FMC Investigation into Demurrage and Detention Charges

An increase in frequency of detention and demurrage charges assessed against port users across the country recently resulted in a Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) investigation into the detention and demurrage practices at U.S. ports.  The spike in detention and demurrage charges appears to be the result of factors outside of the control of port users, including increased port congestion and internal port inefficiencies. The increased congestion at ports has led to increased commercial driver turn times, decreased productivity and efficiency, an inability to retrieve an adequate number of containers, and has compounded the already pervasive issue of the commercial driver shortage for drayage motor carriers due to mounting driver frustration.

In September 2018, the FMC commissioner issued an interim report and Notice of Proposed Rule Making for “just and reasonable regulations and practices relating to or connected with receiving, handling, storing, and delivery of property.” The focus of the FMC investigation was to closely examine port practices that are leading to substantial detention and demurrage charges to port users and to provide solutions to move cargo more efficiently through the ports. The interim report revealed that there are differing, often conflicting, standards from port to port with respect to many demurrage and detention practices and recognized the need for uniform standards and transparency.

In December 2018, the FMC commissioner issued a final report on the investigation. The final report concluded that there was a need for greater transparency and consistency in notice, billing practices, dispute resolution and terminology in the ports’ detention and demurrage practices. The final report therefore recommended that the FMC create “Innovation Teams” to establish ways to standardize port practices. The FMC is in the process of reviewing the recommendations of the final report and will either accept or reject the recommendations.

While the standardization of demurrage and detention practices would be a step in the right direction, the underlying port inefficiencies must be addressed in order to combat the growing concerns in the intermodal industry.

For more information about this article, please contact Renee Bowen at 410.230.3943 or rbowen@fandpnet.com.

 

 

Changes at the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission

Commissioner Godwin Retires

Commissioner Lauren Godwin, who served in her position since 1996, has retired from the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission effective July 1, 2019.

Welcoming Commissioner Oh

Effective July 1, 2019, Governor Hogan appointed Ju (Lynn) Y. Oh as a commissioner for the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Ms. Oh received her Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2004.

Following law school, Ms. Oh served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Thomas F. Stansfield from 2005 to 2006.  She then joined the law office of Humphreys, McLaughlin & McAleer, LLC as an Associate in 2006.  Ms. Oh became a partner at that firm in 2012, where she represented employers and insurers leading up to her Commission appointment.

Workers’ Comp Team Spotlight – Natalie Johnson and Mark Wright

Natalie Johnson attended college at American University where she majored in International Studies in the honors division. She also minored in French Language & Literature and took several courses in Art History. She graduated in 2007.

Following her early career in the banking industry, Natalie pursued her interest in the legal field and began working as a paralegal for an insurance defense firm in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work consisted of both workers’ compensation and liability defense. She continued with this firm for two years before joining Franklin & Prokopik as a workers’ compensation paralegal.

While working at F&P as a paralegal, Natalie attended the University of Maryland School of Law.  During this time, she served as the Honor Board representative for the evening division of her law school and served as a research assistant for one of her professors, where she primarily focused on family law research.

After graduating from law school in August 2017, Natalie left F&P temporarily to complete a judicial clerkship with Family Magistrate Theresa A. Furnari in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. She served as a law clerk for Magistrate Furnari from August 2017 through August 2018. She returned to F&P as an associate attorney in September of 2018.

Natalie’s practice is focused in the area of Maryland workers’ compensation defense. She is also a certified mediator and has a certification to serve as a Child In Need of Assistance (C.I.N.A.) attorney.

When Natalie is not working, she enjoys gardening, reading, and playing video games. She maintains a garden at home that has vegetables, herbs, and flowers. She also has several plants in her office that she cares for. When not pursuing her hobbies, Natalie loves spending time with her husband Ben, who is a Professor of Computer Science at UMBC, their two cats Tybalt and Jules, their dog Charlie, and their fresh-water fish.

Mark Wright is a paralegal at F&P, focusing in the area of Maryland workers’ compensation defense.  He began working for the firm in a support staff position in October of 2016.  While in this position he performed administrative duties, front desk work, mail room work, and stocking.  By January 2017, Mark was promoted to his current position.

Mark attended Stevenson University and majored in criminal justice with a minor in theatre. He graduated in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree. While in school, Mark was part of an improv group named “Hot Sauce Sandwich” from 2015 through 2016.

After graduating, Mark secured a temporary position with the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service. While working for this organization, he performed record-keeping duties, client management, and gathered contact information for various contributors and sponsors to provide regular updates to interested parties.

Mark likes the investigative aspect of his work and enjoys identifying inconsistencies in claimants’ statements. He also enjoys assisting the attorneys in formulating defense plans for each case.

Mark enjoys watching movies, reading books and comic books, and attending plays and improv shows. He is also taking classes to learn Spanish.

 

F&P on the Road

Distracted Driving and Nuclear Verdicts

The trucking industry has experienced an increase in nuclear jury verdicts since January 2017.  In fact, in the last year, we have seen the two largest jury verdicts ever awarded in the trucking industry.  Large awards are typically attributable to a jury’s desire to send a message or punish carriers and drivers for specific acts.  In other words, in trials that result in massive civil judgments, awards for punitive damages, if sought, far exceed awards for compensatory damages.  As it turns out, the reason for this trend may be rather simple; with an increase in commercial vehicle accidents involving a distracted driving component, the transportation industry has seen an increase in nuclear verdicts.

There are three classifications of distracted driving: visual, physical, and cognitive.  Visual distractions include mobile devices and texting, GPS devices or maps, and even scenic and external distractions.  Mobile devices and texting are also types of physical distractions, based on the requirement that drivers must take their hands off of the wheel to operate them.  Other physical distractions include smoking and reaching for something in a vehicle.  Conversely, cognitive distractions take driver’s minds away from the road.  Loud music, conversation, and stress or fatigue are examples of cognitive distractions.  Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs combines all three classifications of distracted driving.

In April 2018, a Valparaiso, Indiana jury awarded a motorist $16.5 million for injuries sustained when a tractor-trailer rear-ended a passenger vehicle while it was stopped at a red light in the case of Binkowski v. Grand Island Express. At trial, the defense conceded the truck’s operator was solely responsible for the accident.  In fact, it was determined that the truck driver was text messaging on his cellular phone, which, the driver testified, took his eyes and attention off the road.  Despite testimony from the plaintiff’s employer that the plaintiff’s job performance, which included the operation of a forklift, had not been impacted by the accident, the jury jumped at the opportunity to punish the trucking company.  Whether the trucking company failed to institute preventative policies or adequately train its drivers, its perceived recklessness and inattention struck a chord with the jury – actual, compensable injuries notwithstanding.  Of the ultimate award in this case, $7 million was awarded in punitive damages.

In July 2018, a jury in Upshur County, Texas awarded $101 million to a man who was injured in a rear-end accident by a distracted driver operating a tractor-trailer.  In Patterson v. FTSI, LLC. et al., the plaintiff sustained only soft-tissue injuries and eventually had back surgery, but the ultimate award was not based on the severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.  Rather, $75 million of the verdict was in punitive damages.  Over the course of the trial, it was discovered that the tractor-trailer driver was under the influence of marijuana and methamphetamine at the time of the accident.  Though the operator’s actions themselves were reprehensible, the jury took exception to the actions, or inaction, of the operator’s employer, also a defendant in the case and a large hydraulic provider in the fracking industry.  The operator’s employer was found to have fabricated the driver’s former drug test results and credited him for training he never completed.  The employer had internal policies which, if enforced, would have removed the truck’s operator from the road prior to the accident.  It seems this one procedural miscue drove the jury’s deliberation, but the underlying cause of the accident was distracted driving.

In November 2018, a second jury in Upshur County, Texas awarded $260 million to the family of a deceased motorist who was killed after colliding with the side of a tractor-trailer that was blocking all four lanes of a highway in the case of McPherson v. Jefferson Trucking.  Much like the two cases addressed above, there were aggravating factors that contributed to the jury’s award.  The tractor-trailer driver had been operating his vehicle for approximately 17 hours at the time of the accident, which violated the hours of service regulations.  Therefore, fatigue was a likely factor in the accident.  In addition, the decedent’s family was successful in showing that the driver had a history of reckless driving, likely leading to an increase in the award.

