In Virginia, an injured workers compensation rate is based upon their pre-injury “Average Weekly Wage.” Too often Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau meets with disabled workers who are getting weekly comp benefits based only upon their wages for 40 hours. Often times this leads to a huge underpayment. This is because many workers work and earn overtime; receive bonuses; have other, similar jobs; get company uniforms, trucks, meals, etc. Each of those can increase the average weekly wage calculation if
done early on in the case. Unfortunately, many insurance adjusters do not voluntarily tell an injured worker of their family that they are entitled under the law to add on their overtime, bonus and similar jobs’ earnings to correctly, and fairly calculate their Average Weekly Wage (“AWW”) rates.
Correctly calculating the injured worker’s pre-injury AWW impacts the employer and workers compensation insurance carrier’s exposure over the life of a claim. It can affect the immediate payment of weekly indemnity benefits as well as the ultimate settlement value of a file. The three (3) kinds of indemnity benefits are all affected by the AWW calculation: Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) benefits (for total wage loss), Temporary Partial Disability (“TPD”) benefits (for partial wage loss after a return to light duty &/or part-time work), Permanent Partial Disability (“PPD”) benefits, or even Permanent Total Disability (“PTD”).
Is there a limit to how many body parts can be covered by workers compensation?
If there are medical records that prove the injuries are because of the workplace accident and the defendants—typically the employer and insurer—agree that they are compensable workplace injuries, then no, there is no limit to how many body parts can be covered by workers comp.
In the case of one of our clients, Mr. A, on top of several bodily injuries, he also got new prescription eyeglasses covered due to his on-the-job injury. He was working as an airport ramp service agent, which involved loading and unloading airplanes.
On June 18, 2015, due to a heavy rainstorm, passengers were deplaning and Mr. A was giving them umbrellas. Then, all of a sudden, Mr. A was hit by a metal staircase/ramp that was blown away from the plane.
The case went to court and Abrams Landau, Ltd. aided Mr. A in making a claim for these injuries: left elbow, left shoulder (pain), left arm (contusion), neck (cervical strain), TMJ, left hip (pain), left knee (contusion), left ankle (sprain), & right zygomatic arch fracture. Mr. A received Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits beginning June 19, 2015 and continuing of $333.68/week based on a pre-injury Average Weekly Wage (AWW) of $500.52. Lifetime medical benefits were also awarded.
Mr. A also made a claim to have his prescription glasses covered, but the employer and insurer defended the claim on the grounds that the need for replacement eyeglasses is not reasonable, necessary or causally related to the work accident.
A mentally imbalanced shooter at the Fort Lauderdale Florida Airport may have opened up several airlines to potential liability claims by the injured travelers and the families of those who died. Last week’s shooting at the Hollywood Fort Lauderdale International Airport baggage claim area presents questions of responsibility for the harms and losses to the innocent airline passengers. Clearly those airport employees and airline crew members who may have been injured in the attack may have recourse under the Workers Compensation law of the states where they were employed. However, the negligence claims of passengers and their families may be more complicated than the workers “no fault” compensation claims. Continue reading →
Five people were killed and six more were injured in the shooting Friday at the Fort Lauderdale Airport. There is a surveillance video that shows the moment the shooter took his weapon out and started firing at people’s heads in the baggage collection area of Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport (“FLL”). The gunman captured on the videotape is Esteban Santiago. He has been charged with performing an act of violence against a person at an airport serving international civil aviation and two other counts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. The charges could lead to the death penalty if he is convicted. His victims included a grandfather from Virginia Beach, Virginia and a grandmother Continue reading →
Work on the Air Operations Area (“AOA”) can be hazardous. Workers injured while getting jets ready for their next flight usually have a workers’ compensation claim with their employer. However, when an airline employee is harmed by the unsafe conduct of an airport worker employed by a different company, the injured victim may also have a case against the negligent person and their employers according to Washington Dulles (“IAD”) and Reagan National (“DCA”) Airports lawyer Doug Landau, of the Herndon law firm Abrams Landau, Ltd.
For example, if an airline baggage loader slipped and fell during a late night shift at IAD on jet fuel carelessly spilled by workers of another company, the airline employee would be able to get their medical bills covered by their own employer’s workers’ comp insurance company, partial wage replacement, reimbursement for travel, prescriptions, etc., and potential future permanency payments as well. In addition, this disabled airline worker could also bring a claim against the fuel truck operator and their employer for “negligence.” This claim is not required, but the losses a negligence case can cover are far greater than the limited medical bill payment and partial wage replacement benefits allowed under the Workers’ Comp laws of many states. Continue reading →
How many people travel through Washington Dulles International Airport (“IAD”) each year? One million? Ten Million? Try 21,650,546 in 2015, and that’s not the highest year on record for the Loudoun County facility. According to the Air Traffic Statistics Report, 14,463,112 are domestic passengers and 7,187,434 from international flights.
