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New York Times Investigation Reveals Nail Salon Workers Subjected to Health Risks

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According to a recent investigation by the New York Times, nail salon workers are some of the most overworked, mistreated, and underpaid workers in New York.  In addition, many of them face serious health risks due to the fumes and chemicals to which they are subjected on a daily basis.   

Most of the nail salon workers interviewed during the Times investigation were immigrants from Korea or China, and occasionally Latin America, Nepal or Tibet.  The Times found that some of these workers were earning a wage as little as $10 per day.  $35 is considered to be very good pay by those working in the nail salon industry.  In many cases, their employers even keep their tips, and offer no overtime pay.  In addition to the deplorable employment working conditions employees face, many of the workers are forced to go home to overcrowded and unsanitary living arrangements. 

Due to the salons not being properly ventilated, many of these workers face medical ailments such as respiratory and skin issues, nose bleeds, headaches, and sore throats, in addition to the physical pain that comes from being hunched over all day, and sore hands resulting from massaging other people’s hands and scrubbing calluses from feet for hours on end.  In many cases, women are not given gloves to protect their hands or proper masks to protect from inhalation.  Chemicals in products used for manicures include dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde.  Nail products are not regulated by the FDA and therefore, the long term health effects have not been studied by exposure to these products.  Tragically, in the nail salon industry, miscarriages and birth defects are all too common among women of child bearing years as a result of being over-exposed to these toxins. 

As a result of the New York Times expose, Governor Cuomo issued an emergency order to protect nail salon workers until more permanent measures can be in place.  Such measures include increasing safety measures requiring protective gloves; ordering back pay for lost wages; and an educational campaign that would distribute materials in six languages about the rights, health, and safety of nail salon workers.      

If you are a manicurist, or work in the cosmetics industry and have developed an illness as a result of your employment, you may be able to assert a Worker’s Compensation claim.  Contact the experienced attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McInytre, LLP at (866)557-7500.

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Recent Survey Indicates Large Percentage of Fibromyalgia Patients Not Receiving Disability Benefits

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Anyone with fibromyalgia knows how debilitating the condition is, and how difficult it is to perform job functions that you may have been able to previously.  While the condition affects 5 million adults, only 25 percent are receiving disability benefits.  A recent survey conducted by ProHealth.com has found that out of the 316 participants, 60% had fibromyalgia.  68% of the participants were not receiving disability benefits at all.  The two most popular responses as to why the survey participants were not receiving disability were that they either felt guilty asking for it, or could not afford to be out of work for two years while awaiting approval.  For those who did make claims, 75% had not involved a lawyer. 

Even for those who apply for social security disability for fibromyalgia, the outcome is uncertain.  The Social Security Administration issued new standards in 2012 to determine disability eligibility based on fibromyalgia symptoms.  Previous to the new guidelines, a fibromyalgia claim was not necessarily viable.  In determining the eligibility for a claim, the Social Security Administration will look at whether:

  • There is at least a 3 month history of widespread pain
  • At least 11 of the 18 tender points are found on examination
  • Evidence from other disorders were excluded

The SSA also requires medical documentation for a period of 12 months prior to the application date.  Documents should include medical evaluations from a physician, and possibly a psychologist.  The SSA will also take into consideration evidence of a person’s day to day functioning as reflected by the statements provided by friends, neighbors, clergy, past employers, counselors, or teachers.  The SSA will also have their personnel evaluate you in a multiple step process considering:

  • Work history
  • Severity of symptoms
  • Whether the impairments meet medical criteria
  • Whether you are capable of performing past work

If you are capable of doing past work, then you do not qualify for disability.  If you are denied your claim, you may appeal.  Many people have found more success with the appeals process.

Navigating through the Social Security Disability system is often frustrating and confusing.  If you are experiencing the debilitating pain of fibromyalgia and can no longer work, it is best to contact an attorney who is experienced in handling such claims.  Call The Law Offices of Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McInytre, LLP at (866)557-7500.  

Click here to see the results of the ProHealth.com survey regarding work disability.

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Performance Artists Face High Risk of Workplace Injury

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When one goes to see a show such as Cirque du Soleil, spectators see a performance that allows them to retreat into their imaginations for a while.  What they don’t necessarily see, however, are the injuries that can affect so many of the performers.  According to OSHA, Cirque du Soleil’s Las Vegas show has been ranked 79th most dangerous workplace out of 52,000 nationwide.  The injury rate for these performers is four times greater than professional sports teams.  Additionally, in many cases, performers do not receive just compensation and will never be able to perform again.

While many of the injured performers receive Worker’s Compensation, the system is not geared toward the specific nature of performance, and companies such as Cirque du Soleil do not have provisions in the performers’ contracts like those of professional athletes.  This means that many of these performers will be left without adequate compensation for their injuries and an inability to earn a living.  In one case, a performer’s pay dropped 85% after her injury due to the cap placed on Worker’s Compensation payouts.  The price tag placed on her permanent ankle damage was $170,000, after she disputed the initial $45,000 she was offered.  Due to her injury, the former Olympian will never be able to perform again.

In another tragic case, a performer was killed when her harness did not work properly.  Despite the performer’s concern about the equipment, the company did not take proper safety precautions.  After an OSHA investigation, the company and the casino in which it was housed were fined for safety violations.  The company also settled a lawsuit with the performer’s children.

Being a performance artist can be a dangerous occupation and result in serious injury.  If you are a performer who has been involved in a work related accident, contact an attorney who has experience dealing with these matters and will ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.  Call The Law Offices of Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McInytre, LLP at (866)557-7500.     

