Toledo Talk

Drabik Sues for Workers Comp Over Collins' Death

I am stunned, literally stunned at this:

http://www.13abc.com/home/headlines/Sandy-Collins-sues-for-workers-compensation-in-Mike-Collins-death-360956421.html?device=phone&c=y

Sandy Drabik Collins, widow of late Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, and a former mayoral candidate herself, has filed a lawsuit in Lucas County Common Pleas Court asking for workers compensation for his death.

The suit says D. Michael Collins suffered a "compensable injury" while carrying out his job duties.

Let's ignore the point that he was supposedly driving home from Costco after holding press conference about the snow storm, he died of a heart attack, that is not a work-place injury.

created by MsArcher on Dec 08, 2015 at 07:58:16 pm     Local-Politics     Comments: 19

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I was very surprised to see that.

posted by justread on Dec 08, 2015 at 07:59:32 pm     #  

and if she would have been elected mayor?

posted by justareviewer on Dec 08, 2015 at 08:08:26 pm     #  

Her claim was denied back in September so clearly she sat on this pending the outcome of the election. Who knows if she would have filed if she won.

I think, but am not positive, that the City of Toledo is self-funded on workers' comp. It's possible she is looking to use this as leverage to negotiate a settlement. Wonder if the mayor is included in the death benefit for employees who die while a city employee - I imagine that position is covered, which means she already got something from the city, at least 100% of his salary and possible more.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 08, 2015 at 08:25:41 pm     #  

Strange this didn't come up during the election cycle. Wonder if the blade would have endorsed her had this come out prior?

posted by upso on Dec 08, 2015 at 09:38:41 pm     #  

Seeing the claim was denied in Sept she would have had to have filed a lot earlier than that and I am surprised it didn't come out before the election.

Whenever someone files a claim in the private industry the employer is notified of it almost immediately and can contest the claim so their rates don't go up. I'm assuming a city claim works the same way so someone at one Government Center was well aware of this claim well before the election and I'm surprised it didn't get leaked.

Who is she suing? The City or BWC?

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 08, 2015 at 10:38:49 pm     #  

upso posted at 08:38:41 PM on Dec 08, 2015:

Strange this didn't come up during the election cycle. Wonder if the blade would have endorsed her had this come out prior?

Maybe it didn't come up during the election cycle because the Blade endorsed her?

posted by dell_diva on Dec 08, 2015 at 11:47:45 pm     #   2 people liked this

\_(ツ)_/

posted by upso on Dec 09, 2015 at 12:02:27 am     #  

If you combine all of the threads, I want to join YMCA so I can do more cardio, so my health care costs are less, and I won't end up as a worker's comp claim and not be able to go downtown and watch football.

posted by justread on Dec 09, 2015 at 08:30:24 am     #   3 people liked this

If you combine all of the threads, I want to join YMCA so I can do more cardio, so my health care costs are less, and I won't end up as a worker's comp claim and not be able to go downtown and watch football.

rotf and ffff L

posted by Mariner on Dec 09, 2015 at 11:41:41 am     #  

According to updated articles, she is suing both the City of Toledo and BWC, and that supposedly the city approved the claim when it was first made, but BWC denied it, she appealed the denial and the board it goes to on appeal overturned the denial and approved the claim. BWC appealed that and it was again denied. Next step was filing a lawsuit in court, which is what she did. Clearly the city knew about this but chose to sit on the info until after the election.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 09, 2015 at 02:46:25 pm     #  

"Clearly the city knew about this but chose to sit on the info until after the election."

True. But, again, where the hell is the local daily rag on something like this?

This is why I hate the media. Aside from reporting their jaundiced views, it's also what THEY choose to not report.

They sure didn't sit on the photo of Rich Iott before that election.

posted by Foodie on Dec 09, 2015 at 03:06:37 pm     #   1 person liked this

Whoever approved the claim in the city should get fired. It pisses me off the city wants to raise my already absurdly high city income tax but has no problems spending money on stuff like this.