Nuclear verdicts are trending up.  As noted, there seems to be a common thread between them.  That is, there exists some act leading to distracted driving, whether visual, physical, or cognitive, and an element of preventability and accountability on behalf of the carriers and trucking companies.  There is no dispute that distracted driving significantly increases the likelihood of catastrophic accidents. The recent nuclear verdicts in cases involving commercial vehicle accidents with a distracted driving component, make clear that juries will hold not just the driver accountable, but the motor carrier accountable as well for the safety of the public on the roadways.

For more information about this article, please contact Patrick Toohey at 410.230.1085 or ptoohey@fandpnet.com.

Traveling Employees and the Going and Coming Rule

In Delaware, an injured worker is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for an injury arising out of and in the course of employment.  The Industrial Accident Board and appellate courts interpreted this language as creating a “going and coming” rule, which prohibits compensation for injuries sustained while traveling to and from work.  The rationale behind the rule is that an employee faces the same hazards as the general public during his or her daily commute.  Application of the rule appears straight forward, however, several exceptions have been created.

The first is the dual-purpose exception.  An employee’s injury may occur while serving both a private and business interest.  The dual-purpose exception looks to whether it is the private or business interest that compels the need for travel.  The second exception is the special errand exception. This exception involves travel with the added element of “special inconvenience, hazard or urgency.”  The third exception is the compensation exception.  This exception states that if the employee is paid for travel, the injury occurred while traveling is compensable.  The fourth is the premises exception.  This exception states that once the employee reaches the employer’s premises, his or her routine travel has ended.  The final exception is the traveling employee exception.  Somewhat related to the compensation exception, the traveling employee exception states that an employee who does not have a fixed place of employment or only a semi-fixed place of employment may not be subject to the going and coming rule.

The Supreme Court of the state of Delaware recently provided a two-step process for how the board should handle the traveling employee and the going and coming rule cases in Spellman v. Christiana Care Health Services.  First, the board must review the employment contract to determine if the contractual terms resolve the dispute of whether the injury occurred in the course and scope of employment.  If the contract is ambiguous or does not answer the question, the board will then consider the applicability of the going and coming rule.

Employers should be mindful of the manner in which employment contracts are drafted to address the “going and coming” rule, particularly where the employee will be subject to different types of travel.  Employers would be best served in specifying how the parties view specific types of travel, i.e., whether that travel would arise out of and take place in the course of employment to remove any potential ambiguity and control risk.

For more information about this article, please contact Robert Hunt at 302.594.9780 or rhunt@fandpnet.com.

 

Maryland SB 101 Expands Scope of Pre-Suit Discovery of Policy Limits

During Maryland’s 2019 legislative session, the General Assembly significantly expanded pre-suit discovery of specified insurance coverage information by passing SB 101.  Under the prior law, insurers were required to provide a claimant of a motor vehicle accident documentation of the applicable limits of liability coverage in any insurance agreement under which the insurer may be liable within 30 days after receipt of the claimant’s written request, regardless of whether the insurer contested the applicability of coverage to the claim.

SB 101 expands this pre-suit discovery in two ways.  First, the bill expands the scope from claims involving only motor vehicle accidents to claims pertaining to other torts involving bodily injury or death, applicable to any automobile, homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.  Second, SB 101 expands the documentation a claimant must produce in order to receive this information.  Previously a claimant was required to submit (1) the date of the motor vehicle accident; (2) the name and last known address of the alleged tortfeasor; (3) a copy of the vehicle accident report, if available; and (4) the insurer’s claim number, if available.  SB 101 additionally requires that claimant’s produce a letter from an attorney, admitted to practice law in the state, certifying that (1) the attorney has made reasonable efforts to investigate the underlying facts of the claim; and (2) based on the attorney’s representation, the attorney reasonably believes that the claim is not frivolous.

It is important to note that an insurer may not be civilly or criminally liable for the disclosure of this documentation and disclosure does not constitute an admission that a claim is subject to the applicable insurance agreement.  Disclosure similarly does not waive any terms or conditions of the insurance agreement, including any potential defense concerning coverage or liability.  The documentation provided by an insurer in accordance with this SB 101 is not admissible as evidence at trial by reason of its mandatory disclosure under the statute.

