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Category: Workers’ Compensation/Work Injury

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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Does Workers’ Compensation Prevent Workers From Pursuing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

May 29, 2020 - Personal Injury by

Work With an Experienced Tuscaloosa Injury Attorney In Alabama — and throughout the country — a large percentage of employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured while on the job.  Workers’ compensation benefits pay out irrespective of the employer’s fault.  As such, they are an excellent tool for securing compensation to cover losses — but they are somewhat incomplete. For example, workers’ compensation benefits do not pay out for pain and suffering damages.  In some cases, this can mean that you are sacrificing hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential compensation. Where possible, it’s worth contact an Tuscaloosa injury attorney to explore the option of bringing a lawsuit against those who were responsible, as this will give the injured plaintiff access to a more comprehensive set of damages. Let’s dive in. Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury in Alabama In Alabama, as in other states, workers who are eligible to receive workers’ compensation are prohibited from bringing a lawsuit against their employer in a civil suit (based around the same injuries).  If you slip-and-fall on a wet floor while at work, for example, then you would not be entitled to sue your employer for damages (assuming that workers’ compensation benefits covered the injury). This prohibition can put quite a damper on injured plaintiffs who feel wronged and are interested in seeking more complete justice in the civil courts — but all is not lost!  There may be litigation options. Who Can You Sue? Injured workers are encouraged […]

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Litigating a Construction Worker Injury Claim

Mar 29, 2019 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Tuscaloosa Work Injury Lawyer If you’ve been hurt while on-the-job at a construction worksite, then under Alabama law, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, have an actionable lawsuit against the employer/third-party, or both. Here at Cross & Smith, we have extensive experience advocating on behalf of injured construction workers.  Get in touch with our firm today for comprehensive guidance on how to proceed. Workers’ Compensation Could Be Insufficient Workers’ compensation is a benefits scheme that covers medical expenses and that provides for a wage replacement (i.e., pays out for lost wages due to time off from work after receiving an injury).  In Alabama, and elsewhere, workers’ compensation coverage provides an exclusive remedy for on-the-job injuries — in other words, an injured construction worker who is covered by workers’ compensation may not bring a lawsuit against their employer for damages for injuries suffered on-the-job.  In exchange for this default prohibition against suing one’s employer, however, the worker is empowered with the ability to seek compensation for any injury they suffer while on-the-job, even if the employer is not actually at fault. So, what’s the problem? Though workers’ compensation benefits are valuable, they can be a barrier to making a full and adequate recovery in situations where the injured construction worker has experienced significant losses.  Workers’ compensation benefits are not only subject to a maximum under Alabama law (which is less than the worker’s […]

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Obtaining Certain Treatment for Workplace Injuries May Require Pre-Approval

Oct 31, 2016 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

As a general rule, any employee who sustains a workplace injury in Alabama expects to seek immediate treatment under workers’ compensation. However, the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations Administrative Code requires pre-certification in certain relatively-common situations. These requirements can leave injured workers facing significant out-of-pocket expenses. Still, the rules can be open to a certain degree of interpretation. It helps to become familiar with the pre-certification process that can occur between medical providers and individuals representing the details of claims. Most importantly, injured employees should seek advice from an experienced Tuscaloosa workplace injury lawyer before assuming that they are responsible for personally paying the expenses. How Pre-Certification Works Meeting pre-certification requirements is the responsibility of medical providers — not injured employees. Once providers determine that emergency conditions do not apply, the Code requires that they apply for certification before rendering certain medical services, such as (but certainly not limited to) the following: Inpatient admission of any type Elective procedures, including ambulatory or outpatient surgery Outpatient physical, occupational and speech therapy Chiropractic services Medical management services requested by the employer The list extends to ambulance services and any number of pain management procedures, durable medical equipment other than items such as braces and splints and items that require reimbursements of $500 or more. Even procedures that injury victims assume to be necessary — such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) scans that are commonly used diagnostic procedures — can be subject to denial in many cases. Denial […]

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Workplace Injuries from Equipment Often Justify Third-Party Claims

