Compassionate Help for Injured Workers

If you've been injured on the job, you know how it feels to be second-guessed. You're wondering if you'll be treated fairly or not. My mission is to make sure you know your rights and responsibilities. Call 1-800-638-3665 or 334-702-0000.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What if you went 28 years without a raise?

By Tracy W. Cary 

Morris, Cary, Andrews, Talmadge & Driggers, LLC

      On July 1st of each year, the Alabama Commissioner of Labor determines the State’s average weekly wage to used in relation to injuries occurring on the job on or after July 1 of that year. Subject to maximum and minimum rates, temporary total disability (TTD) benefits are paid to workers in Alabama who are injured on the job at a rate of 66 2/3 of their average weekly wage. TTD benefits are paid during the “healing period” that follows an injury and continue until the worker reaches maximum medical improvement. Effective July 1, 2013, the maximum temporary total disability (TTD) benefit increased to $788 per week, meaning that if an employee earned $1,182 per week or $61,464 annually and was injured on the job, he or she would be paid a maximum TTD benefit of $788 per week.  Not too bad.

        It’s the other end of the spectrum that is so very troubling. In fact, when the minimum passes the maximum, you know you’ve got to make a change. The minimum TTD rate as of July 1, 2013 was $217.00 per week. Given the typical rate of annual increase, on July 1, 2014, the minimum temporary total disability benefit will reach or surpass $220.00 per week. What is the significance of that? 

      There are two caps on benefits applicable to Alabama workers’ compensation cases – a cap on the temporary benefits and a cap on the permanent benefits. While the rate of temporary benefits increases on July 1 of every year, the permanent partial disability benefit has been frozen in time since 1985. As was true in 1985 and is still true in 2013, the cap on permanent benefits in all permanent partial disability cases (that is, cases where the worker is less than 100% permanently and totally disabled) is a paltry $220 per week

      Think of it this way – the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. At 40 hours per week, a worker earning minimum wage is paid $290 per week. And that’s the minimum wage! Alabama’s cap on permanent partial disability benefits of $220 per week applies to all workers who receive job-related permanent injuries resulting in 1% through 99% loss of earning capacity. Such workers are paid the equivalent of $5.50 per hour for no other reason than being injured while doing their jobs.

     If you agree that $5.50 per hour for job related injuries is unfairly low, I invite you to contact your  Alabama State Senator and your State Representative and demand they change this unfair law. Don’t know who your state lawmaker is? Click on and enter your zip code. You will be given a link with the address and telephone number of your State Senator and State Representative. Tell them to change the $220 cap to a fair amount. 

    Workers get are hurt on the job should not be forced into bankruptcy just because they are injured while doing their jobs.

      This law has needed to be change for a long time but now more than ever.

 “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt 

 “I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Is How You Shame Prosecutors For Their Stupid Motion By JOE PATRICE

This Is How You Shame Prosecutors For Their Stupid Motion By JOE PATRICE from ABOVETHELAW.COM 31 Oct 2013 at 10:16 AM LAWYER OF THE DAY If you think Biglaw has a quality control problem, then you should check out the tactical decisions coming from some prosecutors’ offices. You’d think there would be someone in the chain of command who would see motions like these come across the desk and say, “Hey, maybe this will make us look incredibly stupid.” At least we hope this is a quality control problem. It’d be way worse if tactical decisions this asinine came down from on high. Anyway, the government in this case made a huge mistake. Sorry, I mean “the prosecutors,” because they don’t want to be called “the government” anymore, and filed a motion in limine to that effect. Thankfully, this clever attorney wrote an epic response trolling the prosecutors for their ludicrous motion…. This story comes to us from Williamson County, Tennessee. In the case of State v. Donald Powell, the prosecutors filed a motion in limine to ban the word “government” from the trial. Apparently, they felt that referring to the prosecution as “the government” would hurt their chances with the jury. How they managed to get a jury full of black helicopter-fearing, New World Order conspiracy theorists is a different question. But defense attorney Drew Justice wasn’t having any of it. After thoroughly dispensing with the government’s lame argument on the merits, he couldn’t help himself from some world class trolling. Should this Court disagree, and feel inclined to let the parties basically pick their own designations and ban words, then the defense has a few additional suggestions for amending the speech code. First, the Defendant no longer wants to be called “the Defendant.” This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. Donald Powell. The word “defendant” should be banned. At trial, Mr. Powell hereby demands he be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title “Mister.” Alternatively, he may be called simply “the Citizen Accused.” This latter title sounds more respectable than the criminal “Defendant.” The designation “That innocent man” would also be acceptable. We love posting hilarious responses to cease and desist letters — like here and here — but a snark-riddled court filing is really stepping it up a notch. Justice must be confident that the judge has a sense of humor. My only criticism of Justice is that he should have led with having his client retitled “the innocent man.” Moreover, defense counsel does not wish to be referred to as a “lawyer,” or a “defense attorney.” Those terms are substantially more prejudicial than probative. See Tenn. R. Evid. 403. Rather, counsel for the Citizen Accused should be referred to primarily as the “Defender of the Innocent.” This title seems particularly appropriate, because every Citizen Accused is presumed innocent. Alternatively, counsel would also accept the designation “Guardian of the Realm.” Further, the Citizen Accused humbly requests an appropriate military title for his own representative, to match that of the opposing counsel. Whenever addressed by name, the name “Captain Justice” will be appropriate. While less impressive than “General,” still, the more humble term seems suitable. After all, the Captain represents only a Citizen Accused, whereas the General represents an entire State. Let’s all raise a glass and toast Captain Justice, Guardian of the Realm. You have won this week’s award for best lawyer ever! The full brief is available on the next page…

