Quinn Law Firm and MDASR, LLP. Announce “Of-Counsel” Partnership Effective Immediately

Dear PBA President:

The Quinn Law Firm is pleased to announce the establishment of a work relationship with McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP, (“MDASR”) in an “of-counsel” capacity, to offer our clients further representation in the fields of New York State Workers’ Compensation, New York State Disability Retirements and Social Security Disability.

Injuries suffered in the course of police duty are unfortunately commonplace. When injuries occur on the job the only way to properly protect your rights and benefits is through sound and comprehensive legal representation. MDASR has represented injured workers for over 65 years and knows exactly what steps need to be taken to ensure you receive proper medical treatment and just compensation. MDASR has a proud and extensive history of representing law enforcement officers and unions in disability claims throughout the state. MDASR understands the unique challenges police officers face daily and are devoted to applying that extensive knowledge and experience to the comprehensive and effective representation of your rights as a police officer.

MDASR’s partners are recognized throughout New York for their work in the disability field. Sean Riordan heads up the Disability Pension Department for MDASR. Sean is widely recognized as an expert in accidental disability retirement applications/claims under New York Retirement and Social Security Law § 363 (commonly referred to as “three-quarter claims”). He specializes in representing uniformed personnel in their actions against the New York State Retirement System, and has won several precedent-setting cases. Edward McIntyre, a former Sergeant with the Suffolk County Police Department, is an authority on workers’ compensation benefits and a leading advocate for officers’ disability rights. Richard Donohue, MDASR’s managing partner, heads up the Workers’ Compensation Department and is considered one of the foremost authorities on workers’ compensation matters.

In addition to the five (5) Senior Partners, MDASR has twelve (12) associate attorneys and over sixty (60) staff members dedicated to serving their clients. MDASR will be utilizing office space in our White Plains location, to effectively serve the Westchester and Rockland law-enforcement communities.

MDASR’s website is https://licomplaw.com. The main contact number is (631) 665-0609, and they also have an app that can be downloaded to your members’ smart phones. To access the app, go to the “App Store” on your mobile device and search “MDASR LAW”. The app will give your members access to a workers’ compensation or disability expert instantly. Jim Seganti (866-557-7500) will be the main point of contact for our Westchester and Rockland members.

We look forward to working with MDASR to bring our clients’ the best representation possible when faced with workers’ compensation and disability issues.

Should you have any questions about the additional services available to your organization and its membership, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Very truly yours,

Andrew C. Quinn, Esq.

www.quinnlawny.com

After Six Years, Airport Employee’s Widow Receives Workers’ Comp and Death Benefits

A New York State Appeals Court recently ruled that the widow of an airport employee who suffered a heart attack on the job is due workers’ compensation and death benefits. The decision concludes a six-year battle between the claimant and her late husband’s employer.

On December 14, 2010, Edward Kilcullen, who worked as a process operator at Albany International Airport’s glycol facility — which produces the liquid for deicing aircrafts — collapsed on the job after sustaining a myocardial infarction. He suffered brain damage as a result and never regained consciousness. He died seven days later.

Rita Kilcullen, Mr. Kilcullen’s wife, filed claims for workers’ compensation and death benefits, but was denied by both her late husband’s employer and the employer’s insurer. After a series of hearings, a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge ruled that Mr. Kilcullen’s work “contributed” to his heart attack and that his “death arose out of and in the course of his employment.” In March 2014, the Workers’ Compensation Board agreed with the judge; the employer appealed the decision.

On April 21, 2016, a three-judge panel of New York’s Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, in Albany affirmed the board’s decision. The court cited in its decision a finding from a doctor who reviewed Mr. Kilcullen’s medical records and concluded that the employee’s work environment and his work-related activities were “significant contributing factors” to his heart attack and resulting death.

According to case law, “a heart injury precipitated by work-related physical strain is compensable, even if a pre-existing pathology may have been a contributing factor and the physical exertion was no more severe than that regularly encountered by the claimant.”

The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

Sean Riordan’s Successful Appeal on Behalf of Nassau County Correction Officer Reported by The Chief-Leader

Sean Riordan, a partner with McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP, was interviewed by The Chief-Leader on the successful appeal of a case in which his client, a retired Nassau County correction officer, was initially denied the ability to collect disability retirement benefits.

Ronald DeMaio sustained a lower back injury after trying to break up a fight between an inmate and a fellow correction officer who was searching him for contraband. Officer DeMaio attempted to escort the inmate down a stairwell, but the inmate pulled away from him.

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Streamlined Prosecutions of Workplace Safety Violations Resulting from the Worker Endangerment Initiative

Recently, WorkCompCentral Workers’ Compensation and American Association of State Compensation Insurance Funds announced the federal government’s launch of the Worker Endangerment Initiative. This new program combines the prosecution of employer workplace safety and environmental violations. Often, employers who criminally violate the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), are also violating environmental laws at the same time. The initiative includes data sharing, joint investigations and streamlining the criminal referral program. The goal is to make it easier to prosecute environmental violations.

