Alabama Workers' Compensation Attorney Tracy W. Cary has been representing injured workers since 1994. Here he shares his thoughts on current issues in workers' compensation cases as well as other issues of interest. Cary is past president of the Alabama State Bar Workers' Compensation Section and the Alabama Association for Justice Workers' Compensation Section. He is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and the District of Columbia.
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 and that you obtain all the benefits the law allows. Call me at 1-888-694-0174 or 334-702-0000.
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 http://www.legislature.state.al.us/misc/zipsearch.html 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
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…