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Common Reasons for a Workers’ Compensation Claim Denial

Nov 30, 2020 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Let an Experienced Tuscaloosa Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help Workplace injuries are common.  In Alabama, employees who suffer workplace injuries may be entitled to workers’ compensation, which can cover their health expenses, but workers’ compensation claims are often denied — that can put the employee in a financially and emotionally vulnerable situation. If you would like to get in touch with an experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney, we encourage you to contact Cross & Smith to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.  Call us at 877-791-0618 or send us a message online today. Here at Cross & Smith, our team has decades of experience working with personal injury claimants, including those who have been injured in a work setting.  We understand how best to navigate the challenges of a workers’ compensation-related dispute, and what is necessary to secure the maximum compensation for our clients (under the circumstances). For now, let’s take a brief look at some of the common reasons behind a workers’ compensation claim denial.  It’s worth noting that if your claim is denied, you may be entitled to challenge the adverse decision and potentially sue to recover benefits. Failure to Notify Employer in a Timely Manner In Alabama, notice of the accident and injury must be given to the employer within five days of its occurrence.  This is a rather short time period, so it’s important not to delay before getting in contact with a Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorney who can manage the procedural requirements in a timely […]

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Workplace Injuries — When Can You Sue Your Employer?

Nov 16, 2020 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Seek Help From a Tuscaloosa Work Injury Lawyer In Alabama, workplace injuries — particularly in certain high-risk industries, such as construction and manufacturing — are rather common.  Employees who are injured in the workplace may be wondering what their options are for suing and recovering damages from their employer.  We recommend that injured employees get in touch with a qualified Tuscaloosa work injury lawyer at Cross & Smith for further guidance. Suing one’s employer is a worthwhile option, if available.  After all, workers’ compensation benefits, though useful, can be somewhat limited by comparison.  Workers’ compensation provides for health expenses, for example, but not for the losses associated with pain and suffering. Let’s take a closer look. Workers’ Compensation Prevents Negligence-Based Claims Workers’ compensation protections prohibit employees from bringing negligence-based claims against their employers.  Instead, any employees who are injured at work are meant to submit a claim for workers’ compensation to obtain benefits that can cover their losses (at least in part) — this is meant to serve as a tradeoff for being able to secure benefits even in cases where the injury was not caused through any fault of the employer. If you are an employee who was injured in the workplace, it’s important to understand that you are not left without options for a lawsuit, however — you may still be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer for intentional or reckless misconduct.  Further, if a third-party contributed to your injuries (i.e., a contractor, or passersby), then […]

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Can I Make a Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

Oct 30, 2020 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Seek Help From an Experienced Tuscaloosa Work Injury Lawyer Workers’ compensation is a valuable option for recovery, providing a range of benefits to employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness.  These workers’ compensation benefits may include medical expenses (from diagnostic costs to treatment and physical therapy), wage loss, and even disability benefits depending on the severity of the injury. Many would-be claimants aren’t quite sure whether they’re eligible to make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, however.  For the sake of clarification, let’s take a brief look. What Determines Eligibility? In the state of Alabama, the law requires (generally speaking) that employers with five or more employees — full-time or part-time — provide workers’ compensation coverage.  It’s worth noting, however, that an employer with fewer employees may have still voluntarily chosen to acquire workers’ compensation coverage, so be sure to check if coverage is available for your claim. If your employee has acquired workers’ compensation coverage, then you’ll have to evaluate whether the suffered injury occurred due to an employment-related accident — whether or not it was caused by another’s negligence.  For example, even if the accident is not necessarily your employer’s fault (i.e., an earthquake causes a box to shift slightly and fall on your foot, fracturing your toes), workers’ compensation claim may provide benefits. Critically, the accident must be linked to your employment activity.  In other words, it must have occurred within the “course and scope” of your employment.  On-site activity is almost always considered within the […]

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Can I Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits if I’m Attacked by a Co-Worker?

