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Articles Tagged with medical treatment

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Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersInjured on the job in Alabama? Our work comp law requires you to notify your employer in order to receive benefits. You only have a short period of time to do so. You should notify your employer immediately in writing. To help, The Alabama Department of Labor even provides a standard form. The process should be simple? You have an accident. You tell your boss. You or your boss complete the written form. You receive work comp benefits.

In theory, it’s simple. The system was intended to be simple. In reality, it’s not always simple. Why? Some companies lie about accidents. Some companies really do NOT want to report any accidents or injuries. During the over two decades I’ve helped injured Alabama workers, I’ve tried multiple claims against a single manufacturing plant in Athens to verdict where the defense is always the same. In every single one of those cases, this employer did not report the accident when it happened. Later, the same employer lied about it. Don’t think I’m singling out one employer. I know several employers across northern Alabama who regularly refuse or fail to report accidents when they occur.

I receive several calls every month with a similar story. What is that story? The caller suffered a workplace accident. When it happened, he told the boss. But, nobody completed a written report. Sometimes, the worker initially thought he would be fine. So, he did not worry about it. Sometimes, the worker simply trusted the boss to take care of it. Several weeks later, the injured worker realized he needed medical care and asked the boss to provide a doctor. Suddenly, the boss “could not remember” any accident. Suddenly, the supervisor had no recall of any event. When that happens, your work comp claim will be denied.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Accident & Injury AttorneysYou suffered a car accident caused by another driver. You are injured. Suddenly, you face many questions. How can I get needed medical care? Will I heal quickly? What happens if I lose my job because I’m hurt? How will I pay my medical bills? How will I deal with the insurance company?

Then, you speak with the insurance adjuster. The adjuster may promise to help you quickly. The adjuster may even promise to pay your medical bills. It happens all the time — The adjuster acts like they are ready to pay your bills and take care of you. Most of the time, it’s not true. Most of the time, the adjuster wants to buy time to protect the insurance company.

The adjuster wants you to provide a recorded statement OR to sign an authorization so the insurance company can dig through your medical records OR simply to string you along. The adjuster tells you information is needed to get you paid. Maybe it is. More likely, it’s an effort to investigate your claim and look for potential reasons to deny it.

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Huntsville Personal Injury AttorneysWhen I settle an Alabama workers compensation case with continued medical benefits, I explain to my clients what they may expect in the future. Of course, that future depends on many facts. Are the injuries easily provable or highly disputed? Does the client suffer other health problems that complicate issues? Does the client have access to health coverage through other sources? Does the client have a good authorized physician?

Every situation is different. Each case should be approached with thoughtful advice and planning. Lawyers should help their clients prepare to navigate the work comp system. We do. We help our clients during the case and afterwards when issues arise.

The potential issues following a work comp settlement are too numerous for this short post. So, I will just mention three quick takeaways when you settle your work-related injury case with open medical benefits under Alabama law. If you are in this situation, you probably settled expecting and hoping you would receive continued medical care for your injuries. What immediate things should you know? Here are three:

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https://www.alabamainjurylawyer-blog.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/122/2020/04/Need-Advice-Have-Legal-Questions-We-Are-Available.-300x300.pngDuring this difficult time, people are worried. Health. Work. Finances. Family. All are worries. Many people are asking, when will life return to normal.

I spoke with someone earlier this week who had waited five weeks for the doctor to review his MRI. The caller suffered a work-related injury. He was seeing a doctor authorized by work comp. He underwent an MRI. Now, he is sitting and waiting to hear the results. It’s a slow process in normal times. Even in normal times, our injured neighbors wait too long for treatment. These are NOT normal times.

Our attorneys answer workers compensation questions for callers on a daily basis. We’ve compiled some of the most frequent questions to create a Workers Compensation FAQ page on our website. If you cannot find your question on that page, let us know. We are happy to discuss the issue with you. Our consultations are always free.

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Blackwell Law Firm -- Alabama Personal Injury LawyersWhat is a panel of four? How can it impact your Alabama work comp case? Why am I discussing the issue now? Medical treatment is an important issue to injured Alabama workers. We answer questions for callers on this issue almost every day at our office. Since the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals recently discussed the issue, I thought it was a good time for me to do so as well.

When you suffer a serious work-related accident, a lot of worries come to mind. Will I receive good medical care? Will I heal and recover? Will I be able to continue working? Our work comp system was created to provide medical and disability benefits. If you suffer a work-related accident, you are entitled to medical treatment. Your employer (through its insurer) is obligated to provide treatment. It should be simple. But, too often it’s not. Too often, employers and their insurance companies delay, deny, or just ignore medical care. When they do, you suffer.

WHO PICKS THE FIRST DOCTOR?

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Alabama Workers Compensation HelpWorkers’ compensation benefits are intended to help restore injured workers. At least, that’s the original intent. That’s why medical treatment and vocational rehabilitation should be top priorities. Heal and restore whenever possible.

Yet, over the last couple decades, our system has largely devolved into a mess leaving many injured workers without benefits. Instead of help, too many injured workers are simply shuffled through the system. I’ve written numerous articles about the current work comp medical system and how it fails injured workers.

Another area where our current work comp system fails — Vocational Rehabilitation. What does “vocational rehabilitation” even mean in Alabama? The phrase is never fully defined by our workers’ compensation statute. Most lawyers and most courts really don’t understand the meaning of the phrase. Why not? The answer is that our courts have so limited its practical effect to the point vocational rehabilitation is largely non-existent and never legitimately offered.

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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 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: 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.

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