Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security Number in Georgia workers' compensation claim

                    

 

Jose Antonio Hernandez Oceguera is being held at Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security Number at work and apparently when he filed his claim for workers' compensation benefits with the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation. Those charges include first degree forgery,  four counts of making false and misleading statements when obtaining workers' compensation benefits,  and four felony counts of giving false statements to a government agency.

 
Undocumented workers in Georgia have the same rights to workers' compensation benefits as any other injured workers; however, it is illegal to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits using a false Social Security Number. Therefore, undocumented workers should always request a Board Tracking Number rather than filing a claim with a false Social Security Number. For assistance requesting a Board Tracking Number, we strongly recommend contacting a Georgia workers' compensation attorney.

 

New Changes Under Georgia Workers' Compensation Act

Effective July 1, 2013, the following changes will go into effect under the Georgia Workers' Compensation Act:

(1) The maximum Temporary Total Disability rate will increase from $500.00 per week to $525.00 per week;

(2) The maximum Temporary Partial Disability rate will increase from $334.00 per week to $350.00 per week;

(3) An injured worker who returns to light-duty work pursuant to a Form WC-240 must attempt the light-duty work for at least eight (8) hours or one scheduled workday;

(4) Medical care will be capped at 400 weeks for non-catastrophic injuries; and

(5) The interest rate for calculating present value on advances will be five percent (5%).

If you are looking for a Georgia workers' compensation attorney, please contact one of our Georgia workers' compensation attorneys for a free consultation. Call 404.917.9174

Focusing On The Future of Spinal Cord Injuries

Progress has been made through regeneration research and experimental therapeutics designed to promote functionally and create effective axonal regrowth and sprouting. Now the Shepherd Center can continue finding new ways to increase function and quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries with the expansion of their Neuroscience Lab.

The Betty and Billy Hulse Spinal Cord Injury Lab will be dedicated to honor Billy Hulse and his wife. With a $1.2 Million dollar donation given from a former Shepherd Center patient and Atlanta business man, Billy Hulse, they can hire additional researchers and buy new equipment that will provide a way to help advance spinal cord grants and provide the capability of unlocking the science of the human body. 

To read the full article please visit the Shepherd Center Website 

3 Ways To Use Twitter For Your Business

140 characters to say exactly what you want to say effectively is sometimes challenging. Remember these THREE tips when tweeting for your own company.

 1. We.. are.. not.. a.. "Spambot" : Make sure you take some time to respond to people's questions and concerns. Writing your customers or potential clients back will give you credibility. Your followers want information and customer service should be number one. No one wants to get a response from an automated bot asking for them to call a certain number. We have Siri for that! Let's be real and engaged with our audience.

2. We received great news: If you don't tweet about your accomplishments in 140 characters, you are not using the valuable resource that Twitter can be. Just as you would email some colleagues or friends about something great that happened in your life, Twitter and your business should be the same.

3. Share great content: Sharing and retweeting news articles that are appropriate and interesting will keep the followers and will attract new ones. Use Twitter to link your blog content and stories. You wrote the content, why not share it across all social media sites. 

 

House Bill 154 Would Change Workers' Compensation Benefits

The Georgia Legislature is considering a new law that would make significant changes to the benefits that injured workers receive in this state.

Some of the proposed changes would be beneficial to injured workers. For instance the bill would raise the cap on weekly income benefits (also known as TTD Benefits) from $500.00 to $525.00. In addition, the bill would require insurance companies to reimburse injured workers for mileage expenses within 15 days of being notified of the same. 

However, the biggest change proposed in the bill, known as House Bill 154, would limit the time period in which an injured worker can receive medical treatment. Under the proposed change any worker whose injury is not deemed "catastrophic" will only be entitled to medical treatment for a maximum of 400 weeks from the date of the injury. Under current law, injured workers can continue to receive medical treatment for their lifetimes, as long as that treatment is related to their original work injuries.

Read the text of House Bill 154 here:


 

Governor Deal Appoints New Chairman of the State Board of Workers' Compensation

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal recently appointed Frank McKay to serve as the Chairman of the State Board of Workers' Compensation. McKay fills the vacancy left by outgoing Chairman Richard Thompson.

