Goldberg Segalla LLP

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Workers' Compensation

The mission of Goldberg Segalla’s Workers’ Compensation Practice Group is to achieve significant and sustainable reductions to the overall expense of each client’s workers’ compensation program. Our commitment to this mission — and our success in efficient file handling as well as long-range strategic risk-management — has earned us a national reputation for exceeding our clients’ expectations and driving positive change in the practice of workers’ compensation law.


The hallmarks of our innovative practice model include:


  • Individual attorney file ownership from conception to closure
  • Cutting-edge, value-added programs that that identify and neutralize risks and result in fast and efficient resolutions
  • Partnering and communicating with each client not only to close individual files, but to develop long-term, comprehensive, and tailor-made improvements to their workers’ compensation programs

Nationwide Capabilities | Experience in Your Industry

Our team — more than 100 lawyers strong — has an extensive record of successfully defending private and public clients in a broad range of sectors and industries across the country. Some of these industries include:


  • Construction — Goldberg Segalla is home to the most sophisticated construction defense practice in the industry. We specialize in representing large contractors, construction managers, and owners, with deep experience in OCIP (Owner Controlled Insurance Program) and CCIP (Contractor Controlled Insurance Program) site-specific and rolling wrap-up programs ranging from major commercial development to cross-border natural gas pipeline projects. Serving clients across our nationwide footprint, we offer an integrated suite of construction services including workers’ compensation, general liability, OSHA, construction defect, insurance coverage, and construction contract and commercial litigation. Learn more.
  • Health Care — Goldberg Segalla’s workers’ compensation practice in the health care sector is a one-stop shop for national and regional health care providers. It is distinguished by our deep engagement with health care companies and the professionals who manage, direct, and insure them. We understand the unique needs of health care providers, from labor unions to leave of absence to return-to-work issues, collaborating with our Employment and Labor practice group to address workers' compensation-related problems holistically. Learn more.
  • Manufacturing — We have long served as a trusted advisor and steadfast protector of the manufacturing industry — and this includes defense of workers’ compensation claims, ranging from common occupational conditions to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. We have experience with the unique demands of workers’ compensation in this industry, from handling rapid-response on-site investigations to collaborating with colleagues across our practice groups to create tailored claims-closure and risk-reduction plans. Learn more.
  • Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs)/Staffing and the Gig Economy — As a firm founded by trial lawyers, and with a reputation for continuously improving practices, Goldberg Segalla is exceptionally well positioned to counsel and defend PEO and gig economy clients through the changes and challenges of the 21st century. We recognize the need to support the PEO-client relationship by minimizing interference with the client company’s business while aggressively seeking claim closure. Learn more.
  • Retail and Hospitality — As counsel to many of the globe’s leading retailers, developers, and hospitality companies, Goldberg Segalla offers strong defense, comprehensive counsel, and long-term strategic guidance. We partner with our clients to help them achieve their long-term strategic goals — and we’re also committed to the health of their industries, as active members of the National Retail and Restaurant Defense Association (NRRDA), Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and Associated General Contractors (AGC), as well as retail and hospitality groups and committees within DRI and CLM. Learn more.
  • Sports and Entertainment — Our coast-to-coast Sports and Entertainment team understands the issues unique to these interconnected industries. We assist entertainment studios, global media companies, major league sports franchises, facilitating industry-wide joint defense programs geared toward creating employer control and cost-savings and employing proactive claim-closure strategies for everyday work-related injuries as well as occupational disease and cumulative trauma claims, including traumatic brain injury litigation. Learn more.
  • Transportation — With strategic coverage along the I-95 corridor, in the Midwest in Illinois and Missouri, and most recently in southern California, Goldberg Segalla’s interdisciplinary Transportation practice is a one-stop legal shop for leading trucking and other transportation companies, equipped to handle all of the legal risks, needs, and other issues unique to the industry. Actively affiliated with the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), Truckload Carriers Association (TCA), American Trucking Associations (ATA), and various state trucking associations, and drawing on valuable in-house experience, this integrated team’s capabilities span workers’ compensation, employment, mergers and acquisitions, insurance coverage, and litigation over catastrophic injury and death, property damage, products, and other liability claims. Learn more.

Beyond the litigation of individual matters, these clients rely on our experienced counsel to develop actionable, proven, and consensus-based strategies for reducing long-term risks and costs associated with worker injuries, tailored to the distinctive challenges of their industries.


