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Workers' Compensation Blog

Victory for Injured School Bus Driver

Friday, December 02, 2016

In a case of first impression Ken Berman won a case for a bus driver who developed a problem with her tailbone due to many years of bus driving. A school bus driver developed a condition known as Coccydynia- inflammation of the tailbone which causes pain and tenderness. It forced the worker to be off of work for several periods of time and resulted in the driver having to undergo surgery on her tailbone.

Mr. Berman argued that it was caused by the daily bumping up and down in the uncomfortable driver seats on many of the busses. The Employer (municipality) strongly contested the case, arguing that the condition was due to other things, including the Claimant having undergone a bariatric weight loss surgery. Mr. Berman introduced photographs of the bus seats, elicited testimony from other drivers, and presented medical testimony from physicians relating the condition of the Claimant to her job.

The Claimant will be entitled to reimbursement of medical bills, lost time reimbursement, future medical treatment, and permanent disability for problems that she will have.

If you have a condition that you believe is caused or aggravated by work, contact the attorneys who specialize in forging new theories of the law and expanding the medical principles that apply to law cases. You can reach Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby at 1-800-827- 2667 (COMP) or bemanandarby.com.

MSEA Conference Winner

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

We would like to thank everyone who attended the recent MSEA conference, and, those who stopped by our booth to visit and enter our raffle.

We would like to congratulate our MSEA Fitbit Raffle winner from Middletown High School in Frederick County!!  Way to go!

DECISIVE VICTORY FOR 911 DISPATCHER INJURED IN MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION OUTSIDE WORK

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

911 dispatchers are our first line of defense in times of emergency.  Sometimes they are called upon to perform special training and can be injured when traveling to and from this training.  Ken Berman, Natalie Whittingham and Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP protected the rights of a long time 911 dispatcher who was injured in a motor vehicle collision near his place of work, while traveling to a mandatory training meeting.  The Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission had found that the Claimant, who was “T-boned” by a truck, sustained an accidental injury as a result of and within the scope of his employment, notwithstanding that he had not yet physically checked in to work.  After the Claimant won before the commission, the employer attempted to overturn this Order by filing an appeal and filing a dispositive motion.  Ken and Natalie defeated this motion and preserved the claim of the injured worker.

Exceptions to The “Going and Coming” Rule

Ordinarily, injuries suffered while an employee is going to or coming from work (known as the “going and coming” rule), are not covered under workers’ compensation law.  However, there are many, many exceptions to this rule.  For example, injured workers who are “on duty” at the time of the accident, are in Employer’s vehicle, or on a “special errand or mission” at the request of the employer are covered and not barred by the “going and coming” rule.  Ken and Natalie were able to protect the rights of the Claimant in this case by successfully arguing that the Claimant was traveling to attend a “special errand/mission", a mandatory staff meeting. Therefore, this case fell into an exception to the “going and coming” rule because the public safety employee was on his way to attend a monthly mandatory staff meeting, even though it was before his regular work hours given that it was with the consent of his employer. Therefore, he was on a “special errand”.

What this Means for Injured Workers

This case is the perfect example of why injured workers need an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation law. The “going and coming” rule, and the many exceptions that apply to that rule, is a complicated issue.Injured workers who are involved in accidents while traveling to or from work may still be protected, despite the “going and coming” rule.  Whether a claim falls under one of the exceptions requires a detailed review of the law and the facts of each case.The attorneys at Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman and Darby LLP are equipped with the expertise to navigate this area of law and protect the rights of injured workers, like Ken and Natalie protected the Claimant in this case.If you are injured at work, contact Ken Berman, Esq. at (301) 740-3300 or Natalie E. Whittingham, Esq. at (301) 670-6546.

Why Should I File A Claim With The Workers’ Compensation Commission If My Employer’s Insurance Is Already Paying For My Doctor?

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Attention Injured Workers! There is a huge difference between filing a workers’ compensation claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and your employer’s insurance company. Many injured workers do not realize this and may miss out on all the other benefits entitled to them under the law if they had only filed their claim with the Commission. The benefits that you may miss out on include:

 
- ONLY by filing a claim with the Commission do you have access to lifetime medical coverage for your injury, with NO copays;
- ONLY by filing a claim with the Commission do you have access to compensation for permanent impairment suffered from your injury, even if you return to work or it is only a scar;
- ONLY by filing a claim with the Commission do you have access to vocational rehabilitation services if your injury prevents you from returning to your prior job;
- ONLY by filing a claim with the Commission can you fight your employer’s insurance company when they deny medical treatment or compensation for lost wages;
- And much more…
 
Additionally, there is no cost or fee associated with filing a claim either. You normally must file within two years of the date of injury, so time is often of the essence. Do not be subject to the whims of your employer’s insurance company: take charge of your recovery and contact Attorney Matthew Engler today for a free consultation.

