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Four Common Reasons Why Honest Workers’ Compensation Claims Get Denied

The first goal of your employer’s insurance company is to make a large profit. Regardless of whether the insurance company believes your case or not, it is in their best financial interest to deny your claim. It costs little to deny you time and time again, which is why hiring an attorney is often the only way to ever receive any benefits at all.

Do you have questions about a recent workers’ compensation denial? Four common reasons why legitimate claims are denied are as follows:

  • The insurance company claims that the injury was entirely pre-existing, or that the new injury that occurred on the job was only caused because of a pre-existing injury.
  • The injury was not reported immediately the day it happened. While many injuries, such as repetitive motion injuries, occur over a long period of time, some employers and insurance companies get it in their minds that if an injury occurred, the first thing an employee would do is report it. This is often not the case. Many employees simply limp their way home or to the emergency room and do not report the injury until days or weeks later. Arkansas statute 11-9-529 gives Arkansas workers 10 days to report an injury to their employer.
  • There were no witnesses to the injury
  • The workplace accident report is not confirmed by the medical record. In fact, any minor paperwork error can present itself as a great excuse for an insurance company to deny a claim.

Workers’ Compensation is Under Attack Across the U.S.

Workers’ compensation is becoming increasingly difficult to receive. Seriously injured workers are denied everyday across the U.S. due to state reforms pushed by big business and insurance companies, both claiming that premiums and costs are rising out of control. In fact, according to ProPublica, employers are now paying their lowest premiums since the 1970s and insurance companies have been seeing their highest profits in decades. These reforms hurt everyday workers and the economy as a whole, making it harder for injured people to get back into the workforce.

Contact an Attorney at Once

If you have been denied workers’ compensation, contact an experienced attorney at once. In fact, we highly recommend contacting an attorney before you file for workers’ compensation. Because the rate of denial is so high, your chances of receiving benefits or the benefits that you deserve, are very low without the aid of an attorney at your side. Contact the experienced Arkansas workers’ compensation attorneys at Bassett Law Firm today at 479-521-9996.

Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation

A new law regarding Oklahoma’s workers’ compensation system went into effect in February of 2014, and since then the workers’ compensation services provided to injured Oklahoma workers has fallen dramatically, according to the Insurance Journal. Oklahoma legislature claimed that the new regulations would be a cost-effective way to improve the health outcomes of injured workers while keeping insurance costs lower for employers. Now, almost three years after the regulations have taken hold, courts are disagreeing with the legislation on the grounds that large portions of the law are unconstitutional.

Cutting Costs for Employers While Cutting Benefits for Injured Workers

The new law, passed by Republican state legislation, changed the workers’ compensation system by moving from an adversarial court system to an administration. Not only are there dozens of challenges to the unconstitutional and downright invalid provisions, but despite the insurance costs for employers decreasing somewhat, it is still high compared to many other states with similar benefit levels.

Oklahoma Among Worst States for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Before the new law went into effect, Oklahoma was already ranked 48th worst in terms of workers’ compensation costs per covered wages of $100. In the two years leading up to the new regulations, Oklahoma’s benefits-paid declined more than any state. Families all across the state are struggling because of the new law. The maximum weekly death benefit, for example, is $589.33 for a spouse without children or any dependants, according to Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. Workers’ compensation benefits for permanent partial disability is set at 70 percent of the employee’s wage, capped at $323 a week.

Stan Spence, a chemical plant operator, is one of the many who has suffered significantly by the benefit cuts enacted by state legislation. After losing partial sight and suffering serious face injuries due to a carbon dioxide compressor explosion, his benefits were $1,200 a week. Now, after the laws have changed, he receives just $571 a week (the maximum), is in debt and struggling to pay the bills, and will lose even those benefits before he recovers from his next surgery.

We Are Here to Help

With the state’s workers’ compensation benefits being slashed, workers who have suffered injuries need to be awarded the maximum now more than ever. If you were injured on the job, Contact the Bassett Law Firm today at 479-521-9996 to talk to one of our experienced Oklahoma workers’ compensation attorneys.

Workers’ Compensation Rates to Decrease for Employers

Due to fewer and fewer workdays missed due to accidents, 2017 will mark the third year in a row that employers will be entitled to a reduced compensation rate for workers’ compensation insurance, according to one report. According to Missouri Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff, “Missouri businesses will be pleased to hear that workers’ compensation rates on average should decrease again in 2017. 

