Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers Blog

Increases to Virginia Workers’ Compensation Premiums Being Considered

by Keith Adkins | September 8th, 2014

Most companies in Virginia are required to carry an insurance policy that covers expenses related to on-the-job accidents that injure or kill a worker; however, the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) has proposed raising the premiums that are associated with Virginia workers’ compensation coverage for certain industries.

An article from Insurance & Financial Advisor explains the proposal calls for a decrease in premiums for businesses that fall under the industrial classification. The same goes for those that fall under the voluntary market.

On the other hand, coal mining operations could see an increase in workers’ compensation coverage.

This has many workers concerned, considering the mining and extraction industry has one of the highest worker injury rates in the nation, and an increase in workers’ compensation coverage could prompt some companies to find ways to skirt the requirement to carry insurance.

This behavior is prevalent in the construction industry, where companies classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying for insurance coverage.

A hearing on the subject of the increase is scheduled to take place October 21 at 10 A.M. at the Tyler Building in downtown Richmond, Virginia.

The Norfolk personal injury attorneys with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley are aware of the impact workers’ compensation benefits can have on accident victims who are injured and unable to work. That’s why we urge anyone who has been hurt while working to speak with our legal team to help ensure your potential rights to compensation are protected under the law.

Study Links Toothpaste Ingredient to Development of Cancer

by Keith Adkins | August 25th, 2014

Product liability issues can come in all shapes and sizes, but one of the most common causes for an item to be listed as a defective product is that it contains unsafe chemicals or ingredients. The problem is notorious in the drug manufacturing industry, and each year hundreds of prescription medications are recalled after previously unknown side effects emerge. But over-the-counter medications and other consumer products are also susceptible to product recalls.

Colgate Total toothpaste is the latest consumer product facing scrutiny after officials announced several weeks ago that the product contains a chemical linked to the development of cancer in animals.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports the antibacterial chemical triclosan is used in Colgate Total toothpaste as one of many ingredients included to combat gingivitis and tooth decay. However, some studies have linked triclosan to cancer cell growth and malformations in the bones of fetal rats and mice. Researchers believe the chemical may have an effect on the endocrine system, causing problems with hormonal balances.

Colgate maintains that the product is safe, citing its Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval.  Many scientists say triclosan’s impact on the human body is difficult to isolate and the link to cancer in humans is untested. Though the product was approved by the FDA in 1997, three scientists who reviewed Colgate’s toxicology studies on triclosan at Bloomberg’s request are questioning the approval, saying the FDA may have relied too heavily on company-backed science to establish product safety.

Investigations into the link between triclosan and cancer remain ongoing and there are no plans to recall Colgate Total toothpaste.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers,  our Norfolk personal injury attorneys have helped numerous clients get back on their feet after suffering injuries or illnesses due to product liability and safety issues. If you have questions about your rights, call us at (800) 208-CASH to learn more about how we can help.

3 Results of the NCAA Brain Injury Settlement

by Keith Adkins | August 18th, 2014

Our knowledge about the dangers of repeat traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)—especially among athletes—has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. This has led some of the leading bodies of today’s largest sports organizations to take action to better protect athletes from TBIs.

One of those major changes came when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced a settlement with a group of athletes who had brought suit against the organization. The athletes claimed the NCAA had failed to protect athletes from repeat TBIs.

An article from WOWKTV 13 News stated 10 athletes claimed they had suffered long-term health effects brought on by repeat TBIs suffered on the field. They claimed trainers didn’t take enough precautions before sending them back onto the field. In fact, data indicates more than half of all NCAA trainers were found to engage in the illegal practice, putting players’ health at risk.

As part of the settlement:

  1. $75 million will be allocated to monitoring injured players’ health and researching TBIs.
  2. The NCAA will create a blanket policy for returning to the field players who have suffered a suspected TBI.
  3. Athletes can sue individually for damages related to their injuries.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, our Norfolk personal injury attorneys are aware of how a TBI can affect a victim for their rest of their life and are hopeful the new policy will be effective in better protecting college athletes from TBIs.

