THE FIRM’S MARCH 2015 NEWSLETTER

NEWS

  • David appeared on Fox 6’s “LAW CALL” program on March 1. David answered questions concerning on the job accidents and workers’ compensation claims. Thank you to our friends at the Farris, Riley & Pitt law firm for having David on the show. If there was a recurring theme to the questions David fielded, it was injured workers need to contact a lawyer who specializes in representing injured workers. Too often, injured workers wrongfully assume the insurance company, adjuster, employer or case nurse are going to tell them what their rights are under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • Seat belts save lifes and reduce injury. See Report: 255 people killed on Alabama roads not wearing seat belts
  • We have represented a lot of nurses over the years who injure themselves caring for their patients. Here is an excellent story https://www.wvtm13.com/article/report-255-people-killed-on-alabama-roads-not-wearing-seat-belts/3829479on NPR about how nurses are injured on the job and then largely ignored. https://www.npr.org/2015/02/18/385786650/injured-nurses-case-is-a-symptom-of-industry-problems
  • And another story about injuries to nurses’ spines even when they use “proper” technique https://www.npr.org/2015/02/11/383564180/even-proper-technique-exposes-nurses-spines-to-dangerous-forces
  • Earlier this month, David was a guest speaker for the Alabama chapter of International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals (IARP), consisting of nurse case managers and vocational rehabilitation consultants. Both figure prominently in workers’ compensation claims. David gave his perspective on ethics impacting nurse case managers and vocational rehabilitation professionals.
  • Two great articles about work comp came out this month. The work comp laws in our state need to be improved. Read these two articles and you will know why.
    How much is the loss of your arm worth in Alabama? A lot less than all other states.
    https://www.propublica.org/article/how-much-is-your-arm-worth-depends-where-you-work
    The Demolition of Workers’ Comp – Over the past decade, states have slashed workers’ compensation benefits, denying injured workers help when they need it most and shifting the costs of workplace accidents to taxpayers.
    https://www.propublica.org/article/the-demolition-of-workers-compensation
  • Morris Lilienthal, a partner at the Martinson & Beason law firm in Huntsville, is a fine lawyer and good friend of ours. Morris started a team last year (Team Will) to help support the March of Dimes and their mission to promote healthy pregnancies, improve prenatal care, and prevent health issues threatening babies. Our Firm made a donation to Team Will. If you would like to join us, you can make a donation to Team Will online at: Team Will : March of Dimes – March for Babies

RECENT CASES OF INTEREST

  • Bernard recently filed suit in Russell County for a client who was injured while working for a poultry processing plant. She was injured when she was reaching for a pallet when she hit her head on a steel bar. Client has suffered from debilitating headaches and seizures since this accident. She was also terminated from her employment. Client has not worked in almost two years and has filed for social security disability benefits.
  • Bernard recently filed suit in Butler County for a client who injured C3 – C6 of her cervical spine in a job-related accident. Our client has worked more than 35 years for a company that manufactures seat belt systems. She was seriously injured when she hit the crown of her head on the underside of metal steps in her work space. Two different treating physicians have recommended that she undergo serious spine surgery to correct her injury and to hopefully alleviate her pain. However, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier has denied the approval of the surgery due to “peer to peer” review. The frustrating thing about this is that the “peer” physician who reviewed the request for surgery is not from the state of Alabama, has never laid hands or eyes on our client, and is not qualified to do this type of surgery. Unfortunately, our client was forced to file this lawsuit so that the court can order this much needed surgery to be approved.
  • Bernard filed suit in the Bessemer division of Jefferson County in a claim for workers’ compensation death benefits. Our client’s husband was killed in the workplace while working for a hotel. Our Client had terminated an employee’s employment the same day that he was killed in the workplace, presumably by the same employee whose employment our Client terminated. The employer has denied this claim so our client was forced to file suit.
  • David settled a workers’ compensation claim for a medical technician who injured his neck moving a patient. Fortunately, our Client received excellent medical care and did not require surgery. He has returned to his job. In addition to a lump sum settlement, the insurance company is responsible for our Client’s future medical treatment.
  • David settled three cases recently. In each case, our client’s settlement was for more than their impairment rating. Two of our clients recovered from their injuries and have resumed work for their employers, while the third client made a nice recovery and is now working for a different employer but making more money.
  • David finished up a case this where he represented a high school freshman who was injured in an automobile accident. Because the settlement was for a minor, the settlement required the appointment of a Guardian ad litem (an attorney assigned to represent the minor’s best interests). The settlement also required court approval which was granted by the Jefferson County court this month.

CASES THE FIRM IS INVESTIGATING

BP CLAIMS DEADLINE – The deadline to file is JUNE 8, 2015. If you know of any business owners located in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and the panhandle of Florida who have not had their business evaluated for a BP business economic loss claim, now is the time. Business economic loss claims have been paid to thousands of businesses regardless of their distance from the gulf, or their lack of direct business with the gulf coast. Causation (i.e., that BP impacted the economic loss of a business) is not required for the settlement. BP decided instead to use a simple revenue/economic loss test as the mechanism for qualification.

WHISTLEBLOWER / QUI TAM – Whistleblower claims of government fraud ranging from Medicare/Medicaid to military contracts, and any other type of fraud involving a government contract. Under the False Claims Act (FCA) the whistleblower is entitled to a percentage of the recovery. The law provides citizen-plaintiffs, called “relators,” with powerful incentives – sometimes up to 30 percent of the amount recovered – to report instances of fraud against the federal government. The relator must have first-hand knowledge of the fraudulent activity.
Common schemes involve double-billing for the same service, inaccurately coding services, and billing for services not performed. Studies show that as much as 10 percent of Medicare/Medicaid charges are fraudulent. Additionally, the Commission on Wartime Contracting has warned that the lack of oversight of government contractors has led to massive fraud and waste.

XARELTO – Lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Bayer Corp. over the blood thinner Xarelto have been consolidated in Louisiana federal court. Xarelto has been linked to serious side effects including internal bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, brain bleed and death.
The Xarelto lawsuits come on the heels of the recent $650 million Pradaxa settlement. Researchers linked Pradaxa, also a blood thinning medication, to more than 500 deaths. Xarelto blood thinner litigation has been consolidated before U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in the Eastern District of Louisiana, who presided over suits against Merck & Co. related to its medication Vioxx. The Vioxx litigation resulted in a $4.85 billion settlement in 2007.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY – If you think you or a loved one qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, please consider contacting us. We can guide you through the arduous process. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/brad-reid/a-social-security-disabil_b_6465746.html

NEW ARTICLES FROM NOMBLOG

WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING ABOUT US

I was pleasantly pleased with the settlement David was able to negotiate for me. I appreciated the fact that David always asked my option and never gave me false hope. I have and will continue to send customers his way.

Misty Curry, Russellville, Alabama

I was pleased to have Bernard represent me recently. He was very knowledgeable and helpful. I would definitely recommend him!

DK, Pell City, Alabama

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