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OSHA and Airline Ground Safety Panel renew alliance

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Many accidents can occur on the runway of an airport.  Airline ground personnel run a risk of being struck by heavy objects, and even coming into contact with hazardous chemicals.  In addition, ground personnel frequently operate equipment such as hi-life trucks, jacks, dollies, refuelers, loading devices, and pushback tugs.  As a result, working as ground personnel at an airport requires special safety training to avoid injuries in what can be hazardous conditions.

As a result of the safety issues facing airport grounds personnel on a daily basis, OSHA formed an alliance with the Airline Ground Safety Panel in 2008. The Alliance was just renewed for the second time on April 8, 2015 for another five years.  The Alliance implemented training resources and safety guides identifying potential hazards and solutions to prevent vehicle accidents, falling objects, amputations, pinch point injuries, collisions, and other injuries.  It plans to continue educating airline workers about employee safety, rights and responsibilities.

Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace.  However, an average of thirteen workers each day are still killed, and another four million workers a year are seriously injured as a result of their job duties.  If you have been injured as a result of an unsafe working condition, you may be able to file a Worker’s Compensation claim.  Contact an experienced New York attorney who will fight for the compensation you deserve.  Call The Law Offices of Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McInytre, LLP at (866)557-7500.            

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NPR Reports Insurers Gaining Control in the California Worker’s Compensation System

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According to a recent report by NPR, the worker’s compensation system in California is giving too much control regarding medical decisions to employers and insurers.  The State Compensation Insurance Fund, a quasi-governmental agency, employs anonymous independent medical reviewers.  The reviewers, who are not required to be licensed in the state, have the power to make decisions regarding treatments without ever examining the worker.  Many believe that too much deference is given to the reviewers, who side with the insurance companies 90% of the time. 

In the case of a worker who was injured in a work accident in 1997, reforms made to the California worker’s compensation system have denied her the continuation of effective treatment which included pain medications and a home aide.  This worker might never be able to use her feet again, and suffers from what is known as chronic or complex regional pain syndrome.  After the State Compensation Fund reviewed only the worker’s medical paperwork, and not her actual injuries, the reviewer determined that the medication and the home aide were not helping her recover and thus, denied her request.

Because the reviewers are anonymous, it is impossible to override their decisions or even depose them for trial purposes. 

In another heartbreaking case, a worker who suffered from job related injuries which resulted in paralysis is unable to live at home because his request for modifications to his home for wheelchair access were denied.  Even though his doctor prescribed $170,000 in home modifications, an independent medical reviewer employed by the California Insurance Guarantee Association rejected the prescribed modifications.  However, after NBC4 News in Los Angeles featured the story, the CIGA approved the modifications and publicly announced that the claim was not handled properly.

Click here to read the full NPR story.    

Click here for the audio transcript. 

If you have suffered from a workplace injury, contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney who will fight for your rights.  Call The Law Offices of Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McInytre, LLP at (866)557-7500.

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Bus Drivers Face High Risk of On-the-Job Injury

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Public transportation drivers have an especially important role to play in society- they are entrusted with delivering thousands of people every day safely to their destinations.  In fact, in 2013, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation and half (5.4 billion) of those trips were rides in a bus.  Therefore, when a bus driver suffers from an injury or illness, there is a trickle down effect.  A recent survey was published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reflecting the kinds of hazards bus drivers face on a daily basis.  Due to the nature of their employment, bus drivers spend a great deal of time on the road and as a result, 42% of work related injuries in 2013 were related to transportation incidents.  However, these incidents were second to physical overexertion in 2012, which accounted for 34% of cases.  In 2013, overexertion constituted 22%.

In addition to vehicle accidents and bodily reactions, bus drivers also are exposed to the elements of nature as a condition of their job, and thus, slips and falls accounted for 14% of injuries in 2013- a decrease from 20% in 2011.  The remainder 35% of accidents faced by bus drivers in 2013 fell into the categories of contact with objects/equipment, violence by people or animals, and exposure to harmful substances. 

Bus drivers can often face long hours, and both physically and mentally stressful conditions.  To be entrusted with the safety of so many passengers each day is a very serious undertaking.  If you are a bus driver, or a loved one is, who has been injured while on duty, contact an experienced attorney who can assist you with your Worker’s Compensation claim at attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP at (866)-557-7500.     

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Executive Seeks Fund Reallocation to address Social Security Disability

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The United States Social Security Disability Insurance program, which provides benefits to over 11 million Americans, could be cut by nearly 20 percent. According to reports from the Social Security Administration Board of Trustees released in July 2014, the Social Security trust fund, which finances the federal program, is projected to be depleted by the end of 2016.

To address potential shortfalls in the past, Congress has reallocated payroll taxes from Social Security’s Old Age and Survivors Insurance fund to the disability trust. Similarly, while recognizing the need for a congressionally crafted long-term solution, the White House has proposed reallocating payroll taxes from the social security retirement fund to the social security disability trust fund to prevent the looming depletion.

Specifically, the White House’s proposal would shift $330 billion from retirement accounts over the next five years. However, according to the White House, the proposed reallocation will not affect the overall health of the retirement and disability trust funds on a combined basis.  It is important to note that it is still unclear whether such measures will be adopted.

If you or a loved one have any questions regarding your Workers’ Compensation, social security, or New York State disability benefits, contact our experienced attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP at (866)-557-7500 or click here to speak with our office. 

