201801.16
0

Wisconsin WC Advisory Council Recommends Medical Fee Schedule

The Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Advisory Council, created to advise the DWD and the legislature on policy matters concerning worker’s compensation law, is recommending legislators create a medical fee schedule to reduce workers’ compensation medical costs, according to a news release from mid to late 2017. Worker’s compensation medical costs are rising quickly in Wisconsin. According…

201712.27
0

Indiana Court of Appeals Broadens the Definition of Earnings in Calculating the AWW

It is well settled in Indiana that worker’s compensation is meant to benefit employees and that the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act should be construed liberally.  According to a recent opinion issued by the Indiana Court of Appeals, in Midwest Equipment & Supply, Co. v. Garwood, this liberal construction appears to be especially true as it relates…

201712.21
0

Efforts to Increase Illinois Medical Fee Schedule Thwarted by the IWCC

Earlier this year, the Medical Fee Advisory Board to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission passed a Motion (5-3) recommending that the IWCC increase certain medical CPT coded fees by 30%.  Section 8.2 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act grants the IWCC authority to make changes in the Fee Schedule when there exists “a significant limitation…

201712.20
0

Missouri Alert: Another Reason to Make Sure Your New Employee is Not Undocumented

The Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation has recently issued a decision involving an illegal immigrant.  In this case, the 34-year old claimant with an 8th grade education fell off a ladder sustaining injuries to his legs, feet, ankles and back.  He was diagnosed with compression fractures requiring the daily use of narcotics to control this pain….

201712.07
0

I&F Presents to Illinois Chamber of Commerce

I&F regularly presents to clients, insurers, TPAs and businesses on matters of interest including worker’s compensation law and related issues. Here I&F attorneys Lauren Waninski and Kristin Thomas share their experiences handling WC cases in Illinois with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. If this presentation or any other topic in WC interests you, please contact us to discuss how…

201712.06
1

Illinois Average Weekly Wage: You Don’t Owe What You Don’t Know

The Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed a Commission Decision in favor of respondent on the issue of whether a claimant’s concurrent wages as a pastor should be included as part of his average weekly wage calculations, in Bagwell v. Illinois Workers’ Comp. Comm’n (Nestle USA, Inc. ), 2017 IL App (4th) 160407WC, 84 N.E.3d 1149, 1151….

201711.28
0

Michigan Board of Magistrates Dismisses Claim Based on Res Judicata

How many Applications can a claimant file in Michigan before he faces fines? In Michigan, an injured worker seeks benefits by filing an Application for Mediation or Hearing. This is known as Form WC-104A. In Sheikh v. Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, Inc., the claimant filed his fifteenth application for mediation or hearing following a decision…

201711.20
0

I&F Prevails as IL WC Arbitrator Finds that Routine Job Duties are Not Necessarily “Repetitive”

In a recent case before an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, Partner Steve Murdock prevailed in defense of an alleged claim for repetitive trauma, both on issues of accident and medical causal connection.  Claimant alleged that as a machine operator for more than two decades on a packaging line she frequently used her…

201711.17
0

Wisconsin Court of Appeals hold Expert Medical Opinion from Unlicensed Doctor Admissible at Trial

Under Wisconsin law, a WKC-16-B certified practitioner’s report is admissible at trial as evidence of the diagnosis, necessity of the treatment, and cause and extent of the disability so long as the practitioner consents to and is available for cross examination . On November 8, 2017, the Court of Appeals (First District)  held that a…

201711.15
0

Illinois Appellate Court Revisits the issues of Traveling Employees and Increased Risk

A recent Illinois appellate decision, Kenaga v. Village of Hoffman Estates, 2017 IL App (1st) 161859WC-U, is interesting as it not only touches on a hot-button topic in the Workers’ Compensation field, but also for the analysis of the various courts involved. The claimant was a police officer for 24 years. As part of his duties,…

201711.09
0

I&F Presents at 10th Annual Illinois Chamber of Commerce Workers’ Compensation and Safety Conference

Inman & Fitzgibbons attorneys Terry Donohue and Allison Mecher recently presented on the topic of Lost Time Benefits at the 10th Annual Illinois Chamber of Commerce Workers’ Compensation and Safety Conference. In this presentation, they discussed the basics of temporary total and temporary partial disability benefits, the current case law governing TTD/TPD, and common situations that arise involving payment of…

201708.21
0

I&F Announces Opening of Michigan Office

I&F is extremely happy to announce that we have extended our services to the state of Michigan with the opening of a new office in Lansing. Our new office is located at 120 North Washington, Suite 300, in Lansing and can be reached at 517-234-4700. Attorneys Jynnifer Bates and Lauren Waninski will serve the firm’s clients from the Michigan…