For one, the Environmental Crimes Section will be able to prosecute not only traditional environmental crimes, but also OSHA violations and other workers’ safety statutes. With this initiative, an employer can be charged with workplace safety violations, environmental law violations, and related offenses such as obstruction of justice and making false statements, in the same case. This will allow prosecutors to combine what would have been several cases into one, and make it more efficient to prosecute employers.

If you have been injured on the job, an attorney can help protect your rights. The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

OSHA’s New Reporting Requirements Improve Worksite Safety

With the close of 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced the results of the new reporting requirement which was implemented as of January 1, 2015. The new reporting guidelines require any severe work-related injury, including amputations, loss of an eye, or hospitalization, to be reported within 24 hours. The requirement of reporting a fatality within 8 hours remains unchanged.

Recently, WorkersCompensation.com reported on OSHA’s 2015 data on work-place-related injuries. Employers submitted a total of 10,388 cases of severe injuries in 2015. Out of the total, 7,636 were hospitalizations and 2,644 accounted for amputations.

Taking it further than just mere numbers, OSHA implemented the program in order to create safer workplaces. After a report comes in, OSHA works to identify what the hazard is, and what measures the employer can take to remedy it. Most of the cases reported in 2015 did not require a worksite inspection, which is conducted when OSHA deems it necessary.

If you are a worker who has suffered injury due to an employer’s failure to follow safety regulations, you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation. The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, represents individuals who have been injured on the job throughout the five boroughs of New York City including Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP Successfully Appeals Case for Injured Correction Officer

McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson & Riordan, LLP (MDASR) has announced that the firm successfully won an appeal on behalf of a Nassau County correction officer who was initially denied disability retirement benefits, despite being injured on the job, which forced him to retire.

On March 14, 2011, Ronald DeMaio assisted in breaking up a fight between an inmate and a fellow correction officer who was searching the inmate for contraband. Officer DeMaio subsequently escorted the inmate down a stairwell by holding the inmate’s arm. The inmate pulled away from Officer DeMaio, causing him to injure his lower back.

When Officer DeMaio applied for disability, he was denied and requested a hearing and a redetermination. The Hearing Officer upheld the initial decision, stating that Officer DeMaio failed to meet his burden of proof because he had failed to show that the inmate intentionally caused his injury. Officer DeMaio then retained MDASR to represent him on an Article 78 appeal. The firm argued that the Hearing Officer’s determination misstated the applicable legal standard and that the firm’s client needed to prove the injuries came from “any act of an inmate,” but the hearing officer wrongfully found that Officer DeMaio needed to prove that the inmate deliberately caused him harm.

On March 31, 2016, the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, ruled that the hearing officer did not properly apply the legal standard for review during the hearing process and committed an error of law in her determination.

Sean Riordan, a Partner with the firm, represented Officer DeMaio during the appeal. “Despite what many of the Hearing Officers have recently ruled, the ‘act of an inmate’ that causes the correction officer’s injury does not need to be an intentional act. These rulings are no longer valid,” Mr. Riordan said.

The Appellate Division also found that the Hearing Officer failed to provide the proper standard of review, finding that a redetermination is a de novo review, not a substantial evidence review. Mr. Riordan said the Hearing Officer did not take into account all of the evidence before making the determination. “In pension hearings, the Hearing Officer must review the totality of the evidence before it and make a new decision, not merely adjudicate whether the prior application decision was supported by substantial evidence,” he said. “While this procedural ruling appears to be legal semantics, Hearing Officers frequently justify denials on the basis that the Comptroller’s initial determination is supported by substantial evidence without giving the CO a full and fair review of the evidence. This is now also invalid reasoning.”

For more information, call (631) 665-0609 or visit www.licomplaw.com.

* A copy of the decision is attached.

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Frequency of Workers Compensation Claims Decline While the Severity Increases

According to Insurance Business America, over the past ten years the number of workers’ compensation claims is decreasing, but the severity of the injuries reported is increasing. Milliman and Keenan Healthcare analyzed workers’ compensation data and compiled a report showing frequency, severity, and medical and indemnity costs. They considered how reforms may affect the numbers as well. One of the main findings was that losses per $100 of payroll was stable between 2004 and 2014, but during roughly the same time period, the severity of claims increased by approximately 5.5 percent annually. There are ongoing efforts to not only reduce the number of claims, but also the severity.

Additionally, the report showed that from 2013 to 2014, estimated costs per indemnity claim decreased by about 10 percent. In fact, the study showed that younger workers tend to spend more in medical care as compared to other costs, while older workers have larger indemnity losses with about 20 to 25 percent of claims ending up in litigation. Employees between the ages of 36 to 55 approximated more than 50 percent of the indemnity claims paid. Data also showed that the severity of indemnity claims increases with age, and the likelihood of an incident resulting in an indemnity payment rises as well.