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Recent Report Exposes the Injured System of Worker's Compensation

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A recent report by ProPublica and National Public Radio exposed how states, including New York, have implemented cuts to worker’s compensation benefits which has resulted in shifting the costs of workplace accidents away from the employers and to the taxpayers.  Employers are paying the lowest premium rates on workers’ compensation since the 1970’s.  Both the risk of injury is increasing due to changing trends in the labor market, as well as the financial hardships suffered by employees who cannot work due to work related disabilities.  Due to implementing cost saving strategies, insurance companies are seeing an 18% return in profits while workers are not getting the compensation they deserve.  In many instances, the workers who suffer injury are forced into poverty as a result of being unable to return to their job, in addition to paying extraordinary medical expenses. 

In New York, medical treatment guidelines were implemented in 2010 which lowered worker’s compensation costs for employers while limiting adequate treatment available to many workers.  According to the ProPublica report, in 1988, the average rate for worker’s compensation insurance in New York was $2.98 per $100 of the worker’s wages.  Last year, it was $2.85.     

In a report published this month by OSHA entitled “Adding Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job,” OSHA analyzed the economic burdens that work injuries place on families and the trickle-down effect low worker’s compensation pay out rates have on society.  The injuries suffered by many workers affect their entire family structure.  In many cases, a worker’s spouse will need to cut back on their own hours of employment in order to care for their disabled family member.  In other cases, the non-disabled spouse may take on an extra job or extra hours to support their family.  Such long days causes workers to run the risk of fatigue and illness which causes a 61% increase in both work related injuries and motor vehicle accidents.  Additionally, because workers cannot sue their employers, they largely rely on paying out of pocket for their medical expenses.

It is also interesting to note the price tags attached to injuries regarding worker’s compensation benefits.  For example, in New York, the maximum compensation for loss of an arm is $252,299.  In many jobs that involve labor, a worker will be unable to return to his previous duty without a limb.  In many cases, the worker will have to support a family in addition to paying medical expenses out of the amount provided.  Nevertheless, New York’s worker’s compensation benefits are still higher for most body parts than the national average.   

OSHA has asserted that the “acceptable number of work injuries, especially fatal work injuries is zero.”  In order to accomplish this, employers must take preventative measures to eliminate dangerous conditions.

For more information, see:

https://www.propublica.org/article/the-demolition-of-workers-compensation

http://www.dol.gov/osha/report/20150304-inequality.htm                 

http://www.propublica.org/article/how-much-is-your-arm-worth-depends-where-you-work

If you are a worker who has suffered an injury while on the job, contact an experienced Worker’s Compensation attorney to ensure that your rights are protected and you are getting the full and appropriate compensation you deserve.  Contact Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre at (866) 557-7500.

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Courts Explain Parameters Of What Constitutes A “WTC Qualifying Condition, New Onset Disease”

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By: Sean Patrick Riordan, Esq.

In the nearly fourteen years since the World Trade Center attacks First Responders have contracted and suffered from a variety of injuries and illnesses resulting from their heroic work at the World Trade Center Site. In order to better care for public servants who developed these WTC related illnesses as a result of their efforts, in 2005 then Governor George Patacki signed into law what has commonly been referred to as the World Trade Center Bill. Litigation dealing with the meaning of the bill, as well as the parameters of those that qualify, has been raging ever since.

                The Appellate Division, 1st Dept., on February 17, 2015, clarified an important question surrounding the WTC Bill, namely: “What constitutes a “New Onset Disease” within the meaning of the law?” In Sheldon v. Kelly, the Court makes clear that the provision is to be read expansively and not narrowly.

                The WTC Bill specifically enumerates a number “qualifying physical and psychological WTC Conditions” which are too numerous to fully state here. If an applicant’s disabling condition is specifically noted as a “WTC Qualifying Condition” the WTC Bill shifts the burden of proof onto the applicable Retirement System to rebut the presumption that the applicant’s condition was not caused by their WTC exposure. This “burden shift” is extremely important. In passing the WTC Bill the legislature realized that many of the diseases that would emanate from WTC toxic exposures would take years to develop and study and the legislature did not want to have First Responders denied their rightful benefits in the interim. As the Court stated in a similar case, Bitchnatchi, “the full extent of the health challenges faced by these workers, arising from chronic, acute exposures to a toxic brew of substances at the site, may not be known for years.”

                The WTC Bill also contains a provision covering “new onset diseases resulting from exposure as such diseases occur in the future, including cancer, asbestos related disease, heavy metal poisoning and musculoskeletal disease.” Until now, what constituted a “new onset musculoskeletal disease” was unclear, and many claims were denied by the Retirement System as not fitting within the parameters of the WTC Bill. Sheldon has changed that.

                Sheldon, a retired NYPD Police Officer, worked over 300 hours at the WTC Site and, in 2002, was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a “syndrome that causes chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain.” Following her application for WTC Accidental Disability Retirement, the Police Pension Fund denied her claim, finding that Fibromyalgia was not a WTC Qualifying Condition and that Sheldon failed to prove a connection between her disease and her WTC exposure.” The Appellate Division overturned the Pension Funds denial, finding that Fibromyalgia is rightfully within the “broad parameters of a musculoskeletal disease.” Therefore, the Court held, the Pension Fund was required to affirmatively rebut the causal connection presumption created by the WTC Bill. The Court once again stated that a Retirement System cannot merely rely on the lack of evidence and studies that clearly show a connection between the disease and the WTC exposure; INSTEAD the Retirement System must show evidence that there is clearly no link between the two.

                The decision marks a giant step forward for First Responders who are suffering from a multitude of impairments not specifically stated as covered by WTC Qualifying Conditions. Many new and valid claims will now be guided with the Sheldon principles and rightfully awarded WTC Accidental Disability benefits.

