- Laid off, Downsized or Bought Out?
- A Word from...Our Friends at West Tennessee Legal Services
- Stay Safe This Summer
- Former Goodyear Employees- Time for Claims Running Out
- Way to Go Mike Hartup!
- Company Closed? Laid-off? You may be entitled to more workers compensation
- So the Judge Said You Had to Mediate Before Your Case Goes to Trial
- Recent Settlements
E-News: T. Robert Hill
Since we began sharing this newsletter with the Hill-Boren family, our goal has been to communicate important information regarding your rights under the law, changes in the legal landscape and hazardous products and practices. As technology becomes a larger part of our daily lives, we are pleased to offer you the option of receiving additional, timely e-mail updates. These updates will not remove you from our paper newsletter list, but will allow you to receive immediate, relevant news. These e-mails will only be used to share important information, like prescription drug recalls or warnings, pending legislation or worker’s compensation updates.
To sign up, visit our website and complete a brief survey. Not only will you begin receiving our periodic e-mail news blasts, but you will also be eligible to win a special prize. Eleven winners will be chosen at random for one of ten $50 gift cards or our grand prize gift card pack, including $100 Wal-Mart card, $50 Visa card, $50 gas card and a $50 Outback card.
TO WIN, enter the drawing by June 30th at www.hillboren.com.
Laid Off, Downsized or Bought Out?: Mike Hartup
Unfortunately, many people are suddenly finding themselves without a job during these economic hard times. Worse yet, they are realizing how limited the current job market is and how difficult it is to find work in a new field. For some, this is made even worse by an on-the-job injury preventing them from returning to the type of work they may have spent a lifetime doing.
If you have a physical condition that prevents you from performing the type of work that you did in the past, you are protected under Social Security regulations. These regulations protect those without the necessary skills required for a less physically-demanding job.
If you are over age 50, have a history of physically demanding work and have a physical impairment that limits you to light or sedentary activity, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. It doesn’t matter that your last work was terminated for reasons other than your physical impairment, nor does it matter that you may have received severance pay.
Regardless of whether you were laid off or received a benefit package from your employer, eligibility is determined by your physical capability to perform your previous work. If you have applied or are considering applying for disability benefits, give our Social Security staff a call for a free case evaluation.
West TN Legal Services provides free legal assistance in 17 counties in West Tennessee. One group they offer assistance to are those facing default or foreclosure. Many homeowners who were once on stable financial footing now find themselves without a job or working reduced hours and struggling to maintain their current financial obligations. The end result is a record number of homeowners with mortgage delinquency/default problems with foreclosure often looming on the horizon.
Homeowners need to watch out for scams. As with any crisis, certain companies see the possibility of profiting from the desperation of these homeowners. These unscrupulous entities solicit distraught homeowners by mail, email, internet advertisements, or over the phone. Homeowners are charged upfront fees ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 in return for a “guarantee” that their mortgage debts can be cured and that their monthly payments will be decreased. After paying these exorbitant fees, some homeowners come to realize that these dishonest companies never even attempted to negotiate with their mortgage lenders.
Struggling homeowners do not need to tread water or fall victim to these scam companies when there are skilled HUD housing counselors available and willing to assist them free of charge. West TN Legal Services, Inc. a local West TN nonprofit since 1979, assists homeowners by providing free counseling services and legal assistance in pursuing home retention options including loan modification requests and lender negotiations. While no agency can provide the guarantee of home retention, West TN Legal Services, Inc. can guarantee substantive efforts to achieve this goal while always maintaining the best interests of the homeowner.
To learn more about lending, foreclosure prevention, and the Fair Housing Act, visit the West TN Legal Services website at wtls.org or call toll free (800) 372-2600.
