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Alabama Workers Compensation AttorneysIn December, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a huge fine for safety violations at a Dollar General store in Mobile, Alabama. The fine itself is pretty big for any retail store — $321,827. Beyond the fine amount, OSHA issued the following statement:

At the U.S. Department of Labor, the company [Dollar General] is recognized for its long history of violations and repeated failures to protect its workers from on-the-job hazards.

Then, an OSHA officer added the following additional comment:

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Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersLast week, I was working through the final details of a work comp settlement with a local defense lawyer in Huntsville. As we discussed settlement terms, the defense lawyer made an interesting observation. That observation is the reason for this post.

Before I get to that observation, I’ll give you a little helpful background on the case. My client suffered a bad back injury. He required spinal surgery. He now suffers chronic pain and permanent restrictions. He could not return to his long-term employment. I believe he is totally disabled. We were preparing for trial.

Now that you have a little background, I’ll get to my topic. While discussing the settlement paperwork, I added a couple sentences dealing with vested employee benefits. You know, rights employees have to pensions and 401(k) plans with some employers. When I addressed the phrase with the defense lawyer, he immediately stated that most personal injury lawyers just skim over the paperwork. He laughed and said most lawyers just want to know when they can expect the settlement check. That’s my topic — Good lawyering means you help the client through the entire process!

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WorkCompHelp-300x300Last week, one of our work comp clients called with a question. “Can I ask the case nurse to step outside during my doctor appointments?” It’s a frequent question. I’ve written about case nurses several times on this blog. A few case nurses try to intrude into the examination room. This leaves many injured clients uncomfortable. I totally understand.

Since I’ve already written multiple articles about workers compensation case nurses, I decided to address a different topic. Instead, I’m going to address 12 frequent Alabama workers compensation issues. I’ll provide short tips in this post. For more information, you can read one of my longer articles which address a single issue. Here are 12 issues your Alabama work comp lawyer probably wants you to know:

1. You do NOT have to allow the case nurse (or case manager) into your doctor appointments

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Alabama Injury Lawyers
This might be a boring technical topic for some readers. But, it’s an important issue in the world of injury claims involving bad drugs. In recent years, we’ve worked numerous personal injury claims involving prescription medications.

Do Drug Companies Have To Warn Patients Of Medicine Risks?

You’ve probably seen a drug ad on television. Those commercials usually follow the same script. Soft music. Smiling people. The actors all appear to be living happy lives courtesy of some pill. Then, at the end, the drug company flashes a really quick list of pretty scary potential side effects. If it’s a 30 second ad, the first 29 seconds talk all about how the pill cured the actor’s arthritis. Then, at the last second, a quick warning appears:  Don’t take this pill if you are a human between the ages of 20 and 90. Otherwise, your arms may fall off! Consult your doctor.

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Wrong Way Drivers Cause InjuriesI recently saw a law firm “blog” titled, What Every Driver Should Know About Wrong-Way Crashes. The title sounded interesting. I’d like to know!

So, I clicked on the link hoping for some good information. Unfortunately, the article provided almost no new information and definitely no new commentary. The law firm’s “blog” simply reported about 3% of all car accidents involve wrong-way crashes. Then, the “blog” linked to several recent news articles reporting wrong-way crashes in Alabama. It ended with a general listing of injuries possible in any serious car accident. I’m not sure why this listing of generic injuries common to all accidents was relevant to the topic except to provide keywords for google search. Clickbait and keywords but no new information.

While that blog post really did not tell me much. I did start thinking about a specific wrong-way danger. One-way versus two-way roads! On several occasions, I’ve seen drivers accidentally turn the wrong way on one of downtown Huntsville’s one-way streets. Those accidental turns usually provide some scary moments for travelers.

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Personal Injury Lawyers HuntsvilleThe Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) recently released its Top 10 list of safety violations for 2021. This list includes the most-cited safety issues by OSHA. I always study the list and compare it to prior years.

What do you see when you look at the annual Top 10 safety violation list? If you read the annual list, you will quickly notice the same dangerous violations seem to make the list every year. Some of the safety issues might move up-or-down a couple places. But, the same problems exist every year. And, one violation seems to take the top spot almost every single year.