                If you have any questions or need assistance with your WTC Accidental Disability claim, please feel free to contact us at (212) 612-3198. 

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Nurses Face Increased Risk of Workplace Violence

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The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has estimated that 2 million Americans a year are subjected to violence in the workplace.  Specifically, there has been new light shed on the violence that many health care providers face on a daily basis.  Nurses are most likely to experience violence, with up to 82% of emergency room nurses reporting that they have been the subject of physical violence, and 100% claiming they had been subjected to verbal violence, according to a survey conducted by the Emergency Nurses Association. 

Last month, the issue of workplace violence for nurses rose to the forefront when a cardiologist was shot at a Boston hospital, allegedly upset over his mother’s death.  Although shootings at hospitals are not common, violent crimes in hospitals have been increasing as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Emergency room nurses and nurses who work in psychiatric wards are among those employed by the profession that faces the highest risks of injury resulting from violence in their workplace.  Many of those who attack nurses are under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, or suffer from mental illness.  Last year, a 70 year old nurse went into a coma and suffered brain damage as a result of a patient repeatedly kicking her in the head at a New York hospital.  OSHA found that particular hospital had 40 incidents within 3 months, failing to take proper measures to prevent such scenarios from occurring.       

As well as violence causing injury in the workplace, nurses also face a number of other job related injuries and illnesses that are prevalent in the profession.  Back injuries, slip and falls, exposure to chemicals and diseases, and the injuries that may arise from a patient’s violent episode can all contribute toward a Worker’s Compensation claim if you have to miss work due to your condition.

If you are a nurse who has been the victim of workplace violence or suffered injury as a result of performing your job, you are eligible to file a  NYS worker’s compensation claim.  Contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who will work aggressively to secure full and appropriate compensation for your injuries. Contact Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre at (866) 557-7500.

 

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ABLE Creates Long-Term Planning Solution for Disabled Americans

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In order to qualify for federal programs like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a person can’t have more than $2,000 in cash savings or other assets. As a result, many disabled individuals are discouraged from working or setting aside money for long term expenses, since they don’t want to put their benefits at risk.

A traditional planning solution that many permanently disabled individuals have as means to provide for long term care beyond government benefits, has been to create a special-needs trust. However, many people receiving Medicaid and SSI benefits, do not have the extra money to hire the necessary legal services to produce a trust.

This past December, however, congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, more concisely referred to as ABLE.  Essentially, ABLE creates a lower-cost of means for the disabled and their families to save for long-term needs without jeopardizing their federal benefits.

According to the New York Times, disabled people and families with children who have special needs can pay into the accounts. So long as the money is spent on pre-approved categories of expenditures for the beneficiary, withdrawals from the accounts will not be taxed. Such pre-approved expenditures include, housing, education, transportation, health care and rehabilitation.

ABLE accounts have an annual contribution limit of $14,000 and can grow to $100,000 without effecting S.S.I. benefits. To qualify you must have been disabled before age 26. While specific regulatory are still emerging, anyone eligible for S.S.I. benefits will likely be eligible for ABLE.

Additionally, if you or a loved one have any questions regarding your workers benefits, social security, or disability benefits contact our experienced attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP at (866)-557-7500 or click here to speak with our office.  

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Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre, LLP Plays Important Role in Major Breakthrough Related to 9/11 Volunteers

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Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre, LLP recently played an important role in protecting the rights of 9/11 volunteers in the Jaime Hazan case.  This case was recently reported on the front page of the New York Law Journal, Long Island’s News 12, Fox News, the New York Daily News and WALK radio.  The case is being cited as greatly expanding the Workers’ Compensation rights of 9/11 Volunteers.  This media coverage is almost unprecedented in the field of Workers’ Compensation.

Article 8-A of the Workers’ Compensation Law affords Workers’ Compensation benefits to volunteers who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts surrounding 9/11.  One of those injured as a volunteer was Jaime Hazan.  Sherman, Federman litigated this case extensively, winning the case at the Workers’ Compensation Board level.

            The Uninsured Employers’ Fund, on behalf of the World Trade Center Volunteer Fund, appealed the determination of the Law Judge.  They argued that despite the fact that Mr. Hazan presented pictures, affidavits and other evidence that he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero, he could not be defined as a volunteer because of Final Revised Order of the Chair 967.  This is an internal order of the Workers’ Compensation Board not to award World Trade Center Volunteer Benefits to volunteers that did not formally register with or serve under the direction of an authorized rescue entity or volunteer agency.  Thus, although Mr. Hazan proved he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts to the satisfaction of the Law Judge presiding over his case, his rights to benefits were being appealed because he did not formally register with a volunteer agency or rescue entity.  

            Sherman, Federman filed a rebuttal, or written response to the appeal, containing multiple legal arguments.  We argued that nowhere in the law was there any such requirement to register with a volunteer agency or rescue entity as a precursor to receiving 9/11 volunteer  benefits.  In fact, according to the way the law was drafted, the 9/11 Volunteer Workers’ Compensation law was to be interpreted broadly and not restricted.  Thus, Revised Order of the Chair 967 was contrary to the purpose and intent of the law.  Unfortunately, the Workers’ Compensation Board reversed stating that because Mr. Hazan did not satisfy Final Revised Order of the Chair 967, he could not be awarded 9/11 Workers’ Compensation Volunteer Benefits.

