I have been practicing law for over twenty-two years, and have fielded countless legal questions from clients and prospective clients. Our law office is well-established, with a good reputation, and people feel comfortable calling us with their legal concerns. Many believe that their questions can be answered quickly, for free, and over the phone. This belief is usually incorrect, for a number of reasons.
Becoming a homeowner is supposed to offer security. You invest in a property and then spend your time and money maintaining or improving it. That effort pays off with increased property value. Over time, you can either choose to cash out some of that equity when you get older or sell your home for a profit and downsize as you age.
Unfortunately for some people, the investment they make in their home is not as protected as they might believe. Without the right insurance, you could lose your home, as well as the equity you have accrued in it over the years. There are circumstances in which someone else may have a legal claim to the property you purchased.
The National Safety Council (NSC) recently released an analysis regarding injuries in the workplace. Its findings published on its Injury Facts web site were enlightening, but not good news for women workers.
Assaults at work are disproportionately high
As an Estate Practitioner, I've had my fair share of clients with unusual requests in their Wills. Without going into detail, and therefore potentially violating attorney-client privilege, I can say that some of them have been absolutely hilarious, others have been down right hurtful, and some have been, well just plain weird. In any event, it usually comes down to the Testator (the person who makes the Will) wanting some sort of control from the grave. Whether it is a specific instruction regarding his or her burial, or putting restrictions on a relative inheriting from his or her estate, it usually comes down to that person wanting, in a sense, to live beyond their death and have an impact in some manner.
Many of us have become quite comfortable with sharing at least some parts of our lives online. We post pictures of a child's sporting triumphs, special occasions with friends, or other milestones. Every day, we share all sorts of personal information with family, friends and work colleagues.
Who sees those posts, however, could change. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Trump Administration is devising a proposal to monitor social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to confirm that those collecting Social Security Disability Insurance or other benefits are actually disabled or injured. The White House and Social Security believe that social media will yield a treasure trove of data to help identify fraudulent recipients of benefits.
Workers' compensation has a substantial set of rules when it comes to filing for benefits and getting the medical care the injured worker needs. These are generally inflexible, so it is no surprise that an employee of a Home Depot in Kansas is now stuck with a substantial bill. According to several news reports, the employee sought reimbursement for medical expenses involving doctors that were not authorized by her employer, but a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the commission because the medical care was not preauthorized by her employer or an administrative law judge.
The employee originally slipped and fell in 2007 while working at Home Depot. She suffered injuries to her neck, back and right arm at the time. From 2007 to 2013, she filed nine applications for preliminary hearings, while participating in four of them. Finally, in 2013 she settled for 28-percent impairment to the whole body injury settlement with the option to get additional care in the future related to the original injuries if she applied for care through workers' compensation.
Many at the 2019 Workers’ Compensation Research Institute’s (WCRI) annual conference took note when Dr. John Ruser shared some new data and trends in workers’ compensation. The WCRI CEO pointed out that workers’ comp is a declining part of the employer payroll. The National Academy of Social Insurance concurs, adding that the ratio of compensation benefits paid related to the overall wages has declined since the 1990s and is at the lowest point since the 1980s. This downward trend led some to fear that it was an erosion of benefits paid, but Dr. Ruser points to other factors. These include:
- The frequency of the claims is down since the late-1990s with a 55 percent drop between 1999 and 2014.
- OSHA claims that reportable injuries are down and continue to go down.
- The injuries are down across all professions, so the shift is not a migration by the workforce to safer jobs.
- The declining numbers of injuries are consistent with what is taking place in Europe.
- Job accommodations for workers with restrictions have gone up significantly, which means that workers are returning to work more quickly and thus needing a shorter period of benefits.
- The workplace is a safer place to work these days.
Many took note when the news of potential radiation contamination at the Grand Canyon made national news. There were three large buckets of uranium rocks indigenous to the area stored at the Museum Collections Building on the Southern Rim. Situated next to a taxidermy exhibit, the buckets had sat there from 2000 to June of 2018. The exhibit was sometimes a stopping spot on tours for kids.
The park's safety inspector Elston "Swede" Stephenson brought this to the attention of the public after trying in vain to get superiors or even local politicians to address the matter and inform the public that the six million annual visitors to the park may have been exposed to unsafe levels of radiation. Of course, this would also affect employees as well.
Thousands of workers are injured on the job each year. While the common types of injuries include falling from one level to another or those sustained in a motor vehicle accident, a quick look through OSHA's web site shows dozens of injuries due to exposure to such caustic or hazardous chemicals as cleaning products, hot oils, sulphuric acid and even fireworks. These injuries are often quite painful with long recoveries and sometimes leave victims with permanent disfigurement.
Since the injury happened on the job, workers should file a workers' compensation claim even if they also plan to file a lawsuit. Serious burns often require extensive rehabilitation, therapy and perhaps ongoing work restrictions once the injured worker can return to work.
People who work in daycare facilities face specific risks when it comes to their health and safety. It's critical to reduce the likelihood that they suffer injuries while working. They face some of the same risks as people in other industries, but there are also some unique risks for these jobs.
It is up to the employer to set the safety standards for daycare workers. They must be conveyed clearly and employees must be provided with the tools necessary to follow safety plans. When there are issues, they should be addressed swiftly so more problems don't occur.