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In this special report the Law Journaldiscusses legal developments in workplace injuries such as an 11th Circuit decision that expands the reach of the Medicare Secondary Payer Statute, new guidelines for the admission and reliance upon scientific evidence, the high cost of workplace violence, the consequences of intentional employer misconduct, and fall protection regulations for ironworkers.
The Expanding Reach of the Medicare Secondary Payer Statute A Sept. 15 decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals demonstrates the government’s intent to pursue claims impacted by the Medicare Secondary Payer Statute and expands the reach of the statute outside of workers’ compensation and into the realm of civil litigation. Supreme Court Sets High Judicial Threshold for Evaluating Scientific Evidence For the past few decades, the most compelling issue in an occupational disease case has been the manner in which the workers’ compensation court should determine the admissibility of scientific evidence. The New Jersey Supreme Court recently established guidelines for the admission and reliance upon such proof. Workplace Violence Is Not Someone Else’s Problem Violence in the workplace is a serious safety and health issue. Its most extreme form — homicide — is the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injury in the United States. As a result, business owners are increasingly being held liable, either based upon common law or statute, for not making their premises safe for employees and customers. When Workplace Injuries Result From Intentional Employer Misconduct The New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Act generally requires an employee who suffers a workplace injury to apply for benefits as the exclusive remedy against the employer for that injury. However, the act does permit an employee to pursue alternative or additional remedies when a workplace injury is caused by intentional employer misconduct. Six Feet Over or Six Feet Under? Although fall protection regulations for ironworkers were recently revised in January 2002, the OSHA “double standard” must be thoroughly understood by the practitioner handling a fall protection case.

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