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Workers Compensation Newsletters

Federal Employers’ Liability Act

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is not a workers’ compensation statute. Rather, it is an alternative avenue by which railroad workers who are injured on the job may be compensated. The FELA allows an injured railroad worker to pursue a negligence action against his employer for lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and permanent and partial disability. Should the injury result in the railroad worker’s death, the FELA also authorizes an action by the worker’s surviving dependents. The damages recoverable by a dependent include those for pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and that part of the worker’s earnings that were actually used to support the dependent. Notably, though, the employee’s contributory negligence will diminish any recovery.

Loaned Employees

Responsibility for the payment of workers’ compensation benefits is a joint affair when one employer loans its employee to another employer. If the employee is a party to a contract for hire with the third-party employer, the work performed by the employee is principally for the third-party employer, and the third-party employer controls the details of the employee’s work, the third-party employer will be held responsible for workers’ compensation benefits should the employee become injured. The element of control is a substantial factor is determining the employment relationship between the parties.

Overpayments of Social Security Disability Benefits

An overpayment of social security disability benefits arises when the Social Security Administration has paid the recipient in excess of the amount that was actually due. The Commissioner of Social Security is authorized to collect the overpayment either by reducing the recipient’s future payments, requiring the recipient or his estate to repay the excess amount, or by reducing the recipient’s tax refund by the excess amount.

Social Security Disability Appeals Process

If an individual disagrees with the decision of the Social Security Administration, an appeal can be taken. In the appeals process, all parts of the decision will be re-examined, including those parts that are favorable to the appellant. A written request for an appeal is required and it must be done within a specified time period. The individual may have a representative aid them in the appeals process. The representative will act on behalf of the individual, but is prohibited from collecting a fee for this service without first gaining permission from the Social Security Administration.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance, No-Fault Insurance

and Workers’ Compensation)