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November 2014 Archives

Employee Deviation from Employment and Misconduct

Misconduct of the employee is immaterial under the workers' compensation system. The test of whether coverage should be extended is based on whether there is a requisite connection between the injury and the employment irrespective of the conduct of the parties. However, after entering into the course of employment, an employee can deviate from the employment by engaging in personal activity. Intoxication is one such deviation or departure from the course of employment. Voluntary intoxication which renders an employee incapable of performing the work constitutes a departure from the course of employment. Intoxication which does note incapacitate the employee from performing job duties, however, does not necessarily defeat a claim. If you have a work related injury that involved alcohol, please contact the Bainbridge Firm.  

My work injury was my fault. Can I still apply for workers' compensation benefits?

ou may file a workers' compensation claim, even if the injury was your fault. The Ohio Workers' compensation system is a "no-fault" system, which means that benefits are not determined by looking at who was at fault for the injury. Workers' compensation in Ohio eliminates negligence and fault as bases of loss allocation, and then distributes the cost of injuries among those parties who are best equipped to absorb them. This means that questions of fault, blame, wrongdoing, wrongful acts or omissions, or neglect are theoretically irrelevant under Ohio's workers' compensation system. What must be shown is that the workers' employment had the requisite causal connection with the injury.

What is an occupational disease?

According to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' compensation, an occupational disease is "a disease peculiar to a particular industrial process to which an employee is not generally subjected or exposed and is contracted in the course of employment." Occupational diseases usually occur over time, and can be compensable injuries for which an injured worker may receive workers' compensation benefits. An example of an occupational disease is asbestosis.

How long is my workers' compensation claim open?

The answer to this question is "it depends". It is an important question, however, because compensation as well as medical benefits cannot be paid if the claim has expired.

Ohio Workers' compensation In Automobile Accident Injury: High Court Rejects Dual Intent

On Oct. 21, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a decision regarding the dual intent doctrine, allowing employers to sleep just a little better at night. In Friebel v. Visiting Nurse Assn. of Mid-Ohio, Slip Opinion 2014-Ohio-4531, the court found that the doctrine of dual intent or dual purpose is not applicable when determining eligibility for workers' compensation benefits in Ohio for injuries arising out of auto accidents.

Court weighs in on debate over contractors and workers' comp

As much as people try not to, judgment gets passed around from time to time. This is especially true in the workplace where some occupations are considered more prestigious than others. Take for example exotic dancing. Most people turn up their noses at people who choose this profession, oftentimes claiming that they should not receive the same employee rights as other occupations.

New rule meant to speed treatment of injured workers

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation has adopted a new rule meant to help injured workers get quicker access to medications needed to treat their injury.

Americans With Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all employers who have fifteen or more employees. Whether or not an injured worker is subject to protection under the ADA after the workers' compensation injury depends upon the type of injury sustained and whether or not he has a permanent disability. The definition of disability for workers' compensation and the ADA is construed differently by the laws and courts. Determining whether an individual who has a workers' compensation injury is also disabled under the provisions of the ADA can sometimes be a difficult and confusing situation. Since the ADA is relatively new and the courts are still interpreting this problem, it is wise to seek legal advice if in doubt. Please contact the Bainbridge Firm for help gaining the benefits you deserve. 

Seasonal employees and their access to workers' compensation

Even though it's only the second full week of November, a lot of people already have Christmas shopping on their minds. Whether they choose to buy their presents in stores or online though, businesses will need to make sure that they have the staff available to meet the upcoming demand. Across the nation, this will mean an influx of temporary or seasonal workers, including here in Ohio.

Should I Agree to a Video Hearing for Social Security?

SSA allows for judges in other regions to handle claims and conduct hearings via video teleconference (VTC).  The benefit of the VTC hearings are that the SSA can try to eliminate its backlog of claims.  Thus, some claims may be scheduled for a hearing sooner than if the claimant states they want the in-person hearing.  Also, a VTC hearing could save Claimants some travel time as their local office may be equipped to handle VTC hearings when they would otherwise have to travel to a regional hearing office for an in-person hearing.  However, Claimants have the right to have an in-person hearing; they can't be forced into having one.  The benefits of having an in-person hearing are that they may allow the judge to better observe a claimant and their disabilities.  In addition, in-person hearings are more personal.  This personal contact could be the difference between approval and denial of benefits.  Contact the Bainbridge Firm for assistance with your Social Security claim. 

What is Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) in Social Security?

The purpose of the COLA is to ensure that the purchasing power of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is not eroded by inflation. It is based on the percentage increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) from the third quarter of the last year a COLA was determined to the third quarter of the current year. If there is no increase, there can be no COLA.

OSHA fines circus for safety violation that injured 9 workers

A workplace accident in Rhode Island grabbed national attention a few months ago when eight performers and a circus staff member were seriously injured when a hanging device failed, sending the performers plummeting to the ground below. Some of our Ohio readers may have remembered hearing about the accident that left many people across the entire country wondering what an investigation might uncover about the accident.

Social Security cost-of-living adjustments projected to increase slightly in 2015

Social Security benefits are likely to increase by 1.7% in 2015, slightly more than this year's 1.5% increase but still well below average increases over the past few decades, according to an unofficial projection by the Senior Citizens League.

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The Bainbridge Firm, LLC

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Columbus, OH 43215

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