New Plan Aims to Eradicate Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence in the U.S.

by Keith Adkins | August 11th, 2014

When our loved ones are unable to care for themselves, using a home care provider or nursing home’s services may be the best way to ensure they receive the medical attention they need. On the other hand, nursing home abuse rates are through the roof.

The National Center for Elder Abuse reports that as many as 1 in 3 nursing home residents will become victims of abuse or negligence. Experts are quick to point out this estimate may be on the low end though, considering a large number of cases may go unreported.

Officials are hoping to curb the number of elderly patients who are harmed each year by creating a new plan to address the problem. The Elder Justice Roadmap lays out five priorities that are key to combating nursing home abuse, and they include:

  1. Awareness- Finding new and innovative ways to educate the public about nursing home abuse through improved policies and research is crucial.
  2. Brain Health- Improving patient brain function through focused research is believed to also have a significant impact on nursing home abuse rates.
  3. Caregiving- Providing better support and training to healthcare workers.
  4. Economics- Pinning down the costs associated with nursing home abuse will also work to dissuade the behavior.
  5. Resources- Investment in resources to support victims of nursing home abuse is important to victims’ recovery.

The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers are hopeful these changes will successfully bring an end to nursing home abuse in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Penalties Increased for Failing to Carry Virginia Workers’ Compensation Coverage

by Keith Adkins | August 4th, 2014

State law requires most employers in the Commonwealth of Virginia to carry an insurance policy that will cover expenses in the event an accident occurs that leaves a worker injured. Unfortunately, many employers attempt to avoid the costs of carrying Virginia workers’ compensation coverage by misclassifying employees on their payroll.

The state is working to address this issue though. In fact, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission just announced it would be increasing the penalties for any company that is caught committing infractions of employment fraud.

A press release from the agency states uninsured employers will face a civil penalty of as much as $250 per day—with a maximum of $50,000— for non-compliance. The new regulations apply to any company or person who hires two or more part- or full-time employees. Those who use subcontractors must also count those individuals as their employees as well.

The hope is that new regulations and better investigations will deter companies from attempting to list employees as “independent contractors” in order to save money. The agency says they will be closely observing how control is exerted over a worker’s manner and means of completing their tasks in order to make a determination as to how an employee should be classified.

At Lowell Stanley Injury Lawyers, our Norfolk personal injury attorneys have seen the effects a lack of benefits and resources can have on injured workers, which is why we are hopeful the reforms being made in Virginia will help provide Virginia workers’ compensation coverage to more workers.

VDOT Works to Reduce Norfolk Car Accidents Involving Pedestrians and Cyclists at Berkley Bridge

by Keith Adkins | July 28th, 2014

There is currently a serious concern among local lawmakers about the high number of Norfolk car accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles. Just last month, a cyclist was hit on the pedestrian path of the Berkley Bridge near downtown.

The incident left many citizens calling for safety improvements to be made in the area and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has responded. According to an article from WAVY 10 News, the VDOT has not only repainted markings on the road and installed new signage, but they have also set up posts that will guide pedestrian and bicycle traffic across the span.

The VDOT didn’t stop there though. They also established regulations that would prevent motor vehicles from regularly traveling along the bridge. Now, golf carts will be used to shuttle employees from nearby businesses to and from their vehicles. Furthermore, walking spotters will be used to help identify any hazards when motor vehicles do have to travel along the bridge.

The VDOT says it will continue to evaluate the safety situation at the bridge and make any necessary changes to improve safety when they are pointed out.

Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley and his team of Norfolk personal injury lawyers understand the importance of protecting cyclists and pedestrians from the dangers car accidents can pose and are hopeful the changes that have been made are a success.

2 Recent Changes to Virginia Workers’ Compensation Law

by Keith Adkins | July 22nd, 2014

Employers in the commonwealth of Virginia have a responsibility—by law—to protect the health and safety of workers they hire. Failure to do so has resulted in costly penalties and the potential of facing civil litigation in the past, but now the laws have been changed to make the punishment for not providing Virginia workers’ compensation coverage even greater.