That's the problem when the local newspaper has no competition.

posted by jamesteroh on Dec 09, 2015 at 03:34:26 pm     #   2 people liked this

Not to crap on a widow's grief, but WTF?

Mike Collins was a decent man. I have to believe that if he was on Council and sitting in judgement of a similar deal, he would be saying "what the hell is this?" Just my hunch...

As far as the Blade hiding this nugget, par for the course my friends....

posted by oldhometown on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:42:06 am     #  

True colors. Surgeons were born to cut, trained to cut, paid to cut, and will cut if you need it or not. Lawyers are born to litigate, trained to litigate, paid to litigate, are compelled to litigate if only for the reason they have spent all that time and money in preparation for same so they take it to court. After all it costs them nothing. Not to re-direct the thread, we have an occupant on the 22nd floor with the same identical mentality and conventional wisdom will show all the taxpayers are in for a boatload of billable hours.

posted by Mariner on Dec 10, 2015 at 09:10:24 am     #  

I'm not sure the Blade hid this - seriously, who would have thought to even look for this? Public records are public, but you have to know what to ask for and I'm not sure anyone would have thought to ask for worker comp claims from this 'accident' that was 'on the job'.

What worries me is if the city approved this claim, what other questionable claims are getting made by employees that are just rubber-stamped approved? I've seen some pretty absurd claims when I was in government, especially for permanent partial disability claims.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 10, 2015 at 09:29:48 am     #   1 person liked this

There was mention he made a stop at Costco after the press conference on his way home. Was he "frolicking," on the job or is the job 24/7 with no respite. Am more curious as to who he had on the other end of the cell phone while driving and how that communication ran. Excellent point by Mrs. A as to how many claims are perfunctorily awarded only because you belong to the club. Ye olde go along to get along routine.

posted by Mariner on Dec 10, 2015 at 11:43:13 am     #  

I don't know that much about worker's comp, but I do have a few thoughts:

- I didn't think that simply dying while performing job duties was enough to make a worker comp claim. I thought the job had to cause the injury/death. But this must not be the case if her application was approved on appeal to the Industrial Commission.

- Mariner's point about attorneys in worker comp cases is not quite accurate. My understanding is that WC attorneys are paid on a contingency basis. No result = no fee. If her attorney is well versed in WC law (and it sounds like he is), he wouldn't have taken the case if it was a slam dunk to be denied.

Ohio Bar pamphlet on basics of worker comp

posted by Ace_Face on Dec 10, 2015 at 01:24:19 pm     #  

Ace that was a bit 'o the blog snarkity as a blanket condemnation. Have prohibited an autopsy over the objections of other family members who were more fiduciary minded because was fully aware that the deceased would have truly objected. There is no prob with not wanting to leave cash on the table. We all adhere to our own standards.

posted by Mariner on Dec 10, 2015 at 02:48:17 pm     #  

(disclaimer- I don't care about this. it's interesting, and that's about all)

From the pamphlet -

Q: Will injuries sustained during work-related travel be compensated?
A: Whether or not a travel-related injury will be compensated depends on the nature of the travel involved. Under the so-called "going and coming" rule, where an employee has a fixed place of employment, an injury sustained while traveling to or from that place of employment will not be covered. However, where travel is an integral part of the employment, and creates a risk greater than the typical commute, an injury sustained during the travel will be covered (e.g., a traveling salesperson with no fixed place of employment).

So, I read this to indicate that if DMC was travelling as a part of his employment (and I had been under the impression that he was, having left a news conference that was held during the snow outside of business hours) that the injury/death is covered. Further, he was driving a company vehicle.

That said, there's the question - did the cardiac arrest happen before the crash and cause it or vice versa? Without medical evidence, who owns the burden of proof? This line - "2) injury or disability caused primarily by the natural deterioration of tissue, an organ, or part of the body" disallows payment under those circumstances, which means if it's the former situation then there's no payout.

It'll be interesting to see where this goes.

posted by endcycle on Dec 10, 2015 at 03:38:55 pm     #