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November 2014 Archives

TN Workers' Compensation and the ADA

     While the employer has an incentive to return an employee back to work both under the workers' compensation statute and the ADA, it is generally understood that ADA compliance and/or action cannot be considered in determining the amount of vocational disability an injured worker has sustained. In Black vs. Liberty Mutual Ins., 4 S.W.3d 182 (Tenn. 1999), the trial court limited an employee's disability rating due to the probability of success in a concurrent ADA action. Id. at 183. Mr. Black suffered an injury to his left leg on September 22, 1995, while working for Roadway Express and after surgery and recovery was left with an eighteen percent (18%) impairment to his leg with a permanent restriction of needing a "cruise control on his truck." Id. Mr. Black made an attempt to return to work, but his restriction was not accommodated and he was not allowed to return to work. Id. at 184.

Workplace injury claims life in Tennessee

A middle-aged construction worker died on site on a recent Tuesday in mid November when his telehandler overturned. The man was busy offloading a delivery on site when the accident happened. An accident such as this leaves dependents with many questions. In Tennessee, workplace injury victims -- and their dependents in the case of fatalities -- may choose to file a workers' compensation or death benefit claim.

Social Security Disability - Benefit Offsets

     Some Social Security Disability benefits can affect amounts recovered under other federal, state, and/or private benefit policies. First, amounts received under Title II can affect a claimant's eligibility for SSI benefits under the federal statutes or can at least reduce those amounts to a smaller amount.

Parking lot car accidents may worsen in winter

Aside from slick roads due to cold weather, the winter season presents additional risks for Tennessee drivers. Nationwide, about 13 percent of all car accidents happen in parking lots. When consumers crowd into stores and shopping malls during the holiday shopping season, crowded parking lots and winter weather can combine to create particularly dangerous driving weather.

Social Security Disability - Expediting Cases at Hearing Level

     As noted recently, the average processing times for Social Security Disability and SSI hearings continue to grow at hearing offices across the country. Claimants are getting increasingly desperate as the wait times increase. When I first meet with someone about SSD or SSI, I always try to be upfront and honest about the length of time involved. Invariably, the question is asked about "moving my case up" or expediting the case. The Social Security Administration will only expedite a case if it meets its "critical situation" requirements.

Dangerous working conditions often lead to a workplace injury

Utility workers in Tennessee, and all across the country, are regularly required to work in all weather conditions, high above the ground and on high voltage equipment. When you consider these working conditions, it is easy to see why this group of workers is more likely than average to suffer a workplace injury, and even why this industry has a relatively high fatality rate. Because of the risks they face, utility workers need to be given special safety considerations by their employers.

Social Security Disability - More COLA Information

     As noted in a recent post, Social Security Disability and SSI recipients will see a 1.7% increase in benefits for the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) starting in January of 2015. The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index from the third quarter of the current year.

A proud father loses his son due to a workplace injury

A father is left devastated by the passing of his son at their joint workplace. A young graduate of only 21 years was working with his dad on the renovation of a Tennessee building when the accident happened. OSHA, the governmental body in charge of investigating a workplace injury, is currently investigating the accident and should complete its incident reports by the end of November.  

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Tony Farmer & John Dreiser

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Knoxville, TN 37909

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