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Pre-Existing Condition. It’s one of the most common excuses used by insurance companies to deny workers’ compensation claims. And, the excuse is often wrong.

Our office regularly receives calls from people who have been (wrongly) denied benefits based on the excuse of a “pre-existing condition.” The injured worker usually had some pre-injury health problem the insurance company seized-upon to deny his or her claim. Remember, most people don’t have perfect health. And, our workers’ compensation system was not designed to help only those few people with perfect health.

So, what does Alabama’s workers’ compensation law say about prior health problems? How does our law define pre-existing disabilities? Can pre-accident health conditions affect a claim? These are good questions.

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Worker safety is important for our families, our communities and the long-term economic growth of our nation. A recent scaffold collapse in China highlights the importance of workplace safety standards. According to CNN, a scaffold/work platform built to help workers repair a Chinese power plant recently collapsed, killing at least 74 people. The New York Times also reported the tragedy, describing the scene more graphically:

Dozens of workers were crushed to death under an avalanche of scaffolding, cement and steel rods in southeast China.

The New York Times article continues by describing other recent huge Chinese industrial accidents including (1) an explosion at a chemical warehouse killing 173 people; and, (2) a landslide at a construction site killing at least 73 people. In China,

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Reckless drivers and school bus safety. In an earlier post I discussed a new Alabama law aimed at protecting children around school bus stops. The new law allows Alabama school buses to have cameras. The cameras will photograph reckless drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus. Then, these drivers will receive a $300 fine.

My prior post discusses facts related to the needless injury of children at school bus stops. While I was not aware of any Alabama studies when I wrote my prior post, both North Carolina and Texas had studied the danger. According to the North Carolina study, each day over 3,000 cars in that state illegally pass a school bus while it is stopped to pick up children. A major news outlet has also studied the issue and estimated American drivers illegally pass a stopped school bus more than 13 Million times a year.

Do some cars illegally pass stopped buses because the driver is distracted? Certainly. Do other cars illegally pass stopped buses because the driver recklessly or impatiently chooses to disregard the danger? Certainly. Either way, this tremendously reckless conduct puts our children at needless risk of personal injury or death every day.

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Hurt in a car wreck? Need medical care for a personal injury? If so, where should you turn for treatment?

Car accidents cause many different injuries. Some are minor. Some are not. Some injuries result in long-term treatment needs, physical limitations, chronic pain or even disability. In our practice, we speak with many people hurt in car accidents.

One of the issues that sometimes arises when we interview new clients is the issue of chiropractic care. Many people regularly see and benefit from chiropractors. Chiropractors can perform helpful adjustments and other therapies for some people.

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Years ago, an engineer friend of mine served on a jury in a personal injury case. Later, he told me that during the entire process he (and several other jurors) believed information was not being provided them. They were right. Sometimes evidence is not admitted at trial and not seen by the jury. Our evidence rules are designed to prevent evidence that is not relevant or too prejudicial from being considered. But, sometimes the same rules also prevent the jury from hearing evidence needed to tell the full story.

If you have been hurt and need a lawyer, you need one with trial experience. Procedural and evidentiary rules can be complex. Your lawyer needs to know the rules and how to apply them quickly in trial situations. Unfortunately, many of the lawyers now advertising for automobile accident cases do not go to court. Some have never been to trial. They would not know how to argue a case effectively in a courtroom. Insurance companies know which lawyers will go to trial and it impacts the settlement offered you. When hiring a lawyer, you should absolutely ask questions about real trial experience.

What is one big issue kept secret from the jury? At trial, the jury is never told that the defendant actually has insurance. The rules in Alabama, and many other jurisdictions, forbid the jury from being informed about the defendant’s insurance coverage.

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Photo by A. Kirk
Did Johnson & Johnson fail to warn women of ovarian cancer risks related to the use of its talcum powder products? For years, Johnson & Johnson has marketed its talcum powder products for feminine hygiene. Yet, the company never warned that the use of talcum powder for feminine hygiene may be linked to ovarian cancer.

Since the early 1970s, numerous studies have indicated an increase in the risk of ovarian cancer with this use of talcum powder. So, why did Johnson & Johnson not warn consumers? Why did Johnson & Johnson continue to make money marketing these products as safe and effective for women? These are questions being raised by women who have suffered ovarian cancer after years of using talcum powder products.

For detailed information, take a look at our page on Talcum Powder Lawsuits located under the Hot Topics section of our firm website. We provide information about talcum powder and the history of its use by Johnson & Johnson. We are happy to answer additional questions as well.

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At our office, we speak daily with the injured victims of car crashes. We counsel our clients as they heal and, hopefully, return to normal life. We’ve seen the tragic harm caused by severe injury. In our cases, we work hard to obtain the maximum compensation possible for our clients. Yet, no amount of money can make up for a life-altering event that leaves a loved one hurting or disabled.

Accident. That’s the word commonly used for cars crashing into each other. We all use that word. Yet, it’s not really an accident when a driver chooses a distraction or dangerous activity over his responsibility on the road. Does anyone think it’s simply an accident when someone chooses to become intoxicated and then drive? Does anyone think it’s simply an accident when someone chooses to text or play with an electronic device while driving? In the dictionary, an accident has been defined as “an unexpected happening” and “not due to any fault or misconduct on the part of the person injured.” By definition, most car crashes are clearly not accidents.

The New York Times recently published an article titled, It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak of Car ‘Crashes’ Instead. According to the article’s author:

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Our office has closely followed developments related to the diabetes drug Invokana. For more details on the medication and how it works, you can read a report under the Hot Topics section of our firm website. As we discuss on our website, Invokana is a relatively new diabetes drug manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. Yet, in just a few years on the market, the FDA has issued numerous safety communications about the drug.

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis.
  • Kidney damage.
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May 3rd, 2011

Photo by C. Waits

School Bus Safety. Each morning buses throughout Alabama carry our children safely to school. Every afternoon those same buses deliver our children safely home. School bus travel is relatively safe. Most often, it’s not the school bus or its driver that creates the danger of injury. Instead, it’s the automobile drivers around the bus who neglect safety and create risks of injury.

The most dangerous part of school bus travel often involves the actual stops where children board or exit the bus. Why are school bus stops so dangerous? They are dangerous because other drivers choose to pass or speed around the bus while children are present. While I’m not aware of any Alabama safety studies related to drivers who pass stopped school buses, the state of North Carolina did conduct a study. And, the results of their study demonstrate the tremendous risks of personal injury or death at school bus stops. According to North Carolina state transportation official Derek Graham:

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Did you know pituitary gland damage is common in traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases? According to a recent article discussing pituitary gland damage in TBI cases:

Many studies have shown that a high percentage of patients who suffer mild, moderate, or severe TBIs may have some form of pituitary dysfunction in the first three months following the injury. While most of these patients’ symptoms go away over the following nine months or so, many still have pituitary hormone dysfunction by the end of a year.

Recent medical research shows a significant number of TBI patients actually continue to suffer chronic, or long-term, pituitary gland injury: