Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Sometimes it is referred to as Chronic (or Complex) Regional Pain Syndrome. Either way, it can be a devastating pain condition for patients. I’ve written a couple articles discussing RSD and the disabling toll it has on people. You can read my prior posts here:
For others, the question brings choices. Maybe you work primarily in one state. But, you were injured while performing job tasks in another state. Years ago, these issues mainly applied to truckers and traveling salesmen. But, now, it’s not unusual for people to work across several different states.
What happens if you work primarily in one state but are injured on-the-job in another? What happens if your office is in one state but you are hurt while present in another? What are the rules for work-related injuries? Where can you file a claim?
Over the last year, we’ve all worried about COVID-19. The pandemic has affected every part of our lives. Family. Health. Work. Social Activities. Many families are struggling with the loss of a loved one. Many businesses and industries have also been devastated. But, one industry seems to be booming around Huntsville. That industry? Road construction.
A quick Google search produces numerous articles detailing the growth boom across northern Alabama. Many businesses and government agencies are planning moves to the Huntsville area. An al.com article in June 2020 notes how Huntsville started the last decade as the 4th largest city in Alabama but is expected to become the largest city within the next two years.
With growth comes increasing infrastructure demands. That means new construction. You can see new hotel and parking deck construction projects all around our office in downtown Huntsville. At its heart, infrastructure means roads. Throughout the Huntsville, Decatur and Athens area, you also see almost constant road construction. Road crews are working to build the additional infrastructure needed for expected growth. These crews have remained busy throughout the pandemic.
I recently read a law firm article indicating nearly half of truck drivers are prone to sleep apnea. That article reaches this conclusion based on a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study using the STOP-BANG method of screening truck drivers. The Virginia Tech researchers interviewed 20,000 commercial drivers. So, the study has a broad base for reliability. The data is very interesting.
While the law firm’s article cites the study, it really only lists the scary statistics. Yes, it is scary to think up to half of the truck drivers around you may be sleep deprived. The article does a good job of scaring the reader into calling the law firm. Why not talk about potential solutions? The law firm’s article tells us the problem but offers no discussion into solutions. Of course, that’s like most law firm websites — short on real discussion. If it’s a problem (and it is), then the real discussion should surround potential solutions that make our highways safer. With that in mind, I’ll briefly discuss the study. Then, I’m going to talk about two areas where I think we can improve highway safety and trucker health.
What Does The Virginia Tech Research Tell Us?
Last week, Madison County re-started civil jury trials. After months of coronavirus shutdowns, it’s nice to be back at the courthouse. Now, I’m not writing to debate the wisdom of re-opening or not. I’m OK waiting longer for more vaccinations. Public health and safety should be our top priority. As a community, we should each take the steps needed to protect our neighbors. But, again, I’m not writing about the issue of shutdowns.
When the court did re-open this week in Huntsville, one of our car accident injury cases was number one on the docket. First up for trial! We prepare our personal injury cases. We’ve been prepared in this Huntsville accident case for months. Ready to go. It was good to finish the case for our client. Our client patiently waited through recent months as have so many other people.
Maybe you are asking — Why did the case not settle? While most cases eventually settle, some do not. Sometimes, cases should not settle. Maybe the insurance company adjuster ignored the extent of injuries or damages. Maybe the insurance company is taking advantage of courthouse closures to delay and deny justice.
Lawyer ads are everywhere. They are all very similar. Smiles. Confidence. Promises. What kind of promises? In all of them, the advertising lawyer promises he or she will handle your problem. As one local advertising lawyer says in his ads, “we got this.” Does he? Lots of companies advertise assurances about their products and services.
One local Huntsville law firm advertises for workers’ compensation cases by saying a settlement may be in your best interest. Their ad starts by noting “the uncertainty that surrounds” lots of comp cases. Then, it offers the hope of a settlement. Finally, the ad says you should call them for help. It’s a classic marketing ploy — Step one, highlight the need or fear. Step two, disclose a potential solution. Step three, offer yourself as guide to solve the need.
Is a settlement in your best interest? Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. I talk to injured workers every day. Most people are unfamiliar with the work comp process. For many callers, it is the first time they have ever suffered any significant personal injury at work. The whole process can be uncertain. Medical treatment. Continued employment. Vocational rehabilitation. Money Benefits. It’s a new, and very different, process. Some lawyers exploit that unknown by smiling and telling clients the results are good when they really are not.
A lawsuit filed against Tyson Foods in February over Covid-19 and workplace safety raises some serious issues. According to the lawsuit:
- Tyson reported the greatest number of COVID-19 cases of any company in the meatpacking industry.
- Tyson reported twice as many deaths as any other meatpacking company.
I watched the wheelchair move slowly down the middle of the road. I often saw the same wheelchair as I drove home from my Huntsville office. Frequently, the wheelchair was in the middle of the road, with no lights, after dark. I worried that someone unfamiliar with the roadway may not expect or see him. It was a dangerous situation.
What if an accident occurs? What if a driver hit the wheelchair? How is the wheelchair classified? Pedestrian or Motor Vehicle?
I know, lawyers parse terms. Lawyers argue details. Lawyers harp on legal classifications. Only a lawyer would openly ponder whether someone was classified as pedestrian or motor vehicle. Yet, in Alabama accident cases, the distinction can be very important. Very important. The rules for pedestrians and cars are very different.
Congress is considering legislation to protect people with health insurance from receiving “surprise” medical charges. You know, the huge charges for receiving medical care out of your insurance company’s network. The proposed legislation would stop exorbitant and surprise emergency charges from out-of-network doctors and hospitals.
How Do Exorbitant Out-Of-Network Medical Charges Impact Alabama Accident Victims?
You have to laugh at some of the “legal” blogs ghostwritten by marketing people for law firms. They follow a formula. Step 1, express “horror” over some problem or injustice. Step 2, build-up the problem. Step 3, carefully avoid providing any information that would educate consumers. Otherwise, they may not call. Step 4, tell the reader he or she needs to call you as the keeper of solutions. Step 5, stuff the blog post with keywords that have nothing to do with the topic but may be important to your legal services. I disagree with this “formula.” I think blog posts should be authentic and should provide real information or opinions.
A well-known work comp writer publishes an annual Top 10 list of the most bizarre workers compensation cases. When it comes to bizarre, the year 2020 really shines bright!
Three of the top 10 bizarre cases for 2020 are COVID-related. Are you surprised? I’m certainly not. More specifically, all three coronavirus-related cases involved assaults. Again, I’m not surprised at all. We lived through a turbulent year! I’m using the past-tense “lived” in the hope we are entering a time of greater stability and sanity.