Investigating Workers’ Comp Claims Remotely

By Ronald Hilley II, Esq.

  For employers, with social distancing and more specifically co-workers who no longer work physically in the same location, investigating claims will be different.    Of course, adjusters always have (with a […]

Civil Litigation in the Age of Social Distancing

By Alain Fernandez, Esq.  The COVID-19 pandemic has presented novel challenges to civil litigation practice. Georgia state and federal courts continue to balance public health considerations and the administration of justice. Courts have implemented social […]

Compensability of the Coronavirus

Pursuant to Georgia’s current workers’ compensation law, whether a case of coronavirus will be compensable needs to be evaluated under Georgia’s “Occupational Disease” statute.  An occupational disease requires the following elements as outlined in O.C.G.A. […]

Liability of Emergency Management Workers in Health Care

On April 8, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp issued an Executive Order designating employees, staff, and contractors of health care institutions and medical facilities as emergency management workers.   While these employees are engaged in emergency management activities […]

Telemedicine – Current law, Expectations for the future

The Georgia Telehealth Act was enacted in 2005 at O.C.G.A. § 33-24-56.4.  The statute enabled the practice of “telemedicine,” the delivery of clinical health care services by means of real time two-way audio, visual, or […]

Quick Reference to Telemedicine Guidelines in the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Medical Fee Schedule

Effective April 1, 2020, the Georgia State Board of Workers’
Compensation (SBWC) is providing guidance for the provision of select services
via telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic. The national and state health
guidelines for limiting COVID-19 exposure recommend […]

Exclusive Remedy and Subrogation in Georgia Workers’ Comp Law: Current Status

By Ben Young
[…]

Contentious Tort Reform Efforts Tabled in Face of Strong Opposition

[…]

The Headache of Unpaid Medical Bills: responsibility for proper documentation falls to the claimant and the medical provider, not the insurer

By Chad McDonald, Esq. Insurance adjusters constantly receive medical bills from claimants and their attorneys demanding that payment be made to clear up a balance.  These bills are usually in the form of a […]

Georgia Sees Sharp Increase in Jury Verdicts

[…]

Passing the Drug Test when the Employee Doesn’t: What is needed for Employers/Insurers to effectively use the Intoxication Defense

By Chad McDonald, Esq.
 
When an injured worker fails a drug screen after a work-place accident, the
employer and insurer rightly want to deny the claim.  However, to
[…]

The Walking Dead

By: Sarah G. Hegener

This week, a Georgia jury began
hearing arguments and testimony in a wrongful death suit filed by the family of
a stunt actor who died on the set of AMC television series, The Walking […]

Atkins David End of Year Newsletter

State of Workers’ Comp in Georgia: Increase to income benefits and our thoughts on the PMT 

The workers’ comp system remains stable.  However, this past year saw the biggest increase in the max weekly comp […]

Determining Whether an Injured Employee is Malingering by Getting a Psychiatric IME

By: Ron L Hilley II

Employers and insurers often deal with claims in which it seems
the injured employee is exaggerating his or her symptoms, particularly when
there is no objective testing that can explain the levels of […]

Recent Appellate Division Decisions

By: Chad McDonald

As in years past, one of the most informative discussions at the seminar addressed recent Appellate Division cases. This year’s panel was led by Judge Terry Chastain, Director of the State Board […]

PMTs Not Just for Claimants Anymore Employers/Insurers Can Now Request PMT Calls When Claimants Are Non-Compliant with Medical Treatment

By: Kristi Oakes, Esq

One of the biggest news items to come out of
this year’s seminar is the recent expansion of the Petition for Medical
Treatment (PMT) process to allow employers/insurers to petition the Board for a
call […]

Suicide Prevention as Preventative Workplace Crisis Management and Impact on Workers’ Compensation

By: Jarvis B. Läkemäker

Workplace
crises management is as much about preparation and prevention than about the
immediate reactive steps taken following a crisis. One of the areas where developing
a crisis plan can be most beneficial is at […]

Resignation as a pre-condition to settlement: Is the employee still entitled to Unemployment Benefits?

By Sarah Hegener Anglin, Esq.

Most employers require employees to agree to resignation before beginning settlement negotiations. A question arises as to whether the employee, who has voluntarily resigned, is subsequently entitled to draw unemployment […]

Active Shooter Situations and Workers’ Comp Implications

By Tyler Jones, Esq.
 
