. This law is important in the sense that an employee or a family member is assured of benefits if a worker gets injured or is killed on the job.

Furthermore, the law requires that any employer who has three or more employees working for him or her to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage at no cost to the employee. Despite these laws, a 2012 series of articles in The News & Observer of Raleigh showed around 30,000 companies in the state were operating without workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Regarding this matter, State Auditor Beth Wood said, “The fact in the commission’s response is that it does not know how many businesses do not carry workers’ compensation insurance and it will not know until it has the capacity to match and investigate all non-exempted businesses to businesses that carry workers’ compensation insurance.”

We recommend you consult the Raleigh employment lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC to ease the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits in the state. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team right away by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

Mine worker allegedly cut from workers’ compensation benefits

Raleigh County, West Virginia resident and mine worker Thomas Arlan Elmore filed a lawsuit against Panther Creek Mining LLC, Blackhawk Mining LLC, and Tony Osborne—all mining operators in Kanawha County—on Thursday, October 20 in Raleigh Circuit Court. The claim was that they had failed to provide him with reasonable accommodation and that they had cut off his workers’ compensation benefits following a workplace injury.

According to the lawsuit, Elmore, who had been a miner since 2006, acquired work-related injuries at the American Eagle mine on January 8, 2016. He then asked for reasonable accommodations and medical and financial support. He then started receiving workers’ compensation benefits immediately after that.

Elmore claims that he was fired from his job on April 1, 2016 and that his benefits program stopped on April 30, saying that his company retaliated against him and violated his rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC have been serving workers who have been injured in Raleigh or other areas in North Carolina by helping them obtain their much-needed workers’ compensation benefits. Get in touch with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311

Employee hurt in workplace accident claims coal business is guilty of wrongful termination

Lincoln County, West Virginia resident Jeremiah Adkins filed a wrongful termination lawsuit on Tuesday, October 4 in Raleigh Circuit Court against Summersville-based Elite Coal Services LLC, claiming that the company terminated him after he applied for workers’ compensation benefits when he got injured during a workplace accident.

According to the complaint, Adkins was fired from employment at Elite Coal’s Allen Powellton mine on May 9, 2015 after he filed for a workers’ compensation claim when he said he got injured while performing his job duty.

Adkins wants his former company to pay for his attorneys’ fees and court costs, damages, reinstatement to his job, plus all the relief that the court deems appropriate. He seeks a trial by jury.

Being injured at your place of work can be overwhelming, especially since you now have to worry about where to get money for your daily expenses aside from worrying about your physical condition. If such a mishap happened to you in Raleigh or other areas in North Carolina, do not hesitate to seek legal assistance from our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

North Carolina’s injury and illness rate falls to historic low

North Carolina’s workplace injury and illness rate has fallen to a historic low for private industry. In 2015, the state had about 2.6 cases per 100 full-time workers, which is a drop from 2.7 in 2014. North Carolina’s numbers remain below the national average.

North Carolina Department of Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said the state’s injury and illness rate declined by 51% (5.3 to 2.6) over the past 15 years. “The record-low injury and illness rate is a credit to the employers and employees of our state. Safety is being embraced by management as well as those on the front lines who are performing the state’s most dangerous work.”

The 2015 injury rate for the construction industry dropped to 2.7 per 100 full-time workers, down from 3.3 in 2014 and below the national rate of 3.5. For the manufacturing industry, the 2015 rate did not move, but it remained at 3.3, which is below the national rate of 3.8.

In the event of a workplace accident in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina, seek the legal assistance of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by filing a workers’ compensation benefits claim. Call our offices today at (919) 851-3311 to get in touch with lawyers who can help your situation.

Medical payments per workers’ compensation claim stagnates in NC

There was little to no change in medical payments per workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina after 2009, an 18-state study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute showed. The stagnation followed growth that averaged 6% to 7% per year from 2004 to 2009 at all claim maturities.

WCRI’s Executive Vice President Ramona Tanabe said the decrease is reflective of the 2013 interim changes in the state’s fee schedules. She noted “Hospital costs had been a key driver of medical payments per claim in North Carolina and prices paid to nonhospital providers were lower than typical. Administrative and legislative changes since 2013 addressed those issues.”

House Bill 92, which passed in 2013, mandated that reimbursement for all workers’ compensation medical care should have its basis in Medicare methodology. Proposed fee schedule rules were announced in November 2014 and were passed in February 2015. Phase-by-phase decreases for hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers were implemented in April 2015, and changes in reimbursement for professional services took effect in July 2015.

Contact our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC when you need someone to provide legal services in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina. Call us at (919) 851-3311 if you need help with filing for a workers’ compensation benefit claim today.

Effects of workers’ compensation systems shown in recent WCRI report

In a new set of studies released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), researchers studied factors regarding medical payments per claim in state workers’ compensation systems. The report, called CompScope Medical Benchmarks, also studied the effects of legislative and regulatory changes on the cost of each claim.

Ramona Tanabe, WCRI executive vice president, said the reports are a great help in studying the differing workers’ compensation systems in different states. She noted, “They also help identify where medical payments per claim or utilization may differ from other states.” For instance, in the state of California, the impact of Senate Bill 863, including the 2013 and 2014 fee schedule changes, caused medical payments per claim to decline by 3% in 2014, after having dropped by 4% in 2013.

Your employers in Raleigh and other areas of North Carolina are required by the state government to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide financial assistance to employees or workers injured on the job. If you are injured in a workplace accident, do not hesitate to ask for legal assistance by filing for workers’ compensation benefits with our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

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