Camp Lejeune residents and employees want compensation for toxic water

President Barack Obama has ordered the provision of disability benefits worth over $2.2 billion over the next five years to military veterans who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Starting March 2017, eligible veterans who were stationed at the Marine base for at least 30 days cumulatively between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 will be receiving cash payouts on top of their Veterans Affairs health care from the Department of Veteran Affairs. Application for benefits can begin when rules are officially published on Friday, January 13. Eligible veterans cover reserve and National Guard members who acquired one of eight diseases. According to the VA, around 1,400 disability claims relating to the Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure are already pending.

If you were injured in an accident at your place of employment in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for coverage of all your medical bills with the help of our legal representatives at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices at (919) 851-3311.


Farmworkers dying because of unsafe transport

According to a report from The Associated Press, over a dozen accidents involving migrant farmworkers moving to the United States resulted in at least 38 fatalities and almost 200 injuries since January 2015.

U.S. Department of Labor records show that of the 1.1 million farmworkers in the country, 71% were born overseas, and half of those people acknowledged they were working in the United States illegally. Stony Brook University history professor Lori Flores, who has studied the Mexican farmworker movement, said these scenarios are commonplace. She noted “It’s an honor system.” She referred to the regulatory processes used to ensure safe transportation processes, “And it’s only when accidents … happen that agencies might get involved. But then it’s way too late.”

Lawmakers recently enacted the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA). However, transport deaths still occur for a variety of reasons. For instance, even though over 10,000 farm labor contractors are registered under the MSPA, the Department of Labor’s wage and hour division has only 976 investigators to enforce the rules under it.

Employees who have incurred job-related illnesses and injuries have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If this has happened to you in Raleigh or another area in North Carolina, do not hesitate to acquire the legal services of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.


State audit says development is needed on workers’ compensation oversight

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act mandates companies in the state carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage unless their companies are classified as exempt. This law is important in the sense that an employee or a family member is assured of benefits if a worker gets injured or is killed on the job.

Furthermore, the law requires that any employer who has three or more employees working for him or her to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage at no cost to the employee. Despite these laws, a 2012 series of articles in The News & Observer of Raleigh showed around 30,000 companies in the state were operating without workers’ compensation insurance coverage.

Regarding this matter, State Auditor Beth Wood said, “The fact in the commission’s response is that it does not know how many businesses do not carry workers’ compensation insurance and it will not know until it has the capacity to match and investigate all non-exempted businesses to businesses that carry workers’ compensation insurance.”

We recommend you consult the Raleigh employment lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC to ease the process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits in the state. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team right away by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.


North Carolina’s injury and illness rate falls to historic low

North Carolina’s workplace injury and illness rate has fallen to a historic low for private industry. In 2015, the state had about 2.6 cases per 100 full-time workers, which is a drop from 2.7 in 2014. North Carolina’s numbers remain below the national average.

North Carolina Department of Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said the state’s injury and illness rate declined by 51% (5.3 to 2.6) over the past 15 years. “The record-low injury and illness rate is a credit to the employers and employees of our state. Safety is being embraced by management as well as those on the front lines who are performing the state’s most dangerous work.”

The 2015 injury rate for the construction industry dropped to 2.7 per 100 full-time workers, down from 3.3 in 2014 and below the national rate of 3.5. For the manufacturing industry, the 2015 rate did not move, but it remained at 3.3, which is below the national rate of 3.8.

In the event of a workplace accident in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina, seek the legal assistance of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by filing a workers’ compensation benefits claim. Call our offices today at (919) 851-3311 to get in touch with lawyers who can help your situation.


Medical payments per workers’ compensation claim stagnates in NC

There was little to no change in medical payments per workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina after 2009, an 18-state study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute showed. The stagnation followed growth that averaged 6% to 7% per year from 2004 to 2009 at all claim maturities.

WCRI’s Executive Vice President Ramona Tanabe said the decrease is reflective of the 2013 interim changes in the state’s fee schedules. She noted “Hospital costs had been a key driver of medical payments per claim in North Carolina and prices paid to nonhospital providers were lower than typical. Administrative and legislative changes since 2013 addressed those issues.”

House Bill 92, which passed in 2013, mandated that reimbursement for all workers’ compensation medical care should have its basis in Medicare methodology. Proposed fee schedule rules were announced in November 2014 and were passed in February 2015. Phase-by-phase decreases for hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers were implemented in April 2015, and changes in reimbursement for professional services took effect in July 2015.