Through passing SB 101, the legislature has provided a larger class of potential tort claimants access to the policy limits.  Potential claimants (and their counsel) that previously may not have known this information will now be better positioned to negotiate resolution of pre-suit claims with the applicable policy limits in mind.  This expansion of pre-suit discovery requirements applies only prospectively to claims filed with an insurer on or after October 1, 2019, SB 101’s effective date.

For more information about this article, please contact Ryan Posey at 410.230.1017 or rposey@fandpnet.com.

Delaware Case Law Update: What Transportation Expenses are Reimbursable?

Pursuant to 19 Del. C. § 2322 (g), a claimant is entitled to mileage reimbursement in an amount equal to the state-specified mileage allowance for travel relating to medical treatment.

In Failing v. Delaware, 2019 WL 1005850 (Del. Super. Ct. Feb. 25, 2019), the claimant sought reimbursement for travel expenses totaling $875.95.  The demand included $761.20 for mileage and $114.75 for tolls and parking.

The claimant argued the Workers’ Compensation Act implicitly allows for reimbursement of travel expenses beyond mileage for medical appointments.  She cited in support of her argument that reimbursement for travel to a Defense Medical Evaluation includes language of “reasonable traveling expenses” after the first examination and payment of board, lodging, and travel for vocational rehabilitation services that require a claimant to stay away from his/her residence.  In reading the act as a whole, the claimant advanced the theory that mileage reimbursement actually means all reasonable expenses incurred while traveling for medical treatment.

The Superior Court found Section 2322(g) only allows for reimbursement of mileage.   The court opined the references to “travel expenses” in other sections of the Workers’ Compensation Act did not apply to mileage reimbursement.  The court found additional travel expenses beyond mileage limited to employee-initiated activities; i.e., a Defense Medical Evaluation or vocational rehabilitation.  The court concluded that mileage reimbursement and travel expenses are not synonymous.

The important takeaway is that demand for medical mileage reimbursement should be carefully reviewed and reduced by any items other than mileage.  This case can and should be cited in response to any such demand as it is binding upon the Industrial Accident Board.  It should also be noted that mileage in Delaware is reimbursed at the state rate of $0.40 per mile rather than the current federal rate of $0.58.

For more information about this article, please contact Robert S. Hunt, Jr. at 302.594.9780 or rhunt@fandpnet.com.

 

Workers’ Compensation Settlements and Claimants’ Child Support Obligations

R.K. Grounds Care v. Wilson, 235 Md.App. 20 (2017)

What obligations child support statutes place on the employer and insurer is an evolving area of the law, but R.K. Grounds Care v. Wilson offers some protection.

In R. K. Grounds Care, the parties reached a settlement of the entire workers’ compensation claim, which was approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.  Eleven days after the approval of the settlement, the Carroll County Bureau of Support Enforcement filed a Notice of Child Support Lien in the Circuit Court and notified the employer and insurer of the lien that same day. The sum of the child support lien was more than the entirety of the workers’ compensation settlement. The employer and insurer timely paid the attorney’s fees and medical evaluation fee from the settlement to the claimant’s attorney and expert but held the entirety of the claimant’s funds. Once the employer and insurer were served with writs of garnishment from the Circuit Court, they issued payment (the entire amount of the claimant’s funds) to pay the child support lien. The claimant also received a copy of these writs of garnishment but did not file with the Circuit Court to contest the garnishment, instead opting to wait three months to file Issues with the commission for non-payment of the settlement.

After a hearing, the commission ordered that only 75% of the claimant’s funds should have been paid to satisfy the lien and if child support does not have any of those funds still in escrow, the employer and insurer were tasked with paying additional funds to the claimant so he would receive 25% of the total amount he was due. On appeal to the Circuit Court for Carroll County, the judgment was changed such that child support should only receive 25% of the total amount due and the employer and insurer should pay the 75% of the total funds to the claimant, even though the monies were already paid to satisfy his child support obligation.

The Court of Special Appeals ultimately determined the commission did not have jurisdiction to decide garnishment matters or child support liens, and therefore the decisions below must be overturned and remanded.  However, in reaching that decision, they did review the relevant statutes, discussed later in this article.  The court confirmed child support may be withheld from workers’ compensation benefits once a notice of lien for that child support is filed with the Circuit Court. The child support agency may then garnish property of the claimant. The parties disagreed as to whether they may garnish all, part, or none of the settlement and the court offered no guidance as to which interpretation was correct, stating simply “these arguments are well-thought-out and present difficult legal questions.”  Sidestepping that legal question, they explained that the claimant needed to contest the garnishment in the Circuit Court (the court with jurisdiction over garnishments), not at the commission. Having failed to contest the garnishment in the appropriate court within the appropriate time, the claimant could not put the employer and insurer in a position where they had already complied with a valid, uncontested order from the Circuit Court and would need to pay additional funds to the claimant.