Under previous Virginia state law, an employer not carrying a workers’ compensation insurance package to cover the costs associated with a workplace accident could result in a fine of anywhere between $500 and $5,000. According to an article from The News Virginian, the penalties were raised on July 1 to anywhere between $250 per day, per noncompliance, or a total of up to $50,000 in penalties plus collection costs.

These are the first changes to the penalties for failing to carry workers’ compensation coverage in about 20-years and were made in an effort to curb the number of employers who found it cheaper to face penalties in the event of an accident than to carry insurance.

Other changes to Virginia workers’ compensation law that went into effect this month include stiffer penalties for employers who misclassify employees in order to avoid coverage or reduce rates.

The key to these reforms being effective will be holding companies responsible. That means employees who are hurt on the job should report the incident to the proper authorities immediately. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley also encourage accident victims to discuss their potential rights to compensation with an attorney prior to settling with a workers’ compensation insurer.

Virginia Medical Malpractice Cap Rises to $2.15 Million

by Keith Adkins | July 14th, 2014

Medical professionals have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect the safety of their patients. Failures to do so may result in civil litigation against the parties responsible for the patient’s harm.

In cases of Virginia medical malpractice, determining the amount of money an injured patients can receive is complicated by a cap schedule the state has placed on such awards.

In 1999, state officials designed a schedule that would allow a slight increase in the amount that can be awarded to victims of Virginia medical malpractice. It began with a $1.5 million medical malpractice cap on July 1, 2000, and has progressed to a cap of $2.15 million on July 1, 2014.

The amount that an individual can be awarded depends on when the accident, injury, or medical error occurred. In other words, an individual can only be awarded the amount of the cap during the year their injury occurs.

In 2031, the cap will max out at a total of $3 million.

There are also statutes of limitations that apply to Virginia medical malpractice claims, which is why it’s important to speak with an attorney about your case as soon as possible. The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley are aware of how confusing the legal process can be and are here to help victims of Virginia medical malpractice.

Man’s Brain Injury the Result of Headbanging at Motorhead Concert

by Keith Adkins | July 7th, 2014

Millions of music fans around the world enjoy the driving guitars and deliberate drumming of heavy metal—a genre of rock and roll that became prominent in the 1970s.  They show their appreciation for the music by whipping their heads up and down to the beat in a practice that has become known as “headbanging.” What these fans may not realize though, is that going through this motion may cause a serious brain injury.

The LA Times has released an article that tells the story of a 50-year-old fan of the band Motorhead, who was headbanging so hard at a concert the band put on in January 2013 that he caused his brain to bleed. The medical team who treated the victim released their findings in a recent publication of a medical journal, stating the patient had no history of substance abuse or prior brain injury but had been “headbanging regularly for years.”

The victim stated that after attending the concert, he suffered constant and worsening headaches that drove him to seek medical attention. Upon testing, medical staff determined the victim had suffered bleeding of the brain caused by his brain hitting his skull repeatedly while headbanging.

The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley say the incident highlights the need to always keep safety at the forefront of the mind, especially when attending concerts.

Study Shows Traumatic Brain Injuries Lead To Higher Alzheimer’s Rates In Veterans

by Keith Adkins | June 30th, 2014

Each day, more light is shed on the long-term effects suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the line of duty may have on soldiers and veterans. This trend is continuing with the discovery that a TBI may lead to an increased risk of veterans suffering from the degenerative brain disease known as Alzheimer’s over time.

An article released by USA Today explains the study was conducted by researchers from University of California-San Francisco and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and examined the records of more than 188,000 service members. The findings that were published in the journal Neurology showed 16 percent of soldiers and veterans who had suffered a TBI were later diagnosed with Dementia, the precursor to Alzheimer’s. Only ten percent of service members who had not suffered a head injury were diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Many experts find this 60 percent difference in numbers astonishing. The team has conceded that there are numerous factors that lead to a patient’s diagnosis of Dementia or Alzheimer’s, but say the results show a need to further evaluate the correlation between TBIs and other neurological conditions.

The Norfolk personal injury lawyers with Lowell “The Hammer” Stanley see the devastating results of TBIs all too often and are hopeful this research can be used to better protect soldiers and civilians from these injuries and their dangers.