Campbell Law Mediation Project Helps Wake Students Work Things Out

Campbell Law Mediation Project Helps Wake Students Work Things Out

According to an article on WRAL, When East Millbrook school officials started sensing tension among their students they brought in  Professor Jon Powell and the Campbell Law School Juvenile Justice Project which he leads.  The Campbell Law School Juvenile Justice Project is a group of Campbell law students who work with Wake County school children to help them resolve conflicts.  The Project partners with several Wake County middle and high schools and is funded through the Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

An anonymous eighth grader at East Millbrook complained that students just  “didn’t get along.”  “It was like he-she said stuff.”  The law school mediators focused on the harm that had been done and how that harm could be addressed in a positive way.  Mediators first talk to the students separately, then together, to help keep a conflict from escalating into a fight.  Professor Powell and the law students’ goal is to get both sides to understand the root of the problems so it doesn’t build up again. “We just worked it out that day” said the eighth grade student.

The Campbell Law School Juvenile Justice Project has dealt with about 80 cases in the last school year.  In the last ten years 95% of the students who completed the mediation didn’t offend again.  A vice principal at East Millbrook said that the students behavior after the program was “calmer, not necessarily best friends but at peace.”

One of the major changes in the practice of law over the past twenty years has been the increased use of mediation to resolve conflicts.  Practically every NC automobile accident, personal injury or workers’ compensation case  that is filed is ordered to mediation.  There are many NC personal injury lawyers who now limit their practice to working as a mediator.  And most NC automobile accident lawyers spend more time in mediation that in trial.

So it’s probably a good idea to start training lawyers in law school to mediate conflict.  And I guess if they can mediate a middle school spat they can mediate anything.

Workers’ Comp Benefits in Wilmington NC Reduced  for Firefighters, Police

Workers’ Comp Benefits in Wilmington NC Reduced for Firefighters, Police

The Wilmington City Council recently voted to reduce Workers’ Comp Benefits in Wilmington NC for firefighters and police officers who are injured in the line of duty. Previously, injured safety workers could draw up to 100% of their pre-injury wages through the city’s workers’ comp program. The change  reduced the compensation to the minimum required by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.

These 100% reimbursement plans are generally referred to as salary continuation.  Many state law enforcement officers continue to be eligible for salary continuation through the State of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation plan.  Teachers may also be eligible if they are injured in an episode of violence.

 

 

WTC First Responders Developing Work Related Cancers

WTC First Responders Developing Work Related Cancers

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 1140 people have been diagnosed with cancer related to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th 2001, and that number is expected to grow.  The cancers are traced to in the carcinogens in the air at ground zero.  Tina Engel, an oncology nurse at North Shore Hospital in Queens says she has identified 12 new cases in the last 2 months.  Federal funding is helping patients get biopsies and scans.

Because firefighters, police, EMT’s and other first responders are at particular risk, many of the cancers are work related.  The US Centers for Disease Control has identified about 65,000 people who became sick from 9/11 exposure, many of them first responders.  A Mount Sinai Medical Center study showed that first responders have a 15 percent greater risk of developing cancer than people who were not exposed to the toxic air.  Marty Cervellion , a 63 year old engineer who spent more than 2 months at ground zero following the attacks developed gastroesophageal cancer in 2011.  “It was always in the back of everyone’s mind we were in jeopardy given the contamination down there, but the entire world was calling on you,” he told the Daily News. “It felt so good to serve.  There was no wanting to escape.”

Many workers’ compensation attorneys believe that we will continue to see an increase in work related cancers, which are treated as occupational diseases under NC workers’ comp law.  To recover for an occupation disease in NC the employee must show that their employment placed them at increased risk for developing the condition as compared to the general public and that the employment substantially contributed to the employee contracting the disease.  The challenge is frequently showing that the work exposure contributed to the cancer, particular when other factors such as smoking are present.

Link to Yahoo article.

 

 

Law Students Help Local Kids Mediate Differences

Law Students Help Local Kids Mediate Differences

When East Millbrook school officials started sensing tension among their students they brought in  Professor Jon Powell and the Campbell Law School Juvenile Justice Project which he leads.  The Campbell Law School Juvenile Justice Project is a group of Campbell law students who work with Wake County school children to help them resolve conflicts.  The Project partners with several Wake County middle and high schools and is funded through the Campbell University Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law.

