Archive for Workers Compensation

Worker’s Protection and Raising the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims

We all understand that when we are injured in an accident, whether in an automobile or personal accident, the injury might not be readily apparent until some point after the incident. Additionally, we are also aware that the legal system has imposed statutes of limitations for the victim to file a claim in court.

Advocates are looking at these facts and exploring whether raising the statute of limitations on personal injury cases might not prove a fairer option for those suffering from delayed onset of injury symptoms. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of hiking the time limits for filing a personal injury case.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Raising the Statute of Limitations

For those looking to boost the time that victims must file a legal case in the aftermath of a personal injury incident, point to the fact that many of these occur at the workplace, which poses challenges for the claimant.

Owing to the outsized influence an employer’s power can have on an employee’s economic wellbeing, many workers might shrug off the effects of an injury for fear of retribution. As such, advocates note that affording the injured more time will help them get their economic affairs, such as finding a new job, before pursuing their legal options vis-a-vie filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Obviously, continuing one’s employment while simultaneously suing the employer can be problematic. Indeed, the potential plaintiff might be subjected to intimidation tactics that might compel them to drop their case.

Moreover, as mentioned above, workplace accidents might take years to materialize into active symptoms. Expanding the timeframe in which to react to these delayed-onset symptoms with legal options allows the suffer a better chance to get the financial help they need.

As with all arguments, however, there are two sides that need to be considered, and the question of raising the statutes of limitations of personal injury cases also has its detractors. Those opposed to the proposition suggest providing more time could have big implications on the legal and business communities.

Specifically, they argue that extending the statutes of limitation might pose a risk of people faking their injuries in an illicit attempt to gain money, or that the move would place a burden on businesses owing to the company’s need to pay out large injury judgments.

In addition to the role this move would play in undermining business solvency, but they also argue that an increased caseload has the potential to gridlock the court system when it is already operating to full capacity.

Landmark Ruling Issues by New Jersey Superior Court

Recently, the Supreme Court in the state of New Jersey entered a significant decision that could change the way the law is interpreted when it comes to disability discrimination. If employers fail to accommodate claims under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (LAD), then the employer could be held responsible in a court of law. Employers are responsible for accommodating disabilities; however, this could be at odds with the current interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, this case could be far from over.

In this case, the plaintiff was a science teacher who taught at a local school. This is science teacher is a type 1 diabetic. She was looking for a change in her assigned lunch period to better accommodate her blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, the school refused to honor this request during one semester. Therefore, she was required to eat lunch at a later time. Because of this later lunch period, she suffered a hypoglycemic event. This means that her blood sugar levels dropped dangerously low, causing her to sustain a personal injury.

First, she obtained workers’ compensation benefits to help her cover some of the expenses related to her medical injury. After this, she filed a complaint with the New Jersey Superior Court. She sought damages related to her emotional distress, physical injuries, and pain and suffering. She stated that her employer did not accommodate her disability claim, which was to have her lunch slot moved to an earlier time to avoid this exact hypoglycemic event.

It is the prevailing interpretation of the law that employers are supposed to do what they can to accommodate the disabilities of their employees. At the same time, there is some debate surrounding what constitutes a “reasonable” request. In this case, the court decided that the request of the teacher was reasonable and that the school system did not accommodate her request.

On the other hand, the decision might break with the current interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, the school might decide to appeal the ruling and seek an interpretation that is more in line with this act. It will be interesting to see where the case goes from here. It could have an impact on similar cases in the future.

California McDonald’s Workers Awarded $26 Million Settlement Over Lost Wages and Working Conditions

After a seven-year battle 38,000, McDonald’s workers have been awarded $26 million by a Los Angeles County Superior Court. The court ruled against McDonald’s Restaurants of California Inc. over an array of claims, including failure to pay minimum and overtime wages and inadequate rest and meal breaks.

The lawsuit focused on corporate-owned McDonald’s that used a timekeeping system designed to bar workers from rest breaks, cheat them out of earned overtime, and have to pay out-of-pocket for cleaning and ironing their uniforms.

Once approved by the judge, this will mark the largest wage settlement ever against the Chicago-based fast-food giant. McDonald’s has been a target of labor organizers for years.

But that isn’t the only problem the home of the Big Mac faces.

On November 12, the American Civil Liberties Union sued McDonald’s on behalf of Michigan workers who claim sexual harassment has gone unchecked in its restaurants.

Adding to its legal woes, a group of Chicago-area workers sued McDonald’s on November 21 over a redesign in their stores that made them vulnerable to attacks by angry customers.

Of the California lawsuit, a McDonald’s spokesperson said the restaurant chain takes its employees seriously and strives to treat its employees fairly. McDonald’s Corp offered a written statement saying:

While we continue to believe our employment practices comply with the California Labor Code, we have decided to resolve this lawsuit filed back in early 2013. With this settlement, the parties have reached a mutually acceptable resolution and have submitted the settlement to the Court for its review and approval.

The company also issued new options and rules that cover rest breaks and meal periods. Employees’ uniforms will also be provided at no cost when they become damaged or worn.

McDonald’s agreed, as a part of the settlement, to compensate employees with a one-hour wage premium on days they aren’t provided a timely rest or meal break. The company said it will allow workers to leave their store during meal breaks “without restrictions.” The company said it will also no longer require workers to take breaks at the beginning or end of shifts

NHL Predator’s Face Ice Injury Lawsuit

Eric Nystrom was a National Hockey League (NHL) player. As a college student, he played with the Michigan Wolverines hockey team. He was sought after in the 2002 NHL draft with a first-round pick of tenth overall. His father Bob Nystrom, who was born in Sweden and grew up in Alberta, played with the NHL New York Islanders that won four consecutive Stanley Cups.

In 2005, Nystrom turned professional and played with the Quad City Flames, a farm team of the Calgary Flames, an NHL franchise. Nystrom split the 2007-2008 season between the Quad City Flames and the Calgary Flames. Eric Nystrom went on with his NHL career and played with the Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars, and Nashville Predators. Before the 2017-2018 NHL season, the Predators put Nystrom on waivers and bought out the last year of a four year contract with Nystrom. This action of the Predators against Nystrom effectively ended his NHL career.

Professional hockey is a very tough and somewhat violent sport. There is a high incidence of injuries in professional sports which are both popular and profitable. For instance, Professional sports in California in baseball, women and men’s basketball, hockey, and soccer have produced thousands of work injury claims.

Following Nystrom’ release from the Predators, he sought financial relief for three injuries he suffered playing professional hockey. Nystrom claimed that he suffered from ” permanent partial ” injuries to his hip and leg, on Sept. 3, 2013; a concussion on Nov. 15, 2013; and a back injury on Jan. 12, 2014.

Hockey is as prone to severe injuries like football, and it has been reported that hockey players suffer brain injuries from concussions. The Canadian Medical Journal found that between 1997 to 2004 five hundred fifty-nine concussions were reported in hockey players. The symptoms of a brain injury range from dizziness to blurred vision.

In Tennessee, work injury claims, are subject to provisions of the Workers Compensation Act. Nystrom is seeking a lifetime of medical payments and further economic relief. Not all states recognize that sports injuries are covered under Worker Compensation legislation. In response to Nystrom’s lawsuit, the Predators denied all the allegations in his suit, claimed that it had no knowledge of the injuries, Nystrom was not permanently disabled and the Predators never authorized medical treatment to him.