            Sherman, Federman advised Mr. Hazan that the Workers’ Compensation Board was misinterpreting the law and encouraged him to seek alternate counsel specializing in appealing to a higher court, the Appellate Division, 3rd Department. Mr. Hazan ultimately retained Michael Hutter and the Pro Bono Appeals Program in Albany to prepare appropriate briefs for that court and argue the appeal. On June 5, 2014 the Appellate Division ruled that the Final Revised Order of the Chair 967 could not bar Mr. Hazan’s claim for 9/11 volunteer benefits as it was contrary to the law.  The case has presently been restored to the Workers’ Compensation Board for further proceedings.

The significance of this ruling is that World Trade Center Volunteers who did not register with an authorized rescue entity or volunteer agency may now apply for Workers’ Compensation benefits and have their cases heard on the merits.  This ruling will hopefully open the door to an entire class of volunteer rescue and recovery workers who have been otherwise barred from receiving benefits at this point.  The Governor’s office is reportedly reviewing the decision of this case to determine whether to rescind Revised Order of the Chair 967.

Many of the Legal Arguments, originally advanced by Sherman Federman in the Rebuttal to the Appeal at the Workers’ Compensation Board level, were cited in the Appeal to the Appellate Division by Mr. Hutter and the Pro Bono Appeals Program in their brief and ultimately by the Appellate Division, 3rd Department.

We congratulate Mr. Hazan, Mr. Hutter and the Pro Bono Appeals Program for a job well done and for the impact this case will likely have on other World Trade Center Volunteers. 

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Potential 2015 Workers’ Compensation Legislation

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Last year, 2014, the state of New York enacted several Workers’ Compensation bills, including the New York State Commercial Goods Industry Fair Play Act and the NYCERS and WCB Mandatory Exchange of information. To refresh, the New York State Commercial Goods Industry Fair Play Act, in part, established a standard to prevent the misclassification of trucker drivers as independent contractors. This simply means that truck drivers may be eligible for workers’ compensation if they were to suffer an on-the-job injury.

 The NYCERS and WCB Mandatory Exchange of information, among other things, mandated the exchange of information between the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS) and the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) in an effort to implement pension plan offsets for the workers’ compensation benefits a retiree receives for the same injury.

This year, 2015, several previously proposed pro-labor workers’ compensation bills are likely to be reintroduced at the state legislature. Among them includes a bill which would require a presumption of permanent total disability if an individual is approved for social security disability benefits; a bill which would allow claimants to choose their own pharmacy; a bill that would allow death benefits to continue if a spouse remarries; a bill which would require medical treatment guidelines for all body parts and medical conditions; and a bill prohibiting the retroactive application of the medical treatment guidelines. While it remains unclear whether these proposals will be adopted, it is important that New York workers remain informed of potential rights and protections.

If you have suffered a work related injury, you may be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and other damages. An injury on the job can occur in a number of ways and can jeopardize your ability to provide for you and your family. To learn more about the compensability of your claim, contact our experienced attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP. Call (866)-557-7500 or click here to speak with our office.  

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OSHA Regulations Call for More Employer Transparency

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Starting January 1, 2015, companies will be required to report all work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations, and eye losses within 24 hours of the incident.  This comes as an update to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s current recordkeeping requirements.

Currently, OSHA requires that employers report in-patient hospitalizations only if three or more employees are affected. Furthermore, amputations and eye losses were previously not required to be reported. Both the revised regulation and the previous regulation requirement that employers report work-related fatalities within eight hours. The new regulations reflect an effort on the part of OSHA to broaden its safety-reporting requirements.

Many employers, however, are not convinced that stricter federal requirements on reporting workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses will significantly improve workplace safety. Employers further argue that the new implementation will require that time and money be spent on compliance, even though there is little evidence that such a regulation revision will improve workplace safety.

Indeed, OSHA estimates it will take about 30 minutes, per incident, to gather and report the required information. OSHA officials estimate that if 120,000 additional reports are submitted nationally, and if the person making the report makes about $40 an hour, the reports could cost employers about $2.6 million nationwide. At present, OSHA receives an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 reports per year for fatalities and catastrophes resulting in three or more employees being hospitalized.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration aims to help employers and employees reduce on-the-job injuries, illnesses and deaths by directing national compliance initiatives in occupational safety and health.

 If you have been injured during the course of your employment you qualify for workers compensation. For more information contact the experienced New York Workers’ Compensation attorneys at The Law Offices of Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre, LLP.

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Can a Company Require an Employee to Provide Notification Before Seeking Medical Treatment?

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In short, no.  Employers cannot required employees to give notification before seeking medical treatment. The issue arose in court after a FedEx employee alleged that he was fired for such a lack of notification.  In the September 24, 2014 decision, a federal judge ruled the policy was effectively illegal.

According to reports, the employee had notified supervisor that he was suffering from back discomfort. As a result, the employee was scheduled for “light duty” for the duration of week. The employee subsequently scheduled an appointment with a physician's assistant, who provided him with a note requesting his employer, FedEx, keep him on light duty until he could receive a complete evaluation. However upon receiving the note, FedEx fired the individual.

Although FedEx claimed that the then-employee violated company policy by not notifying his supervisor ahead of time that he was seeking medical treatment, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division determined that the company’s policy violated the employee’s right to seek medical treatment without interference.

As the Court opined, “[By] definition, imposing any prerequisite an employee must satisfy before seeking medical treatment 'interferes' with the employee's right to seek and obtain medical treatment and therefore runs afoul of the [state] Workers' Compensation Act."

In New York State, workers' compensation laws cover nearly all New York employees. If you are injured on the job, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention as soon as possible. While you are not required to notify your employer that you are seeking medical attention, New York workers’ compensation law does require the injured employee to notify their employer about the injury and the way in which it occurred within 30 days of the accident causing the injury.