An anonymous eighth grader at East Millbrook complained that students just  “didn’t get along.”  “It was like he-she said stuff.”  The law school mediators focused on the harm that had been done and how that harm could be addressed in a positive way.  Mediators first talk to the students separately, then together, to help keep a conflict from escalating into a fight.  Professor Powell and the law students’ goal is to get both sides to understand the root of the problems so it doesn’t build up again. “We just worked it out that day” said the eighth grade student.

The Campbell Law School Juvenile Justice Project has dealt with about 80 cases in the last school year.  In the last ten years 95% of the students who completed the mediation didn’t offend again.  A vice principal at East Millbrook said that the students behavior after the program was “calmer, not necessarily best friends but at peace.”

One of the major changes in the practice of law over the past twenty years has been the increased use of mediation to resolve conflicts.  Practically every NC automobile accident, personal injury or workers’ compensation case  that is filed is ordered to mediation.  There are many NC personal injury lawyers who now limit their practice to working as a mediator.  And most NC automobile accident lawyers spend more time in mediation that in trial.

So it’s probably a good idea to start training lawyers in law school to mediate conflict.  And I guess if they can mediate a middle school spat they can mediate anything.

Link to WRAL article.

Price is Right in Fayetteville NC workers’ compensation case

Price is Right in Fayetteville NC workers’ compensation case

I read just about everywhere this week about the Fayetteville NC workers’ compensation case involving a postal carrier who pled guilty in federal court to workers’ compensation fraud.  Apparently Cathy Wrench Cashwell was caught on “The Price is Right” spinning the “big wheel” twice, after claiming that she was unable to lift mail trays into a truck because of a 2004 on-the-job shoulder injury, along with claiming other serious physical limitations.   According to WRAL the indictment alleged that Ms. Cashwell “raised her left arm above her head and gripped the handle with her left hand.”  On a second spin, she “raised both arms above her head and gripped the same handle with both hands.”  The indictment also alleges she went ziplining while on a Carnival Cruise and was seen lifting furniture and groceries.

I expect that she will punished appropriately.

Unfortunately, there is never quite the same enthusiasm when it comes to prosecuting employer workers’ compensation fraud in North Carolina.  I have written a number of times on my own NC workers’ comp blog, and recently on as a guest writer on Raleigh divorce lawyer Jim Hart’s blog, about the failure of state-wide leaders to address the issue of employers that fail to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees.  To my knowledge, not a single one of the thousands of employers that break North Carolina’s workers’ comp laws has ever been prosecuted.

I know private investigator Allison Blackman who was quoted in the WRAL article as saying that a big chunk of workers’ comp claims are fraudulent.   Allison is a skilled private investigator and a good man.  But I have to disagree with him on this one.  The fact is the vast majority of fraud in the workers’ compensation system is on the employer side.  I have represented a number of people in their Fayetteville NC workers’ compensation case and all of them were seriously and legitimately injured.

People who cheat the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina or elsewhere need to be identified and prosecuted, whether they are employees or employers.  I would be nice to see some equality of effort in prosecuting both types.

 

Senate Moves to Delay NC Workers’ Compensation Medical Treatment

Senate Moves to Delay NC Workers’ Compensation Medical Treatment

I hate to say it, but here they go again.

Currently, if an injured NC worker needs medical treatment that has been prescribed by the employee’s workers’ comp doctor, but the workers’ compensation insurance company refuses to approve the treatment, the injured worker can file a simple motion with the North Carolina Industrial Commission for an expedited or emergency hearing on the issue.  (The NC Industrial Commission administers the NC Workers’ Compensation Act.)  An Industrial Commission hearing officer conducts a telephonic hearing, listens to both sides, considers the evidence including any medical records the parties present, and makes a decision, usually within a few weeks of when the request was first made.  Its a simple, fair process that generally works well for everybody.  Senate Bill 174 would change that.

Senate Bill 174 would require that all requests for denied medical treatment in NC workers’ compensation cases be decided only after a full hearing before the Industrial Commission, which would include life testimony and medical depositions of the relevant doctors.  The effect would be to delay the needed treatment months or even years.  There is no reason to further delay NC workers’ compensation medical treatment.  And keep in mind that in most NC workers’ compensation cases the insurance company chose the employee’s doctor in the first place.  The bill would also place a greater burden on doctors who take workers’ comp cases, who would have to spend more time in depositions.

The vast majority of injured workers in North Carolina simply want to get the medical treatment they need to get better and return to work.  This bill would complicate and delay the process and make it harder for workers to do that.

Go here for an interesting article on the kind of damage Senate Bill 174 could do to injured workers in North Carolina.

If you have questions about your workers’ comp case in North Carolina please feel free to contact me for your free evaluation of by a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney.

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