McKay, a partner in the Gainesville law firm of Stewart, Melvin & Frost, has practiced before the State Board of Workers' Compensation for 22 years. He is highly regarded in the workers' compensation community and is expected to receive a warm welcome from members of the board, the business community, and both the defense and claimants' bar.

The Bader Law Firm congratulates Chairman McKay and wishes him the best in his new role! 

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Advertising and the Internet

For many lawyers, advertising on the Internet can seem complicated. Questions arise of which site works best, which plan should I get and ultimately, will I get business from any of this? It will make your head spin for sure. Unfortunately, it doesn't help that regulations and rules apply to lawyers in every state.

Most people think of the Internet as this vast world of browsers and users exchanging data. In essence, that's exactly what it is but with certain boundaries in place in order for there to be order. A bit ironic if you ask me.There are some unanswered questions through my investigation about what is ethical in advertising.

There is a huge difference between solicitation in the real world and the Internet. A website, is the most common way by any company to exchange information to multiple people at once. Solicitation? Depends. What if the website had a 'live-chat' person waiting to answer all your questions and concerns? Would that be considered solicitation or advertising? Some would argue by you accessing their website, you have made the first contact. There is this real cliché about attorney websites. There are always pop ups of some mysterious person wanting to answer our questions. It happens so often, that we are so curious and say, "hello". It reminds me of when you are walking down the food court at a mall. As you are walking by to see what each food stand offers, you are shoved a sample in your face. I wasn't necessarily seeking your product but am forced to consume this information, in this case the teriyaki chicken.

The ABA or The American Bar Association issued an ethics opinion about activities surrounding online advertising for lawyers. It stated, "If online activities promote law practice, they are considered attorney advertising." Profiles, Timelines and Pages promote you as a lawyer and must comply with your respected state's rules. Unfortunately, attorneys violate the bar rules without even knowing. Make sure you are in charge of creating your content for your website and be involved in the process from start to finish.

Imagine an ethical advertising campaign, one with 'net-etiquette'. There are too many grey areas in ethical advertising and not enough simplicity. Simply move away from what the norm is set and chances are, you will see results. 

If you want to read more regarding the ABA and gathering information about rules and regulations  please click HERE. 

Wondering if you get paid to be a witness under the Georgia Civil Practice Act?

Under O.C.G.A. Section 24-10-24, if you receive a subpoena to testify in court in Georgia, then you are entitled to a witness fee of $25.00 a day and $0.20 a mile (roundtrip) for traveling expenses. This fee is a requirement for service of the subpoena to be valid if your residence is outside of the county where the proceeding it taking place. Payment of the fee may be in cash, cashier's check, postal money order, certified check, or attorney/law firm check.

Surveillance Leads to Finding of Workers' Comp Fraud

It may seem obvious to most people, but it is worth noting that when a workers' compensation doctor places someone under physical restrictions these restrictions apply not just when that individual is at work, but also when he or she is away from work. 

It is common for insurance companies to order video surveillance of a person who is under work restrictions. A private investigator may tape that worker while they are entering or exiting their home, while they are shopping, or even while they are exercising. 

If an injured worker is caught doing something beyond their restrictions, their doctor may release them back to full-duty work as a result. If a person is receiving income benefits when they are caught doing something beyond their restrictions, the consequences may be far more serious.

Recently an Ohio man, who had been placed under 10 pound lifting restrictions, and who was receiving income benefits, was caught bench pressing hundreds of pounds in free weights at a local gym. Not only were his workers' compensation benefits stopped, but he was also found guilty of fraud and ordered to repay more than $31,000.00 of benefits that he had already received.

New Ruling Expected on Lawyers' Communications With Doctors

 In July the Supreme Court of Georgia heard arguments in the case of McRae v. Arby's Restaurant Group, and the court's decision is eagerly anticipated by workers' compensation attorneys across the state. 

At issue is whether an injured worker can stop her employer's attorneys from having a private conversation with her doctor. 

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