Is Avvo a credible legal resource?

If you watch much TV, you may have seen the commercials for Avvo, the online legal directory service. They’re clever TV spots for certain. But is Avvo a credible legal resource? Avvo was founded in 2006 out of Seattle by a lawyer who was then Expedia’s general counsel. Seeing the need for a credible resource to match lawyers with people-in-need, Mark Britton married his tech-savvy with his legal connections to initiate a legal rating system and online directory. Now, 97% of lawyers in the U.S. are rated by Avvo. The directory includes profiles of lawyers, reviews from their clients and an Avvo rating for each attorney in the system. As Avvo’s television commercials imply, it’s often easy to know when you need a lawyer, but can be difficult to find a good one. The Ramos Law Firm advocates use of the Avvo directory. Whether you are looking for a workers’ compensation attorney, a divorce lawyer, a personal injury lawyer or other…it’s always good to use a credible resource to find the representation you need. Be sure to read reviews from the attorney’s former clients and check their Avvo rating. Attorneys are rated on a 1 (extreme caution) to 10 (superb) scale based on public documents, using a mathematical model. There is no bias. Attorneys cannot pay to achieve a high rating. And in case you’re interested, Avvo is short for avvocato, which means ‘lawyer’ in Italian. In today’s complicated world, it’s good to know there is a system out there that can provide unbiased, simplified information to help make an important and sometimes complicated system. The Ramos Law Firm...

Will Georgia Employers Opt-Out of Workers’ Compensation responsibility?

A well-funded special interest lobbying coalition is pushing to eliminate the Georgia Workers’ Compensation System. As I wrote about a couple of months ago, the “Association of Responsible Alternatives to Workers’ Compensation” (ARAWC), funded by approximately two dozen national corporations is at the helm of this effort. In its drive to squash workers’ comp, the lobbying group desires that Georgia employers opt-out of workers’ compensation and their  responsibility to injured workers, by accepting a system recently adopted by Texas and Oklahoma. In those states, private companies are allowed to specify its own standards to determine a worker’s right to collect disability and medical benefits. Hence, every company would have different rules for its employees to follow. Moreover, if the employees fail to follow the company’s arbitrary procedures, the company may justifiably deny benefits. The onus is then on the injured worker to fight for benefits through a traditional law suit in State or Superior Court. This is vastly different as Georgia’s workers’ compensation system is governed by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. In fact, Georgia and the rest of the country formed or adopted the current workers’ compensation system due to the failures of the tenants of the proposed system. The Georgia State Board is exclusively dedicated to the adjudication and resolution of workers’ compensation claims. The State and Superior courts are generally over-extended with diverse cases ranging from criminal issues, land disputes, business conflicts, and domestic matters. If an injured worker was relegated to the State or Superior Court, the time needed to adjudicate the claims would be much longer given the volume of cases and lack...

Workers’ rights in intoxification defense

Much attention has been brought to the dangers of drinking and driving. Less is talked about regarding drinking on-the-job, which can be equally dangerous. Not only is an intoxicated worker putting himself and others at-risk, but there is also a good chance a workers’ compensation claim will be denied to that worker should he be injured. (O.C.G.A §34-9-17(b)) However, there are many gray areas surrounding drug and alcohol screens used to determine intoxication on-the-job. An experienced attorney can ensure workers’ rights in the case of an “intoxification defense.” Although an occupational injury may have arisen out of and through the course of employment, the law and public policy will take the position that the claimant was engaged in “willful misconduct” if it is shown the worker was engaging in recreational drugs or drinking alcohol while on-the-job. This will likely result in the Employer/Insurer’s refusal to pay for any medical treatment or income benefits.  Simply refusing the drug screen generally will not help the injured worker as the law will presume the screen would have been positive. After any workplace accident, workers are generally requested to undergo drug and alcohol tests. If the test is completed within a specified period of time and shows intoxicant levels above certain thresholds, the employer and insurer can use this evidence against the worker. Specifically: alcohol screens must be administered within three (3) hours of the industrial accident.  Consequently, the chemical analysis of the claimant’s blood, urine, breath or other bodily substance must be no more than .08 grams. “drug screens” must be administered within eight (8) hours of occupational injury.  If “any amount...

Judge Vicki Lynn Snow retires from SBWC

The Ramos Law Firm congratulates Administrative Law Judge, Vicki Lynn Snow, on her retirement from the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.   Prior to her tenure on the State Board’s Trial Division, Judge Snow served for many years on the Appellate Division.   While Judge Snow’s last day was April 29, 2015, she plans to continue her service to the Workers’ Compensation community by offering dispute resolution alternatives to litigated parties. On behalf of The Ramos Law Firm, we thank Judge Snow for her service to the State Board of Workers’ Compensation and wish her the best of luck in private...

Are subcontractors eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

Subcontracting is a common business practice that can help general contractors and businesses get jobs done more efficiently. But what happens when a subcontracted worker is injured on the job? Are subcontractors eligible for workers’ compensation benefits? The facts about subcontractors and workers’ comp Georgia is one of 44 states that statutorily regulates workers’ compensation within a general contractor-subcontractor relationship. While the law specifically excludes “independent contractors” from workers’ compensation coverage, “employees” of a sub-contractor should be provided with workers’ compensation by the immediate company hired to do the subcontracting performing work. However, some subcontracting companies do not have enough employees to require that they secure workers’ compensation insurance. Fortunately in this case, the injured employee may be deemed a “statutory employee” of the “general” contracting company. This analysis can be very complicated and it is very fact sensitive. The court will consider all the facts surrounding the employee’s work relationship in order to determine if the workers’ comp claim goes through the general contractor. Subcontractors in construction The construction industry is an area in which subcontracting frequently comes into play. Holder Construction Company, Balfour Beatty U.S., Brasfield & Gorrie LLC,The Conlan Company, and The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. Inc. are among the largest construction companies in Atlanta. CA South LLC, Catamount Constructors ,Batson-Cook Company are up-and-coming in the interior construction industry. Work injuries among subcontractors, especially in the construction industry, are common. However, securing workers’ compensation benefits may be challenging as many of the companies will be pointing fingers at each other while the injured work endures the injury. It is clear that the injured worker would likely benefit from...

When an injured worker’s condition changes for the worse

It’s important for an injured worker to take an appropriate amount of time off work after being injured on-the-job. After enough time on temporary total disability, most workers are ready to get back to work. But what happens if that person’s condition changes for the worse after he goes back to work? By that time, benefits have run out. In the world of workers’ compensation, a ‘change in condition for the worse’ is generally defined as the person’s wage-earning capacity, physical condition, or status after the original condition was established under the law.  (O.C.G.A. § 34-9-104). The original condition is tied to the worker’s weekly benefits or medical status after the initial injury. It is not uncommon for a worker’s condition to worsen after returning to the rigor of work, often causing the employee to miss more work. But this time, she is without benefits. Can workers get additional benefits if their condition changes for the worse? The answer is: maybe. The burden is on the employee to show that his condition has worsened. Specifically, the worker must prove the following: (1) her condition has changed for the worse; (2) that because of this change, she is unable to continue to work; (3) that because of this inability to work, she has either a total or partial loss of income; and (4) that the inability to work was caused by the original work injury. Your legal team can help determine how best to get documentation and state your case. Also, it is important to pay attention to legal timetables when seeking recommencement of benefits. A filling must be made...