Sep 9, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

Any injured Alabama employee can certainly appreciate a workers’ compensation system that pays expenses related to on-the-job injury, usually without regard for liability on the part of the employee or the employer. Still, when a third party causes the injury, liability issues can be back on the table. Our Tuscaloosa workers compensation lawyers regularly assist workers who are seriously injured by defective or otherwise-unsafe equipment. In these cases, workers’ compensation still provides the benefits needed for immediate treatment, but injury victims have every right to pursue additional compensation from any third party responsible for the condition of the equipment. Employees Often Blame Themselves for Equipment Injuries All too often, workers assume that their own negligence somehow caused equipment to injure them, such as in the following circumstances: The equipment was so new that they did not fully understand how to operate it safely. Knowing that the equipment was very old, they should have taken extra precautions when using it. They failed to notice a warning label that announced a safety risk. Safety devices had been removed to make machine operation easier. Of course, every situation has unique aspects, but as a general rule, individuals should not suffer injuries when they use equipment at work. Whether a manufacturer built an unsafe device that injured a worker, or even if a repair shop caused injuries due to errors made during routine maintenance, there is a good chance that a third party was ultimately liable. Alabama Law Contains Strong Protections Related to the […]

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Favoring Productivity and Cost Over Safety Leads to Workplace Injuries

Jul 25, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

In January 2016, a news release from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced its proposal to penalize an Alabama manufacturing company nearly $200,000 for repeated safety violations. This situation illustrated how the government holds companies accountable for safe premises even if they do not face liability issues for worker injuries under the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ Compensation Should Never Protect Employers from Safety Violations Perhaps the most important feature that helps Alabama workers’ compensation to protect employees is the stipulation that injury victims have a clear path to compensation by giving up their right to sue their employers. In other words, regardless of whether worker or employer carelessness contributes to an accident, the system steps in to help ensure that workers obtain appropriate medical attention, without incurring out-of-pocket expenses — and without fear of litigation. Sometimes, injured workers can feel a sense of frustration when they cannot seek greater compensation in cases where their employers’ clear and repeated consistent negligence makes their jobs unsafe. The good news is that a lack of liability in a workers’ compensation claim does not mean that employers cannot be held accountable. OSHA can be relentless in monitoring for responses to violations that they uncover during inspections. Just as important, if they are not aware of violations, OSHA makes it easy for workers to file a safety and health complaint. Productivity Losses and Expenses are No Excuse for Unsafe Working Conditions Any company is responsible for keeping up with the costs of doing […]

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Workplace Injuries are Common Among Hospital Workers

Jul 18, 2016 - Tuscaloosa by

According to the most recent fact sheet published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), hospitals are among the most dangerous places to work. In fact, the rate of injuries and illnesses that cause hospital workers to lose time from work exceeds even those experienced within the construction industry. Naturally, hospital workers in Tuscaloosa and throughout the state rely on workers’ compensation coverage to help pay the short- and long-term expenses related to their workplace injuries and illnesses. However, challenges to their claims are not uncommon — and their medical complaints often pertain to third-party liability. It is important to know when to seek support from experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers. Hospital Workers Face a Broad Range of Daily Risk Factors Virtually any type of hospital worker is at greater risk because of factors such as the following: Overexertion: Nearly half of all injuries involve musculoskeletal disorders. Lifting and moving patients and heavy equipment is a major contributor to these injuries. Slips, trips and falls: Hospital environments are volatile. Puddles can appear unexpectedly, and it is difficult to predict what equipment (potentially with dangling cords) will be in a hallway at any given moment. Contact with objects: This can involve anything from heavy equipment to sharp objects, with the resulting injuries often becoming severe. Violence: Patients in a state of confusion and pain can strike out at the people who are trying to help them. Emergency room nurses are particularly susceptible to violent attacks by anyone who walks in […]

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"I have been friends with Dell Cross since we were roommates at UA Law and have had the pleasure of conferring with Cross & Smith, LLC in a professional capacity for many years. As a law office which specializes in domestic relations and family law matters, it is imperative that my office maintain a consistent client referral relationship with a law firm which can effectively address personal injury matters brought to us by our clients."