Blog

https://pretimaineworkerscomp.blogspot.com/

Maine Workers' Comp Blog

The Preti Flaherty Maine Workers' Comp blog provides up-to-date news and discussion on issues and emerging trends in Maine workers' compensation law.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Through LD 958, Maine is considering enacting the Uniform Emergency Volunteer Health Practitioners Act (UEVHPA). The UEVHPA is model legislation developed in 2006. During declared emergencies, states enacting the model UEVHPA recognize the licensure of physicians and health practitioners in other states if those professionals have registered with a certain registration system. The UEVHPA allows those professionals to come into a state and provide services without having to obtain a license in the state where the emergency has been declared. Among other... More
  • Permanent impairment has been in the news in recent months. With the Law Court’s decision in Bailey v. City of Lewiston (2017 ME 160), it has held that an established permanent impairment rating is not subject to revision, even in the face of changed medical circumstances. In Somers v. S.D. Warren Co. (Maine Workers’ Comp Board [WCB] App. Div. No. 17-38 [November 13, 2017]), the Appellate Division held that the WCB may not revise a previously established permanency rating in... More
  • Penalties for Reducing Benefits After Years of Improper CalculationsIn Puiia v. Rumford Paper Co. (Me. WCB App. Div. No. 17-34), the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) Appellate Division will hear oral argument in a case in which the employee sought the imposition of penalties based on the employer/insurer’s reduction of incapacity benefits. The employee had been paid 100% partial benefits pursuant to a March 2008 Decree that stated, “The employee is entitled to 100% partial benefits (limited by the statutory... More
  • In 2016, the Maine State Legislature enacted Public Law 2015, Chapter 488, “An Act to Prevent Opiate Abuse by Strengthening the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program.” This statute established limits on the duration and dosage of prescriptions that healthcare providers may write for opioid medications. The statute also tasks the Bureau of Insurance with studying the effects of this legislation on claims paid by health carriers and the out-of-pocket costs (coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles) paid by policy holders and certificate... More
  • The Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) recently hosted an open forum featuring input from the WCB Executive Director, Paul Sighinolfi, and Director of Audits at the WCB’s Office of Monitoring, Audit and Enforcement (MAE), Gordon Davis. The following are some takeaways which clarify previous areas of concern.Discontinuance of benefits for incarcerated employees A WCB-8 (i.e., a 21-day certificate) is not necessary to discontinue benefits for an incarcerated employee. Instead, a WCB-4 discontinuance may be used, and the “other” box should be checked,... More
  • In a unanimous vote, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board recently approved Dr. Benjamin Branch, a physiatrist, and Dr. Howard Glass, a cardiologist, as independent medical examiners (IMEs) pursuant to 39-A M.R.S.A. §312 of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Act. Section 312 IMEs render medical findings on the medical condition of an employee and related issues. The IME in a case may not be the employee’s treating healthcare provider and may not have treated the employee with respect to the injury for which... More
  • In Davis v. Boise Cascade, WCB App. Div. No. 17-41 (December 1, 2017), the Appellate Division weighed in on a case involving in-house medical treatment and tolling of the statute of limitations under the former and current Maine Workers’ Compensation Act. The statute of limitations for injuries prior to January 1, 1993 (39 MRSA § 95), does not contain a provision tolling the time for filing claims in the event that in-house medical care was provided by an employer for... More
  • The Workers’ Compensation Board Rules Taskforce has proposed changes and amendments to various Board Rules. The following are highlights of what has been proposed. WCB Rules c. 1 may be amended to provide that if an employer is out of business, has been sold, or changed its name since the last time the employee worked there, an employee’s failure to give notice of the injury does not bar a claim unless the employer designated a person or entity to receive notice... More
  • The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board recently addressed a case involving the time for payment of benefits, the statutory waiting period and the application of Rule 1.1, emphasizing the need to pay close attention to broken periods of lost time. 39-A MRSA § 205(2) provides: 2. Time for payment. The first payment of compensation for incapacity under section 212 or 213 is due and payable within 14 days after the employer has notice or knowledge of the injury or death,... More
  • In Somers v. S.D. Warren Co., WCB App. Div. No. 17-38 (November 13, 2017), the Employee appealed a decision granting S.D. Warren’s Petition for Review and request to discontinue payments due to the expiration of the 520-week durational limit on incapacity benefits. In a 2008 decree, the administrative law judge (ALJ) found the Employee’s knee condition resulted in 7% whole-body permanent impairment. The ALJ specifically declined to award any permanent impairment for the Employee’s adjustment disorder, a psychological sequela of... More
  • On November 14, 2017, the Maine Supreme Court will hear oral argument in the case of Flanagin v. Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. This case deals with the concept of “tolling” of the statute of limitations. Under Maine law, “the limitations period for a claim is tolled if payments made by the employer or insurer or a subsequent injury were made with ‘contemporaneous notice’ that the payments ‘were for treatment that was in part necessitated by’ the earlier... More
  • In St. Louis v. Acadia Hospital Corp., WCB No. 10002460 (April 14, 2017), the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board issued a decision dated March 4, 2015, finding the Employee had not refused an offer of suitable work and awarded partial incapacity benefits reduced by an imputed earning capacity of $300.00/week. The Employer appealed to the Appellate Division. A decision issued January 12, 2017, St. Louis v. Acadia Hospital Corp., App. Div. 17-3 (January 12, 2017), ordered that the case be remanded... More
  • Continuing with the case of Flaherty v. City of Portland, WCB Nos. 05032057 & 11036148 (June 22, 2017) from the previous post, the Board found the § 327 death presumption applied to the claims filed by Mrs. Flaherty under the traditional (non-occupational) Act. The Board found this presumption shifts the burden of proof to the Employer to demonstrate the nonexistence of the presumed fact. In other words, the Employer must demonstrate, on a more likely than not basis, that the... More
  • In Flaherty v. City of Portland, WCB Nos. 05032057 & 11036148 (June 22, 2017), Timothy Flaherty worked for years as a Portland firefighter. He was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, a rare cancer/disease of the bone marrow in August 2004. Mr. Flaherty retired from the fire department on February 28, 2005. He died from myelofibrosis on August 30, 2011.Pending before the Board were two Petitions for Award – Occupational Disease Law, filed by Theresa Flaherty. The first petition was filed in Ms.... More
  • Generally speaking, the petitioning party bears the burden of persuasion to establish all elements of a claim on a more probably than not basis. Fernald v. Dexter Shoe Co., 670 A.3d 1382 (Me. 1996). Establishing the compensability of an injury through a Petition for Award is no exception. Rowe v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 428 A.2d 71 (Me. 1981). Proof of a causal relationship between an employee’s work and his or her injury is an essential element of a Petition for... More