We’re able to do all of this on a nationwide scale. We have deep benches of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys based in:


  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland and Washington, D.C.
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania

A Better Approach to Claims Handling

We handle workers’ compensation litigation before all appropriate government agencies and courts and in all forums of alternative dispute resolution in the states where this team practices. Through our work handling regular and trial hearings, permanency determinations, and testimony of claimants, employer witnesses, and medical experts, we strive to resolve cases as completely and efficiently as possible, with a focus on bringing them to final closure for the defendant.


To neutralize, mitigate, and quickly close out workers’ compensation claims, we had to craft a radically different approach to claims-handling and litigation. Our approach — marked by unparalleled preparedness, efficiency, flexibility, and foresight — is simple and effective. It includes:


  • Completing a comprehensive review of each file and developing the best strategy for the most favorable and efficient resolution
  • Keeping each file with the same attorney throughout the entire litigation process
  • Maintaining regular and productive communication with clients to provide up-to-date risk/exposure evaluations

All this adds up to a better overall experience for employers, carriers, and third-party administrators — and better results.


We also leverage our excellent working relationships with an extensive, national network of experts and risk managers who can assist in developing defenses to various claims, as well as long-term claims-handling strategies and creative solutions to other obstacles. And, backed by the clout and experience of all of the firm’s diverse practices, we are able to assist our clients in the full array of legal challenges that often arise in connection with workers’ compensation claims, such as complex lien, credit, and subrogation issues stemming from third-party claims; retaliation and other employment law issues; and insurance coverage issues. We value our relationships and welcome the opportunity to assist our clients in additional areas when those needs arise. In addition, we regularly release timely workers’ compensation legal updates, conduct training sessions and webinars for our clients, and provide news and analysis through our Workers’ Compensation Defense blog.


All this adds up to a better overall experience for employers, carriers, and third-party administrators — and better results.


Value-Added Programs, Tailored to Your Needs

Every workers’ compensation claim is part of a bigger picture. Achieving long-term savings depends on understanding this operational and risk-management landscape.


Close attention to individual files is crucial, but we also work from the outset to earn an intimate understanding of each client’s business model, immediate needs, and long-term objectives. We understand that every business decision our clients make derives from the complex interplay of many factors — including company culture and risk appetite, government regulations and court decisions, and long-range strategic planning and budget priorities. Because of our intimate knowledge of business needs and models across numerous industries, our attorneys have been able to look beyond individual files and develop innovative programs that take an holistic approach to workers’ compensation-related problems common to many of our clients. These include our Integrated Disability and Workforce Management and Opioid Impact programs, services like Medicare-Set Aside consulting, and more.


But nothing about Goldberg Segalla is “one size fits all.” Our programs are dynamic and adaptable by design — and we are committed to the clients’ best interest in the long-term, packaging and adapting our services according to comprehensive strategies integrated seamlessly with each client’s overall business goals, and shaped by an understanding and appreciation of the many factors that decide them.


Integrated Disability and Workforce Management

Workers’ compensation claims, employee health care, reasonable accommodation and leave management policies, compliance with state and federal regulations, litigation, and transactional matters — all these challenges and costs are part of the operational landscape for employers competing in any industry. Unfortunately, most employers are not equipped to treat these issues like a landscape — that is, with adaptable, efficient, and global solutions. The byproducts of siloed approaches are often cost-inefficiencies, liability, and greater risk.


We developed the Integrated Disability and Workforce Management Program to mitigate those costs and correct those inefficiencies. The program offers comprehensive solutions to disability, leave, performance, and health management issues, adaptable to any situation, any budget, and any set any of needs. Drawing selectively on the full scope of our firm’s collective experience — with nearly 400 outstanding attorneys ready to weigh in and assist with countless highly specialized concerns — we are able to provide our clients with a 360-degree assessment, address inefficiencies, and craft comprehensive and cost-efficient solutions.


Opioid Impact Program

Goldberg Segalla offers a comprehensive Opioid Impact Program (OIP) that helps claims professionals to reduce claimants’ use of prescription medications and to identify and mitigate claims that have the potential to spiral out of control in terms of cost and exposure.


Our OIP employs an early identification strategy to educate claims professionals on the key indicators of potentially problematic cases involving opioids and prescription drugs. It also sets forth a specific protocol to limit new prescriptions for new and older cases, along with a detailed blueprint on how to isolate, identify, and reduce claims with high prescription medication costs.


Medicare Set-Asides

One of the distinctive ways we provide clients with a strong competitive advantage is through advocacy during the Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) process. Our team includes a Medicare Set-Aside Consultant, certified from the International Commission on Health Care Certification, which allows us to bring exceptional strategic insight to cases involving MSAs and the allocation for the future medical costs of an individual on (or soon to be on) Medicare following settlement. We don’t merely prepare and submit MSAs; we put our exceptional experience in this area to work toward identifying and negotiating the lowest defensible MSA amount with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which can significantly reduce the ultimate settlement amount of a claim. We can handle the MSA process on claims nationwide.