Dulles Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States, and its proximity to the “Capitol of the Free World” makes it an important stop for travelers from all over the globe. Because of the sheer volume of passengers, crew and airport workers, AND it’s 24/7 operations schedule, Dulles, unlike Reagan National Airport, gets no “down time” with which to work on safety issues.
While the underground train system is a huge improvement over the “midfield terminal bus” system, those huge, unstable vehicles are still in use on the Air Operations Area (AOA). These are some of the largest wheel-based vehicles on the planet, and at Dulles Airport, they compete with jets, planes, fuel trucks, catering vehicles, luggage tugs, maintenance Cushman, security details and inspectors’ cars for the limited space on the runways and airport roadways. Given this volume of vehicular traffic, accidents will happen on the AOA. Hopefully attendance at the regular safety meetings by the representatives of the various contractors and airlines using Dulles will result in improvements in safety for both the traveling public and airline and airport employees.
Once a traveler passes through security into the “sterile areas” of the airport, they are in the hands of the airlines, who are considered “common carriers” in the eyes of the law. This means that there is a higher duty of care owed to make sure that the traveler gets from point A to point B safely. While the airlines can, and often do, subcontract and outsource aspects of their obligation, they are still ultimately responsible for conveying passengers safely and avoiding needless injury. It is hoped that as new routes are brought to Washington Dulles International Airport that commensurate increases in safety and injury prevention will also expand. 2017 can be a record year for safety at Dulles Airport. Safety should be as important as passenger volume and profits. Let us hope the folks at the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority and the airlines that fly out of Dulles Airport share these same priorities.
With the increase in the number of flights, terminals, and international routes out of Dulles International Airport (“IAD”), there comes increased vehicle traffic, foot traffic, and aircraft traffic on the runways and around the gates of the Washington DC area airports. Airport workers must be extra careful when working on the “Air Operations Area,” the technical name for the runway areas and paved portions of the airport property that are beyond the “sterile,” TSA checkpoints.
Because these workers cannot hear, because of large and engines, sometimes cannot see, because they work at night or in the early morning hours, cannot feel vibrations, because a large aircraft nearby, they are deprived of many of the senses that keep them safe at regular work place settings. That is why it is critical to secure competent, experienced legal counsel right away, as many lawyers do not know peculiar procedures that govern airport claims. For example, the regular county and city police are normally not allowed on the AOA to investigate accidents. Furthermore, the airport authority may call an accident record and “incident report.” ANd there are other aspects of airport injury claims that are specific to the Airport Operations Area. There are special time senssitive procedures that must be followed in order to get the evidence after an injury on airport grounds.
It is also critical to the success of the case to get witness information, secure evidence, and give the appropriate notice to the parties’ employer(s) and other involved authorities. Herndon lawyer Doug Landau seen many cases go down the drain because prompt action was not taken, or a lawyer did not get the evidence necessary to prove liability. Liability is the law’s way of saying, “whose fault was it ?” That is why the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. seeks out the evidence necessary to prove clients’ legal claims and the harms they have sustained due to the unsafe decisions of others at the airport. If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of an airport runway, pre-flight inspection, Airport Operations Area, terminal, airplane or other air travel related accident and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.
Learning about airport injury lawyer Doug Landau from the extensive writing on the internet, this Herndon resident was still suffering from his orthopedic and neurological injuries over a year after a ramp had blown over in a storm while this diminutive gentleman was directing airline passengers where to go to smaller regional jets and prop planes.
In addition to a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) this airport worker sustained a vision impact as well as a fractured jaw and ankle. Over 15 months post-injury, he had still not returned to any form of work, and was still treating with multiple medical specialists.
However, lawyer Landau was not pleased to see that this intelligent gentleman had not taken any steps to make the best of his situation.
The injured airport worker had not registered with any state, local, or federal agency in order to pursue training, education, or job placement.
Because his English was so poor, it was hard to understand the claimant. Had he used the time he was off work and receiving wage replacement benefits from his airport employer’s workers comp insurance company, this young man could have really helped himself and his family by becoming fluent in English. Instead, this Ethiopian permanent US resident is worse off for becoming “deconditioned,” out of work for over a year (a big “red flag” for many potential employers).