Oct 16, 2020 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Tuscaloosa, AL Workers’ compensation claims are often associated with equipment-related accidents on a job site — for example, a warehouse worker getting injured by falling storage boxes, or a lab worker getting burned by loose chemicals. In truth, however, many injuries occurring in the workplace are linked to job site violence. If you’ve been injured due to having been willfully assaulted by a colleague, contractor, or other individuals in the workplace, then you may be entitled to submit a workers’ compensation claim for benefits to cover those losses. Let’s take a closer look. Assault is Covered, But Only If There Is an Employment-Related Cause In Alabama, an intentional assault by a co-worker (or anyone else, in fact) is considered an accident for the purpose of workers’ compensation coverage, so long as the assault was motivated by an employment-related issue, and not personal ill will. How does this work? Suppose that you are attacked by a co-worker, who fractures your nose and ribs. In Example A, the co-worker attacked you because he was under the impression that you had insulted his family.  This would not give rise to workers’ compensation benefits, as the attack was motivated by a personal issue — not an employment-related one. In Example B, however, the co-worker attacked you because he was upset that you had signed up for extra shifts, thus taking up some slots that he would’ve signed up for to earn extra pocket money.  The co-worker’s attack could be […]

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Negligent Security Claims in Alabama

Sep 30, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Let Our Experienced Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney Help If you are on another’s property and were injured due to a criminal attack by a third-party, then Alabama law may entitle you to sue and recover damages from the property owner or possessor.  After all, you may be able to assert that the defendant is liable for negligent security — for failing to implement property safety measures to protect visitors from third-party criminal activity. Negligent security claims are somewhat non-standard, so let’s clarify with a basic introduction to how they work. How a Negligent Security Claim Works — Foreseeability Negligent security claims are a subcategory of premises liability claims.  In essence, a defendant-landlord (or any other party “possessing” and “controlling” a given property) has a responsibility to maintain given premises in a reasonably safe condition for visitors.  If a visitor is injured due to a dangerous condition of the property, then the defendant could be held liable for failing to correct the hazard, or for failing to warn the visitor about the hazard. Where the situation can get confusing is third-party criminal activity. Generally, there is no duty on a defendant — in the premises liability context — to protect visitors from third-party criminal activity, such as a battery or a mugging.  However, a duty to take action (by taking steps to minimize such risks) will be imposed in circumstances where the third-party criminal activity was foreseeable. The issue of foreseeability is central to the plaintiff presenting a successful negligent security claim.  […]

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How Does Comprehensive Medical Insurance Coverage Impact My Damages Claim?

Sep 16, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney Here to Help You If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s negligence (or other misconduct), then Alabama law may give you a right to sue and recover significant damages as compensation. These compensatory damages include medical expenses suffered due to the defendant’s misconduct.  For example, if you fractured your legs in a car accident caused by a drunk driving defendant, then they would be liable for the various medical expenses associated with the injuries: diagnostics, surgical intervention, pharmaceutical treatment, rehabilitation, and more. First-time plaintiffs may be left somewhat confused.  Does the fact that they have comprehensive medical insurance (and therefore paid nothing out-of-pocket for their treatment) impact their ability to claim medical expenses as damages? No, it does not!  Let’s take a closer look. Out-of-Pocket Costs Are Unnecessary for Recovery In Alabama, and other jurisdictions, plaintiffs may recover for their medical expenses in full, even if they did not suffer out-of-pocket costs (due to having purchased comprehensive insurance coverage). For example, suppose that you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, and have to undergo $50,000 in surgeries (along with other related medical costs).  As part of your overall damages claim, you assert a claim for medical expenses of $50,000.  In reality, however, you did not have to pay a single cent out-of-pocket, as your medical insurance covered those costs completely.  Despite that, the defendant would still be “on the hook” for the $50,000 — assuming you could establish liability. At first […]

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Does an Uncommon Fragility Prevent Recovery?

Aug 31, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Work With a Skilled Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney Not all plaintiffs are built the same way.  Some may have unique sensitivities or fragilities that make them more susceptible to certain injuries — but can these fragilities impact their ability to sue and recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit? Let’s take a closer look. What is an Eggshell Skull Plaintiff? In the personal injury context, an eggshell skull plaintiff is an injury victim who is particularly fragile, and who therefore suffered more severe injuries (physical or mental) as a result of the defendant’s misconduct. This may seem a bit confusing at first glance, so let’s clarify with a brief example. Suppose that you have “brittle bones.”  Your condition doesn’t cause you any additional pain or issues normally, but if you were to be involved in a car accident, then you are much more likely to not only suffer a fracture but for that fracture to lead to debilitating injuries.  As such, if you did suffer those injuries in a car accident, you would be considered an “eggshell skull plaintiff.” Understanding How Liability is Imposed It’s important to highlight this fact: eggshell skull plaintiffs (i.e., plaintiffs who are uniquely fragile) are entitled to a full and adequate recovery, even if their damages are more than what the “typical” person would have suffered under the same circumstances. So, for example, in our previous eggshell skull explanation, the eggshell skull plaintiff might have suffered $150,000 in damages.  They would be entitled to recover this […]

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Can You Sue Your Employer for an Injury at Work?

