Last year, I wrote two articles about the unsafe conditions at Dollar General stores. You can read them here:
Workers’ Compensation Claim? Can The Insurance Carrier Just Cut-Off My TTD Benefits?
I’ve written previously about Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits for injured Alabama workers. If you are hurt on the job and entitled to workers’ compensation in Alabama, TTD can be an important benefit.
What is TTD? This benefit provides payments if you are unable to work during your medical treatment and healing. While TTD does not replace your full wage, it does replace 2/3 of it. This helps workers while off work undergoing medical care. If the authorized treating doctor restricts you from work (and your employer cannot accommodate your restrictions), you may be entitled to TTD while healing.
When do TTD benefits stop? This is often an issue impacting families. In Alabama, TTD benefits generally stop when you reach your Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI) or are able to return back to work if earlier. Maximum Medical Improvement does not mean you are totally healed. It just means you have healed as much as possible. Once you reach MMI, the insurance company will stop your TTD benefits. At that point, if you have any permanent impairments or disabilities, you may be entitled to other benefits. I’ve written several blog articles on Maximum Medical Improvement issues. You can read one of them at Workers’ Compensation Claim? What Happens When You Reach MMI? Issues involving MMI and TTD can be tricky. So, seek good advice to best protect your family following a serious personal injury.
Nursing Home Neglect Often Goes Unreported
A few days ago, a jury in Mobile reached a $7 million verdict against a facility over the sexual assault of one of its patients. The article discussing the case paints a disturbing picture of a facility that failed to monitor its own residents. Another fact from the article also stood out — The facility failed to report the assault for 24 hours after the incident. The article does not tell us why the facility waited or what finally prompted the report. Some facilities wait to see if the incident can be covered up.
When I think of nursing home cover-ups, my thoughts always return to a case many years ago. An elderly nursing home resident in Huntsville was severely attacked by fire ants in her bed over the course of several nights. The attacks were only discovered by the family when the resident’s daughter arrived early one morning to a horrible scene. The facility’s CNAs had her mother in the shower washing ants from her. The bed was covered with a mound of swarming ants.
We recently investigated a case where an Alabama nursing home tried to cover-up serious bedsores suffered by the resident. The nursing home neglected to note the bedsores in its own records and later tried to blame them on a hospital where the resident had spent a couple days for other treatment. Unfortunately for the nursing home, the hospital took extensive photographs and measurements upon the admission. So, there was no denying that the bedsores occurred in the nursing home.
A Work Site Without Safety Planning Is An Accident Waiting To Happen
Last week, I read an article titled:
$2M Crane Incident Could Have Been Avoided With Use Of A Spotter
Before I discuss the article, I’ll start by saying nobody was hurt. Thankfully. The accident only involved damage to expensive equipment.
Will The Alabama Legislature Worsen The Problem Of Overweight Trucks?
You are driving down a rural road in Alabama. You look in your rearview mirror. A huge logging truck is bearing down on you! That big truck is moving fast!! Real fast!! If you’ve driven any of the rural roads or highways in Alabama, you’ve probably experienced the rush of a huge, overweight logging truck.
Most logging truck drivers are only paid a small amount per mile. Logging companies incentivize them to drive as many miles as possible, as fast as possible. Then, these companies often overload their trucks with logs. Too fast. Too heavy. Big overloaded trucks barreling down narrow rural highways. These trucks can be very dangerous to others on our roads.
Several years ago, I was inspecting the scene of a logging truck accident along a rural road. What happened in that crash? A logging truck slammed into the rear of my client’s pick-up truck. The violent collision propelled my client’s pick-up into a nearby field. Logs also went flying all over the roadway. My client and his passenger both suffered serious back injuries requiring spinal surgery. Yet, nothing changed for the logging company after the crash. Months later when I inspected the scene, my investigator and I watched several of the company’s trucks pass the scene well over the speed limit and fully loaded with logs.
