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Alabama Workers' Compensation Attorneys Denied Medical Care

Alabama Workers' Compensation Attorneys Denied Medical Care

Alabama Workers' Compensation Attorneys Denied Medical Care: Two years ago I was in the middle of a workers compensation case where my client has contracted black lung disease after working in the mines of Alabama for a number of years. After much fighting with the defendant about whether my client's black lung was related to his years of mining, we were finally successful in getting the defendant to acquiesce and agree that our client's condition was indeed related to his job duties and therefore a compensable Alabama workers compensation claim.

At this point (the case had already been in court for well over a year) my client and I thought the hard part of the case was over and that he would be able to begin receiving the necessary medical treatment. How wrong we were.

Despite having informed the court that they agreed that our client's condition was related to his job duties and therefore compensable, and promising to pay for his reasonably necessary medical treatment, the defendant refused to send our client to the doctor for treatment. Their argument was that since black lung is not a curable condition, any treatment received would only be palliative in nature (relieving pain or alleviating a problem without dealing with the underlying cause) and therefore they had no responsibility to pay for such treatment.

I could not get my mind to make sense of this argument. Alabama Code §25-5-77(a) states that in a workers' compensation claim, "...the employer...shall pay [for] reasonably necessary medical and surgical treatment and attention, physical rehabilitation, medicine, medical and surgical supplies, crutches, artificial members and other apparatus...." As long as the medical treatment is (a) reasonably necessary and (b) intended to (i) improve the injured workers' condition; (ii) prevent further deterioration of the worker's condition or (iii) to relieve the injured worker from the effect of his condition by restoring them to a basic level of bodily functioning or appearance, then workers' compensation HAS to pay for the recommended medical treatment.

This case eventually went before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, and the Court agreed with us (and the trial court) and after much delay and needless arguing, our client finally was able to receive the medical treatment he needed.

I was reminded of this case after reading an article in which the workers compensation insurance carrier was denying recommended treatment to an injured worker because the insurance carrier thought the recommended medical care was too expensive.

You have to remember that insurance companies are corporate entities; they are not "people." People have feelings and a moral guide, companies are profit driven and owe no duty to anyone but their shareholders. Their shareholders make more money if the insurance carrier keeps more money, and the insurance companies keep more money by being less than forthcoming when it comes to the rights of injured workers in Alabama; but just because the workers comp insurance company insists that they do not have to pay for a recommended medical procedure or pay for a medical device does not make it so.

If you were hurt at work and you have been denied medical treatment, don't give up! Contact and speak with one of the attorney at Powell and Denny today.

Powell and Denny: We Work When You Can't

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Alabama Workers Compensation Attorneys Denied Medical Care

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