Category: Workers’ Compensation/Work Injury

A Recent Workplace Accident Could Qualify for a Third Party Lawsuit

Jul 24, 2015 - Tuscaloosa by

A primary underlying principle behind the Alabama workers’ compensation system is the elimination of liability issues. With a few exceptions, workers can obtain benefits regardless of whether the worker or employer negligence causes an accidental injury. Of course, this means workers cannot sue employers for negligence, but they can sue negligent third parties. To protect the rights of workers and their families, an experienced Tuscaloosa workplace injury lawyer looks beyond workers’ compensation claims to determine if an outside party needs to be held accountable. A deadly January 2015 construction site accident shows how this might work. Guilt and Negligence Are Not the Same Things According to WVTM-TV, a truck driver hit and struck a young construction worker from behind while he directed traffic in a Birmingham construction zone. The driver admitted that the accident happened because she ran off the road while reaching for her coffee. Perhaps surprisingly, the police decided not to file charges against the driver. In spite of the police decision, the following are reasons why the construction worker’s family may have a good case if they decide to file a wrongful death suit against the driver — and probably her trucking company, as well: • As long as the trucker is not directly connected with the construction company, workers’ compensation liability limitations do not apply. • Police reports would substantiate that distracted driving caused the driver to run off the road. • Distracted driving amounts to negligence, which is a primary requirement for prevailing in a […]

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Workers’ Comp Retaliation Can Become a Federal Case

Jul 10, 2015 - Tuscaloosa by

After a recovery from serious injury on the job, most employees want to put the experience behind them when they return to work. This can seem impossible if an employer starts retaliating in often-subtle ways — just because a worker claimed much-needed benefits that are granted by law. Perhaps more disturbing, some employers use veiled threats to convince workers not to file a workers’ compensation claim, leaving them to find other ways to pay for medical care after a workplace accident. Our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers want to clarify that retaliation is illegal at both the state and federal level. It is important for workers to recognize the signs so they can seek the legal help they need to ensure their claims receive fair treatment. Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim is a Right of Employment With very few exceptions, individuals injured as a result of their employment have the right to file workers’ compensation claims. While most employers handle these claims fairly, some see a claim as a black mark on their record that increases the premiums they pay. Perhaps this kind of thinking was a factor when a supervisor from the New York- and Connecticut-based Metro North railroad took advantage of the time spent driving an injured employee to the hospital to make threats of damaging write-ups on the employee’s record. The injured employee was recording that conversation, according to the New Haven Register. That recording provided evidence of a direct violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. In […]

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Repetitive Stress is a Common Source of Workplace Injuries

Apr 24, 2015 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Variety may be the spice of life, but just about every job involves some degree of repetition. Whether individuals perform one part of a manufacturing process or write key reports, proposals or correspondence on a computer for eight hours every day, their activities can put stress on the same part of their bodies. The resulting injuries can be serious — and they typically qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) do not typically occur as the result of accidents; however, they are conditions that often directly relate to on-the-job activities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports them as musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), which accounted for an alarming 33 percent of all injury and illness cases in 2013. All too often, injured workers need help from our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorneys due to the challenges of substantiating their claims. Common Types of RSIs Anyone who has hammered one too many nails has probably experienced soreness to the wrists and hands. This type of pain generally goes away within a few days; however, injuries like these can become permanent and debilitating for individuals who hammer nails every day. The following parts of the body commonly sustain RSIs that qualify for workers’ compensation claims: Hands and wrists: A number of years ago, Harvard Gazette dispelled the common believe that excessive use of computers can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is no longer classified as repetitive stress. Nonetheless, this disorder is common to assembly line workers, and computer use can cause RSIs, particularly […]

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OSHA Provides Common-Sense Practices for Construction Accident Prevention

Feb 13, 2015 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that the construction industry’s fatal injury rate is higher than the national average within other industries. It may be impossible to completely prevent accidental injury construction site accidents. However, our workers’ compensation attorneys believe that construction worker training should focus on safe practices as much as it focuses on job skills. The Basics of Construction Zone Safety Even seasoned construction workers should regularly review the basic rules of safe practices while working in their dangerous profession. OSHA provides an online Worker Safety Series for a range of industries. Their tips for construction workers are worthy of regular review, including tips such as (but not limited to) the following: Scaffolding: Most tips apply to the safety of the actual scaffold construction, providing specifications on weight tolerance and railing requirements, as well as the need for regular inspections. Workers need certain fall-protection training and operations such as erecting, moving, dismantling or altering scaffolds should be performed only under the supervision of a “competent person.” Fall protection: Considering that falls account for the greatest number of construction-related fatalities each year, OSHA recommends the use of aerial lifts or elevated platforms that are safer to use when working at great heights. They also suggest using specific types of guardrails and making sure holes are covered. In the event of a fall, effective backup plans include the use of safety nets or some form of body harnesses. Ladders: Always choose a ladder long enough for the job […]

