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Rice Law Office Blog

This blog reviews important legal issues including: personal injury, employee compensation, workers compensation, discrimination and wrongful termination.

Department of Labor Workplace Injury FAQ Part Two


From the New Hampshire Department of Labor official website.

How long is my claim open? 

Medical bills related to your injury remain the responsibility of the carrier as long as treatment is required. There are certain time limits for indemnity benefits depending on the circumstances of the case. See RSA 281-A:31.

How soon does Workers' Compensation start?

Workers' Compensation starts on the fourth day of disability (subject to a three day period). The waiting period is waived if the disability continues for 14 days or longer or if an employee returns to temporary alternative employment within five days.

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Department of Labor Workplace Injury FAQ Part One


From the New Hampshire Department of Labor official website.

Who pays for my prescriptions?

The insurance carrier will reimburse you for any prescriptions relating to your injury. They have 30 days from receipt of the request.

Can I see my own doctor?

This depends on whether or not your carrier is using a managed care program. If they are, you must choose a doctor within the network. If you are not subject to managed care, the choice is yours.

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Injured Workers Should be Wary of Opioid Prescriptions

Injured Workers Should be Wary of Opioid Prescriptions

New Hampshire is currently in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and the problem can be traced in part to high rates of prescription for opioid painkillers. New Hampshire ranks third in the country in terms of prescription rate for high-dose and long-acting opioid pain relievers according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There has been a great deal of effort expended on reducing unnecessary opioid prescriptions across the country and more particularly in NH. This June, Senator Kelly Ayotte co-sponsored a law that would create a “Pain Management Best Practices Inter-Agency Task Force”. At the state level, New Hampshire established a prescription drug monitoring program in 2012 that is still in the implementation process.

Patients can be their best first defense against prescription drug addiction by being informed, asking doctors if there is an alternative to narcotic pain medication and understanding whether the dosing is optional or required. Patients often think they have to take the meds as prescribed, but if they asked, they would find many narcotic prescriptions are only by choice and need not be taken as often or for as long as the bottle says.

New medical studies are showing that the body may actually become acclimated to narcotic medications, leading to increased sensitivity in pain receptors and a greater reliance on medication for pain management. Many studies show that alternate pain management treatments are as effective as opioids without the risk of addiction. Each case is unique, but patients should be proactive in understanding the treatment they are receiving. 

It’s important to listen to your doctor, but if you’re being prescribed high-dose opioids for pain relief you need to be informed and engaged in determining if this is the best course of treatment. Ask about dosage, risks, and alternatives to be sure you are receiving the best care.

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OSHA Reporting Requirements Update

OSHA Reporting Requirements Update

Beginning on January 1, 2015 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) adopted new reporting requirements for employers under OSHA jurisdiction.  Employers are now required to report any work related fatality or injury resulting admittance to a hospital, amputation, or loss of an eye.

OSHA has received between 200 and 250 injury reports each week since the new requirements came into place.  At this rate, we can expect between 10,000 and 13,000 total reports in 2015.

OSHA has indicated that about 40 percent of these reported incidents result in on site inspections.  In 10 percent of all cases no action is taken, and in the remainder OSHA requested a letter from the employer detailing specifics of the incident and corrective actions taken.

 Not all states have implemented the new reporting requirements. If you have been hurt at work, resulting in hospitalization or time out of work, it is important to seek help from an attorney who will provide you with a free consultation and explain your rights and protections.

Image courtesy of Compliance and Safety under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Linking Mental Health and Workers' Compensation

Linking Mental Health and Workers' Compensation

There is growing recognition that mental health plays a large role in workers’ compensation, and that care extending to mental health can help people return to work more quickly. Mental health issues account for nearly a third of all new disability claims in Western countries, and are the leading cause of disability in high-income countries. 

A majority of workers pursuing a workers’ compensation claim will experience depressive symptoms within a year after their injury.  An injury that prevents an employee from going back to work also impacts their family—an injured worker’s family members are three times more likely to be hospitalized in the three months following the work injury.

There are things that you and your employer can do to reduce the risk of a mental health extending your disability.  First, its important to acknowledge that mental health is an important part of the recovery process following a work injury. There should be no stigma for workers seeking treatment if they are suffering from a mental health condition.

Employers can put in place screening processes to identify cases in which an injured worker faces an increased likelihood of a mental health condition, and facilitate access to clinical treatment.  As we understand the impact of mental health care in recovering from a work place injury there is an opportunity to improve the care injured workers receive.

If you have any questions regarding a work related injury that you have suffered you should contact an attorney to understand your rights and protections.  Rice Law Office offers free consultations-- give us a call.

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