It is an unfortunate reality that employers are increasingly having to face
workers’ comp issues after a shooting in the workplace.   Georgia law
– developed through cases and not statute  – addresses these matters […]

Is now the time to re-do that expensive MSA? Recent availability of generics to replace expensive drugs could mean big reductions

By Sarah Hegener Anglin, Esq.

It is no secret that costly Medicare Set-Asides (MSAs) can be an obstacle when settling a workers’ compensation claim. Prescription drugs are almost always the main cost driver of […]

Atkins David welcomes our new Associate Kristi Oakes!

Kristi received her law degree from Mercer Law School, where she also received
a certificate in Advanced Legal Writing, Research, and Drafting. At Mercer, she
also received two CALI Excellence for the Future Awards, given to the […]

A Short and Quick Guide to Crisis Management

The time to think about managing a workplace crisis is now. Crises can occur in any business at any time. When tragedy strikes, you must be ready to respond. Quick action will minimize the negative […]

TTD/TPD Rates to Increase Effective July 1, 2019

By: Wesley R. Moore,
Esq.

Effective
July 1, 2019, the cap on Georgia workers’ compensation benefits will see one of
the largest increases over the past 20 years. The maximum Temporary Total
Disability rate will increase from $575 to […]

Stip Review: what is Hartman language and why is it included in settlement documents?

By: Wesley R. Moore,
Esq.

Each
time a claim settles, the “stip,” or stipulation and agreement, must be
executed by both the claimant and employer/insurer and submitted to the State
Board of Workers’ Compensation for approval. Whether the settlement […]

Statute of Limitations on “All Issues” vs. “Change of Condition” Claims: when and what you can deny if the claimant has not treated or received benefits in a long time

By: Wesley R. Moore, Esq.

When a claimant has waited one year or more in between receiving medical treatment for an occupational injury, it can be confusing to figure out whether the employer/insurer can deny […]

Taking Credit: How to Reduce the Benefits You Owe

By: Jarvis B. Läkemäker, Esq.

A quick reminder that you can use WC-243 to reduce or eliminate your TTD exposure if an employee receives other post accident benefits. a. Unemployment – […]

What CMS Wants: CMS Criteria When Reviewing An MSA

By: Jarvis B. Läkemäker, Esq.

In December we discussed when you should have an MSA done and when you would need the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approval. We provided […]

Claimant Characteristics Useful Predictor of Opioid Prescription Rates: Doctors Prescribe More Opioids for Patients That Are Older, Rural or in the Construction Industry

By: Jarvis B. Läkemäker

A recent study found that a patient’s demographics and type of employment may correlate to the amount of opioids they are prescribed. In its study, Correlates of Opioid […]

Getting Less Aggravated: How to Prove an Aggravation Has Ended

By: Jarvis B.
Läkemäker and Ben Young

You have an accepted claim with no full duty release in sight. You
are unable to return the claimant to light duty work. How do you cut off
benefits? If the […]

A final thought as the year closes and a new one begins

The claims business is a stressful one. Employees who are injured are in
pain. Employers can be frustrated by individuals they see as taking advantage
of the company. Adjusters are under demands to make decisions about hundreds […]

KDA is pleased to welcome Jarvis Lakemaker to the firm!

KDA welcomes Jarvis B. Läkemäker as an associate concentrating his
practice in the firm’s Civil Litigation Practice Group, representing companies,
individuals, and government employees and agencies in a variety of civil
matters. Military service brought Jarvis to Georgia […]

File a WC-1 for all claims, even “medical only” effective January 1, 2019

By: Ken David, Esq.

Pursuant to Board requirements, effective January 1, 2019, Insurers/TPAs must file Form WC-1 on all claims, including all “medical only” claims. The Board will assess penalties for failure […]

Settlements: A Review of the Basics

By: Ken David, Esq.

It is that time of year when you want to close your files and claimants want some holiday money. With that in mind, let’s review some core aspects of settlements.

There are […]

Spinal Cord Stimulators: They may be worse than we even thought

By: Ken David, Esq.

We all know from experience that there is not a high success rate for spinal
cord stimulators in a workers’ comp claim, especially ones where there is
litigation. At KDA, Jennifer Smith and […]

Medicare Checklist, Updated: When is an MSA necessary? When is CMS approval required?

By: Ken David, Esq.

Let’s
make something hard a little bit easier. We are still confronted with the
challenge of how to deal with Medicare’s interests in many of our settlements,
particularly six figure ones. Although it is […]

Lunch Call Podcast #1: The WC-1

In less than 20 minutes, learn how to properly complete the First Report of Injury. Intended for employers and TPAs.