Alabama Litigation Review

Alabama Litigation Review

Insights & Commentary on Developments in Alabama Litigation

Category Archives: Workers’ Compensation

Subscribe to Workers’ Compensation RSS Feed

Work Comp in Alabama: The Vocational Rehabilitation Myth

Posted in Workers' Compensation
Our workers’ compensation system was intended to help restore injured workers — to truly restore injured workers instead of shuffling them through the system. Yet, it has evolved into something far different. Many injured employees and their families suffer as a result. One area of failure is “vocational rehabilitation.” What does “vocational rehabilitation” even mean… Continue Reading

How Lawyers Ruined The Grand Bargain

Posted in Workers' Compensation
I recently finished a workers’ compensation trial in a small north Alabama county. The trial took just one day. It was a straightforward case. The issue was simple — how disabled was my client. In my law practice, I have workers’ compensation trials frequently. If the case was so simple, why did the defense firm… Continue Reading

Workplace Safety — Is It A Priority?

Posted in Workers' Compensation
A couple years ago, the Discovery Channel’s Mike Rowe set off a firestorm of commentary on the role of safety in the workplace. Rowe stars in the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs. Following one episode a viewer called him out for not wearing proper safety gear. How did Rowe respond? Rowe called the “Safety First”… Continue Reading

Are Workers’ Compensation Opt-Out Systems Constitutional?

Posted in Workers' Compensation
Regular readers of this blog know my feelings about workers’ compensation — The system is already unfair to injured workers. That’s why my law firm philosophy in workers’ compensation cases is to fight hard so our clients receive the maximum benefits possible. On several occasions, I’ve criticized the completely outrageous concept of opt out systems.… Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation Opt Out Systems — A Return To The Jungle

Posted in Workers' Compensation
Our current workers’ compensation system is unfair and provides inadequate benefits to injured workers. Yet, it’s much better than the newest proposal pushed by corporate lobbyists – an opt out system. Workers’ compensation protections are under constant threat from corporate lobbyists. One new threat is the opt out system enacted in Texas and Oklahoma. In… Continue Reading

Closing Medical Benefits — The New Normal In Workers’ Compensation?

Posted in Workers' Compensation
I recently attended a workers’ compensation seminar in Birmingham. Several speakers discussed the issues involved in closing medical benefits. Here is the backdrop — Injured workers in Alabama are entitled to medical treatment under our workers’ compensation laws. Can an injured worker agree to give up this right to medical care as part of a… Continue Reading

The Forgotten Bargain That Was Our Workers’ Compensation System

Posted in Workers' Compensation
A few years ago, The Center for Justice & Democracy (CJ&D) published a post titled Snapshot of Justice: The Failure of Workers’ Compensation. The post begins by stating — When a worker is hurt, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy against an employer. This is an important opening statement. When workers’ compensation systems were first… Continue Reading

Falls From Heights — A Deadly Workplace Hazard That Is Easily Preventable

Posted in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation
Falls from heights are a leading cause of death and disability on construction sites. According to OSHA, falls cause one-third (1/3) of all construction-related deaths. Workers who survive long falls are often left with a lifetime of chronic pain and disability. In my practice, I’ve had numerous clients who suffered severe injury from falls on… Continue Reading

The Lobby To Gut Workers’ Compensation

Posted in Workers' Compensation
An interesting article discusses the quiet lobbying effort to gut workers’ compensation laws bankrolled by Walmart and several other large retailers. According to the article, these companies have supported and funded a behind the scenes lobbying effort to dramatically change workers’ compensation laws in many states. My state, Alabama, is on the group’s target list.… Continue Reading

How Much Is An Arm Worth In Alabama? Not Much.

Posted in Workers' Compensation
ProPublica recently published an in-depth series detailing the demise of workers’ compensation benefits in many states. Journalist Michael Grabell did an excellent job researching the changing issues faced by injured workers and their families. Grabell’s articles relate stories like those I hear daily from injured workers in Alabama. If you want to understand the terrible… Continue Reading

Walmart Seeks To Delay Justice

Posted in Personal Injury, Supreme Court of Alabama, Workers' Compensation
In June, a Walmart driver slammed his truck into the limousine carrying comedians Tracy Morgan and James McNair. Morgan suffered severe personal injury. The collision killed McNair. The crash generated media discussion related to highway safety and, particularly, the safety of large commercial trucks on our roads. Morgan filed suit against Walmart seeking to recover… Continue Reading

Did Alabama’s Court Of Civil Appeals Decide To Protect Working Families?

Posted in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation
Sometimes, our Court of Civil Appeals issues a decision that creates a little “buzz.” This is what happened last week when the Court released the workers’ compensation decision in Alabama Forestry Products v. Harris. Usually, I read the decisions when released (or at least over the weekend after the release). This time I did not.… Continue Reading

The Non-Independent Medical Examination

Posted in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation
Attorneys who handle personal injury cases know that so-called independent medical examinations (IMEs) are really not independent at all. Instead, these exams are usually an effort by the insurance company and its defense lawyers to purchase a false and misleading opinion. Many of the doctors who perform these examinations are completely biased against the patient.… Continue Reading

The Importance Of Early Treatment For Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation
Recent research reveals that early treatment for traumatic brain injury is an important factor in patient recovery. According to an article discussing this research: Early rehabilitation interventions seem to be essential for how well a patient recovers after a severe brain injury. I have represented many individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) over the… Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation And The Alabama Pain Management Act

Posted in Workers' Compensation
I often enjoy reading posts from the Alabama Workers Comp Blawg. While good attorneys, their approach is only from the defense side. That is quite different from my practice handling plaintiffs’ personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. So, while informative, I often disagree with their position. Recently, these defense attorneys wrote about the new Alabama… Continue Reading

Workers’ Compensation Settlements And The Closure Of Future Medicals

Posted in Workers' Compensation
In Alabama (and most other states), a primary goal of workers’ compensation is to provide injured employees with needed medical care. The first goal, when possible, is to treat and rehabilitate the injured person so that he or she may return to gainful employment. By law, employers must have coverage which provides needed workers’ compensation… Continue Reading

The Workers’ Compensation System And Its Impact On Injured Workers

Posted in Workers' Compensation
Each 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. In Alabama, injured workers with a partial disability that impacts their ability to work are often compensated… Continue Reading

Current Issues in Workers’ Compensation Discussed at Seminar

Posted in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation
Earlier this month, Cumberland Law School sponsored its 26th Annual Workers’ Compensation Seminar. The speakers at this excellent program 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… Continue Reading