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Workers' Compensation Newsletters

Anthrax

Gavel
Anthrax is an infectious disease caused by the inhalation of, ingestion of, or skin exposure to a spore-forming bacteria. Though it is most often spread through contact with animals or animal products, anthrax is most widely known for its use as an agent of biological warfare.

Cessation of Social Security Disability Benefits Based on Lack of Disability

Social security disability benefits are paid only so long as the individual remains disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will cease paying benefits if the individual can engage in substantial gainful activity. 

Course of Employment and the Personal Comfort Doctrine

An employee injured in the course of employment is entitled to workers' compensation benefits. However, compensability may remain unaffected even if the injury occurred when the employee deviated from his specific job duties to engage in an activity that was purely personal in nature and solely for his own comfort. The personal comfort doctrine allows employees to slightly deviate from their job duties, within the usual time and space parameters of their employment, without losing workers' compensation protection. It is generally understood that employees should be able to tend to their physical needs, such as using the restroom, getting a drink of water, or even taking a break to smoke, during the course of their employment.

Domestic Servant Exemption

Workers' compensation coverage for domestic servants is limited. Such limitation is generally based on the exclusion for part-time employees or the statutory exemption for employers with less than the requisite minimum number of employees. Many states specifically exclude domestic servants from workers' compensation coverage. Others omit to place domestic servants on the list of covered employments. However, almost half of the states provide at least a measure of coverage for those employed as domestic servants.

Subrogation

Subrogation is a tool used by employers or their workers' compensation insurance carriers to seek reimbursement from a third party for the amounts paid to an injured worker. The employer's position is that the third party who caused the employee's injury should rightfully bear the burden of compensating the injured worker. In various forms, each state provides for subrogation. Some states have instituted no limits on an employer's right to seek reimbursement, others allow both the employer and the employee to maintain actions against the third party, and still others give either the employer or the employee priority in filing an action against the third party.