Monday, September 23, 2013


By Victoria Schneider of The Cooper Firm posted in Social Media on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. The Internet gives us access to much information. With social networking we can see what people are doing and sometimes even where they are located at an exact moment. Although this ability to see into people's lives may be useful, it can also be very dangerous. Not only can someone see the good things that someone is involved in, but they can also see the negative things. There are websites now created solely for the purpose of posting peoples mug shots after they have been arrested. There are also websites where you can see the location of sex offenders in your area. Just as you may use this resource, others will use social media to find out information about you. Posting anything on the internet can be permanent and damaging, so be very cautious of what you decide to post online. If you choose pursue a claim, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Insurance companies may use information posted on the internet to harm your legitimate claim. Here are ten ways that may guarantee your claim is ruined from using social media: 1. Posting pictures of you dancing at a party after your injury. 2. Sharing how you had a blast running a 5k when your damages include an injured leg. 3. Being tagged in pictures that show you doing something illegal. 4. Writing on your friend's wall how about excited you are to go on a cruise now that you will have money from all your damages. 5. "Checking in" at La Fitness on Facebook when you are supposedly bedridden. 6. Posting before and after pictures of your accident on Facebook before you have talked to your lawyer. 7. Accepting a friend request from an Insurance Adjuster. 8. Posting a "selfie" on Instagram that shows your bruises and cast being off for a while. 9. Writing a detailed blog about your accident before seeking an attorney. 10. Tweeting about how you loved going skiing during your recovery period. Although some of the comments listed are humorous, there can be devastating consequences to your claim even if what you were to post or write seems harmless. A simple rule to follow is ALWAYS speak with an attorney before using social media if you are pursuing, or intend to pursue, a claim.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

America's top 10 most dangerous jobs: Logging claims deadly title

By Leada Gore | Think your job is tough? Just be glad it doesn't involve the word, "Timber!" New information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the deadliest jobs in America in 2012. There were 4,383 fatal work injuries in America last year, down from 4,693 in 2011. Here's a look at the most dangerous professions in America. The first figures shows the fatality rate based on the number of those who died per 100,000 full-time workers. The second number is actual deaths in 2012. 1. Logging workers - 127.8, 62 2. Fishers and related fishing workers - 117, 32 3. Aircraft pilot and flight engineers - 53.4, 71 4. Roofers - 40.5, 70 5. Structural iron and steel workers - 37, 22 6. Refuse and recyclable material collectors - 27.1, 26 7. Electrical power-line installers and repairers - 23, 26 8. Drivers/sales workers and truck drivers -22.1, 741 9. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers - 21.3, 216 10. Construction laborers - 17.4, 210 The report showed there were 81 fatal workplace injuries in Alabama last year: 28 due to transportation incidents; 20 for workplace violence or other injuries caused by people or animals; 20 for contact with objects and equipment; eight for falls; and 4 for exposure to harmful chemicals. How about federal workers? The most danger job for government employees, according to an analysis by Federal Times, is postal work. The analysis showed of 54 federal workers killed on the job in 2012, 18 were postal workers. The figures do not include military personnel.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Insurance Myth #9: “Insurance Companies Are People Too.”

