Articles Posted in Workers’ Compensation

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You just suffered a work-related accident and injury. What are your biggest concerns? If you are like most people, your biggest concerns are healing and paying the bills while healing. You want to return to your normal life as soon as possible. Our work comp system was originally intended to help you with that goal.

Yet, the system has become something different. Unjust delays and denials have become normal. From the start, you are placed in a system that protects the insurance company’s interest over years. Many injured workers have difficulty just seeing a doctor. The insurance company (when the adjuster bothers to return your call) even picks your doctor.

Did the work comp carrier pick you a good doctor? Will the work comp carrier authorize needed medical treatment? Maybe you are worried but hopeful when treatment starts. In some cases, the system runs fairly smoothly. In others, an insurance company adjuster chooses to delay care, deny benefits, or ignore requests.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Helping The Injured In AlabamaYou suffer a work-related injury. You report the accident. You ask the boss for medical treatment. That’s what you are supposed to do. Now, you expect medical care. It should be “honest” medical care that puts a priority on you — the patient.

Where does your medical care start? Some factories have first aid stations in their facility. Many other businesses use a local “occupational” clinic as a starting point for injured workers. Can you expect “real and honest” medical care at the company clinic? Can you trust the company doctor? Some company nurses and physicians really try to help the injured. But, a few neglect their medical calling. These bad ones work against the injured. They are biased for the company paying them.

A WORK COMP SCANDAL AT TESLA

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersHurt on the job? If so, the insurance carrier may look for a reason to deny your claim. One of their favorite reasons (and usually a wrong one) is to claim you had a pre-existing condition. On a weekly basis, we listen to injured workers who were (wrongly) denied benefits by the insurance company. What makes this wrongful denial so bad — Many lawyers advertising for injury cases simply accept the denial and refuse to help their clients. Many times, the insurance company denial is wrong.

How Should We View Workers’ Compensation Benefits In Alabama?

Alabama courts have stated over-and-over again that workers’ compensation benefits are “not limited to those in perfect health.” Of course they are not limited. Working men and women deserve a system that provides medical care and basic benefits following a serious accident. If the system required anyone over the age of 35-40 with a history of heavy labor work to have a perfect back, benefits would be worthless. Nobody would be covered.

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Alabama Work Comp LawyersCase nurses are common in Alabama workers’ compensation cases. Many insurance companies use case nurses to “assist” with medical care.

If you suffered a work-related accident and injury, the work comp process can be challenging. Maybe frustrating is the better word.

Suddenly, you have a serious accident. Your life changes immediately and drastically. When can you return to work? When will you heal? Can you take care of your family? You are hurting and you are worried. Now, you are leaving messages for an insurance adjuster or sitting in waiting rooms simply to see a doctor.

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Blackwell Law Firm helps injured workers across Alabama.I read a disturbing article in the Insurance Journal last week. The title says it all:

$2B Orlando Highway Construction Project Halted After 5th Worker Death

Five separate workplace deaths on one project! One fatal work-related accident is INEXCUSABLE. Five? It’s hard to comprehend. How could one site be so deadly? How could the contractor allow this to happen? Worker deaths from safety issues are ALWAYS inexcusable.

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Seriously injured in Alabama? Seek skilled legal advice before seeing insurance doctors. Our firm can help.The weeks and months following a serious work-related accident can be some of the most stressful in your life. One day you are fine. The next, you are hurt and unable to work. Medical treatment, long-term recovery, household bills, and job security, are the most important things in your mind.

Work comp should provide needed medical care without delay. That was the original intent. Yet, the system often fails. Insurance companies and their adjusters ignore doctor requests, fail to return your calls, and work to delay care. You suffer. I hear these complaints about adjusters on a daily basis. You are not alone in your frustration.

Many times, an adjuster or case nurse will suddenly call you out of the blue with an appointment for an “independent medical examination” by some new doctor. They may even tell you the visit is needed to understand treatment options. Don’t forget, the real goal of the insurance company is ALWAYS to save its money.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Personal Injury LawyersWhat’s The Deal With Biestek v. Berryhill?

In Biestek v. Berryhill, a construction worker applied for Social Security disability benefits. Following a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied his benefit application. The ALJ decision denying social security benefits is not unusual. The real question in the case was whether or not Biestek had a fair hearing.

In Social Security hearings, the ALJ will often retain a vocational expert to provide opinion testimony. In Biestek, that vocational expert testified the worker could perform a number of different jobs in the national economy. In other words, Biestek was not vocationally disabled. The vocational expert then testified she reached her opinions based upon individual market surveys in her possession. So, on cross-examination, Biestek’s attorney asked to see the data. That’s fair. That’s a very reasonable request. Should any expert be allowed to give an opinion while refusing to show the underlying data? That’s when the ALJ intervened and refused the lawyer’s request. What we now have is an expert who provided an unsubstantiated and unsupported opinion.

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Alabama Injured Worker HelpI talk to injured Alabama workers every week. The moments and days after an accident can be uncertain and difficult. You may be hurting and unsure what to do. You may have many worries and questions. Will I be able to continue working? Will my employer fire me? How will I get medical treatment? Will I be able to pay my bills? Who can I trust?

The truth — Alabama’s work comp laws favor employers. Too often injured workers suffer needles pain and disability while navigating a hostile system. Insurance company denials. Treatment delays. Biased caregivers. Hostile employers. All of these are commonplace.

Your choices and actions right after a work-related accident and injury can prevent you from getting the medical care and benefits you deserve. Here are five common mistakes workers make following a work-related accident and injury.

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Blackwell Law Firm: Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersI read an interesting article last week in a work comp blog where the author asks the question:  What’s Next for Pain — Pharma? The author then discusses available medications he believes could serve as alternatives to prescription opioids. Opioid abuse is a major issue nationwide.

The article’s author is an executive at a pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) in the work comp industry. I started the article with a little bias and hesitation. If you work for a PBM, your main concern centers on prescriptions — reimbursement and cost. After suing a different PBM several years ago, I developed a healthy degree of skepticism as to whether drug payers are really interested in patients. I don’t say that to judge the author or his company.

I will say this author begins with the right issue. He points out that as opioid prescriptions decline, providers and payers have not embraced other treatment modalities. That is an important issue for injured people suffering chronic pain. We must address and treat hurting people. The author then discusses several alternative medication therapies. I represent many injured workers facing chronic pain. So, the discussion of alternative treatments peaked my interest.

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Blackwell Law Firm Fights Insurance Company DenialsYou suffered a work-related accident. You properly reported the accident to your company. You did everything correctly. Now, you expect work comp to provide medical care. After all, that’s how workers’ compensation should work. If you are like most people, all you really want is to heal as quickly as possible.

What happens next? Many companies have an occupational doctor or medical clinic to treat injured employees. Some people call them “gatekeepers.” Some of these “gatekeepers” wrongly and unjustly try to lock the gate to real medical care. In northern Alabama, we have just a couple clinics that handle almost all initial workplace accidents and injuries. These occupational clinics are supposed to treat injuries. Their doctors are supposed to help you. Don’t doctors take an oath to help their patients?

Most doctors take their responsibility seriously. Most doctors care deeply for their patients. I know many doctors who do. Yet, these few gatekeeper occupational clinics are NOT like most doctors. These clinics work for industry for a reason — Cost Savings. Fewer recorded injuries means cost savings. Less medical treatment means cost savings.