Articles Tagged with disability

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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 Workers Compensation AdvocatesAre you being watched? If you have an Alabama work comp claim, the insurance company may conduct surveillance on you. I often tell my injured clients — If the insurance company videos you, we will only see the 5 minutes when you felt good and looked unhurt. We’ll never see the hours of agony and pain.

My favorite surveillance story involves a work comp case I tried many years ago in Huntsville. The insurance company and its lawyer fought aggressively. On the eve of trial, they expected to win. They thought they had surveillance that would destroy our case. The video showed a man lifting big truck tires, loading his truck and performing some pretty heavy work. That sounds pretty bad when your case involves a lower back injury and significant physical restrictions. But, they had a huge problem! A huge problem! And, they did not know it. The guy on the video was not my client. It was the wrong guy. The video showed my client’s brother. Plus, we had proof my client was somewhere else on the day of the surveillance. It made for some fun courtroom action at trial. Nothing like bursting the insurance company’s bubble! We won the case for our injured client.

Over the years, I’ve dealt with surveillance issues many times. It’s not an issue in every case. Most of the time, it’s not an issue at all. But, it is something every lawyer should discuss with his injured client.

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Decatur Work Comp AttorneysYesterday evening, I read that an injured Daikin America worker remains in the intensive care unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) more than two months after his exposure to a chemical on the job at Daikan in Decatur. According to reports, three workers were hospitalized following the July 2 accident. One of the three workers has since passed away from his injuries.

Was this chemical exposure an isolated incident? No. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a worker also died in 2019 following an exposure at the same plant.

Think about that! A worker dies following an exposure in 2019. Two years later, three more workers are exposed. Hopefully, we can learn what happened in these exposures. I’m real interested in learning what Daikin did (or did not do) to correct its safety procedures after the first incident!

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Huntsville Workers Compensation LawyersI talk to injured workers in Alabama every day. If you are hurt on the job, you are likely entitled to work comp benefits. Those benefits should provide needed medical care and compensation. Too often, they do not. Alabama law is very unfair. Injured workers face many problems.

I could write a book discussing the many ways our work comp laws are unfair to injured workers. I have discussed many of those issues in prior articles on this blog. Today, I want to focus on five early mistakes injured workers make that can harm their claims.

The Worker Does NOT Report The Accident (IN WRITING) In A Timely Manner

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersI just read an interesting article titled:

The Walmart Stocker Who Quit And Told Off Her Bosses Over The Intercom

The article was published late last year. How did I miss it? Apparently, the Walmart employee reached the breaking point and quit over the store-wide intercom. That’s right — The employee quit over the intercom, telling everyone in the store exactly how she felt. Like the old Johnny Paycheck song, it was a real “take this job and shove it” moment.

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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:

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Huntsville Accident & Injury AttorneysLast summer, I wrote about the mental issues (such as PTSD) faced by our first responders. Our first responders have extremely stressful jobs. They handle people and situations at the very worst moments. First responders see the worst human suffering in normal times. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the stressors faced by first responders have exponentially increased.

In my prior post, I discussed current Alabama workers compensation law related to mental injuries. Current law does not provide compensation for mental-only injuries. Mental injuries are only compensable if they stem from a work-related physical injury. The physical injury requirement is also the law in several other states.

You can read my prior article if you want a greater understanding of current Alabama work comp law. Over the years, many of our severely injured clients have dealt with psychological issues. I’ve seen the depression and anxiety suffered by clients who face chronic pain, serious disability or an inability to work. Some physical injuries such as RSD (reflex sympathetic dystrophy) produce chronic pain so severe, mental health injuries are almost inescapable. When we help an injured client facing severe personal injuries and disabilities, we often have to fight in court to win them the benefits needed. Many insurance companies simply deny every request for mental health treatment. You won’t get the treatment you need without a fight. Where the injury and need for care is clearly documented, that’s shameful.

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Does-The-Insurance-adjuster-ignore-you-300x300You suffered a sudden accident at work. You are hurting. You need treatment. Questions, worries and fears race through your mind. Will I heal? Can I keep my job? When can I see the doctor? How can I pay my bills? How does work comp work? I’ve heard all the questions. I’ve heard all the frustrations. I counsel injured workers almost every single day.

Today, I want to discuss one of the most common frustrations — The insurance adjuster will not respond or return your calls. Nothing is more frustrating! If you are hurt and frustrated by an adjuster who will not respond, you are not alone. In both Alabama car accident cases and workers’ compensation claims, this is a very common problem. Adjusters bombard you when they need something or when they are pushing you to settle for a small amount. When you need something, they disappear.

Why do insurance adjusters ignore your calls? Let’s look at four primary stages in a work comp claim when adjusters disappear. What are these four primary stages of a work comp claim? Why are you being ignored? How can you respond?

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersIf you suffer a work-related illness or injury in Alabama, you should be covered by our work comp laws. Should be! Yet, the numerous limitations, hurdles and injustices in our current system leave many employees without proper benefits. One issue where workers’ compensation neglects many injured workers — Mental or Psychological Care. Several practical and legal barriers exist to psychological care.

Are Mental Injuries Covered Under Current Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law?

Let’s start with the issue of coverage. Are psychological injuries covered? The answer is, yes, with a big caveat. Yes, but! To recover for mental or psychological injuries under current law, the worker must have suffered an actual physical injury that proximately caused the psychological injury. I know, that’s a long answer.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersThe month of March is recognized as a time to promote awareness of brain injuries. Why do we focus on brain injuries?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases are different than other injuries. TBI victims often go undiagnosed and untreated. Emergency rooms are good at saving lives. However, they often ignore the signs and symptoms of a mild TBI. Later physicians may lack the experience or training to diagnose or treat a mild TBI. TBI victims are left to suffer in silence.

Many TBI victims also look “normal.” No scars. No casts. No assistive devices like wheelchairs. When you couple the often “normal” appearance with the lack of diagnosis, many of these patients are doubted or questioned about their symptoms. Yet, almost one-third of patients with a mild-TBI suffer long-term problems working and living.

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