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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Entries in Workers Compensation (21)

Wednesday
Mar232016

CDC Issues Opioid Guidelines

On March 18, the CDC finally issued much-anticipated guidelines for the prescription of opioids in chronic pain management “outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care, and end-of-life care.” Over-prescription of opioids in the realm of workers’ compensation has long been an issue of national importance. 47,055 lethal drug overdoses occurred in the United States in 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available, with 18,893 of those specifically prescription drug overdoses. Not all of those are tied to medication prescribed for work-related chronic pain management, but certainly, anyone who has been involved in workers’ compensation can attest to the “pill mills” in their local communities. The Northeast, with an aging, deconditioned work population and robust health insurance costs has been particularly at risk for non-occupational chronic pain complaints morphing into work-related injury claims with the resulting never-ending prescription of opioids for “pain management”. Pain cannot be objectively measured or objectively proven; it is inherently subjective and subject to individual experience and motivation. The CDC guidelines will, hopefully, provide measured guidance to physicians to assist in the proper use of prescription opioids in time-limited treatment protocols designed to address chronic pain.

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Tuesday
Dec152015

Walking Home From Our House Christmas Eve: "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and Work-Related Injuries When Coming and Going from Work

We’re all familiar with the holiday tune that recounts Grandma’s unfortunate encounter with Santa and his reindeer. She’s found the next day with “hoof prints on her forehead/And incriminating Claus marks on her back”. Sadly, if Grandma were your employee and the accident happened in a location that can possibly be related to her work, that encounter with nature just might be a work-related injury.

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Monday
Aug242015

Worked to Death in the Keystone State

While we often remind employers that complaints about on-the-job stress could be a reportable event to a workers’ compensation carrier, we do not often warn employers not to work their employees “too hard” or “to death.” In this case, however, that was exactly the question at issue—did Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority work an employee to death?

Robert Dietz worked for the Lower Bucks County Joint Municipal Authority as a field maintenance worker, doing work involving heavy physical labor, for 20 years. On November 7, 2007, however, Mr. Dietz suffered a fatal heart attack while working—he was 48 years old. As a result of his death, his wife, Judith Dietz filed a fatal claim petition with the Workers’ Compensation Board alleging that Decedent’s work caused his heart attack and death.

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Monday
Nov182013

Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut Experience Decrease in Workplace Fatalities in 2012

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics issued preliminary data as to the number of workplace fatalities in 2012. The report provides extensive information regarding workplace fatalities across the county and serves as a helpful reminder to employers as to the importance of implementing safety protocols.

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Thursday
May232013

Maine State Chamber of Commerce Opposes Majority Report to LD 443

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to oppose the majority report to LD 443 “An Act to Amend the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act of 1992 to Provide Benefits to Seriously Injured Workers”. 

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Thursday
May092013

April’s Workers’ Compensation Appellate Division Decisions

On April 3 and April 30, 2013, the Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division issued two more decisions on cases taken to the intermediate level of appeal: Haskell v. Katahdin Paper Co., Inc. and Thew v. Saunders of Lock Mills, LLC.  

Haskell v. Katahdin Paper Co., Inc.

Issues of interest that the Appellate Division addressed in the first case, Haskell v. Katahdin Paper Co., Inc., Decision no.13-3 include the effective date of the amendment creating the Appellate Division and with it, the intermediate level of appeal; examination of the process of applying the Act to a pre-existing condition; and a re-examination of the “arising out of” standard in a Bryant v. Masters Machine Co. situation setting.

Mr. Haskell had longstanding, non-symptomatic degenerative disc disease in his cervical spine.  On the date in question, Mr. Haskell was standing with a 300 pound pump suspended at chest level from a chain attached to an electric powered hoist that maneuvered the pump using a crane.  He had his left arm at the controls of the hoist, and his right arm resting on the chain.  He heard a sudden loud bang from the mezzanine level above him, where others were working, and jerked his head to the right and looked up.  He experienced immediate pain in his neck, with radiation into his right arm and numbness and tingling down to his fingers.

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