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Articles Tagged with legislation

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Blackwell Law Firm
A new year means a new push to harm disabled workers in Alabama. The current effort — a proposal by Decatur State Senator Arthur Orr. This is not a new effort. Senator Orr has renewed his yearly effort to cut-off medical and disability benefits for severely injured Alabama workers. Senator Orr’s proposal will harm our communities by pushing disabled workers off insurance benefits and on to taxpayer-funded government benefits. It’s a bad idea.

What are the changes Senator Orr continues to seek:

  • Legislation that severely and arbitrarily limits medical benefits for ALL injured workers in Alabama.
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Blackwell Law Firm - Huntsville Injury LawyersEach year, our workers’ compensation system in Alabama faces new threats from the insurance industry. In some states, like Texas, the system has been dramatically altered leaving many injured workers unable to recover and return to gainful employment. Opt out systems like those in Texas often allow the largest and richest employers to write their own rules! Really, does anyone think companies like Walmart will write plans that truly protect their workers???

In Alabama, the system remains unfair. Year-after-year, our legislature refuses to address the injustice. Whenever the Alabama Legislature does consider even a slight improvement, it is simply an exchange for removing another valuable benefit. Indeed, big business and big insurance lobbyists view any slight effort to modify work comp laws as an opportunity to remove or reduce benefits.

Injured Alabama workers with a partial disability impacting their ability to work are often compensated below Federal poverty levels. Our state has not increased partial disability payments in over two decades! While benefits to workers are over two decades behind inflation, some of our legislators continue to propose new laws that would cut off other important benefits. These same legislators have raised their own pay (and that of other state officials during this time period).

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Earlier this month, Cumberland Law School sponsored its 26th Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar. The speakers included a Judge on The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and a well-known orthopedic surgeon. One of the afternoon sessions included a panel of four attorneys answering questions from the audience related to workers’ compensation in Alabama. I was honored to serve on that panel. The four of us represented diverse areas of the state. While my office is in the Huntsville / Decatur area, the other three panel members came from Dothan, Mobile, and Tuscumbia.

We discussed a number of very interesting issues and concerns related to workers’ compensation and medical issues. Three issues seemed to generate a significant discussion as well as a lot of questions. These were:

  1. Closing Medical Benefits.
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