Case Study

With 336 active carriers and rates continuing to decline, Missouri has a competitive workers’ compensation market that benefits Missouri businesses.” Specifically, there is a 2017 proposed decrease of 3.7 percent in workers’ compensation costs. This reduced cost comes along with fewer missed work days by Missouri employees, which can be thought of as fewer missed days due to injuries and illnesses. So, is the Missouri work environment becoming safer? According to these claims, yes. Or, are employees just not reporting their injuries and illnesses? The proposed changes to specific Missouri industries are as follows:

So, is the Missouri work environment becoming safer? According to these claims, yes. Or, are employees just not reporting their injuries and illnesses? The proposed changes to specific Missouri industries are as follows:

  • Decrease of 1.5 percent in manufacturing;
  • Decrease of 4.9 percent in contracting;
  • Decrease of 6.9 percent in office and clerical work;
  • Decrease of 3.8 percent in goods and services and;
  • Decrease of 2.3 percent in miscellaneous work.

However, despite the news that workers’ compensation rates are declining and that the workplace is apparently a safer place, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating a string of fatalities that have taken place recently in Missouri and the surrounding area.

Since October 1st of 2015, within Region Seven, which includes Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, there have been 45 workplace fatalities, with five fatalities taking place since August 10th, according to KWQC News. One of these fatalities involved a man who was killed by a falling tree during a tree felling service, another employee was killed by gunshot wounds, a fourth man died of heat stroke during a workday that had a heat index of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and a fourth employee, who was working with concrete, was electrocuted when a bar of rebar he was handling made contact with a live wire. All four of these separate instances, all of which occurred since August 10th, were in Missouri.

Let an Attorney Help You with your Case

If you have been injured on the job, you deserve workers’ compensation benefits. Contact or call an experienced Missouri workers compensation attorney with The Bassett Law Firm today at 479-521-9996 for immediate assistance.

Can Shareholders Nominate Placeholder Directors to the Board?

Williams Faces Takeover Attempt from Shareholder Corvex

Tulsa-based energy company Williams is facing a corporate takeover attempt by one of its biggest shareholders, the hedge fund Corvex Management, Fortune reports. Keith Meister, the head of Corvex, wants to replace the entire board of Williams with his own employees. His plan is to have those employees step down in favor of more qualified recruits once he can find them. The unusual step is the latest in a turbulent series of management and ownership shakeups for the Oklahoma oil and gas company. These types of legal issues are normal parts of corporate business law

Corvex Has Pushed for Change at Williams

Meister has disagreed with a number of key decisions by the Williams leadership over the last year. He was disappointed when Williams did not negotiate actively with their rival Enterprise Products Partners when that company approached Williams with buyout overtures. Corvex and another major Williams shareholder Soroban Capital Partners had pushed Williams to sell out to another rival, Energy Transfer Equity LP. After this deal fell apart, nearly half of the Williams board resigned.

Meister’s Placeholders Could Sidestep Director Notice Bylaws

The Wall Street Journal explains a possible motive for Meister’s unusual strategy of naming employees to the board who will then resign. He had to name his candidates for the board by this past Thursday, August 25, in order to comply with Williams’ corporate bylaws requiring advanced notice of candidates. This move buys Meister time to find new recruits to replace the board. Once he finds the new recruits, his employees can name them to the board and resign.

Other Companies May Rewrite Bylaws to Avoid Placeholder Directors

This new and untested tactic may face legal challenges, though. Williams’ current leadership may argue that the bylaw is intended to give notice to shareholders of the identity of the director who will actually serve, not a placeholder who will name someone else and step down. If it works, other companies will be changing their bylaws to prevent this corporate takeover strategy. They may even seek legislation in particular states to outlaw this tactic, just as Chesapeake Energy got a law passed in Oklahoma requiring staggered board elections to prevent takeovers.

Find a Law Firm You Can Trust

If you are a business owner or you deal with the logistics of your business, you need a law firm that can handle the full range of your company’s legal needs. Get in touch with The Bassett Law Firm. We have experience helping large corporations and negotiating high-level business moves. We serve the areas of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Call us today at 479-521-9996 to schedule a consultation with our team.