Alerting Drivers To Move Over Safely In Highway Work Zones
I’ve written several past articles about Huntsville area road construction and safety. With the tremendous growth in our area, construction zone safety is a big issue. Over the next few years, we will continue to see major road construction on some of our main highways including Interstate 565, Highway 72 and Highway 53. These projects are needed but will impact traffic.
Since road construction safety is a major issue in the Tennessee Valley, I thought I would briefly mention a AAA research article I read this week. The article is titled Attention Grabbing: Helping Motorists Spot Roadside Workers. One quote from the article really caught my attention:
Of those surveyed, 60% had experienced a near miss working at the roadside, while an astonishing 15% had survived being hit by a passing vehicle.
Three Alabama Workers’ Compensation Myths
At our office, we talk to injured workers on a daily basis. We understand workers compensation issues can be confusing. If you suffered a serious accident, you are suddenly thrust into a world of doctors and work issues. Can I get the medical treatment I need? Will my employer retaliate against me? Will I recover? Can I continue to work (or return to work)? I’ve heard the concerns and worries of injured workers for many years.
In Alabama, our work comp laws were enacted to provide certain basic benefits. This includes medical care. It also includes basic money compensation for impairments, disabilities and lost earning capacity.
Along the way, we frequently hear a number of myths about work comp benefits. What are the most common myths? Here are three:
Workers Compensation Claim? What Happens When You Reach MMI?
Earlier this week, I saw a blog post titled “What Happens To Workers’ Compensation When You Reach MMI?” It’s a good question. It’s one we frequently answer for callers to our office. Unfortunately, that other blog post really failed to answer the question. Instead, it simply listed a number of different types of injury. It was short on answers but long on SEO keywords. So, I’ll try to discuss several actual events that are often triggered by Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
What is MMI? Maximum medical improvement is that point in time where the injured worker has reached their maximum healing. Does it mean you are totally healed? In some cases, yes. But, in many cases the worker is not totally healed. Instead, the worker is left with a permanent disability. Some people suffer permanent injuries and need continuing care to maintain their level of function. Under our work comp system, you are entitled to medical care for your injuries.
So, let’s discuss the two biggest events triggered by the MMI date in an Alabama workers’ compensation claim. And, I’ll add that the date of MMI is not always clear or agreed-upon.
Five Reasons Why That Dump Truck Is An Accident Risk
The video was startling. It shows the inside of a bus. Passengers are calmly sitting while the bus driver waits at a red light. Without warning, one side of the bus crumples as a truck crashes into it. Passengers are sent flying around the bus. Several of them suffer bad injuries. In any situation, it’s really startling to see a person fly through the air after an impact. It’s traumatic just watching this video knowing what these passengers are about to endure.
Yes, Huntsville equips its bus fleet with interior cameras. What happened in this crash? Since the camera only shows the bus interior, I’ll tell you what happened. The bus driver was properly sitting at an intersection along Bob Wallace Avenue waiting on a green light. Suddenly, a large and fully loaded dump truck crashed into a small pick-up truck at the intersection. That crash toppled the dump truck to its side and sent it sliding along the wet road right into the stopped bus. Of course, both the pick-up and dump truck drivers claimed the other one was at fault.
A search of recent local headlines shows that serious dump truck accidents are a frequent occurrence. A November headline from WHNT reads “1 Dead After Dump Truck Crashes At Quarry” about another Huntsville accident. An August article on a local CBS affiliate discusses a fatal dump truck crash in Cullman County. An October headline from WAAY discusses an overturned dump truck accident on Highway 72 in Madison County. I could continue with many more recent accidents.
Three Workers’ Compensation Trends That Harm Workers And Cost Communities
Several months ago, a Department of Labor (DOL) official published an article on the agency’s website discussing three troubling trends with workers’ compensation benefits. You can read that article at Trends In Workers’ Comp. These trends are certainly true in Alabama. I’ll discuss each of these harmful trends below:
1. The Number Of Workers Covered By Workers Compensation Has Decreased
We need to remember the purposes of workers’ compensation. Our work comp systems were originally implemented to provide a couple basic benefits — Medical care and a basic disability benefit. These are essential benefits for injured workers.