News Digest 8/25/2008

By: Rick Waldinger

Quote of the day

"If there is an issue in the marketplace that is potentially disruptive to the marketplace, it is the carrier's duty to bring it to the attention of the regulator. How the regulator settles the issue, that's the regulator's call."

Chris Goetcheus, Liberty Northwest spokesman, about a change in an Oregon workers' compensation rule that governs how much doctors are paid for treating injured workers

Go to the full story in the Oregonian

‘Odd Lot’ Doctrine Allows Cowboy State Man to Collect Benefits
Relying on the “odd lot” doctrine in workers’ compensation cases, the Wyoming Supreme Court rules that a former longtime coal miner and truck driver is entitled to total permanent disability benefits. The doctrine provides that permanent total disability can be found in cases of workers who are not totally incapacitated for work but are so handicapped they cannot get jobs in any well-known branch of the labor market. By Joan Barron, Jackson Hole Star Tribune
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Hearings on Controversial Oregon Rule
Rising unhappiness over a change in an arcane workers’ compensation rule that governs how much doctors are paid for treating injured workers prompts Oregon officials to schedule two public hearings on the matter. On Friday, speakers told the Workers Compensation Division that if an emergency rule on paying doctors is allowed to stand, injured workers will have difficulty finding a doctor. By Anne Saker, Oregonian
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Massachusetts: Can Parents Sue Murdered Son’s Employer?
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts is slated to decide whether the parents of a murdered high school student may file a wrongful-death suit against the pharmacy where their son worked part-time. Says “Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts” author Tamara L. Ricciardone, “This case will turn on the court’s interpretation of who is ‘an employee’ under the statute, and whether financial dependence is the distinguishing characteristic that prevents an employee’s family member from suing an employer outside of the workers’ compensation statute.” By David E. Frank, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
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Report: Young Alberta Workers at Risk
The Alberta government is worried about significantly higher injury rates among young workers compared to their older counterparts, figures that are revealed in a detailed new report. Last year, young workers made 19.5 percent of all lost-time claims and 22.7 percent of disabling injury claims, even though they made up about 17 percent of the entire workforce. By Kelly Cryderman, Calgary Herald
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El Paso County to Drug Test Job Applicants
In Texas, prospective El Paso County employees will be subject to drug testing and background checks before they’re hired beginning in fiscal year 2008-09, on the theory that the tests will decrease chances of accidents, recklessness, negligence and workers’ compensation claims that are partly due to a person’s drug use. By Erica Molina Johnson, El Paso Times
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Raided Iowa Plant Cited Again
The Iowa meatpacking plant that was the site of a large immigration raid this spring is accused Friday of 31 new and repeat safety violations. The Iowa Division of Labor Services proposed fining the Postville plant $101,000 for 21 serious violations, six repeat offenses and four non-serious violations. By Nigel Duara, AP via Yahoo! News
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