Contact our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC when you need someone to provide legal services in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina. Call us at (919) 851-3311 if you need help with filing for a workers’ compensation benefit claim today.


Effects of workers’ compensation systems shown in recent WCRI report

In a new set of studies released by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI), researchers studied factors regarding medical payments per claim in state workers’ compensation systems. The report, called CompScope Medical Benchmarks, also studied the effects of legislative and regulatory changes on the cost of each claim.

Ramona Tanabe, WCRI executive vice president, said the reports are a great help in studying the differing workers’ compensation systems in different states. She noted, “They also help identify where medical payments per claim or utilization may differ from other states.” For instance, in the state of California, the impact of Senate Bill 863, including the 2013 and 2014 fee schedule changes, caused medical payments per claim to decline by 3% in 2014, after having dropped by 4% in 2013.

Your employers in Raleigh and other areas of North Carolina are required by the state government to carry workers’ compensation insurance to provide financial assistance to employees or workers injured on the job. If you are injured in a workplace accident, do not hesitate to ask for legal assistance by filing for workers’ compensation benefits with our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.


Cook County to mandate employers to provide paid sick leave

On Wednesday, October 5, the Cook County Board of Commissioners put into law an ordinance that will mandate employers throughout Cook County, Illinois to give their employees paid sick leave. The county is adopting the Chicago Paid Sick Leave Ordinance, which was passed by the city in June 2016 and which will go into effect the same day as the ordinance approved in Cook County: July 1, 2017.

According to the provisions of the ordinance, employees all over Cook County will accrue one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours they work for a company. Employees have the chance to obtain five days of paid sick leave per year, or more days, if their company decides to provide greater benefits.

Our lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal services for our clients in Raleigh and other areas in North Carolina. We are the ones to turn to if you have problems regarding your workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt in a workplace accident. Call our offices today at (919) 851-3311.


Welder sues Nestle Purina over burn injuries after dust explosion

Andre Buschmann, welding supervisor for Arizona Equipment Fabrication, filed a lawsuit against pet food company Nestle Purina PetCare over severe burn injuries he suffered after a September 2014 dust explosion at the company’s manufacturing company in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Because of the incident, Buschmann sustained third-degree burns to his face, head, neck, ears, and back. He also incurred bruising, hearing loss, and dangerous smoke inhalation during the explosion and is plagued by post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), dust explosions frequently occur in industrial settings. The agency said under the right conditions materials that could produce an explosive environment include lots of dust, compact spaces, oxygen, and an ignition source. Buschmann said an investigation made by the Arizona Division of OSHA revealed that Nestle Purina did not secure the elevators before he and the other welders started working on the area. The federal agency fined Nestle Purina $5,000 for the issue.

Buschmann’s wife, Joy, is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit, with the lawsuit claiming, “Joy Buschmann has been deprived of the support, services, love, companionship, solace, and affection of her husband by reason of the nature of her husband’s injuries.”

Our workers’ compensation lawyers at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal assistance to individuals who have been hurt in workplace accidents in Raleigh and other areas of North Carolina. Speak to a competent and aggressive member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.


North Carolina strengthens prosecution of employers who misclassify workers

Misclassified workers are those who employers tag as contractual or independent contractors instead of their own employees. Workers in this category do not have the opportunity to obtain the benefits of regular employees, such as workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and overtime pay.

A welcome development to the state is the renewed vigor by the Employee Classification System of the North Carolina Industrial Commission to prosecute employers who misclassify the status of their workers. To do so, the Commission is coordinating with other state agencies so they can undergo their own investigations to determine whether a certain employer is breaking the law. Actions that can be prosecuted include owing unemployment taxes, neglecting to pay for the overtime work of employees, or failing to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

In the event of an accident at your workplace in Raleigh or another area of North Carolina, seek the legal help of our attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team as soon as you can about your options.


Jordan Russell to join Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced on Thursday, September 15 that Jordan Russell will fill a spot on the three-member Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Russell is a lawyer who worked as policy director and counsel under Oklahoma House of Representatives Speaker Jeff Hickman,

Russell will serve as substitute for the remainder of Dr. LeRoy Young’s term. Young said during the third week of September that he will be relinquishing his post to spend more time practicing medicine. Russell’s appointment is up for confirmation by the state Senate when it resumes session in 2017.

The workers’ compensation system is extremely important in every state, as it determines ways to keep employees safe and capable of paying living expenses. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Scudder Seguin, PLLC provide legal assistance to people who need legal help when it comes to filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Raleigh or other areas of North Carolina. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (919) 851-3311.