Aug 17, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Experienced Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured at work, then you may be entitled to workers’ compensation.  These benefits are quite useful in that they do not require that you prove the employer engaged in any misconduct — instead, you need only prove that you were injured (through no fault of your own), and you will receive some form of benefit that can defray your losses. Workers’ compensation may not always be enough, however, particularly in severe injury cases.  At that point, some of the legal limitations can serve as a barrier.  Let’s take a closer look at how to overcome these barriers and sue your employer directly. Workers’ Compensation May Prevent a Negligence Suit Workers’ compensation laws — in Alabama and elsewhere — prohibit a negligence-based lawsuit against one’s employer by covered employees.  Those employees must seek recovery through the workers’ compensation process. This can be a problem, in part because workers’ compensation — though helpful — is not a complete form of recovery.  It does not cover pain and suffering damages, for example, which in some cases can be substantial. Reckless and Intentional Acts May Enable a Lawsuit In Alabama, and in other states, employers are not completely shielded from a lawsuit simply because their employees are covered by workers’ compensation.  In certain circumstances, an employer can be held liable — specifically, if the employer engaged in reckless or intentional misconduct. How does this work?  Let’s use two counterexamples to clarify. Suppose that you are injured in […]

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Getting “Bonus” Punitive Damages in an Accident Claim

Jul 31, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Experienced Injury Attorney in Tuscaloosa, AL If you have been injured in an accident, in Alabama or elsewhere, then you may be entitled to damages as compensation for the harm caused.  For example, if a defendant slams into your car from the side, then you could ostensibly sue and recover for past and future medical expenses. This category of damages — known as “compensatory” damages — is not necessarily the only one available to injured plaintiffs.  In fact, many high-value, multimillion-dollar recoveries are based on punitive damages.  Punitive damages are only infrequently awarded, but they are an important aspect to consider when bringing a case against the defendant. Let’s take a closer look. What Are Punitive Damages? Punitive damages are meant to “punish” the liable defendant for particularly egregious or malicious conduct.  Simple negligence is not enough to qualify for punitive damages — the defendant must have done something with reckless disregard for the safety of others, or even have done something with intentional malice.  For example, if a defendant crashes into you intentionally because they are angry, or drunk, the court may decide to award punitive damages in that case. Punitive damages multiply the amount of compensatory damages by up to seven times.  If you have a case worth $100,000 (i.e., medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.), then the punitive damages claim could be as much as $700,000, for a grand total of $800,000 recovered. Courts may exercise discretion in choosing to award punitive damages, and generally […]

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Contributory Fault Can Be a Problem in an Alabama Accident Case

Jul 17, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Experienced Injury Attorney in Tuscaloosa, AL If you’ve been injured in an accident in Alabama, then you may be entitled to significant damages as compensation, but there are a number of different ways in which the defendant can avoid liability — among the most common of these defense strategies is asserting contributory fault (i.e., claiming that the plaintiff contributed to their own injuries). This can be a difficult barrier to overcome in personal injury litigation, so let’s take a closer look at how it works. Strict Contributory Fault in Alabama Alabama is rather anti-plaintiff, and as such, is one of the few states still implementing strict contributory fault principles. What does this mean? Under strict contributory fault in Alabama, an injured plaintiff is completely prevented from recovering damages in a lawsuit if they are partially at-fault for their own injuries.  In fact, they are barred from recovery if they are found to be even one percent at-fault! For example, suppose that you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident at a store.  The court evaluates the facts and determines that you did not notice the slipping hazard when you had the opportunity to do so, and so you are ten percent at-fault for your own injuries.  Under Alabama law, you would be prevented from recovery entirely. Strict contributory fault may seem like an overwhelming barrier, but there is a way to overcome it. Severing the Causal Link If you can show that your “fault” contribution is not causally-linked to the accident, […]

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