In order to remedy the frequency and severity of claims, there is an ongoing effort to improve workplace safety. For example, Workers Compensation reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a final rule on the requirements for personal protective equipment, which takes effect on April 25, 2016. The new rules dictate that more modern and improved eye and face protection should be used in the fields of longshoring, construction, marine and shipyard industries, and other general industries. Multiple outdated devices, as old as 1968 versions, were deleted and replaced with current acceptable standards.

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, a skillful workers’ compensation attorney can better guide you on how best to file claims. An attorney can help protect your rights and help preserve your coverage. The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

When Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers Get Injured

Many municipalities in New York State have volunteer firefighters and/or ambulance workers. The communities appreciate the dedication and passion the volunteers show, and the legislature has acknowledged those that are injured in the line of duty by passing laws to protect their rights. The Volunteer Firefighters’ Law was enacted in 1957, and the Volunteer Ambulance Workers’ Law came much later in 1989. These laws allow for medical care and cash benefits to be awarded to the volunteers injured on the job, unless the injury was caused by intoxication or if the claimant was intentionally hurting oneself or another.

Receiving benefits can be challenging because of the deadlines, hearings, and appeals process. Seeking the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney could make the difference in whether an injured volunteer is properly compensated or not.

One of the challenges is determining whether the injury occurred “in the line of duty.” Some situations are easily identified—such as responding to a 911 call or during training. Other injuries, such as an illness caused by smoke or chemicals exposed to when volunteering, can require a more skilled analysis to determine whether it falls within the statutory guidelines.

Another fact-intensive analysis involved is in calculating the claimant’s earning capacity. Each claimant is analyzed on an individual basis because there is no standard salary associated with the volunteer firefighter and ambulance services. Age, education, training, and experience are all factors to be considered, even if the volunteer is unemployed at the time of injury.

The New York State Compensation Board may hold hearings to weigh evidence and whether the claim is compensable. A workers’ compensation law judge presides over the hearing. After the judge’s decision, both parties have 30 days to appeal the judge’s finding, and if granted, the claim will go before a panel of three board members. If the panel does not come to a unanimous decision, a party may request a full board review as a last resort.

Retaining an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help guide you through the workers’ compensation claims process. The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

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Musculoskeletal Conditions Cause Injuries for Employees

It is common to hear coworkers complain of back or neck pain. What some may not realize is that according to the United States Bone and Joint Initiative’s 2012 statistics, the most recent data available, approximately 25.5 million people were unable to work an average of 11.4 days as a result of pain. Back and neck pain are considered to be a musculoskeletal condition, along with arthritis and osteoporosis. In 2012, about 126.6 million Americans were diagnosed with these diseases. Lost wages and annual medical treatment cost Americans approximately $213 billion. This includes costs to individuals, businesses, and medical facilities. When it comes to illness and work performance, aspects of workers’ compensation and employment law are implicated.

Even if an employee’s musculoskeletal condition is not caused by work, the condition may be exacerbated or lead to on the job injuries. Employees need to be aware that workers’ compensation law is complicated, and when injured while performing work duties, it is vital to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for protection of employment status and compensation for medical expenses and related costs. An experienced attorney can help determine if the injury qualifies under workers’ compensation law, and also advise you on what paperwork needs to be filed. Skillful workers’ compensation attorneys can guide employees on which claims to file and how to handle preexisting conditions. An attorney can help protect your rights and get you the compensation you deserve.

The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

Governor Cuomo Appoints New Executive Director to the Workers’ Compensation Board

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the appointment of Mary Beth Woods as the new Executive Director of the New York Workers’ Compensation Board. Mark Wade, the prior Executive Director, resigned in December 2015 to work as the Chief Claims Officer for Argo Group’s U.S. Operations. Along with Ms. Woods, six other individuals were appointed to various positions in governmental agencies as well.

Ms. Woods has worked for the NY Compensation Board for over 15 years. She held positions within the organization such as Deputy Executive Director, Director of Financial Administration, and Director of Leasing. Ms. Woods is a New York State certified public accountant, and before joining the Board, she worked for the New York State Division of the Budget, and as a supervising senior accountant at KPMG Peat Marwick. She holds a Bachelors in Science Degree in Business Administration from Siena College.

Additionally, Ms. Woods is a Board Member of the Compensation Insurance Rating Board, and is a past Chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Group Self Insurance. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo commented on his appointees, stating, “their commitment to public service will be instrumental in our efforts to build a safer and stronger New York and I look forward to working with them in service to the people of our state.”

Not much is known about what changes, if any, Ms. Woods intends to implement. If you have been injured on the job and think you may be entitled to Workers’ Compensation, contact an attorney who is experienced in that field. The Law Offices of McIntyre, Donohue, Accardi, Salmonson, & Riordan, LLP handles workers’ compensation claims throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, in addition to both Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Call (866) 557-7500 for a consultation.

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