In addition, this misguided employee let the insurance company’s “nurse case manager” have her way with his treating doctors such that medical tests, treatment, therapy, and needed notes were either not approved or ignored.
In short, by not making the most of his situation and being proactive with an experienced workers compensation lawyer, this young man is unemployed, unwell, unable to speak the language of the country where he has chosen to live, and unlikely to get a job doing anything in the near future.
At the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., we give “homework” to our clients and their families in order to prevent them from having to play “catch up.” It is better to anticipate problems in a case and acknowledge the realities of an on the job injury claim. Sometimes airport clients cannot return to their old jobs, sometimes they cannot even return to work in any capacity for the airlines with whom they had worked for many years. Sometimes a workplace injury will require an airport worker to learn new skills, find a job away from the AOA and even go back to school.
When Doug Landau takes the podium on the national program to teach other top trial lawyers about the special rules and regulations at airport runways, he will start by defining what is meant by the “AOA.” According to the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) the Air Operations Area (AOA) “consists of airport areas where aircraft can operate, either under their own power or while in tow. The AOA includes runways, taxiways, and apron areas.”
Another FAA definition of the “Air Operations Area” is “where security measures are enforced as specified in the airport security program. This area includes aircraft movement areas, aircraft parking areas, loading ramps, and safety areas and any adjacent areas (such as general aviation areas).”
To further elaborate, the term is defined in the Aviation Glossary explanation of the AOA as “Any area of an airport used or intended to be used for landing, takeoff, or surface maneuvering of aircraft. An air operations area includes such paved areas or unpaved areas that are used, or intended to be used, for the unobstructed movement of aircraft in addition to its associated runway, taxiways, or apron.”
It is the area of the airport, after passengers pass through the entrance of the terminal, successfully navigate the TSA screening area and enter the “sterile area”, where their luggage from the underbellies of the jets is loaded and unloaded, planes are re-fueled, catering trucks mate to international aircraft, maintenance Cushman vehicles stop for repairs, mid-field people movers bring travelers to their gates, tugs tow planes to runways or baggage to “arrivals” conveyer belts, ground crews use hand signals with illuminated wands to cockpits and pre-flight inspections are carried out by airline crew members. “Understanding what area is within the special rules covering the AOA is critical to the investigation of a permanent injury case or collision between airport vehicles or jets,” notes Landau, of the Herndon law firm ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. His Dulles International Airport (“IAD”) office routinely helps injured airport workers, airline employees, air travelers and the innocent victims of unsafe conduct on the runways of East Coast airports.
If you or someone you know or care for has been injured as the result of an airport terminal, airplane or other air travel related accident and there are questions about what laws apply, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once.
In one of the more tragic cases of Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau’s career, he was called upon to represent a worker who died in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon outside of Washington DC.
The Abrams Landau team represented the family of the pilot of the jet that crashed into the Pentagon, as well as the senior flight attendant’s family, and those of passengers traveling.
The devastation did not stop on that infamous day.
A crack team of welders was brought in from Colorado to repair the damage to our nation’s military headquarters. One of these workers was fatally crushed by a steel beam girder that fell out of its placement sling. He died instantly in a horrific manner.
Lawyer Landau was contacted, and undertook to represent the deceased worker’s middle school age daughter, living in Colorado with the employee’s ex-wife.
However, the decedent had divorced his first wife and mother of his daughter, and remarried. And in a tragic twist, his new wife was pregnant, but did not give birth until sometime after the post 9/11 workplace accident.
So what happens next?
As the ex-wife and current wife could not agree for the case to be settled, Doug Landau was able to fashion an Award from the Virginia Worker’s Compensation Commission that provided payments to BOTH daughters equally, until such time as either:
the older daughter turned 18 or passed away, OR
the younger daughter predeceased her sister, in which case the other would receive the full amount of the death benefit.
In Virginia, fatal job accident cases can be paid up to 500 weeks. However, Landau knew that this statute can be extended if the child is in a full-time qualifying educational institution.
The child in Colorado was in school, and received benefits beyond her 18th birthday.
Landau also has won cases for children who are themselves above the age of majority, but who are disabled, such that they can get almost 10 years of weekly compensation payments.
If you or someone you know may be eligible for Worker’s Compensation benefits, and has questions about how best to proceed, please contact us at once as there are strict legal time limits that can forever bar a child, spouse, and other family members from receiving a dime. Call us at 703-796-9555, or send an email.
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