The Veterans Administration provides medical coverage in many instances to veterans of the United States Armed Forces. Like Medicare, it is a federal program, and like Medicare, has the ability to lien a Workers’ Compensation file and seek repayment for any amounts the V.A. feels have been made for a work-related condition.
The second lien type I will be discussing in this series of blogs is Medicare. Medicare is a benefit under federal law which, in most cases, is provided to an individual either by that individual reaching 65 years of age or by that individual being found to be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits.
Social Security Disability recipients are eligible for Medicare in most cases after a two-year waiting period. Medicare has the right under federal law to recover any money they pay for medical treatment which they feel is something which should have been paid by a workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
You might ask yourself the above question if you are considering signing up to drive for the transportation service Uber. Uber promises that anyone with a valid driver’s license, personal car insurance, a clean record, and a four-door car can meet the New Jersey requirements to drive for Uber.
The Uber driver makes his or her own hours and is free to pick up or drop off a rider anywhere they chose and the driver can work as much or as little as they choose. Uber requires its drivers to carry the appropriate automobile insurance to cover the driver’s liability to other parties, damage to the vehicle and injury to the driver.
Here is what you should do if you have been hurt at work.
Report your accident
Immediately tell your supervisor or safety director about your accident, even if you do not think you need immediate medical attention. You never know when something small will turn into something big and it is better to be safe than sorry. You or your employer will then complete an incident report making a record of the event. Failure to report an injury in a timely manner could result in the denial of benefits.
One of the things we try to warn clients about early in a case is being sure that they treat only with authorized physicians, that is, physicians who are appointed by your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.
Under New Jersey law an injured worker does not have the right to choose a treating physician when an injury is accepted as work related by his or her employer. Treatment must be provided by the employer, an important provision of our Workers’ Compensation Act originally enacted in 1911. That Act incorporated a compromise which allowed employers to choose the doctors as a cost saving measure, in return for the injured worker not having to prove that he or she was not negligent, and not having to prove that the injury was someone else’s fault.
Juul sells e-cigarette liquid pods with very high levels of nicotine compared to competitors. This has brought increased scrutiny from the FDA and interest from researchers trying to evaluate the harmful effects of the “combustible” cigarette alternative.
A recent study by Stanford referred to the current e-cigarette market as “a nicotine arms race” as more and more competitors ratchet up e-cigarette nicotine levels to try to compete with Juul. Due to its high nicotine content, several lawsuits have been filed claiming the product was responsible for causing nicotine addiction.
As shared many times in the past, tobacco companies own a large percentage of e-cigarette companies. Recently “Big Tobacco” company Altria acquired a $12.8 Billion stake in Juul, the cool-looking vaping device that now dominates the e-cigarette market.
The FDA voiced concerns that the investment contradicts commitments from both companies to address an epidemic of youth vaping. Juul has been under scrutiny, not only for its advertising and social media campaigns, but also because its liquids have historically had nicotine levels higher than other products.
Desperate to shatter Juul’s recently-acquired, 70% dominance over the e-cigarette industry, competitors are increasing nicotine levels in their e-cigarette liquid pods. That does not bode well for the new generation of e-cigarette nicotine addicts and has generated what Stanford researchers have coined, “a nicotine arms race.”
Juul launched its e-cigarette officially in 2015 and has rapidly take over the market, due to a number of factors. Juul e-cigarettes present a subtle, USB-style design, with a patented “nicotine salts” delivery system that promises to deliver high levels of nicotine without a harsh inhaling experience. Equally effective is their clever advertising (See Stanford analysis of Juul advertising since inception).
A 24-year old man was tragically killed when an e-cigarette exploded, severing his carotid artery. The official cause of death was from a stroke caused by “penetrating trauma from exploding vaporizer pen.”
William Brown, known as “Eric” to family and friends, was running errands when the incident occurred. He was rushed to the hospital but died two days later from complications from the e-cigarette injury. It has not been reported which brand of e-cigarette Eric was using at the time of the incident.
It was only nine months ago that 38-year old Tallmadge D’Elia died of a projectile wound to the head from an exploding e-cigarette. The manufacturer of the e-cigarette he was using was contacted by an ABC affiliate station, WFTS who reported this response: “a representative from Smok-E Mountain tells us their devices do not explode, instead telling us it is likely an atomizer (the part a person inserts into their mouth) or a battery issue.”
Many residents in New Jersey have heard people from out of state remark how we pay more for auto insurance than they do. There is an element of truth to that perception. Some people get “sticker shock” when they buy a new car, only to find out that now their insurance rates have increased substantially. Others often face much higher auto insurance premiums when a teenager in their household gets his or her driver’s license.
Sometimes people respond to the increase in rates by decreasing the amounts of their coverage in an attempt to lower their premium. This is not a wise decision.