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4.7/5.0 (1253 reviews)
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  • 5.0/5.0 Review for John M. Allen by a Associate on 05/04/16 in General Liability

    John is an excellent civil defense attorney. Most importantly, he seeks resolutions that are fair to the parties. This is a trait not often found in litigation matters. Given that John and I were on opposite sides of the fence in a recent case, my... Read more

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    John is an excellent civil defense attorney. Most importantly, he seeks resolutions that are fair to the parties. This is a trait not often found in litigation matters. Given that John and I were on opposite sides of the fence in a recent case, my comments stem from personal knowledge of this gentleman. Read less

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  • 5.0/5.0 Review for Michael Rubin by a Partner on 05/28/15 in Civil Litigation

    Mike is an excellent attorney, a strong client advocate and worthy adversary.

    Mike is an excellent attorney, a strong client advocate and worthy adversary. Read less

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Diversity

Both within our own firm and across the wider business and legal communities, Goldberg Segalla’s commitment to diversity is strong, sincere, and a critical component of our firm’s mission and culture. Our philosophy has always been that we hire people who are excellent at what they do, and even better human beings. Period. We feel we would be doing a disservice to our firm and to our clients if we didn’t include contributions from every available resource.


We are extremely proud that our commitment has received regional and national recognition for the innovative programs we have developed and the results we have been able to achieve. The following is a sampling of the firm-wide or individual honors we have received for implementing initiatives that make a difference:


  • George B. Vashon Innovator Award, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • MCCA Firm Affiliate Network
  • Vault/MCCA Commitment to Diversity
  • Community Service Award, Defense Research Institute
  • Good Works Award, American Bar Association Section of Litigation
  • Outstanding Committee Chair, ABA Section of Litigation
  • Diversity Trailblazer Award, New York State Bar Association
  • Legal Service Award, Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • Lawyer of the Year, Bar Association of Erie County
  • Legal Community Leader Award, National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York
  • Diversity Excellence Award, Buffalo Niagara Human Resource Association
  • Value Award for Diversity, Leadership Buffalo
  • Western New York Game Changers, Buffalo Spree magazine

What we are most proud of, though, is that our efforts have shown significant results and continue to make a lasting impact on the lives of many.

Leadership and Action

To put our philosophy and commitment into practice, we have a Diversity Task Force, which includes our managing partner, in place to conceptualize and implement diversity-focused programs as well as give diversity a voice in our decision-making at the highest level. The individuals on this task force share the firm’s strong commitment to increasing diversity, and they use their unique experiences and backgrounds to support and advance that goal. The team meets regularly to create programs, schedule events, establish diversity initiatives both inside and outside of the firm, set long-term goals, and develop the strategy to recruit and retain people from diverse backgrounds.


The chair of our Diversity Task Force, Joseph M. Hanna, has spearheaded numerous diversity initiatives in various organizations and outreach programs, serves on several diversity-related committees, and is a frequent author and speaker on diversity. Among other positions, he is co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyer Leadership Program, former chair of the association’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee and its Special Committee on Human Rights, and former editor-in-chief of the ABA’s Minority Trial Lawyer; a 2014 fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD); a past president of the Minority Bar Association of Western New York (MBAWNY) and the MBAWNY Foundation; and the Diversity Liaison for several committees at the 22,000-member DRI.


For more than a decade, Goldberg Segalla has proudly supported the ABA’s Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, which provides racial and ethnic minority law students, along with members of other groups underrepresented in the legal profession, opportunities to serve as an intern with a judge during the summer after their first or second year of law school. Joe Hanna — an alumni of the program himself — acts as a mentor and leader in the program, through which he has conducted more than 100 interviews for students across the country.

In 2017, Goldberg Segalla participated in the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, the New York City Bar Association’s flagship pipeline program for high school students. As a participating legal employer, we hosted high-achieving inner-city students for the summer and collaborate with the NYC Bar to provide them with additional programming before, during, and after the summer designed to help them prepare for a legal career.