Overall, R.K. Grounds Care helps to protect the employer and insurer from inconsistent court orders and places the burden on the claimant to contest any garnishments before the funds are applied to child support liens.

The Statutes at Play

Under Labor and & Employment Article § 9-732, money payable in connection with a workers’ compensation claim “may not be assigned, charged, or taken in attachment,” except as provided under Title 10 of the Family Law Articles. Under Family Law § 10-140 and § 10-141, unpaid child support (CS) due under an order constitutes a lien on all real and personal property of the claimant parent owing the support.

In order to enforce a CS lien, the Maryland Child Support Administration (CSA) files a notice of lien with the relevant Circuit Court.  Upon filing, the CS lien has the “full force and effect of a judgment lien.”  The OCSE must also file for garnishment per Maryland Rule § 2-645.  Upon filing, the Circuit Court clerk will issue a writ of garnishment. The writ of garnishment must be served upon the employer/insurer (garnishee), and a copy must be sent to the claimant at his/her last known address.

Under § 11-504 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article, there is certain property exempt from the execution of a judgment.  In order to claim the exemption that only 25% of his/her net recovery should be attached, the claimant debtor must file a motion to release property within 30 days after service of the writ of garnishment.

The bottom line: if the claimant seeks – and is granted – the exemption at the Circuit Court, then the maximum amount that can be garnished from a workers’ compensation settlement is 25% of what the claimant nets.  If he/she does not seek/is not granted the exemption, then potentially all of the settlement monies payable to the claimant could go to satisfaction of the lien.

How Do the Employer/Insurer Comply? Settlement Considerations

When negotiating settlement of a workers’ compensation claim wherein the claimant has a CS support lien, consider the following:

  1. Call the local CSA, which is on a county-by-county basis, to get the updated lien information. See: http://dhs.maryland.gov/local-offices for more information.
  2. Remember: the lien is subject to the net recovery by the claimant from settlement. Therefore, you will deduct attorneys’ fees and costs as well as fees for IMEs/medical experts before assessing what will be subject to the lien.
  3. If the claimant has not filed anything with the relevant Circuit Court to exempt the funds from the workers’ compensation claim, then:
    1. If the claimant’s net recovery from the settlement is less than the lien, then the settlement monies are sent in partial satisfaction of the lien and the claimant recovers nothing.
    2. If the claimant’s net recovery from the settlement is more than the lien, then the lien is satisfied first, and the claimant is given the remainder of the settlement funds.
  4. If the claimant has the exemption from the Circuit Court, then here is the calculation.
    1. Settlement amount minus attorney fees and costs = net amount to the claimant.
    2. Net amount to claimant x 0.25 = total max allowed to pay toward CS lien.
    3. Net amount to claimant minus CS lien (up to max noted above) = amount payable to the claimant.
      1. Example
        1. At time of settlement approval, claimant’s CS lien is $1,555.82.
        2. Settlement is $5,000.00. Attorney fees and costs are $1,100.00. IME fee is $750.00.
        3. $5,000.00 – $1,100.00 – $750.00 = $3,150.00. This is the net amount to the claimant.
        4. $3,150.00 x 0.25 = $787.50. This is the maximum amount payable toward the CS lien.
        5. $3,150.00 – $787.50 (payable to OCSE for CS lien) = $2,362.50 to the claimant.

Additional Settlement Tips

The court in R.K. Grounds protected the employer and insurer from overpayment of a settlement by noting the affirmative duty of the claimant to contest the lien, but they need to be quick about it. The statutes allow a savvy claimant to recover 75% of their settlement funds simply by contesting the full garnishment in the Circuit Court.

Remember to include/look for waivers of rights against the employer/insurer with child support issues in settlement agreements.