Stay Safe This Summer: James Krenis
In rural areas like West Tennessee, riding ATVs is a staple of summer recreation. However, these vehicles can be deadly if not driven safely. Even more unfortunate is the fact that the number of children injured or killed in ATV accidents rivals that of adults. Recent research shows that children comprise one quarter of the more than 800 deaths from ATV-related incidents. Also, of the 150,000 ATV-related emergency room visits each year, children make up one-third. Most injuries result from rollovers, children being trapped under the machine, or from being ejected from the ATV in a crash.
While children under 16 are not supposed to operate ATVs, the truth is that many of them do. Encouraging safe driving habits is important to preventing injury or death. An important aspect of ATV safety is the size of the vehicle. ATVs made for adults are much too large for children to operate properly. Helmets should be worn and children should be supervised at all times. Also, never allow children to drive on public roads. We encourage you to keep yourself and your children safe this summer.
Former Goodyear Employees- Time for Claims Running Out: Jeff Boyd
On July 9, 2011, Goodyear locked the doors of the Union City plant. The one-year anniversary of the closing looms for former Goodyear employees who may have new workers
compensation claims. Old workers compensation claims that may have been settled under the "caps" and gradually developing injuries, such as carpal tunnel or hearing loss claims, may be eligible for reopening.
The Tennessee Worker’s Compensation law allows claims to be made within one year of the date of the injury or within one year from the date of the last voluntary payment of benefits, such as medical bills or temporary benefits. For employees who have prior settlements that were agreed to under the caps, the triggering event for the employee's right to have that prior settlement reconsidered is the closure of the plant. The statute gives the worker one year from that event to file documents to protect their rights under the Tennessee Worker’s Compensation Laws. Finally, for gradually developing injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and hearing loss claims, the date of injury may be considered to be the date of the last injurious exposure, which could be the last date that the plant was open (if that was the last day worked). Again, the statute allows one year from the date of the last injurious exposure to proceed with your claim.In essence, if you are a former employee of Goodyear and you have or are considering pursuing your rights to benefits under the Tennessee Worker’s Compensation Act, you must take action by July 9, 2012. Please consider contacting Hill-Boren, PC to discuss your options. Do not give up your claim for benefits due to inaction. Tell anyone that you know that worked at Goodyear about this deadline and encourage them to call Hill-Boren.
Company Closed? Laid-off? You may be entitled to more workers compensation: Ricky Boren
During your employment, if you were required to wear hearing protection as part of your job requirements, then it is likely that your workplace was noisy enough to cause hearing loss. If you noticed that your ears felt stuffy or rang after your shift, you most likely experienced what is called a “temporary threshold shift,” which is indicative of significant noise exposure. If you have difficulty hearing conversations in noisy environments, or if your spouse or significant other complains about the volume on the radio, you may have experienced noise-related hearing loss. If you have ever “failed” a hearing test at work or been asked to “retake” the test or had your “baseline” adjusted, then most likely you have experienced a hearing loss. The fact that your employer may have told you that you were fine, or that your hearing was not that bad, does not mean that you are not entitled to compensation.
Hearing loss is a recognized industrial injury, just like a back or shoulder injury. Currently, Hill-Boren is handling close to 600 hearing loss claims in West Tennessee. We handle, by far, more hearing loss claims than any other firm in this area. Take advantage of your rights under the law. Call Hill-Boren. We’re here to help and we know how.
ALERT MILAN ARSENAL EMPLOYEES! If you were recently laid off from work at the Milan Arsenal and sustained any on-the-job injury, you may be entitled to benefits-even if you have previously filed a claim for the same injury. However, you must act quickly. There is a time limit for filing. Call Hill-Boren today. We Can Help!
Way to Go Mike Hartup! Mike Hartup
Hill-Boren attorney Mike Hartup recently completed the 2012 St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee, joining more than 30,000 runners in this 26-mile race. He raised $1,335 for St. Jude.
So the Judge Said You Had to Mediate Before Your Case Goes to Trial....What's That About?: Tamara Hill
Mediation has been around for centuries, first in Ancient Greece and then in Roman civilization. In modern times, mediation is also called alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, which should not be confused with arbitration! In mediation, the parties maintain control over the outcome and ultimately decide whether or not to settle the dispute. If they do not settle, they are still able to have the case heard in the court system. In
arbitration, the arbitrator(s) decide the outcome and the parties are not allowed to go to court.
