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.

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.

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.

Welder sues Nestle Purina over burn injuries after dust explosion

Andre Buschmann, welding supervisor for Arizona Equipment Fabrication, filed a lawsuit against pet food company Nestle Purina PetCare over severe burn injuries he suffered after a September 2014 dust explosion at the company’s manufacturing company in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Because of the incident, Buschmann sustained third-degree burns to his face, head, neck, ears, and back. He also incurred bruising, hearing loss, and dangerous smoke inhalation during the explosion and is plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), dust explosions frequently occur in industrial settings. The agency said under the right conditions materials that could produce an explosive environment include lots of dust, compact spaces, oxygen, and an ignition source. Buschmann said an investigation made by the Arizona Division of OSHA revealed that Nestle Purina did not secure the elevators before he and the other welders started working on the area. The federal agency fined Nestle Purina $5,000 for the issue.

Buschmann’s wife, Joy, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, with the lawsuit claiming, “Joy Buschmann has been deprived of the support, services, love, companionship, solace, and affection of her husband by reason of the nature of her husband’s injuries.”

Our workers’ compensation lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal assistance to individuals who have been hurt in workplace accidents in Raleigh and other areas of North Carolina. Speak to a competent and aggressive member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

North Carolina strengthens prosecution of employers who misclassify workers

Misclassified workers are those who employers tag as contractual or independent contractors instead of their own employees. Workers in this category do not have the opportunity to obtain the benefits of regular employees, such as workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and overtime pay.

A welcome development to the state is the renewed vigor by the Employee Classification System of the North Carolina Industrial Commission to prosecute employers who misclassify the status of their workers. To do so, the Commission is coordinating with other state agencies so they can undergo their own investigations to determine whether a certain employer is breaking the law. Actions that can be prosecuted include owing unemployment taxes, neglecting to pay for the overtime work of employees, or failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

In the event of an accident at your workplace in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina, seek the legal help of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team as soon as you can about your options.

Jordan Russell to join Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced on Thursday, September 15 that Jordan Russell will fill a spot on the three-member Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Russell is a lawyer who worked as policy director and counsel under Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Jeff Hickman,

Russell will serve as substitute for the remainder of Dr. LeRoy Young’s term. Young said during the third week of September that he will be relinquishing his post to spend more time practicing medicine. Russell’s appointment is up for confirmation by the state Senate when it resumes session in 2017.

The workers’ compensation system is extremely important in every state, as it determines ways to keep employees safe and capable of paying living expenses. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal assistance to people who need legal help when it comes to filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Raleigh or other areas of North Carolina. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

Workers’ compensation costs vastly differ from Medicare rates

According to a new report released by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), workers’ compensation costs for surgical procedures differ greatly from Medicare rates for common procedures.

The report analyzes data from 33 states that make up 87 percent of workers’ compensation benefits that are paid in the United States. WCRI economist and study co-author Dr. Olesya Fomenko said the report also discovered that hospital outpatient payments are significantly different from each other depending on the state. Costs range from 69 percent below the study-state median in New York to 142% above the study-state median in Alabama in 2014.

Average workers’ compensation payments and Medicare rates for common procedures are even further apart. Costs range from as low as 27% ($631) below Medicare in New York and as much as 430% ($8,244) above Medicare in Louisiana.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal services for our clients in Raleigh and other areas of North Carolina and handle the filing and appealing of workers’ compensation claims. To see how we can help you obtain benefits for workers who are injured in a workplace accident, call our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

Meeker vows wage enforcement if elected labor commissioner

66-year-old Charles Meeker said he will dedicate himself to prosecuting employers who violate the state’s wage and benefit rules if he is elected to serve as the next North Carolina labor commissioner. Meeker was the mayor of Raleigh for close to a decade, from 2001 to 2011.

In an interview with The Daily Reflector, Meeker discussed what he plans to prioritize for his campaign. Specifically, he promises to do much of what Cherie Berry has failed to do: help workers collect unpaid wages. Meeker said he will also focus on streamlining the department so that its 350 employees will work efficiently and effectively, which he can accomplish by listening to the concerns of the employees. He will serve as challenger to North Carolina’s incumbent Republican labor commissioner Cherie Berry, who was initially elected in 2000.

North Carolina’s workers’ compensation program is designed to protect the welfare of workers who have sustained injuries in a workplace accident. If you or a family member has the experience of being hurt on the job, get in touch with our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.

NC General Assembly confirms appointments for workers’ comp panel

The North Carolina General Assembly has confirmed the appointments that North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made to the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the agency which handles workers’ compensation issues.

The Senate gave unanimous approval on Thursday, June 16 to Bill Daughtridge, a former member of North Carolina’s House of Representatives and McCrory’s secretary of administration, and Linda Cheatham, who was given another term to serve. The House has already approved their appointments. On Thursday, the House also confirmed the appointment of former Rep. Fred Steen to North Carolina’s unemployment benefits appeals panel, but his appointment is still lacking Senate approval. Steen is currently serving as McCrory’s chief legislative lobbyist.

The attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC handle workers’ compensation cases for our clients in Raleigh and other areas of North Carolina. We have the legal resources and technical skills to serve our clients aggressively and effectively. Call our offices at (919) 851-3311 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team today.

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