Timing- if your notice of lien is new and/or unexpected, then hold everything for full 30 days from garnishment

For more information about this article, please contact April Kerns at (410) 230-2975 or (akerns@fandpnet.com) or Natalie Johnson at (410) 230-3614 or (njohnson@fandpnet.com).

Apportionment, Nature and Extent, and PPD Awards

James M. Lyles, Jr. v. Howard University Hospital and Sedgwick CMS, 200 A.3d 1244 (2019)

This case was litigated up to the D.C. Court of Appeals and is now on its way back down to the trial judge.  It is certain to be going back up to the D.C. Court of Appeals in the near future.

Claimant injured his right shoulder in 2013.   He had a prior right shoulder injury in 2011 while working for a different employer.  Claimant did file for workers’ compensation benefits for the 2011 injury and that claim settled.  For the 2013 injury, a hearing was held on nature and extent of the injury to the right shoulder.  The employer made three arguments:

  1. The shoulder is not part of the upper extremity for impairment purposes. This was the law before 2017 when the CRB decided that the shoulder was part of the arm;
  2. The ALJ did not explain the connection between the claimant’s physical impairment and the extent of the claimant’s disability and the claimant’s industrial capacity;
  3. Employer was entitled to apportionment for the claimant’s pre-existing condition based upon the statute and subsequent amendments. Alternatively, the claimants are limited to 104 weeks of compensation.

The ALJ disagreed with the employer and held that the claimant sustained a 37% impairment to the right upper extremity for the right shoulder injury, and the employer was responsible for this amount.  On appeal, the CRB also disagreed with the employer and affirmed the Compensation Order.  The employer then appealed to the D.C. Court of Appeals, who reversed and remanded the case.  In a January 31, 2019 decision, the Court of Appeals held as follows:

  1. As a matter of law, the shoulder is not part of the upper extremity for impairment purposes. The claimant can get an impairment award for the effects the shoulder injury has on the upper extremity but cannot get an impairment award because of the shoulder.
  2. The ALJ must explain the likely consequences, if any, that the physical impairment has on wage-earning capacity.  An award for impairment is meant to compensate for the effect the injury has on the claimant’s wage-earning capacity; it is not meant to compensate the claimant for the injury or for pain and suffering.  Unfortunately, the Court of Appeals also stated that the claimant does not need to present any evidence about the actual or likely effect of the loss on wages or employment prospects.
  3. Regarding apportionment, the matter was remanded to the CRB to analyze how repeal of the Special Fund affected the remainder of the statute pertaining to apportionment.

On remand, the CRB issued its decision on May 2, 2019.  After analyzing the statutes pertaining to apportionment and the Special Fund and considering that the city council’s objective was to contain workers’ compensation costs so that D.C. was more competitive with Maryland and Virginia, the CRB held that there is now apportionment in D.C. for PPD only.  It does not apply to TTD or TPD.  Therefore, in D.C., there is now “apportionment so that a subsequent employer’s liability for a PPD award is the amount by which the subsequent injury increased a claimant’s PPD.”  Lyles v. Howard University Hospital et al., CRB No. 17-036 (R), AHD No. 14-001A, OWC No. 705796 (May 2, 2019).

The practical effects are as follows:

  1. Until held otherwise, there is apportionment in D.C. for PPD claims. Obtaining information about a claimant’s prior injuries and/or conditions is necessary to try and reduce a PPD award.  Information about a claimant’s prior condition should be provided to IME doctors when obtaining an impairment rating.
  2. The shoulder is not part of the arm. While a claimant cannot get an award for impairment to the shoulder, a claimant can get (1) an award for wage loss, if any, for the shoulder injury; and (2) PPD to the upper extremity for any effects on the upper extremity.  Taking claimant’s deposition to determine the effects of a shoulder injury on the arm will also assist in determining PPD exposure.  IME doctors should provide specifics on any effects that the shoulder injury has had on the arm, including range of motion and grip strength.
  3. Because an impairment award is meant to compensate a claimant for the effect on wage-earning capacity, presenting evidence about a claimant’s hours, wage history, overtime work, as well as any extra-curricular activities (such as exercising, house maintenance, hobbies, etc.) can reduce an impairment award. Establishing that a claimant’s wage-earning capacity is not affected by an injury will be helpful to keep the impairment award low.

For more information about this article, please contact Naureen R. Weissman at 410.230.3579 or nweissman@fandpnet.com.