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VIAW Newswire 02.07.13

Posted on 15 May 2013 by admin

California Department of Industrial Relations Implements Landmark Workers’ Compensation Reform To Protect Workers and Cut Costs

On January 4, 2013, the Department of Industrial Relations and its Division of Workers Compensation (DIR/DWC) announced new regulations implementing provisions of Senate Bill 863, California’s landmark workers’ compensation reform signed last year by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. to save businesses millions of dollars in unnecessary costs while boosting worker protections.

http://www.thelosangeleslawyers.com

New California Workers’ Comp Medical Mileage Rate for Travel On or After 1/1/13

The Internal Revenue Service has announced that the standard mileage rate for business miles will increase from 55.5¢ per mile to 56.5¢ per mile as of January 1, 2013. According to the California Workers’ Compensation Institute, this means that the mileage rate that California workers’ compensation claims administrators pay injured workers for travel related to medical treatment or evaluation of their injuries should be increased to the IRS rate for travel on or after January 1, 2013, regardless of the date of injury. Claims administrators, however, should continue to pay the current rate of 55.5¢ per mile for travel from July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2012.

http://www.cwci.org

CWCI Scorecard Looks at Carpal Tunnel Claims in California WC

The California Workers’ Compensation Institute has released the sixth edition of its “Injury Scorecard” research series, providing detailed data on accident year (AY) 2001 to 2011 workers’ compensation claims experience for cases in which the primary diagnosis was carpal tunnel syndrome. The new Scorecard is based on data from 19,899 California open and closed job injury claims for carpal tunnel syndrome that through December 2011 resulted in total payments of $738 million. The Scorecard shows that over the 11-year span of the study, carpal tunnel claims accounted for less than 1% of California job injury claims, but 2.4% of all paid losses.

http://www.cwci.org

Marrs Maddocks Reacts to Workers’ Compensation 2013 Rate Filing Change

 

The recent news that the California’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) amended its 2013 rate filing to recommend no rate increase was greeted with delight by business owners, but Marrs Maddocks, a San Diego insurance agency, knows that businesses are still seeking ways to lower their workers’ compensation premiums.

http://www.prweb.com

Court Rules Neurologist is a Tool

Back in April 2010, Dennis Laurion insulted neurologist David McKee on several rate-your-doctors websites. After being hospitalized at St. Luke’s Hospital for a hemorrhagic stroke, Kenneth, Laurion’s father, was examined by McKee, where the doctor allegedly said, “44 percent of hemorrhagic strokes die within 30 days. I guess this is the better option,” and “It doesn’t matter that the patient’s gown did not cover his backside.” In another reference, Laurion claimed that a nurse referred to Dr. McKee as “a real tool!”

http://www.personalinjuryradar.com

2 Comments For This Post

  1. Dennis Says:

    Although the Minnesota Supreme Court dismissed David McKee MD vs Dennis Laurion, the entire experience has been distressing to my family. We were initially shocked and blindsided by “jocular” comments made so soon after my father’s stroke by somebody who didn’t know us. We were overwhelmed by my being sued after posting a consumer opinion, and we were shocked by the rapidity with which it happened. My parents would be 88-year-old witnesses. My mother and wife prefer no discussion, because they don’t want to think about it. Conversation with my father only reminds him of his anger over this situation. My siblings and children don’t often bring it up, because they don’t know how to say anything helpful. I have been demoralized by three years of being called “Defendant Laurion” in public documents. While being sued for defamation, I have been called a passive aggressive, an oddball, a liar, a coward, a bully, a malicious person, and a zealot family member. I’ve been said to have run a cottage industry vendetta, posting 108 adverse Internet postings in person or through proxies. That’s not correct. In reality, I posted ratings at three consumer rating sites, deleted them, and never rewrote them again.

    The plaintiff’s first contact with me was a letter that said in part that he had the means and motivation to pursue me. The financial impact of being sued three years to date has been burdensome, a game of financial attrition that I haven’t wanted to play. The suit cost me the equivalent of two year’s net income – the same as 48 of my car payments plus 48 of my house payments. My family members had to dip into retirement funds to help me.

    After receipt of a threat letter, I deleted my rate-your-doctor site postings and sent confirmation emails to opposing counsel. Since May of 2010, postings on the Internet by others include newspaper accounts of the lawsuit; readers’ remarks about the newspaper accounts; and blog opinion pieces written by doctors, lawyers, public relations professionals, patient advocates, and information technology experts. Dozens of websites by doctors, lawyers, patient advocates, medical students, law schools, consumer advocates, and free speech monitors posted opinions that a doctor or plumber shouldn’t sue the family of a customer for a bad rating. These authors never said they saw my deleted ratings – only the news coverage.

    I’ve learned that laws about slander and libel do not conform to one’s expectations. I’ve read that online complaints are safe “if you stick to the facts.” That’s exactly the wrong advice. I did not want to merely post my conclusions. I wanted to stick to my recollection of what I’d heard. I don’t like to read generalities like “I’m upset. He did not treat my father well. He was insensitive. He didn’t spend enough time in my opinion.” However, such generalities are excused as opinion, hyperbole, or angry utterances. If one purports to say what happened, factual recitations can be litigated. The plaintiff must prove the facts are willfully misstated, but the defendant can go broke while waiting through the effort.

    I feel that defamation lawsuits are much too easy for wealthy plaintiffs. If I were to attempt suing a doctor for malpractice, my case would not proceed until I’d obtained an affidavit from another doctor, declaring that the defendant’s actions did not conform to established procedures. In a defamation suit, there’s generally no exit short of a judge’s dismissal order – which can be appealed by the plaintiff. Being called “defendant” is terribly personal, but the civil suit path is totally impersonal. During the three years that I went through depositions, interrogatories, a dismissal hearing, an appellate hearing, and a state Supreme Court hearing; I never once spoke to a judge.

  2. Content Scraper Says:

    Doctor David McKee, a neurologist with Northland Neurology and Myology, practicing at St. Luke’s Hospital, told the Duluth News Tribune he was disappointed and frustrated. “We need to change the law so someone with a personal vendetta who is going to use the Internet to make defamatory statements can be held responsible,” he said.

    The Star Tribune said it’s a frustrating end for McKee, 51, who said he’s spent at least $50,000 in legal fees and another $11,000 to clear his name online after the story went viral, resulting in hundreds more negative postings about him — likely from people who never met him. He hasn’t ruled out a second lawsuit stemming from those posts.

    “The financial costs are significant, but money is money and five years from now I won’t notice the money I spent on this,” he said. “It’s been the harm to my reputation through the repeated publicity and the stress.”

    McKee’s lawyer, Marshall Tanick, told the Associated Press that he and McKee plan no further appeals and that they were disappointed with the ruling. “We feel it gives individuals undue license to make disparaging and derogatory statements about these people, particularly doctors and other licensed professionals, on the Internet without much recourse,” Tanick said.

    From the American Health Lawyers Association: In this case, the court found the six allegedly defamatory statements were not actionable because the “substance, the gist, the sting” of plaintiff’s version for each of the statements as provided in deposition and defendant’s version essentially carried the same meaning, satisfied the standard for substantial truth, did not show a tendency to harm the plaintiff’s reputation and lower his estimation in the community, or were incapable of conveying a defamatory meaning (e.g., when a nurse told defendant that plaintiff was “a real tool”) based on “how an ordinary person understands the language used in the light of surrounding circumstances.”

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