201708.21
0

Rauner Vetoes Bill to Create Illinois State Chartered NFP WC Insurance Company

On Friday August 18, 2017,  Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed HB 2622, which created a state-chartered, not-for -profit workers’ compensation insurance company. Rauner said, “Today I veto House Bill 2622 from the 100th General Assembly, which will create a state-sponsored workers’ compensation insurance company. This bill will also require the Department of Insurance to provide a loan…

201708.17
0

I&F Prevails where Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Finding that Firefighter’s Need for New Knee Not Related to Work Accident

Our office is pleased to report the receipt of a favorable Decision from the Illinois Appellate Court, First District.  In this case, the petitioner, a firefighter/paramedic, sustained a compensable work related accident injuring his right knee and underwent surgery.  Following surgery, therapy, and an FCE, his treating doctor found him at MMI. Four months later,…

201708.11
0

Village’s Denial of PSEBA Benefits Upheld by Illinois Appellate Court

In Wilczak v. The Village of Lombard, 2016 IL App (2d) 160205 (December 5, 2016), the Second District Appellate Court affirmed a Village’s denial of benefits under the Illinois Public Employee Benefits Act (“PSEBA”) (820 ILCS 320/1, et seq.). Under PSEBA, Illinois municipalities and fire protection districts must provide lifetime health insurance benefits to public…

201708.01
0

Smoking breaks, pigeons lead to the eventual death of a County Investigator and a cloudy workers’ compensation claim in Missouri

Terry Lankford brought a workers’ compensation claim in Missouri for the development of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease due to developing a breathing fungus and bacteria associated with pigeon droppings. Lankford, a heavy smoker, worked as an investigator for the county. He stated that when he started working for the county that he would…

201707.25
0

Use of Opioids in Wisconsin WC is Low and Aims to go Lower

As everyone involved in the administration of workers’ compensation claims knows, pain medication, particularly opioids, are notorious medical cost-drivers.  This is especially true when calculation potential liability or exposure for taking the interest of Medicare into account.  Wisconsin, however, seems to be making progress with respect to curbing the tide of opioid abuse. According to…

201707.06
0

Illinois’ General Assembly to Override Governor Vetoes to Pass a Balanced Budget, but Forgot About WC Reform

Happy birthday, United States of America, land of the free, home of the brave!  We hope all of you enjoyed a nice holiday weekend and a fireworks extravaganza for the 4th of July.  While most of you were relaxing with family and friends, we continued to monitor the activities in Springfield, which included the Senate…

201707.05
0

IL Appellate Court Reevaluates Post-termination TTD

The Illinois Third District Appellate Court has taken another look at whether TTD is warranted when a claimant with restrictions is fired.   In the recent case of Holocker v. Illinois Workers’ Comp. Comm’n, 2017 IL App (3d) 160363WC, the Court found that the claimant’s restrictions did not significantly interfere with his ability to find a…

201706.23
0

IL Special Legislative Session and Competing Workers’ Compensation Bills

Governor Bruce Rauner called a 10-day Special Session of the Illinois Legislature. The purpose of the Special Session is to address the on-going budget stalemate. In preparation for the Special Session, Republican Legislators unveiled a package of bills to address multiple issues, including Workers’ Compensation Reform. HB 4068 is the Republicans’ compromise bill in response…

201706.22
0

Missouri WC Repetitive Trauma Update – Statute of Limitations: When does the clock start ticking?

There are often issues relating to the statute of limitations in carpal tunnel and other repetitive trauma cases.  When does the clock actually start ticking?  The Missouri Court of Appeals recently addressed this exact issue in the case of Lisa Cook v. Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission.   The claimant worked as a secretary for a government…

201706.14
0

Indiana Employer and Its Subsidiaries Protected by the Exclusive Remedies Provision of the Act

In Brenda Hall v. Dallman Contractors, LLC, 51 N.E.3d 261 (2016), the Indiana Court of Appeals recently addressed whether an employee could pursue a negligence action against a subsidiary of AT&T, Inc., after she had already received a worker’s compensation settlement from her employer, Ameritech.  The Court of Appeals answered in the negative, barring further…

201706.08
0

Illinois WC Alert – Rebutting the 6(f) Presumption

The Appellate Court recently issued a decision that clarifies how to apply the rebuttable presumptions referred to in section 6(f) of the Illinois WC Act, when firefighters and various medical professionals are diagnosed with hernias, hearing loss, or “any bloodborne pathogen, lung or respiratory disease or condition, heart or vascular disease or condition, hypertension, tuberculosis,…

201706.05
0

Recent Missouri Activity Appears Favorable for Employers

Employers in Missouri should expect a continued decrease in workers’ compensation insurance costs as the Missouri Department of Insurance has recently recommended a 4.6% decrease in workers’ compensation insurance loss costs for 2017.  The loss costs are intended to cover indemnity and medical payments for injured workers as well as expenses incurred for providing these…