LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
I Walked Out Into West, Texas

By Stephen C. Embry, Esq. On April 17, 2013 an explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer Co., registering 2.1 on the Richter scale, leveled the plant and much of the surrounding town of West, Texas. The explosion was so powerful and destructive that it created a cloud of confusion as well as a...

Vermont Workers' Compensation Update: April to June 2013

VERMONT SUPREME COURT DECISIONS Brown v W.T. Martin Plumbing & Heating, Inc. , 2013 VT 38 [ 2013 VT 38 ] (Jun. 21, 2013). Court reverses decisions of both the Commissioner and de novo bench determination (Judge Wesley) in determining that CRPS impairment ratings can be awarded pursuant to the...

Tinnitus and Hearing Loss: Noteworthy AMA Guides Cases

Each year in the medico-legal treatise Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (LexisNexis), we survey court decisions involving the AMA’s Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment. Here are some interesting cases involving tinnitus and hearing loss where the AMA Guides were applied. Attention...

Injury to the Ear, Tinnitus: Is it More of an Injury Than We Think? Are We Missing Something Here?

By Steven M. Birnbaum, Law Offices of Steven M. Birnbaum, San Rafael, California Section 908(a)(13) (33 U.S.C.S. § 908(a)(13)(E)) defines compensation for disability under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (33 U.S.C.S. § 901 et seq .) and prescribes that “Determinations...

Wyoming: Increase in PPI After Additional Surgery Denied Based on AMA Sixth

Illustrating a point argued by many claimants’ attorneys—that the 6 th Edition of the AMA Guides provides for significantly lower levels of permanent partial impairment than did the 5 th Edition—the Supreme Court of Wyoming recently affirmed the Commission’s denial of a claimant’s...

Impairment Guides Resource Center (updated 9/9/2013)

Welcome! We've designed this resource center to help you locate Impairment Guides-related materials, here on the LexisNexis Workers' Compensation Law Community, the Internet, and lexis.com. Please be sure to check back often for new updates to the resource center. TABLE OF CONTENTS Free...

California: Rating Impairments That Are Missing From the AMA Guides

Attention Lexis Online Subscribers: Case citations link to lexis.com. Bracketed case citations link to Lexis Advance. In the recent WCAB panel decision of Cannon v. City of Sacramento, (2012) 2012 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 615 [ 2012 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 615 ], the WCAB Commissioners analyzed...

Air Ambulance En Banc Decision Denied Writ of Review: Cal. Comp. Cases September Advanced Postings (9/11/2013)

The following are advanced postings for the September 2013 issue of Cal. Comp. Cases. Lexis.com and Lexis Advance subscribers can link to the case to read the complete headnotes and summaries. © Copyright 2013 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. Zenith Insurance Company, insurer for Couto...

SSA Finding of Disability Used to Apply Conclusive Presumption of Dependency: Cal. Comp. Cases October Advanced Postings (10/4/2013)

Here’s the second batch of advanced postings for the October 2013 issue of Cal. Comp. Cases. Lexis.com and Lexis Advance subscribers can link to the case to read the complete headnotes and summaries. © Copyright 2013 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. City and County of San Francisco...

FEHA Settlement Didn’t Preclude TTD Award: Cal. Comp. Cases November Advanced Postings (10/22/2013)

Here’s the first batch of advanced postings for the November 2013 issue of Cal. Comp. Cases. Lexis.com and Lexis Advance subscribers can link to the case to read the complete headnotes and summaries . © Copyright 2013 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. Zurich North America, insurer...

Are Chronic Pain Syndromes and Drug Dependency Ratable Under the AMA Guides? If So, How?

By Robert G. Rassp, Esq. © Copyright 2014. Excerpted from The Lawyer’s Guide to the AMA Guides and California Workers’ Compensation , 2014 Edition (LexisNexis). Reminder to Calif. Workers' Compensation Judges: You have access to this publication on Lexis Advance. References...

California Workers' Comp Case Roundup (2/9/2014)

CALIFORNIA COMPENSATION CASES Vol. 79 No. 1 January 2014 A Report of En Banc and Significant Panel Decisions of the WCAB and Selected Court Opinions of Related Interest, With a Digest of WCAB Decisions Denied Judicial Review CONTENTS OF THIS ISSUE © Copyright 2014 LexisNexis. All rights...