Each summer, Goldberg Segalla proudly welcomes interns through a formal Diversity Clerkship Program that was conceived by Joe while he served as president of the MBAWNY. The program was developed in collaboration with the MBAWNY and the SUNY Buffalo Law School to provide opportunities for minority UB Law students to gain firsthand experience in the legal system. Since it was launched in 2011, the program has placed more than 100 students in clerkships in area courts as well as in several area law firms, with more judges and law firms asking to participate every day. It provides participants with an in-depth look at the legal process and the interaction between the bench and the bar that they would not otherwise get. At our firm, a dedicated team of partners monitors the work of these law clerks and ensures they obtain valuable experience to help develop important legal research, writing, case management, and client service skills critical to their long-term success. Our program earned the firm the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2012 George B. Vashon Innovator Award.


We also have sponsored Success in the City, an annual diversity networking and mentoring event developed by Joe that brought together students, legal and business professionals, educators, nonprofits, and political leaders to make lasting partnerships. Many employment, business, and mentoring relationships resulted from this event. Past events have drawn more than 500 political and business leaders, legal professionals, and students. Success in the City has influenced the development of similar programs in Baltimore, Cleveland, Birmingham, Dallas, and elsewhere.


Our firm is committed to spreading the message throughout the broad legal and business communities that embracing diversity contributes to greater overall success. We conduct training sessions for in-house counsel at Fortune 500 corporations on increasing and promoting diversity. Our attorneys have authored articles and delivered presentations on diversity for various legal organizations, including DRI and the ABA, and our efforts and accomplishments in this area have been profiled in publications such as Law360, the New York State Bar Association’s State Bar News, Business First of Buffalo, the Buffalo Law Journal, and others.


In one example of our work to provide inspiration and raise awareness of diversity and women’s issues in the legal community, Caroline Berdzik, chair of our Employer and Labor Practice Group, spoke to Law360 for the publication’s “Female Powerbrokers” series. In the interview, Caroline discussed her career, the challenges of being a woman at a senior level at a law firm, the work-family life balance, and the importance of taking risks. She also offered guidance to female attorneys on moving their careers forward and advice to law firms on both increasing the number of women partners and retaining top female talent. Her longtime advocacy for women (at her previous firm, she served on the Women’s Business Development Committee and was a member of what became the national Women’s Presidents Organization) helped earn her a spot on the 2015 NJBIZ list of New Jersey’s Best 50 Women in Business.


Joe Hanna also was featured by Law360 in its “Minority Powerbrokers” series, in which he shared his perspective on breaking the glass ceiling in the legal industry, the challenges of being a lawyer of color at a senior level, how law firms can increase diversity in their partner ranks, and Goldberg Segalla’s core commitment to diversity.

Partnerships

Goldberg Segalla is proud to be a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association Firm Affiliate Network, which was created by the MCCA to assist and acknowledge law firms that are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.


We are also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a national organization of leaders in law firms and corporate legal departments dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession. As noted earlier, Joe Hanna was a fellow of the LCLD in 2014. In this position, he played a critical role in organizing the first-ever New York City LCLD Fellows Roundtable event, and he was instrumental in establishing a mentorship program in Hartford for local diverse first-year law students.


We support the diversity efforts of numerous organizations, including:

  • American Bar Association
  • Asian American Bar Association of New York
  • Columbian Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Federal Bar Association
  • Korean American Association of Greater New York
  • League of First Nations
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York
  • National Bar Association
  • Native American Rights Fund
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals
  • National Congress of American Indians
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Seneca Free Trade Association
  • SUNY Buffalo Law School
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York

Our outreach efforts led to the creation of a comprehensive database of more than 500 minority law organizations throughout the United States. Contact between these organizations takes place in anticipation of bringing CLE and legal programs together. This group of minority bar associations includes both local and national organizations, such as:

  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • National Association of Muslim Lawyers
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar
  • Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • South Asian Bar Association of Philadelphia
  • Vietnamese American Bar Association of North Carolina

A Talented and Diverse Team

Diversity is further evident within our firm through the many languages and dialects spoken by members of our team, including Albanian, Arabic, Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Malayalam, Mandarin, Marathi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, and Urdu.


Goldberg Segalla’s culture is one that values team-spiritedness, collegiality, and interpersonal harmony within our working community. We are a firm that believes in diversity in the workplace, and we are proud to offer a professional and positive work environment for each and every member of our team.


On these values, and on our commitment to diversity, we will never waver. We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far, but we also realize that this is a long-term mission. We will continue to innovate and to improve diversity in law and business — both within Goldberg Segalla and across the communities in which we live and work.

Diversity Matters — Join the Conversation

If you have questions regarding any of the firm’s diversity initiatives or would like to discuss ideas regarding increasing diversity in the legal profession, please contact Joe Hanna (716.566.5447; [email protected]) or another member of our Diversity Task Force:

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