 

Why Workers Compensation’ For Police Is More Important Than Ever Before

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Police officers are not only covered for accidental injuries arising out of and in the course of their employment, but they are also covered for occupational diseases arising from the unique hazards of their employment such as heart disease, hypertension, and hearing loss. Maryland law presumes that the heart disease or hypertension developed from the officer’s stressful employment. This presumption is based upon medical evidence that police officers, due to their many pressures and responsibilities, have a greater risk of heart disease and hypertension than the general public.

When choosing a workers' compensation attorney, it is important to go with an attorney who, “backs the blue.” Attorney Matthew Engler, a former Maryland State’s Attorney, now practices workers’ compensation with BSGFD and devotes his attention to the needs of Maryland police officers. From his experience as a prosecutor, he knows how difficult policing is today and fully appreciates the sacrifices made every day by our men and women in blue. Contact Attorney Matthew Engler today for a free consultation.

Why should I file a Workers’ Compensation Claim if my Employer’s insurance is already covering my medical bills?

Friday, September 23, 2016

There is a BIG difference between filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission and filing a claim with your employer’s insurance policy. As Attorney Al Gross discussed in his recent blog post, submitting a “First Report of Injury” or other worksheet to your employer or employer’s insurance is NOT the same thing as filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. The difference between the two is huge and your employer’s insurance company has no obligation to tell you what they are.

When a claim is filed with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission, many rights and benefits are secured under Maryland law, including but not limited to:

  1. Lifetime medical benefits for all treatment that is reasonable, necessary and causally-related to your work-injury;
  2. Awards that compensate you financially for any permanent disability you may have as a result of your work-injury;
  3. Vocational rehabilitation benefits if, because of your injury, you are no longer able to perform your prior job duties because you are under permanent work restrictions;
  4. Reopening your case for additional monetary benefits if your condition worsens Depending on your case, there are other benefits which may apply to you. In order to better understand the Workers’ Compensation law of Maryland and your status, contact Attorney Matthew Engler for a free consultation.

Depending on your case, there are other benefits which may apply to you. In order to better understand the Workers’ Compensation law of Maryland and your status, contact Attorney Matthew Engler for a free consultation.

Thank You To Our Wonderful Clients!

Friday, September 23, 2016

At Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman & Darby LLP we love happy clients! Recently, we received two testimonials from happy clients who shared their experience with our fans and followers on Facebook.

We truly appreciate all of our clients and want to thank Rick Hoffman and Augie Pierson for taking the time to share their experiences with our firm and for being our clients.

Rick Hoffman – President of Local 734 Baltimore Firefighters

Augie Pierson

I injured myself at work – why did my employer’s insurance deny my claim?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Simply getting injured at work doesn’t guarantee you any benefits or rights under the law, unless you file an accepted claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Many injured workers only file paperwork with their employer or employer’s insurance company without ever realizing that this is NOT the same thing as a workers’ compensation claim. When you proceed in this manner, it is a private transaction between you and your employer’s insurance. Unfortunately, in countless instances, the insurance company will deny medical coverage and disability payments leaving the injured worker on their own without any help and without any options.

Secure Your Rights and Benefits

However, when you file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission, not only do you secure all the rights and benefits guaranteed under the law , but you also secure the right to present your case to a Commissioner who has the authority to order your employer’s insurance to pay for treatment and disability payments, even when they initially denied it. The Workers’ Compensation Commission was established specifically to litigate injured worker claims and to ensure compliance with the workers’ compensation laws of Maryland. Nevertheless, you MUST first file a claim with the Commission in order to secure jurisdiction for your work-injury.

Get Help...Contact Matt

If you have any questions regarding your status under the law, please contact Attorney Matthew Engler for a free consultation.

Observing Memorial Day

Friday, September 23, 2016

As this weekend approaches and millions of people prepare to kick-off the summer by celebrating Memorial Day weekend, let’s take a moment to remember the true meaning behind this holiday. The true meaning of Memorial Day is about remembrance. It’s about remembering and honoring the brave soldiers that answered the call to defend our country and that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberties and for our freedoms. From the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice to this great nation and have provided a blanket of freedom that allows us to sustain a free society. Memorial Day should reflect on the heroes of generations past, and those whose daily work is honorable and heroic. It’s a day to remind us of the true cost of freedom and the human price of such great sacrifice. We ask you to honor all those who have gallantly served our nation to provide the freedoms that we will all share together during this weekend’s holiday.

Berman, Sobin, Gross, Feldman and Darby LLP takes great pride serving military veterans who continue to give back to our community. Whether it be working in public safety from law enforcement, fire and rescue, and corrections by keeping us safe, to the communications workers, bus operators, nurses, teachers and so many others who make an impact on our day to day lives. We appreciate the service of those who serve our community with distinction and honor. Therefore, we take this opportunity to thank all military personnel who continue to fight for our freedoms and to honor those brave men and women that have lost their lives defending our great nation.