Pennsylvania: Court Disqualifies Impairment Rating Evaluation of Board-Certified MD on Statutory Grounds

A Pennsylvania appellate court affirmed the denial of an employer’s petition to modify an injured employee’s benefits on the ground that the physician who performed the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE) on which the Modification Petition was based did not meet the requirement of Section...

Employer 90 Percent at Fault for Applicant’s Burn Injuries: Cal. Comp. Cases April Advanced Postings (4/16/2014)

Here’s the fourth batch of advanced postings for the April 2014 issue of Cal. Comp. Cases. Lexis.com and Lexis Advance subscribers can link to the case to read the complete headnotes and summaries . © Copyright 2014 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. Illinois Midwest Insurance Agency...

Iowa: “Lower Extremity” Is Not Same Thing as “Leg”; Award Made for Injury to the Body as a Whole

An Iowa appellate court affirmed a finding that an injured employee's deep vein thrombosis constituted an injury to the body as a whole and that the employee was entitled to an award of 60 percent industrial disability. The court said substantial evidence supported the commissioner's determination...

Strict AMA Guides WPI of Zero Percent Rebutted in Ortho/Psyche Case: Cal. Comp. Cases August Advanced Postings (8/20/2014)

Here are the second and third batch of advanced postings for the August 2014 issue of Cal. Comp. Cases. Lexis.com and Lexis Advance subscribers can link to the case to read the complete headnotes and summaries. © Copyright 2014 LexisNexis. All rights reserved. Bank of America, PSI, adjusted...

California: Combined Values Chart – Guide or Mandate?

The Combined Values Chart (CVC) is included in the 2005 Permanent Disability Rating Schedule (PDRS) as the tool for parties to use to add impairments. The form of mathematics is a bit odd. Under the CVC, 30 + 20 = 44. And 80 + 30 = 86. Some have wondered if this was part of the new “core curriculum”...

California: Elements for Rebuttal of a Strict Rating of the AMA Guides

One of the primary goals and foundation of the workers’ compensation system is to provide adequate medical treatment for injured workers, enabling them to promptly return to their usual and customary jobs. Hence, it is not unusual for a worker to be injured, receive appropriate medical treatment...

California: The Cannon Case: Permanent Objective Medical Diagnosis

Throughout the years, since the enactment of SB 899, all of the guidebooks have directed physicians and attorneys to focus on permanent objective medical conditions in order to determine whether that condition is ratable under the AMA Guides . Some people interpret the AMA Guides to stand for the proposition...

Pennsylvania: Psychologist’s Testimony Not Competent to Rebut IRE Evidence Submitted by Employer

A Pennsylvania appellate court held that while a psychologist may provide competent testimony in the claim petition context, if a claimant seeks to rebut competent impairment rating evaluation evidence, he or she must present evidence of similar character—i.e., evidence of rating evaluations performed...

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a Central Nervous System Disorder

A case study from California A case handled by this author involved the diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) from a lower extremity industrial injury. The WCAB upheld a trial judge’s decision that a WPI rating can exceed the maximum value of an amputation and the medical reporting...

California: Top 25 Noteworthy Panel Decisions (July–December 2014)

LexisNexis has picked the top “noteworthy” panel decisions issued by the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board during the period July through December 2014. You’ll find many helpful cases in this list, including a recent decision on reasonable attorney’s fees ,...

California: How Physicians Can Provide the Most Accurate WPI Rating Under the AMA Guides

In Ramirez v. Space Lok, Inc., 2015 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 9 (lexis.com), 2015 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. LEXIS 9 (Lexis Advance), the WCAB rescinded the WCJ’s finding that the applicant, a machine operator, incurred 36 percent permanent disability as a result of a 7/23/2012 industrial injury to...

Vermont: Physician’s Use of AMA Guides’ DRE Method—Rather Than ROM Method—for Determining Impairment Did Not Support Reformation of Settlement Agreement

Where settlement in 2002 (via Vermont’s Form 22) of the PPD segment of a workers’ compensation claim was based upon a physician’s use of the AMA Guides’ Diagnosis Related Estimate (“DRE”) and, six years later, two different physicians indicated that it would have been...

Evaluation and Weighing of Medical Opinion Evidence in Longshore Cases

By Yelena Zaslavskaya, Senior Attorney for Longshore, Office of Administrative Law Judges, U.S. Department of Labor, Washington, D.C. This paper highlights some of the considerations relevant to the determination of the probative value and relative evidentiary weight of medical opinions. [fn1] As...