If you or a loved one have any questions regarding your workers benefits, social security, or disability benefits contact our experienced attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP.  

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NY Senator Introduces Bill to Help Alleviate Financial Burden on Americans with Disabilities

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Senator Charles Schumer has recently introduced a new piece of legislation to the United States Senate. The proposed bill aims to assist New Yorkers with disabilities and their families in their preparations for the future. The bill, titled, Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) creates a tax-advantage savings account for people with disabilities.

According to reports, the bill would authorize the creation of a savings account similar to an Individual Retirement Account.  The saving account would allow parents to put away more money for their disabled child, without paying taxes on those contributions. Furthermore, the deposits would not put them over a threshold for what they stand to receive for social security disability.

Individuals that have been diagnosed with a mental or physical disability can create an account. Those individual’s beneficiaries can also establish an account. Anyone would be able contribute to the account.  More importantly, the funds would be able to be withdrawn tax-free and used for expenses such as education, medicine, and transportation.

According to the CDC, there are more than 43,000 people with disabilities in western New York alone, which includes but is not limited to Autism, Down Syndrome, and Fragile-X.

In short, Senator Schumer’s bill seeks to alleviate the difficult proposition which many families of disabled Americans face: Choosing between paying for daily living expenses and saving for their child’s future.

For more information on ABLE or for any information on Social Security disability, contact an experienced social security disability attorney at the Law Offices of Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre, LLP.

 

New York Social Security Disability Attorneys

 

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The Biggest Backlog in the Federal Goverment

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 David A. Fahrenthold

In an obscure corner of the federal bureaucracy, there is an office that is 990,399 cases behind.

That is Washington’s backlog of backlogs — a queue of waiting Americans larger than the populations of six different states. It is bigger even than the infamous backups at Veterans Affairs, where 526,000 people are waiting in line, and the patent office, where 606,000 applications are pending.

All of these people are waiting on a single office at the Social Security Administration.

Social Security is best-known for sending benefits to seniors. But it also pays out disability benefits to people who can’t work because of mental or physical ailments. And it runs an enormous decision-making bureaucracy to sort out who is truly disabled enough to get the checks — and who is trying to game the system.

Within Social Security, this backlogged office handles appeals of appeals. In most of its cases, the applicants have already been turned down twice by lower-rung officials who didn’t think they were disabled enough.

If they appeal to this office, they can plead their case in person, before a special kind of Social Security judge.

The judge is supposed to read the applicant’s medical records and ask questions about medications, limitations and levels of pain. There are 1,445 of these Social Security judges, which means its in-house legal system is larger than the entire regular federal court system — district and appeals courts and the Supreme Court put together.

When they make a ruling, they must decide whether someone is truly unable to hold any job.

That is slow work, made slower by a pileup of outdated rules and oddball procedures. The judges’ official list of jobs, for instance, is a Depression-era relic last updated in 1991. It still includes “telegram messenger” and “horse-and-wagon driver” — not exactly growth industries. It doesn’t mention the Internet at all.

These judges fell behind when Gerald Ford was president. And they never caught up. Along the way, their office has become a bureaucratic parable — about what happens when the machinery of government cannot keep up with its good intentions.

In this case, the system became, in effect, too big to fix: Reforms were hugely expensive and so logistically complicated that they often stalled, unfinished. What’s left now is an office that costs taxpayers billions and still forces applicants to wait more than a year — often, without a paycheck — before delivering an answer about their benefits.

The experience of fighting this backlog can feel desperate and futile to people on both sides of the judge’s bench.

“I had two claimants on my docket this past month. . . . They died. They died. Waiting for a hearing,” said Carol Pennock, a Social Security judge based in Miami.

She worried that the two women might have improved if they’d lived long enough to be awarded disability benefits. In an especially absurd twist, even death didn’t remove one of those women from Social Security’s backlog. The woman had a child who might receive the woman’s disability benefits post-mortem. So Pennock said she had to hold a hearing to decide if a dead person was legally disabled.

“I really wonder if what we’re doing is effective at all. If it helps at all,” Pennock said, after a day of hearing cases and trying to reduce her share of the backlog. “If, based on the amount of evidence we get, my decision is any better than flipping a coin.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/10/18/the-biggest-backlog-in-the-federal-government/

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New York State Comptroller Announces Decrease in Pension Contribution Rates

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The New York State Comptroller recently announced that the contribution rates paid by state and local governments towards New York's pension funds will decrease.

According to the Comptroller’s office the average rate of contribution will decrease to 18.2% for most public workers from 20.1%, the comptroller said. For police and firefighters, the employer rate will drop to 24.7% of payroll from 27.6%.

The decrease in contribution rates is expected to have immediate impact on local governments outside New York City.  In New York City, pension contributions will likely remain the same thanks to the city’s separate pension system. In recent years, localities and school districts have faced increases in their pension cost burden, partly due to the projected costs from a boom in retirees. Now, however, the rate reduction announcement comes as the state's main pension fund reached a record high of $180.7 billion. 

Thus, according to State Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli, the healthy state of the fund means local taxpayers won't have to contribute as much. This is due in part to recent investment gains, which has increased the state's pension fund to 92.2% from 88.7%. 

Though New York's pension fund is regarded as one of the best-funded in the country, opponents question the fund’s long term outlook. Indeed, skeptics argue that the fund assets, being largely comprised of various investments, presents a high risk for a high reward.