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Recognizing and Preventing Common Office Workplace Injuries

Jan 23, 2015 - Personal Injury by

Most office workers do not see their jobs as dangerous. Most certainly do not face the severe hazards that construction workers or miners face on a daily basis. Still, the fact remains that countless employment-related injuries and illnesses occur regularly in offices. Even though Alabama workers’ compensation can provide financial relief for these workplace injuries, accident prevention is a better choice, whenever possible. Recognizing Common Types of Office Injuries Danger does not discriminate. An impressive executive office in Tuscaloosa may have as many hazards as a row of cubicles in Birmingham, so all workers need to be able to spot risky situations anywhere. While a workplace injury may qualify for compensation, an experienced lawyer would say that the best workplace accident is one that never happens. Some good advice comes from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which identifies a number of common hazards, including the following: Falls: Surprisingly, office workers sustain injuries from falls more than twice as frequently as workers who do not work in offices. Sometimes, they are victims of the environment, such as when they trip on loose carpeting, slip on wet floors or do not see steps due to poor lighting. However, they can easily cause their own injuries when they choose a chair over a step-stool, pile items on the floor or even leave the bottom desk drawer open. To help prevent these accidents, workers need to watch their own practices and notify their employers when they spot other hazards in the workplace. Lifting injuries: […]

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Alabama Forest Products v. Harris – Attendant Care in Alabama Workers’ Compensation

Jul 15, 2014 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

For years, courts in Alabama held that workers who suffer a job-related injury may not collect compensation for attendant care by family members if it does not serve to improve the disabled employee’s condition. When it serves only to prescribe the facility of independent functioning, the courts held it’s generally not covered, unless it serves to prevent the deterioration of one’s condition. That changed in 2008 with the decision in Ex parte Mitchell, when the Alabama Supreme Court held this was too restrictive and not in line with legislative intent. Therefore, care that serves to prevent deterioration and preserve function is also covered. Our Birmingham work injury lawyers understand this was what was at issue before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in the case of Alabama Forest Products Industry Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurer’s Fund v. Harris, an appeal that arose from the Marengo Circuit Court.

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Intentional Work Injuries Not Compensable in Alabama

Apr 8, 2014 - Amputation by

Workers can successfully file a Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation claim in most every case where an injury has occurred on the job (or in the course of employment). One of the few instances in which employers can rightfully deny a claim for benefits is when the injury was intentionally self-inflicted. In this situations, it all comes down to the intent of the worker, and the onus is on the employer to prove intent. This was the issue before the Mississippi Supreme Court in the case of Smith v. Tippah Electric Power Association. Despite this being an out-of-state case, the same general principles are applicable.

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Tuscaloosa Work Injury Claim: Previous Injuries Can Factor

Mar 23, 2014 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

Workers who sustain on-the-job injuries must be careful to provide ample documentation and proof regarding the cause, particularly when older injuries come into play. Our Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation attorneys recognize that when insurers and/or employers can’t refute the seriousness of the injury, they may attempt to argue the source. When old work injuries are exacerbated by new work injuries, they are compensable. Even when a non-related injury is exacerbated by a work injury, it may be compensable, but the amount you can collect could be diminished.

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Workers’ Compensation Claims in Alabama Complicated by Drug Use

Mar 11, 2014 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

A pair of decisions out of the Arkansas Supreme Court recently illustrates how companies will go to great lengths to fight workers’ compensation claims. This is as true in Alabama as it is in Arkansas, and despite the differing jurisdictions, our Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyers know that the issues presented in these cases are highly relevant here as well. The cases involve two separate employees and two separate appeals, but both were involved in the same accident at the same company. The first case is Prock v. Bull Shoals Boat Landing and the second is Edmisten v. Bull Shoals Landing.

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David Vinson, Jr. v. G & R Mineral Services, Inc. – Establishing Employer-Employee Relationship in Workers’ Compensation Claim

Feb 15, 2014 - Workers' Compensation/Work Injury by

The Supreme Court of Alabama recently affirmed a county circuit court’s decision in the workers’ compensation case of David Vinson, Jr. v. G & R Mineral Services, Inc.. Our Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyers recognize that the primary issue in this case was whether the defendant was in fact the worker’s employer, or whether it was a “special employer” (as opposed to a “general employer”), which would make the firm immune from liability. Per the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, a company is deemed a special employer when it is the co-employer of the injured worker. It’s sometimes referred to as the “loaned servant doctrine,” wherein one employer assigns its employee to perform services for another employer. In these situations, the employer who assigns the worker is the “general employer,” while the employer to whom the employee was assigned in a “special employer.”

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