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Showing 16 posts in Workers' Compensation.

Compensability of a Work-Related Suicide Claim

Workplace DepressionIn recent years, mental health issues and suicide have become increasingly prevalent among Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this crisis. According to a CDC survey from June 2020, the pandemic has “considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions” in U.S adults. Data from the survey indicates that 42 percent of essential workers reported struggling with anxiety and/or depression. Most notably, 11 percent of all respondents seriously considered suicide within the preceding 30 days.

Overall, studies have shown that suicides related to workplace issues are on the rise, and the cause is often increased workplace stress and excessive workloads. Under what circumstances should the family of a worker who takes his or her own life be awarded workers’ compensation benefits? Below, we discuss a recent instructive case from Pennsylvania followed by an overview of how Michigan law handles this increasingly important issue. Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Employee Benefits, Workers' Compensation

New State Recreational Marijuana Law Hints at the Hazy Future of Workplace Drug Testing

Drug Test FormCurrently, there are 17 states (plus two United States territories and the District of Columbia) that permit the use of recreational marijuana. The trend across the country seems to be in favor of legalization of cannabis-related products for both medicinal and recreational use. As that trend continues and the use of recreational marijuana increases, we anticipate new challenges will arise for employers and their insurance carriers. For instance, how will this trend impact post-injury drug screenings?

If the use of recreational marijuana is legal in a given jurisdiction, will it remain permissible for an employer to terminate an employee based solely on a positive drug screening? Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, Employment, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

The Compensability of After-Hours Work Injuries

Night Shift EmployeeRecently, several clients have posed questions regarding the compensability of after-hours injuries that occur on the employers’ premises. While the compensability of these injuries is often in the “grey area,” your determination will be heavily dependent upon the facts of each situation.

What follows is a brief overview of the prevailing case law and a basic framework for making a compensability decision in these types of scenarios. Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, Workers' Compensation

Impact of COVID on Michigan’s Workers’ Comp Law

This month's 2nd Wednesday Morning Break addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Michigan Workers' Compensation law. In this episode, host and attorney Patricia Scott interviews fellow attorney Alicia Birach on how the pandemic has affected premiums, case progression and the nature of work injuries, including injuries arising from remote work. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Workers' Compensation

Court of Appeals Rules: Employee Fraud was Never a Condition for Recoupment Action

Employee InjuryThe Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion discussing the retroactivity of a prior opinion regarding the right of employers and insurance carriers to seek recoupment of benefits overpaid to an injured worker in the absence of fraud by the worker. Norman Carson v Bandit Industries Inc and Acuity Mutual Insurance Co, __ Mich App _ (2020). Read More ›

Categories: Fraud & Abuse, Insurance, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

COVID-19 Related Paid Leave Tax Credits Extended Into 2021

COVID Paid Sick LeaveThe federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on March 18, 2020. The FFCRA was intended to provide support to workers who were unable to work while complying with government-mandated quarantines following exposure to COVID-19 or while taking care of someone else in quarantine. The law required employers with fewer than 500 employees (“covered employers”) to pay certain employees Emergency Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Family Medical Leave and/or Expanded Emergency Family and Medical Leave (together, “FFCRA Leave”) as more fully described below. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Employee Benefits, Employment, Workers' Compensation

Appeals Court Rejects Comp Benefits in ‘Special Mission’ Case

ClassroomOn December 17, 2020, in an unpublished per curium decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed an award of workers' compensation survivor’s benefits that had been given to a widow whose spouse had been killed while he was traveling to a class the employer had encouraged him to attend and for which the employer had paid pursuant to its employee education assistance and tuition reimbursement program. See Lewis v LexaMar Corp, Mich App __ (2020)Read More ›

Categories: Case Law Updates, Employment, Workers' Compensation

The Safeguarding America's First Responders Act - New Federal Law Provides Access to Death Benefits Program for Families of Public Safety Officers who Die as a Result of COVID-19

Firefighter with MaskThere have been nearly seven million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States, with over 200,000 confirmed deaths. In Michigan alone, there have been over 130,000 confirmed cases and roughly 7,000 confirmed deaths. Certain employees working in the health field, including first responders, have been impacted significantly by COVID-19.

In a previous article, we discussed the Emergency Rules and Executive Orders promulgated by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, creating a rebuttable presumption that COVID-19 is a personal injury arising out of and in the course of employment for first response employees. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Legislative Updates, Workers' Compensation

Are Death Benefits Owed When an Employee Dies after Contracting the Coronavirus?

Life Insurance PolicyThe Context

There have been over 40,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Michigan. This figure includes over 4,000 deaths.  We are currently averaging about 1,000 new cases and 100 new deaths per day. Fortunately, the curve is flattening and some areas of the state have seen decreases. Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Employee Benefits, Workers' Compensation

The Anticipated Rise in At-Home Work Injury Claims During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Accident Report on LaptopThe Context

We remain in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. The federal government and all 50 states have declared states of emergency. In an effort to mitigate the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order on March 24, 2020 (EO 2020-21). That Order was rescinded and superseded by another expanded stay-at-home Order, issued on April 8, 2020. (See EO 2020-42). Earlier this morning, the governor issued her most recent Stay Home, Stay Safe Order, extending the stay-at-home decree until May 15, 2020. (See EO 2020-59). Read More ›

Categories: COVID-19 and Workers' Compensation, Workers' Compensation