LGWM's Workers' Compensation Practice Group's attorneys represent a wide range of clients across the state, including large and small employers, workers' compensation insurance carriers, self-insured workers'compensation funds and third party administrators relating to claims for benefits under the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act. LGWM also has an active role in various workers' compensation organizations, with its attorneys serving as members of the Alabama State Bar Workers' Compensation Section, Alabama Workers' Compensation Organization and Alabama Self Insured Association.
Our experience spans all types of workers' compensation claims, including claims for scheduled and unscheduled bodily injuries, emotional injuries, catastrophic or fatal injuries, exposure claims, Medicare set-asides, repetitive traumas (such as carpal tunnel syndrome) and occupational diseases. LGWM also defends pneumoconiosis claims under the Federal Black Lung Act. LGWM further defends a wide range of claims ancillary to worker's compensation claims, including claims for outrage, bad faith and retaliatory discharge.
In addition to litigating workers' compensation cases, we also advise clients on developing, drafting and implementing personnel and workers' compensation policies and procedures ensuring effective employment relations and compliance with Alabama and Federal law. From counseling to pre-litigation settlements to trial, LGWM successfully handles all of its clients' workers' compensation needs.
- Obtained a defense verdict for a Madison County corporation in a workers’ compensation case. Successfully argued the Plaintiff’s accident was not caused by his employment, but was rather caused by an idiopathic factor, namely, a pre-existing torn meniscus.
- Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of global coal company in the Bessemer Division of Jefferson County in a workers’ compensation hearing loss case. Successfully argued the Plaintiff’s alleged hearing loss was not related to his employment.
- Successfully tried a workers’ compensation case in Montgomery County, Alabama that involved a claim of successive injuries by Plaintiff. Trial judge assigned a 0% impairment rating regarding Plaintiff’s first alleged injury and entered a defense verdict on Plaintiff’s second alleged injury.
- Prevailed in a compensability trial in Morgan County, Alabama. The case involved a dispute between two employers over a question of who was responsible for the injured worker’s benefits pursuant to the last injurious exposure rule. Following trial, the Judge entered an Order dismissing our client from the case.
- Obtained dismissal of a workers’ compensation case on behalf of a large automobile dealership that involved a complex dispute regarding compensability of the plaintiff’s claim.
- Obtained a summary judgment on behalf of a third-party administrator in an outrage case alleging a claim adjuster’s mishandling of a worker’s compensation claim.
- Obtained a defense verdict in Jefferson County on behalf of a construction company in a workers’ compensation case in which the defendant employee suspected the plaintiff was impaired from illegal drugs, but no post-accident drug test was obtained.
- Obtained a defense verdict for a Blount County restaurant in a workers’ compensation case involving issues of whether the plaintiff’s accident occurred in the course and scope of her employment. Plaintiff had completed her work duties, clocked out and waited on porch of restaurant with co-workers before she tripped on a cross-tie in the parking lot while walking to her car.
- Successfully argued at a compensability trial in Calhoun County that plaintiff’s carpal tunnel syndrome was not related to her employment with a chicken plant. Presented overwhelming evidence that plaintiff’s hand condition was related to other, non-employment factors.
- Successfully defended an automobile supplier in a case brought by over 50 plaintiffs claiming chemical exposure in the work place.
- Successfully defended a large manufacturer and co-employees against claims of willful conduct brought by a worker who suffered a lower extremity amputation in an industrial rail yard accident.
- Obtained a summary judgment on a co-employee claim and a workers’ compensation claim against a brick mason by showing Plaintiff was an independent contractor and was not an employee of client.
- Obtained a summary judgment in an Outrage/Breach of Contract action against Third Party Administrator alleging mishandling of a claim under the On-The-Job injury program of a governmental entity.
- Represented employers against employee claims for carpal tunnel syndrome, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, dupuytren’s concracture and trigger finger.
- Represented employers regarding the Medical Secondary Payer (MSP) statute and the Medicare, Medicaid and the SCHIP Extension Act (MMSEA), as well as handling numerous cases involving Medicare Set-Asides (MSAs).
- Represented employers to enforce subrogation liens by intervening in employee’s third-party case and obtained reimbursements in indemnity and medical benefits paid to plaintiff by the employers.
- Represented employers against claims under the Employers’ Liability Act, which provides an alternative cause of action for workplace accidents and diseases not covered by the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Represented employers as to worker’s compensation claims for occupational diseases and exposures.
FEDERAL BLACK LUNG
- Presented oral argument before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on a novel and complex legal issue dealing with statutory interpretation of the automatic entitlement provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which altered the burden on survivor’s claims under the Federal Black Lung Benefits Act.
- Successfully argued before the Alabama Supreme Court in a case involving the plaintiff’s attempt to re-litigate, in state court, its designation as the party responsible for payment of federal black lung benefits. Following oral argument, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s order dismissing our client from the case.
- Obtained a reversal by the Benefits Review Board of an Administrative Law Judge’s Decision and Order Awarding Benefits by successfully showing that the Judge failed to consider a relevant pulmonary function study in awarding benefits.
- Prevailed in a claim for Black Lung Benefits by successfully rebutting the presumption of pneumoconiosis established based on a totally disabling pulmonary impairment and 15 years of coal mine employment. Demonstrated that the Claimant’s impairment was not due to coal mine dust but was rather due to congestive heart failure coupled with obesity and weakness or paralysis of the right diaphragm.
- Prevailed in a claim for survivor’s benefits pursuant to the Black Lung Benefits Act by successfully rebutting the presumption the miner’s death was due to pneumoconiosis and instead demonstrating the miner’s death was due to lung cancer.
- Successfully refuted the identification of client as Responsible Operator by showing to Department of Labor that they incorrectly determined the claimant did not work more than one year in a subsequent coal mine employment.
- Represented coal companies against claims for black lung benefits before the Department of Labor, the Office of Administrative Law Judges, the Benefits Review Board and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.