What is the top safety violation year-after-year? Fall protection! In fact, fall protection has ranked number one for the last 11 straight years. In recent years, I’ve represented numerous workers who suffered disabling personal injuries in worksite falls from heights. I’ve also represented families who lost a loved one in a worksite fall. All of these tragedies had one thing in common — Management could have prevented the serious accident with a few simple safety procedures.

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Huntsville Personal Injury LawyersGenerally, workers compensation provides two important benefits. The first is medical care. The second is money you receive for your impairments or disabilities. These are essential benefits for working men and women facing a serious work-related personal injury. I’ve helped injured workers for more than 25 years. Almost every single client has the same worry — How quickly can I get my medical care and resume my normal life. Medical care and recovery are the main concerns. Most injured workers start the process hopeful.

Too often, insurance carriers then ignore, delay or deny their need for medical treatment. If you’ve suffered a serious work-related injury, you may have experienced the frustration of waiting on a work comp adjuster to call or approve care. You may have experienced the tricks used by insurance carriers to avoid providing necessary treatment. I understand. You do have options.

Let me get to the point of this post. Recently, I read an article about a misleading study produced by the National Council On Compensation Insurance (NCCI). What is the NCCI? Take a look at its Board of Directors! It’s a virtual who’s who of the biggest work comp insurance executives. You think they might be biased just a little! Years ago, the tobacco industry had similar groups telling consumers that smoking was healthy!

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Huntsville Accident & Injury Lawyers at Blackwell Law FirmWhy am I being asked to provide my tax returns in my injury case? I saw this question recently in a legal forum. In personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, the defense lawyers often ask for your tax returns. Over our 25+ years of practicing Alabama personal injury law, we’ve seen this question repeatedly. So, I thought I would discuss the issue.

Why Are They Requesting My Tax Returns?

If you have an Alabama personal injury or workers compensation case, tax return requests are routine. Many insurance defense lawyers make this request in every case. Why are they asking for your returns?

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Building-personal-injury-cases-for-maximum-compensation-300x300Earlier this week, I took the deposition of a local orthopedic surgeon in a client’s car accident case. I take several medical depositions each month. So, it’s not unusual to be in a deposition. It’s part of our process to help clients by building their cases. The case involved a car accident. The crash actually happened pretty close to my office in Huntsville. An uninsured driver crashed into my client at a busy intersection along University Drive. Because an uninsured driver caused the Huntsville accident, we made a claim against my client’s own auto insurer for uninsured coverage. The carrier — Allstate! Yes, I have a pretty negative opinion about how that company treats its own insureds. Are you really in good hands? Any Alabama lawyer who regularly handles car accident and injury cases likely agrees with me.

As is so often the case, Allstate offered practically nothing to my client after her wreck. But, then we took the ortho’s deposition. We obtained his testimony for use at trial. After his testimony, the adjuster suddenly started calling and wanting to pay. Developing the medical evidence increases case value significantly! That’s an obvious no-brainer. Yet, so many lawyers simply refuse to prepare their cases! I know lawyers who claim to handle car accident cases but have never taken key testimony from medical providers. It’s shocking to think how little value they add to cases.

How Settlement Mill Law Firms Fail Clients By Failing To Build Case Value!

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I’ve written several times about the need for side guards on large commercial trucks. Deadly under-ride accidents could easily be prevented with side guards. Commercial trucks often have a very high ground clearance. Maybe you’ve ridden next to a large truck on the roadway and noticed how easily your car could go underneath. That’s a huge danger for people in cars. In side under-ride accidents, car tops can be sheared. These accidents almost always result in horrible injuries or deaths. Several years ago, I helped a family who lost several members in a deadly Limestone County accident where the top of a car was sheared off. The scene was horrific. A few simple safety requirements could have prevented that tragedy.

The danger is not just limited to cars. On our roads and highways, motorcyclists are also at risk. In urban areas, both pedestrians and cyclists are an issue. Previous studies have noted numerous pedestrian and cyclist deaths where a victim went underneath the side of a large truck.

For many years, safety advocates have asked Congress to act. In Europe, side guards have long been a standard safety feature. Numerous research studies show that lives are saved by this simple equipment. Yet, Congress has failed to act. Although our Federal government has failed to take the safety issue seriously, many of our largest cities have adopted side guards on their municipal fleets.

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