For additional information about state pension information and how it may affect you, please visit the state comptroller’s website at https://www.osc.state.ny.us/pension. Additionally, if you or a loved one have any questions regarding your workers benefits, social security, or disability benefits contact our experienced attorneys at Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP.

 

New York Workers Comp Attorneys

 

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Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre, LLP Plays Important Role in Major Breakthrough Related to 9/11 Volunteers

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Sherman, Federman, Sambur & McIntyre, LLP recently played an important role in protecting the rights of 9/11 volunteers in the Jaime Hazan case.  This case was recently reported on the front page of the New York Law Journal, Long Island’s News 12, Fox News, the New York Daily News and WALK radio.  The case is being cited as greatly expanding the Workers’ Compensation rights of 9/11 Volunteers.  This media coverage is almost unprecedented in the field of Workers’ Compensation.

Article 8-A of the Workers’ Compensation Law affords Workers’ Compensation benefits to volunteers who participated in the rescue and recovery efforts surrounding 9/11.  One of those injured as a volunteer was Jaime Hazan.  Sherman, Federman, litigated this case extensively, winning the case at the Workers’ Compensation Board level.

The Uninsured Employers’ Fund, on behalf of the World Trade Center Volunteer Fund, appealed the determination of the Law Judge.  They argued that despite the fact that Mr. Hazan presented pictures, affidavits and other evidence that he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at ground zero, he could not be defined as a volunteer because of Final Revised Order of the Chair 967.  This is an internal order of the Workers’ Compensation Board not to award World Trade Center Volunteer Benefits to volunteers that did not formally register with or serve under the direction of an authorized rescue entity or volunteer agency.  Thus, although Mr. Hazan proved he participated in the rescue and recovery efforts to the satisfaction of the Law Judge presiding over his case, his rights to benefits were being appealed because he did not formally register with a volunteer agency or rescue entity.  

 Sherman, Federman filed a rebuttal, or written response to the appeal, containing multiple legal arguments.  We argued that nowhere in the law was there any such requirement to register with a volunteer agency or rescue entity as a precursor to receiving 9/11 volunteer benefits.  In fact, according to the way the law was drafted, the 9/11 Volunteer Workers’ Compensation law was to be interpreted broadly and not restricted.  Thus, Revised Order of the Chair 967 was contrary to the purpose and intent of the law.  Unfortunately, the Workers’ Compensation Board reversed stating that because Mr. Hazan did not satisfy Final Revised Order of the Chair 967, he could not be awarded 9/11 Workers’ Compensation Volunteer Benefits.

Sherman, Federman advised Mr. Hazan that the Workers’ Compensation Board was misinterpreting the law and encouraged him to seek alternate counsel specializing in appealing to a higher court, the Appellate Division, 3rd Department. Mr. Hazan ultimately retained Michael Hutter and the Pro Bono Appeals Program in Albany to prepare appropriate briefs for that court and argue the appeal. On June 5, 2014 the Appellate Division ruled that the Final Revised Order of the Chair 967 could not bar Mr. Hazan’s claim for 9/11 volunteer benefits as it was contrary to the law.  The case has presently been restored to the Workers’ Compensation Board for further proceedings.

The significance of this ruling is that World Trade Center Volunteers who did not register with an authorized rescue entity or volunteer agency may now apply for Workers’ Compensation benefits and have their cases heard on the merits.  This ruling will hopefully open the door to an entire class of volunteer rescue and recovery workers who have been otherwise barred from receiving benefits at this point.  The Governor’s office is reportedly reviewing the decision of this case to determine whether to rescind Revised Order of the Chair 967.

Many of the Legal Arguments, originally advanced by Sherman Federman in the Rebuttal to the Appeal at the Workers’ Compensation Board level, were cited in the Appeal to the Appellate Division by Mr. Hutter and the Pro Bono Appeals Program in their brief and ultimately by the Appellate Division, 3rd Department.

We congratulate Mr. Hazan, Mr. Hutter and the Pro Bono Appeals Program for a job well done and for the impact this case will likely have on other World Trade Center Volunteers. 

 

New York Workers Compensation Attorneys

 

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Suffolk County Detectives Assocation

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Dear Ed, 

On behalf of the Board of Governors and the SDA Golf Committee, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your very generous donation which was used to sponsor the dinner for this year's golf outing.  Your donation helped to defray the costs of this annual outing in addition to assisting in making this tournament a success. 

Again, our sincerest appreciation for your donation and we look forward to working with you again next year. 

Sincerely, 

Glenn Kirkpatrick
Golf Chairman

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Additional Information Relative to Filing a Worker's Compensation Claim - English

Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McInture, LLP is a Long Island, NY based workers’ compensation firm. We provide services to the greater New York area including but not limited to Brentwood, Garden City, Hempstead, Islip, Manhattan, Riverhead, essentially all of Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk county), Sysosset, Bay Shore, Hampton Bays, East Hampton, West Hampton, the North Fork, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massacheusetts the South Fork, Down Island, the North Shore, the South Shore, Mattituck, Jamesport, Cutchogue, Commack, Wyndanch, Longbeach, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, etc. We cover all urban, suburban and rural areas alike (i.e., the entire Tristate area).

Services include workers accident, workers compensation, social security disability, and veterans disability. We have worked with and represent heart attack patients, herniated discs, those injured on the job, pertaining to occupational disease illness for bread winners, the elderly/old, exclusive remedy requires, death benefits, fraud, office related injury, posttraumatic stress syndrome, abogado, lesions, compensation, laborales, en mass, section 32, HEP C, hepatitis, permanent disability, pre-existing conditions, 3rd party injuries, neck injury, sue worthy, employer induced, 32 settlements, WCB permanent-partial, carpal tunnel, car crash, arthritis, CRPS, temporary partial, TPD, complex regional pain syndrome, etc.

