Five Things You Need to Know: 1/20, Friday Edition

                               
Tennessee Attorney Helps Reach Settlement After Two Years
    • S. Newton Anderson, a Spicer Rudstrom (PLLC) attorney out of the Memphis office, has settled a workers' compensation case that has been active for more than two years, according to the firm's blog. "...His client, a large regional trucking company, was being sued by an employee who suffered a fracture to one of his lumbar vertebra while on the job. The suit was initially filed in the Tennessee Department of Labor and worked its way into the Shelby County Circuit Court." A settlement was reached the night before the January trial date. The court approved the settlement, which limited Anderson's client's exposure and compensated the employee.  
OSHA Finds Massachusetts Auto Worker's Death Was Preventable
    • The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigated the death of an employee who worked at John's Used Autos and Parts LLC in Bellingham, Massachusetts. The death was declared preventable due to lack of safety training, according to Altman & Altman Attorneys At Law and the firm's Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Law Blog. The employee was hit in the head by a device used to mount rim wheels onto tires, known as a "chain come-a-long" on Oct. 31, 2016. He died on Nov. 11. OSHA found that the employer didn't participate in proper safety training to prevent an accident of this kind. "More egregiously, the employer did not alert OSHA about the employee’s death after the incident, which is required by federal law. The total citations levied as a result of these violations amounted to $27,157," according to the blog post.   
Industrial Relations Director Defends California's Workers' Compensation System
    • The NBC Bay Area's "Investigative Unit" has spent six months reporting on California's workers' compensation system. Some injured workers and doctors highlighted in the investigation said obtaining workers' compensation benefits for medical treatments to get back to work proves difficult and time consuming. Department of Industrial Relations Director Christine Baker defended the system, referencing reforms, improved medical treatment and contained costs."She also credits a new law enacted in January for further strengthening the system. Although the new legislation will speed up care to workers with new injuries, it won’t directly benefit employees with long and complex injuries who feel stuck in the system," according to the article. She cited SB 863 as one of those improvements, enacted in 2013, which "...emphasized evidence-based medicine and shifted treatment decisions from the courts to medical reviewers using state-approved guidelines to authorize or deny treatment requests."  
More Financial Help on the Way for San Bernardino Attack Survivors
    • A federal anti-terrorist grant could soon help survivors of the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino. County health inspector Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife killed 14 people and injured 22 others at Inland Regional Center (IRC). County officials will ask that $1 million of the $4 million be reallocated for the victims, according to The Sun. The additional $1 million will double the $1.6 million already reserved in the grant, if approved. “The county has so far spent more than $20 million responding to and recovering from this tragedy, never expecting to be reimbursed beyond first responder costs,” said Robert Lovingood, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, in a release referenced in the article. Approximately 54 employees currently have workers' compensation cases open in relation to the attack.   
Illinois Business Owner Arrested for Fraud
    • Naperville, Illinois resident Henry Mathusek, 40, has been arrested for fraud after an investigation was led by the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office Financial Crimes Unit. Mathusek "...was charged with one count of forgery by uttering a forged document in the fourth degree and one count of insurance fraud in the third degree," according to reporter Lisa Marie Segarra of NorthJersey.com (powered by The Record). The Hartford insurance company filed a complaint against Mathusek, owner and operator of Bison Floors in Moonachie. "The Hartford representatives alleged that Mathusek gorged insurance certificates to create fraudulent proof of workers' compensation insurance while conducting business and applying for contracts," according to the article. The documents were forged with a PDF editor. He is scheduled to appear in Bergen County Central Judicial Processing Court on Jan. 25.  

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