We would ask that you also take time to remember and honor those that have sacrificed. In the year 2000, Congress passed The National Moment of Remembrance Act as a way of honoring America’s fallen heroes. This Act designated 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day as a moment of remembrance. Please take a minute on Monday, May 30 at exactly 3:00 p.m. to reflect and honor those men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

We wish you all a healthy and safe holiday weekend.

Police Officers and Duty Belts – How Back Injuries Can Be Prevented

Friday, September 23, 2016

Think of all the dangers police officers face. They are punched, shot at, struck by cars during traffic stops, injured while restraining combative suspects, and in collisions while in a vehicle pursuit. These are just a few of the perils they encounter. Often though, the injuries which occur while police officers are in the daily grind of the job are the most common.

One of the main culprits of low back and hip injuries is the duty belt. Low back and hip injuries/conditions caused by wearing a duty belt are some of the most underreported types of injuries suffered by police officers. Police are required to carry the following items on their duty belt: radio, gun with a gun light, two extra magazines, two pairs of handcuffs, pepper spray, baton, small flashlight, large light, glove case, tourniquet kit and a Taser. All told, a police officer could be carrying anywhere between 20 and 24 pounds on their duty belt. All that weight pushing right down on their low back and hips during an entire work shift causes long term affects.

Imagine this for a minute. You get up in the morning and put your clothes on for work. Maybe you wear a suit, maybe you have a uniform, but you probably do not have 22 pounds hanging from your belt. So instead of your normal leather belt, it is instead filled with 22 pounds of weight. Or maybe you hang a bag of potatoes from your belt? Or 2 large bowling balls? Or maybe 5 reams of paper? And imagine if that was part of your daily ‘uniform’. You wear it driving to work, walking to get your morning coffee and sitting at your desk. Common sense tells us that our back would be sore at the end of the day. We have all had sore backs from carrying mulch, shoveling snow, carrying our kids or grandkids for long stretches, and moving friends and families.

Police officers have to wear 22 pounds or more around their waist during every hour of every shift. They wear them sitting in the patrol car, pursuing suspects, on foot patrol, during roll call, filling out reports, sitting in court for hours at a time waiting for a case to be called and eating lunch/dinner/breakfast. All day, every day, 22 pounds or more of downward pressure on your hips and lumbar spine. Not to mention the discomfort of sitting in a patrol car with a seat belt and the bolsters on both sides of the seats producing pressure on the belt pushing it up into the back.

But there are some techniques police departments and police officers can utilize to lessen the discomfort and delay the onset of injuries. For departments, the number one way to prevent or lessen back injuries from duty belts is to just do away with them all together. Switching to tactical vests or harnesses can do more to prevent back injuries than anything else. Unfortunately, few patrol officers are issued tactical vests. It is common sense that wearing a backpack is a heck of a lot more comfortable than wearing a fanny pack. Also, departments can provide nylon belts instead of leather belts. Nylon belts are lighter and more flexible than leather belts. But these cost money, and in an era of shrinking municipal budgets, they are unfortunately an unlikely fix.

Sadly, it is up to police to protect themselves. When seated in a patrol car, change posture often, take breaks when possible, stand up and walk around, alter the driver’s seat with a lumbar pillow to provide more support. When on foot patrol, take the opportunity to stretch. If, however, a police officer is experiencing back pain, it is unlikely to get better by ignoring the problem. Back and hip injuries caused by wearing duty belts are consistently underreported.

When these back and hip injuries do happen, it’s vital that police report these injuries to supervisors and seek medical attention. The wrong response is to ignore it and hope it gets better. Finally once the injury has been reported and documented by a doctor, police must file a workers’ compensation claim to ensure their medical rights are protected for the rest of their lives.

Our police, who risk their lives every day to protect our communities and our families, should be provided every piece of equipment to make their increasingly difficult and dangerous jobs safer. After all, many of these brave men and women are going home to their own families, and should not have to be living in constant back pain because local governments are not prioritizing the health and safety of our first responders.

Please contact Jason Shultz at 410-769-5400 or jshultz@bsgfdlaw.com to protect your medical rights.

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"I can honestly say this firm is simply TOP NOTCH! They not only have handled countless cases for my members that require their services, they also have gone well beyond their "scope" to help some of my folks in other areas of need. "

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"I wanted to compliment your law firm on having Amanda Knott as a paralegal. She worked tirelessly for almost 2 years making sure I understood what was happening and at the same time keeping all my records straight and in order, which allowed Gretchen Rogers to represent me in the best way possibl"

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"The attention and professional care the staff has taken toward my needs has always been excellent. I have no complaints nor worries that my issues discussed are not addressed."

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