There is a quaint notion that insurance companies make sound decisions based on personal interactions with policyholders. But, big insurance companies have become highly automated, able to rely on digital profiling to underwrite and set rates, proprietary databases to compile customer information, and black box logarithms to underpay claims. Neighborhood agents, trained appraisers, and experienced claims adjusters are seeing their influence wane. Indeed, without proper oversight, we could be entering a Brave New World where machines compile, crunch, and calculate complex datasets to dramatically limit human influence on key underwriting, rating, and claims handling decisions.
CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 90
We value our privacy, but it’s growing harder and harder to protect ourselves as our information is sucked up, stored, and sold. In the field of insurance, carriers may move beyond claims histories – and even the controversial use of credit information – to summarily deem you a risk on the basis of your Facebook feed or penalize you for asking smart questions about your coverage. Technology makes this a rapidly changing space, and our public policy must stay ahead of the curve to ensure we are secure from unwanted intrusions and unfounded judgments that have a devastating financial impact on our future.
An entire industry has sprung up around collecting, analyzing, and selling personal information. One of the largest data aggregators, a company by the name of Acxiom, possesses data on half a billion people from around the world, including a whopping 96% of all Americans, with an average of 1,500 pieces of data on each person. Through a process known as data mining, companies like Axciom quietly amass details on a wide range of personal consumer information – everything from your Social Security number to your medications, finances, and web surfing habits. You are then profiled and segmented into one of 70 “clusters” within 21 “life stage groups.” Where you are pigeonholed on this limited spectrum may dictate if products and services are offered to you, and at what price. Weblining is the new redlining.
Insurance companies are figuring out how to get in on the act. Some insurers are looking at how to pry into your personal consumer data to guess about your risk level. The magazines you read, how much television you watch, and what type of purchases you make could determine whether a policy is offered to you, and how much you would have to pay for coverage. Your posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking sites can be compiled into a social networking score by insurers, which could impact your premiums and coverage options. So, failing to keep up with Facebook’s ever-changing privacy settings could mean you pay more and get less. Early advice is to make a show of checking in on sites like Foursquare when you go the gym so that insurers see you are engaging in healthy behavior. The Big Brother tactics involved in data mining are a direct threat to our individual liberty.
If that isn’t bad enough, policyholders have to fear asking basic questions about their coverage lest their company overreact and count their inquiry as an actual claim. Insurers maintain comprehensive databases on claims – with records that reach back seven years. Our insurance marketplace is incredibly complex, and consumers should try to educate themselves about their coverage options. However, if you, as an informed consumer, call your company while shopping the market to ask if your policy would cover a particular peril, they may jump to the conclusion that you have suffered a loss and wrongly record it. As things stand today, anything you say to your insurance company can – and will – be used against you.
Finally, insurance companies now utilize proprietary software, like the program known as Colossus, to determine how much – or even whether – to pay on a claim. No longer are human beings making informed, big picture, common sense, final decisions about the damage that resulted from a car wreck. Experienced claims adjusters are overruled by computers. Data is plugged into a computer program that spits out a number on the other end. Even worse, the software can be manipulated or “tuned” by the insurance company to broadly underpay valid claims. Low balling victims is now as easy as pushing a button.
Gaping holes remain in our laws, and we must provide consumers with basic protections if our insurance market is to work for anyone but the carriers.
The Constitution protects us from spying by Big Government, but current federal laws are woefully inadequate to protect citizens from spying by Big Business. That means it is up to the states to guard their citizens’ personal information. The Texas Legislature must lead the charge to protect our liberty. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Snakebitten at Work!

The small southeastern town of Opp, Alabama is known for its annual Rattlesnake Rodeo.  Recently a worker in southwest Alabama was seriously injured after being bitten by a rattlesnake.  Obviously rattlesnakes are dangerous.  Does it benefit your employer if you try to remove a snake from your workplace?  It depends.

Some will recall the words of Scripture, "The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made."  (Genesis 3:1)  A recent decision in an appeal of an Alabama workers' compensation claim involved a man who made a claim for benefits after suffering a serious injury while trying to catch a snake.  

The case is styled Mercy Logging LLC v. Odom, Alabama Court of Civil Appeals Case No. 2101061 (decided July 27, 2012)

Here is a brief synopsis of the case.  Johnnie Odom was a logger for more than 20 years. On September 24, 2009, he was working for Mercy Logging LLC and at the end of the day’s work, he and two co-workers were riding with their foreman back to where each of them had parked their vehicles at a gas station.  As they drove, the foreman noticed a diamondback rattlesnake in the road and he swerved the truck to try to run over the snake. One of the workers suggested they try to catch the snake rather than kill it. The foreman stopped the truck and one of the workers tried to catch the snake.  That worker apparently didn’t know how to catch a snake but Odom had caught as many as 100 snakes before so he took over. In the process, the large snake, measuring six fee three inches bit Odom on both hands.  Suffering serious injuries, Odom was in intensive care for 35 days and he now suffers disabling pain in his neck and back.  Odom sought workers’ compensation benefits and the court found him permanently and totally disabled.  The employer appealed.  On appeal, the Court of Civil Appeals reversed.  The Court’s rationale was that an injury is compensable when caused by an accident arising out of and in the course of employment.  Courts have held that an injury arises in the course of employment when it occurs within the period of the employment, at a place where the employee may reasonably be, and while he is reasonably fulfilling the duties of his employment or engaged in doing something incident to it.  Here, the employer provided transportation to its employees so Odom’s accident occurred within the period of his employment. The Court wrote that the more difficult question is whether Odom was “reasonably fulfilling the duties of his employment or engaged in doing something incident to it”  when he was bit trying to catch the snake.  The fact that Odom’s foreman stopped the truck so the workers could catch the snake created an inference that the employer impliedly consented to the snake-catching.  However, the Court wrote that the implied-consent rationale is limited by the requirement that he employer must receives some direct or indirect economic benefit from the activity before it becomes part of the employment.  Odom suggested he was making the job site safer by catching and removing the snake.  However, the Court noted that even assuming the job site was benefited getting rid of one dangerous snake, the potential benefit was outweighed by the potential detriment to the employer that resulted from losing the services of a valued employee who might have been seriously injured while trying to catch the snake.  The Court also considered whether the injury arose out of his employment and noted the injury did not occur while Odom was in the woods or engaged in logging. “The snake on the roadway posed no risk—occupational or otherwise—to Odom so long as he remained in the vehicle in which he was riding. . . .”