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August 2011 Archives


We all have read about the situation at the Indiana State Fair.  A hot summer day, a large crowd, and a stage that clearly was not built appropriately for the new "normal" weather conditions and for the massive storms that we are facing in light of the changing climate.  The video of the stage crashing, and the heroic activities of the rescuers are compelling.  Then today, we see a similar tragedy take place in the Netherlands.  Again a massive storm and more deaths from a collapsing stage. As attorneys, our thoughts turn to who is responsible for these situations.  It certainly can no longer be said that massive storms are a surprise.  Everyone knew there was a huge crowd waiting at the Indiana Fairgrounds for this concert and lots of people knew a significant storm was approaching that area.  With the advent of Doppler radar, the movement of the storm can be tracked at the street level.  Who had the obligation to warn?  Who made the decision to erect the stage?  Who made this decision to let the crowd stay there when the dark clouds approached?  Like taking down a large tree, was there any consideration made to what would happen if the stage did collapse and in what way it should be engineered to fall?  Why did it fall into the crowd? The answer to these questions can lead to difficult investigation and will require careful consideration as to what approach should be taken.


AMA guides… The Iowa Work Comp Commissioner requires the ratings be given pursuant to the fifth edition of the “AMA Guides.”  Workers need to be alert for this problem and make sure that their rating is given pursuant to the fifth edition. What happens is that the insurance industry will ask the doctor to rate an injury based on the sixth edition of the AMA guides.  These guides are put together by a committee of doctors and insurance people sitting around the table at a high-priced resort and quibbling about how much money injured workers get.  Then the committee issues a new set of Guides, and claims that this “new and improved” version of the Guides is more fair than the previous version of the Guides.  The trend has been that each successive edition of the AMA Guides results in a lowering of the impairment ratings.  What was a 10% rating to the body in the AMA third edition can now be 5 – 8% rating to the body in the AMA sixth edition.  By lowering the number the worker receives for the exact same injury from the doctor’s rating you lower the amount of money the worker receives.  So it makes a difference which guide is used. Here in Iowa a committee of lawyers, insurance company representatives, and employer representatives has determined that the Fifth edition of the AMA Guide is the best measurement of disabilities that can be rated.  The Commissioner has demonstrated leadership in this area by stating that impairment should be given based on the fifth edition of the AMA Guides.  Make sure that is happening in your case.  Otherwise give us a call.
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Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, L.L.P.

Lawyer, Lawyer, Dutton & Drake, L.L.P.
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