Happy New Year!

Posted by on Jan 2, 2017 in The Ryan Law Blog | 0 comments

Happy New Year to all of our valued friends, clients and colleagues!  We look forward to serving you in 2017 and wish you all a peaceful and prosperous 2017.  Thank you all for your friendship and trust.  G. Robert Ryan, Jr.

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CMS Announcement Regarding Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangements

Posted by on Dec 27, 2016 in The Ryan Law Blog | 0 comments

On December 21, 2016, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted the following update: “Announcement regarding Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (WCMSA) “Re-Review” Process: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently revisited the task of reviewing its process for addressing requests for CMS to “re-review” otherwise approved Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (WCMSA) amounts.  In Calendar Year 2017, CMS expects to update its existing re-review process to address situations where CMS has provided an approved amount, but settlement has not occurred and the medical care that supported the approved amount has changed substantially.  CMS also expects its updated process to address situations where certain states rely on Utilization Review Processes to justify proposed WCMSA amounts.  Please continue to watch this site for more details in the coming months….” Updates from CMS may be found at:  CMS.gov>Home>Medicare>Workers’ Compensation Medicare Set Aside Arrangements>What’s New.  There is also a feature that allows you to subscribe to receive updates by email. Please contact Rob Ryan if we can assist you with any WCMSA...

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Reporting Workers’ Compensation Fraud

Posted by on Dec 13, 2016 in The Ryan Law Blog | 0 comments

While hopefully rare, fraud in the workers’ compensation system does occur.  Fraud hurts all stakeholders in the system by diverting funds and resources from those who are truly in need of assistance.  The Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation Enforcement Division is charged with investigating matters of workers’ compensation fraud.  Reports may be made by accessing a form available on the State Board website.  A link to the form can be found here: https://sbwc.georgia.gov/fraud-non-compliance-reporting-form Please contact Ryan Law Firm if we can assist you with any workers’ compensation...

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What is a Catastrophic workers' compensation claim?

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in The Ryan Law Blog |

Most Georgia workers’ compensation claims do not fall into the catastrophic category.  In these “non-catastrophic” claims, income benefits are limited to 400 weeks from the date of injury (or 350 weeks if there is a light duty release and certain procedures are followed to reduce benefits) and, for claims occurring on or after July 1, 2013, 400 weeks of medical benefits.  However, these limits do not apply to “catastrophic” claims.  Therefore, it is of obvious great importance to know if a particular claim is, or might be, considered catastrophic under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. The Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act contains a very specific definition of “catastrophic”.  Specifically, a claim is considered catastrophic if it includes one of the following:  (1)  spinal cord injury involving severe paralysis of an arm, a leg, or the trunk; (2) Amputation of an arm, a hand, a foot, or a leg involving the effective loss of use of the appendage; (3)  Severe brain or closed head injury; (4)  Second or third degree burns over 25% of the body as a whole or third degree burns to 5% or more of the face or hands; (5)  Total or industrial blindness.  In addition, a claim is catastrophic if it meets the following definition:  (6)  Any other injury of a nature and severity that prevents the employee from being able to perform his or her prior work and any work available in the national economy for which such employee is otherwise qualified. The last category, number (6), results in most of the litigation regarding whether a case is or is not catastrophic, due to the broad, catch-all nature of the definition. Pursuing a catastrophic designation or defending against a claim for catastrophic designation involves a complex process.  Among the many factors to consider are the treating physician’s opinion regarding future return to work; injured worker’s past work experience and education level; vocational analysis; whether the injured worker has applied for and been approved for Social Security Disability and its impact on the claim; whether the rebuttable presumption that the claim is not catastrophic within the first 130 weeks applies; choice of catastrophic rehabilitation supplier; the appropriate timing for applying for catastrophic status; whether to initially seek a decision from the State Board’s Rehabilitation Division, or whether instead to seek a hearing before an administrative law judge; and more.  It is essential to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to navigate the maze of applying for or defending against catastrophic status. Please contact our office today if we can assist you in your Georgia workers’ compensation...

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Georgia's New Evidence Code

Posted by on Jun 11, 2014 in The Ryan Law Blog |

One of the most far reaching changes to occur in the practice of law in Georgia in decades happened this past year with the introduction of Georgia’s new Code of Evidence.  After many years of diligent work and advocacy by those who wished to overhaul and modernize the evidence rules in Georgia, the new Code was passed into law in 2011 and became effective January 1, 2013.  Prior to this, Georgia had operated largely under the 1863 Code and various other statutes and amendments enacted in the 150 years since.  The new Evidence Code is modeled after the Federal Rules of Evidence, while retaining some distinctions peculiar to Georgia practice. The Rules of Evidence apply equally to civil lawsuits and to workers’ compensation administrative hearings.  Whether you are a plaintiff or defendant in a civil lawsuit, or an Employer/Insurer or injured worker in a workers’ compensation claim, it is essential that you have competent legal counsel to present your case.  It does not matter how strong your case is, if you cannot put your evidence before the court, using the new Rules of Evidence, you will not be able to prevail.  Please contact our offices today if we can be of...

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The ABCs of Mediation

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in The Ryan Law Blog |

I’ve been told that my case is going to mediation.  What does this mean and what should I expect? Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that has been growing in popularity in recent years.  Simply put, mediation is an opportunity for the parties to meet together with their attorneys and an impartial, neutral mediator to attempt to resolve their dispute outside of the courtroom.  The litigation process is very expensive, time consuming and stressful.  Mediation is an excellent alternative that gives the parties a chance to resolve their dispute, on their own terms. Here are few important things to know about mediation: (1)  Mediation may be court ordered or voluntary.  If mediation is court ordered, then you are required to attend and make a good faith effort to resolve your case.  If your mediation is voluntary, but you have agreed to be part of the process, then you also should come prepared to make a good faith effort to resolve the case. (2)  The role of the mediator:  The mediator is usually an experienced attorney agreed to by the parties.  In some cases, the court may select a mediator.  In workers’ compensation cases, the mediator may be a paid employee of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  Either way, the mediator is an impartial and neutral observer.  His or her only goal is to assist the parties in resolving the case, not to take sides.  The mediator will listen to arguments from all sides and will often offer his or her own viewpoint of the case.  An experienced mediator’s opinion regarding an appropriate settlement value for the case should be and will be given serious consideration.  However, the mediator does not have the power to order anyone to settle.  At the end of the day, the decision of whether to settle is up to the parties. (3)  Mediation involves back and forth, and give and take.  Do not expect to get the other side’s best offer “out of the gate”.  Expect a negotiation process.  This can seem drawn out and lengthy, but part of the importance of the process is that it gives all parties the opportunity to fully state their positions and the time to soberly consider the possible outcomes.  Mediation is a time for compromise. (4)  Don’t expect to get everything you want out of mediation.  It has been said many times that a good mediation is where both parties are a little disappointed in the outcome.  In other words, both parties had to “give” something to get the case settled.  However, think of the alternative – twelve randomly selected people on a jury, or a workers’ compensation judge you have never met, telling you what your case is worth.  Again, mediation is the time to compromise.  Don’t expect to get everything you want – but instead work toward an agreement that will bring...

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