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Philadelphia Worker's Compensation Law Blog

UPS driver who found murder scene is eligible for workers’ comp

A UPS driver came upon the worst when he stopped for a delivery on his usual route. Inside the home, he found a 65-year-old woman lying on the floor with a fatal gunshot wound to her face. He cried and threw up while waiting for emergency responders to arrive. A month later, the driver filed for workers’ compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The workers’ compensation commission in Virginia, where the case occurred, ruled that the murder scene was so shocking and unexpected that the man was eligible for benefits for PTSD. UPS appealed – arguing that the driver had only seen the body briefly and that it was not the kind of sudden shock or fright that would qualify a worker for benefits based on psychological injuries. 

Kansas Supreme Court rules that FedEx misclassified drivers

Another appellate court has ruled that FedEx misclassified hundreds of delivery drivers as independent contractors. The ruling, issued this month, the Kansas Supreme Court, is the second major decision to come down against FedEx in recent months.

Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that 2,300 drivers in California and 363 in Oregon are employees rather than independent contractors. The delivery giant has faced multiple class actions throughout the U.S. as current and former drivers challenge the company’s classification as independent contractors.

Job safety for older workers

As an older worker, you may be less likely to be injured in a job-related accident. Often, age comes with experience, focus and attention to detail. At 63, you may be a more precise worker than you were at 23.

However, you may face other risks, studies show. When accidents do happen, older workers are more likely to be severely injured and to require more time off work to recover. Further, chronic and repetitive injuries may be more likely to occur as bodies age.

Martin Law's Matt Wilson Talks Certification on 'CBS 3'

On September 25, Matthew Wilson made an appearance on CBS 3's Talk Philly to talk with Pat Ciarrocchi about the importance of certification when it comes to choosing an attorney for your workers' compensation case. 

Appellate Court: No worker’s comp coverage for Ayurvedic medicine

Many people who suffer severe injuries find that traditional medical treatments such as medication, injections, surgery and physical therapy do not always go far enough.

To supplement these treatments, they may turn to acupuncture, massage therapy, and other alternative methods of healing. People who use alternative methods often say they find relief – but when the injury is work-related, obtaining compensation for them can prove challenging.

In one recent Pennsylvania case, a nurse went to India for Ayurvedic treatments for work-related injuries she suffered to her shoulders, neck and upper left extremity. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Ayurvedic medicine uses herbal compounds, special diets and other health care practices. It is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. It dates back more than 3,000 years and remains one of India’s traditional health care systems, but it is not widely studied in Western medicine. 

Construction workers and musculoskeletal injuries

One of the most common injuries to construction workers often has the quietest beginnings.  Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries to muscles, tendons, nerves, cartilage and spinal disks. These injuries can develop from single accidents such as falls, but they often develop over time.

Musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs, make up 25 percent of construction worker injuries. It includes conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis and tendinitis. Some construction workers are more likely to sustain these injuries than others.

Pennsylvania sanitation workers face risk from discarded needles

Throughout the U.S., millions of Americans use injectable needles to treat a wide range of chronic illnesses. The needle pricks that help keep these people alive and well could prove dangerous for sanitation workers who pick up and sort our garbage. When not properly disposed of, needles can stick these workers, creating a risk of HIV, hepatitis and other diseases and leading to months of testing and medical treatment.

The problem, according to an article in the Bucks County Courier Times, is that workers rarely know where the needle came from and why it was used. A site manager for the sanitation company Waste Management says a needle could have been used by a person who needs insulin for diabetes, or by someone with HIV - which could have far more serious consequences for workers.

Court: California FedEx drivers were misclassified as contractors

Worker misclassification is a major employment issue in the U.S. Workers who are classified as independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation, health insurance and other benefits. It’s a cost savings for the business – and a detriment for the worker. That imbalance of benefits is one reason a recent appellate court ruling regarding FedEx’s classification of workers is significant.

FedEx is well known for classifying its delivery drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. According to an article in Courthouse News, 2,300 drivers in California and 363 in Oregon challenged that classification, claiming that that FedEx forced them to buy company-approved uniforms, equipment and even trucks as if they were independent contractors. At the same time, they claimed, FedEx controlled their appearance, including stipulating the socks they wore and that they be clean shaven.

Workplace violence: The hidden danger for health care professionals

The psychiatric patient showed up to the hospital at about 1:30 p.m., nearly an hour early for his appointment. According to National Public Radio, colleagues heard arguing and saw the patient pointing a gun at his psychiatrist. They called 911, but the shooting started at about 2:30 p.m.

According to NPR, the psychiatrist told police that the patient pulled a gun from his waistband and killed the caseworker who was present. The psychiatrist, who was grazed by bullets, said he went behind a chair, pulled a gun and shot at the patient six or seven times. The patient was hospitalized. Police said he had 39 unused bullets in his possession when he was wrestled to the ground.

Four Martin Attorneys Named to 2015 'Best Lawyers in America®' List

Martin LLC is pleased to announce that four lawyers have been named to the 2015 Edition of Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession.

Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Its first international list was published in 2006 and since then has grown to provide lists in over 65 countries.

"Best Lawyers is the most effective tool in identifying critical legal expertise," said President and Co-Founder Steven Naifeh. "Inclusion on this list shows that an attorney is respected by his or her peers for professional success."

Lawyers on the Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

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We congratulate the four lawyers from Martin LLC who were listed in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 for Workers' Compensation - Claimants:

George Martin, listed since 1995-96

Matthew Wilson, listed since 2010

Alfred Carlson, listed since 2013

John Dogum, listed since 2013