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Changes on the Way for North Carolina Workers Compensation

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017

As the years go by and society gradually changes there is an inevitable change in law. Old laws aren’t as applicable, and new technology creates new situations that need to be covered in a legal document. When those laws can potentially affect millions of people, however, lawmakers need to take into account all the people under its umbrella. In the case of workers compensation, people injured at work need to know that the treatment they need for their injury or the financial support that helps keep them and their families living will still be protected.

 There has been a lot of talk in the North Carolina Industrial Commissions about the reform of prescription drugs that are covered under the state’s workers compensation programs. According to the website for Environmental, Health, and Safety Today, there are two main points that the Commission is working towards. The first point is that they want to save on health spending by switching the brand name drugs they were prescribing to cheaper, generic and locally made medicine. The second point is in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic. They want to limit the number of people getting addicted to the drug and focus on prescribing different methods of pain relief. With roughly 180,000 prescriptions written over a three-year period between 2012 and 2015, the state could have saved $8.7 million by switching to generic brand medication. The Commission has created an Opioid Task Force earlier in 2017 to meet and brainstorm solutions to the problem caused by the epidemic and workers compensation medication claims. Hopefully, the money they could save by giving injured workers off-brand drugs could go to the Opioid Task Force. Across the country, there are over 2 million people with an opioid disorder. These 2 million come from an estimated 12.5 million people misusing prescriptions with a potential to develop a disorder. In 2015 alone over 33,000 people died from overdosing on these types of medication. The epidemic has cost the country almost 79 billion dollars in lost economic potential.

Wanting to save money on budgets is one thing, but when that means potentially giving people cheaper medication, then North Carolina needs to be careful. Until there are official studies showing that the generic drugs they want to push for are as good as the big name brand drugs I doubt it will become law. There were over 74,000 people who suffered from nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Those people need the best treatment their employer and state can provide them.

While reform can keep laws current, sometimes it can be for profit rather than for people. There is a lot on North Carolina’s, and the whole country’s, plate right now. Instead of potentially giving people off-brand drugs they should invest in medicine to find better, non-addictive solutions to the problems that people experience.

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How do you handle injuries when it’s nearly in your job description?

Posted by on Aug 16, 2017

Construction work is a particularly dangerous job. Not only are you working with heavy equipment and machinery, but you are also often doing so from a great height. This leads to a number of opportunities for mistakes and accidents, particularly if other workers or job site managers are not performing their duties safely. These careless actions can cause serious injuries or, in the worst cases, death. Construction site accidents are unfortunately common all across the United States, and they result in significant physical and financial losses for many construction workers.

In the Dallas/Fort Worth area particularly, there is a large amount of construction work that is happening year round. Although regulations are in place to help prevent serious injuries on these work sites, accidents still happen that have devastating results. Dallas news center CBS has reported on two accidents that occurred in the past two years, bringing light to the dangerous situations many construction workers face. In May of 2015, a fatal accident occurred on the construction site of an apartment building on Maple Avenue. The worker was performing a task on one of the “higher floors” of the four story building and fell to the ground. Emergency responders were alerted and came to the building only to find that the worker was dead upon their arrival. CBS reported a similarly tragic accident that occurred in June of 2016 when another worker was killed on the job. At a commercial construction site near Berkshire Lake Boulevard, a dump truck that was delivering materials began to roll towards the worker. No one was aware of the truck’s movement, and it ended up pinning the worker to the ground and crushing him. There is no further information about the cause of these accidents; however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will investigate.  

Although the cause of these deaths is not yet available to the public,  it is possible and even likely that another individual’s careless or negligent behavior added to the risk that these workers were already facing and potentially caused their accident. After an event such as this, these worker’s family members and other loved ones are facing significant emotional pain as well as possible financial suffering, due to this accident. They should not have to face this loss at all, and they certainly should not be held responsible for the financial damages this accident has caused.

Nothing will be able to bring back these individuals or prevent these families from grieving this loss. However, they can seek financial compensation for their losses, that can help them remain financially stable and begin to recover from this devastating loss. With the help of Dallas area personal injury attorneys, like The Benton Law Firm, these families can file a lawsuit against the company or other individuals involved, which may help them manage the financial burden this accident has caused. No amount of financial compensation can heal the pain these families are feeling, however, and we must all work to make construction sites a safer place to work.

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Insurance Bad Faith and Bankruptcy

Posted by on Jul 27, 2017

According to the Williams Kherkher law firm, when a catastrophic storm strikes, insurance companies will have thousands to tens of thousands of claims to process, often within a few days following the storm. Typically, insurance companies will hire independent adjusting companies to inspect damaged property and prepare an estimate for repairs for each claim. It sounds simple enough. However, multiple adjusters, delays in processing and payment, unfair denials, misrepresentations, and offers to settle claims for far below the actual cost of repairing the damage are all strategies that insurance companies typically employ to avoid paying fair value, as insurance companies can, and do, save millions of dollars by settling claims at less than their fair value.

Filing a benefits claim with their insurance provider is most natural for families and individuals to enable them to meet the resulting expenses, such as medical treatment after an accident, or repair/replacement of damaged property after a natural disaster, as well as to keep their heads above water. Such are some of the reasons why insurance policies are purchased in the first place – to serve as a financial buffer during times of real need.

Insurance providers owe policy holders genuine commitment or the duty of good faith and fair dealing, especially in paying claims. Under the common law this duty is spoken of as the “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” which ought to be contained in every insurance contract. However, many of these providers transact business with dishonesty or fraud at the back of their minds. They enter into an agreement with policy holders with no real intent of living up to the terms of the policy they sell or they intentionally twist the meaning of something contained in the policy sold. This fraudulent act is what legal experts call “bad faith,” and there are different ways through which this can be committed, like: failure to investigate a claim promptly and thoroughly, unreasonable denial of claim benefits or delay in the payment of claims, and so forth.

The unfair dealing of many insurance providers can result not only to substantial losses of policy holders, but to the collapse of a policy holder’s financial stability, especially after a disaster. Unable to make the amount of claim necessary to keep him or her above water, a policy holder can end up not only incapable of making the necessary repairs to his or her damaged home, but also in settling financial obligations, such as home mortgage, car loan, credit card bills – to which his or her insurance claim would have been the solution. Like an added insult to his or her already injured state, he or she may come to a point where he or she will have to file bankruptcy.

Debt problems can affect anyone.  Hardworking people who have encountered medical issues, unexpected job losses, divorce or losses after a natural disaster, may suddenly find themselves facing large amounts of debt.  But, although there are thousands of people who file for bankruptcy protection every year, each person has a unique situation and needs a unique solution.

Bankruptcy is the legal declaration of the incapability to pay debts, personal or business loans. Filing for bankruptcy will stop creditors from attempting  payment collections or filing lawsuits to have control over your properties, have your salary garnished or levy your bank account. This also means end of calls and notices from law firms, which are intended to harass you until you decide to pay.

There are different chapters of the bankruptcy law, each designed according to a debtor’s financial situation. These include:

  • Chapter 7 – this law involves asset liquidation to enable payment of debts;
  • Chapter 11 – also known as business reorganization;
  • Chapter 13 – involves debt repayment based on a three-year or five-year repayment proposal; and,
  • Chapter 12 – which is specifically designed for families of farmers and fisherman (who own the whole or more than 50% of the farming/ fishing business) with a regular annual income

 

 

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