We are the best law attorneys/work injury lawyers/SSI and SSD attorneys, located in New York City. We can provide a free consultation for your case. Simply fill out our NY state intake form. There is also a printable version available via that same new client intake form link.

Where can I file a workers comp, SSD (social security disability), veterans claim in New York? Please contact us to set up an appointment!

Please view our testimonials above via the top-most navigation menu. You may also view our frequently asked questions (FAQ) pertaining to your SSI/SSD/Worker's Comp claim.

Moreover, please contact us with any questions related to: withdrawal, workers comp forms relative to NY/NJ/CT, NY workers compensation laws, Suffolk County and Nassau County WC Laws, questions regarding doctors in Long Island who may be able to assist with your comp case, "When should I get an attorney for NYS WC case?", filing for benefits, repetitive motion, all WC related forms and, potential fees and awards for your case, questions related to the WC board, questions relative to changing your reward, average weekly wage, reopening a workman’s comp case, SSI Attorneys and assistance, questions regarding making/filing another application whilst you have a pending appeal, reopening post-decision cases, voluntary withdrawal from the workforce, "Who pays for workers comp?", judge(s), spine stimulators, how to begin your WC case with SFSM via www.nycomplaw.com, wages and wage estimates, claiming your rewards for a filed case and the respective guidelines to winning.

Regardless of the outcome, Sherman, Federman, Sambur, & McIntyre, LLP is here to help. And our success is driven by our combined passion to help you!

El pariente adicional de Información para Archivar una Pretensión de Indemnización Laboral - Espanol

Sherman, Federman, Sambur, y McInture, LLP es una Larga Isla, Nueva York basó a la firma de compensación por accidentes de trabajo. Le proveemos los servicios al mayor área de Nueva York incluyendo pero no limitado a Brentwood, la Ciudad Jardín, Hempstead, Islip, Manhattan, Fuente de Un Río, esencialmente todo Sysosset Bastante Isleño,, Costa Baya, Hampton Bays, Hampton del este, West Hampton, el North Fork, Nueva Jersey, Connecticut, Pensilvania, Massacheusetts lo Al Sur Tenedor, la Isla Caída, el North Shore, lo Al Sur Costa, Mattituck, Jamesport, Cutchogue, Commack, Wyndanch, Longbeach, las Reinas, el Bronx, Brooklyn, etcétera (Nassau y condado Suffolk). Cubrimos todas áreas urbanas, suburbanas y rurales por igual (i.e., el área entero Tristate).

Los servicios incluyen accidente de trabajadores, compensación de trabajadores, incapacidad de seguro social, e incapacidad de veteranos. Hemos trabajado con y representamos a los pacientes de ataque al corazón, los discos herniados, esos heridos en el trabajo, relacionado con la enfermedad de enfermedad profesional para ganadores de pan, las personas de edad/viejas, el recurso exclusivo requiere, beneficios por muerte, fraude, la oficina relató lesión, síndrome postraumático de estrés, abogado, lesiones, compensación, laborales, masa en, sección 32, HEP C, la hepatitis, la incapacidad perpetua, condiciones preexistentes, lesiones 3 de fiesta, la lesión del cuello, entable demanda digno, el empleador inducido, 32 acuerdos, WCB parcial en la permanente, el túnel del carpo, el accidente automovilístico, la artritis, CRPS, el empleado eventual parcial, TPD, complique síndrome regional de dolor, etcétera.

Somos los abogados de ley de mejor abogado /trabajo de la lesión del abogado /Ingreso Suplementario de Seguridad y SSD, localizado en la ciudad de Nueva York. Podemos proveer una consulta libre para su caso. Simplemente llene nuestra forma de la toma del estado de Nueva York. Hay también una versión imprimible disponible por ese mismo nuevo enlace de la forma de la toma del cliente.

¿Dónde puedo reportar a unos trabajadores comp, SSD (la incapacidad de seguro social), pretensión de veteranos en Nueva York? Aquí mismo en Sherman, Federman.

Por favor mire nuestros testimonios arriba por el menú que se sobrepasa más de navegación. Usted también puede mirar nuestras preguntas preguntadas (el archivo de preguntas frecuentes) frecuentemente relacionado con su la pretensión Comp DE SSI/SSD/Worker.

Además, por favor contáctenos con cualquier preguntas con las que se relacionó: El retiro, ¿ las formas del comp de trabajadores referente a NY?, Solicitando beneficios, moción repetitiva, todo WC formas relacionadas y, premios y retribuciones potenciales para su caso, las preguntas se relacionaron con el pizarrón WC, preguntas referente a cambiar su recompensa, salario medio semanal, reabriendo un trabajador Abogados comp de caso, de Ingreso Suplementario de Seguridad y la asistencia, tiene objeciones acerca de referente a la confección /limadura otra aplicación aun mientras usted tiene una súplica pendiente, reabriendo casos de postdecisión, retiro voluntario de la población en edad laboral, ¿ "quien paga para trabajadores comp"?, El juez (s), los estimuladores de la columna vertebral, cómo empezar su caso WC con SFSM por medio de www.nycomplaw.com, sueldo y salario estima, pidiendo sus recompensas como demanda por un caso archivado y el respectivo conjunto de directrices a ganar.

Sin tener en cuenta el resultado, Sherman, Federman, Sambur, y McIntyre, LLP es aquí para ayudar. ¡Y nuestro éxito es conducido por nuestra pasión combinada para ayudarle!