Most of the time, mediation is ordered after both sides have exchanged information so that a realistic negotiation can take place. Once mediation is ordered, the parties must agree on a mediator by simple agreement, elimination from a panel or through court appointment. The parties must also agree on how the mediator will be paid, by one party, by both equally, or some other arrangement. If no agreement can be reached, the court may intervene.
Once you arrive at mediation, the mediator will require everyone to sign a confidentiality agreement. Sometimes there is an initial meeting with all the parties and their attorneys but if the matter is contentious, oftentimes the mediator will meet with each side separately.
During the mediation, the mediator will serve as a liason between the parties to conduct information, questions and monetary offers. Often the mediator will have questions for the parties or ask them to consider certain things that may affect the outcome of their case in court. Nothing you share with the mediator can be shared with the other parties without your permission.
While you should always enter into a mediation with an open mind, in good faith, with a willingness to resolve the case fairly, there are some things you should remember: Not everyone enters into mediation with the intent to settle. Some are only there because the court ordered it. Some are there to conduct a "fishing expedition" or to further "size up" the opposing party. Your attorney will advise you during the mediation because the mediator must remain neutral and cannot and should not offer advice. The mediator cannot decide the outcome of the case and cannot force either side to accept the other's offer or even to stay at the mediation. Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to settle and for how much, is in the hands of the parties.
Hill-Boren attorney Jeff Boyd recently represented a factory worker who was injured when his hand was caught in a conveyor belt, traumatically amputating his hand mid-palm. Boyd settled the case for $83,856, plus the cost of a prosthetic device for his hand.
Jeff Boyd represented a factory worker who sustained work-related hearing loss due to substantial noise exposure over years on-the-job. The case was settled for $18,360.
Attorney Jeffrey Boyd represented a factory worker who sustained work-related hearing loss due to substantial noise exposure over the years. The case was settled for the worker in the amount of $29,587.
Jeff Boyd currently has three hearing loss claims in the appeals process. All of these cases were won at the trial court level and are awaiting ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court, hopefully affirming the trial court awards. The awards range from $25,000 up to approximately $50,000. The decisions of the Supreme Court are expected later this summer.
Attorney James Krenis recently represented a 33-year-old Crockett County tire technician, who was let go from his job after sustaining injuries to his low back and groin while on the job. Krenis fought to settle the case for $52,301 with lifetime future medical treatment.
James Krenis represented a man who was struck by a turning vehicle. The victim was crossing the street in his motorized wheelchair, when a vehicle turned left and struck him, despite the fact that he was wearing a reflective safety vest. Fortunately, he only suffered minor injuries. James Krenis settled the case for $10,500.
Hill-Boren attorney James Krenis recently represented a 51-year-old woman who injured her shoulder in the course and scope of her employment at a nursing home in 2008. The original case was settled in 2009, but she decided to reopen her claim after being laid off in late 2011. James settled her case for more than the original settlement.
A 50-year-old Hardeman County woman had worked for 23 years as a nurse at mental facility, when she was injured in the course and scope of her employment. She sustained serious neck injury and cervical strain after a patient grabbed her head and slammed it onto the table. James Krenis settled the case for $20,501, including medication coverage. She also retains the right to reopen her claim in the future.
James Krenis recently represented a 41-year-old factory employee who sustained gradually occurring injuries to both arms and an aggravation of a pre-existing elbow injury on the job in 2007. His employer denied the claim and, after exhausting all attempts to settle the matter through the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, it went to trial in 2010. The trial judge awarded the employee worker’s compensation benefits of both past and lifetime future medical expenses, payment of temporary total disability benefits and discretionary costs. After the employer’s attorney appealed the decision, James Krenis defended the man at a Supreme Court panel and won.