From the Files of Powell and Denny
This week’s “From the Files of Powell and Denny” involves a workers’ compensation case we handled in Jefferson County, AL-but the real work in the case took place after our client was awarded permanent total disability benefits.
Our client was an employee of Davis Plumbing who injured his back while laying 10’ Scheduled 40 PVP pipe (300lbs or so). Our client gave immediate notice of his injury to his employer and was taken to Shelby Baptist Medical Center for treatment. It was discovered that our client had suffered an especially bad L5-S1 annular tear with disc protrusion, and our client saw Dr. Michael Cloyd, Occupational Health off of Lakeshore; Pain Mgmt. Services; Dr. Laura Kezar; Dr. Jeffrey Wade; Dr. Faulkner; Dr. Krause and the staff at the Doley’s Clinic. Unfortunately, the surgeons determined that surgery would most likely only make our client’s condition worse, and he was left with severe permanent restrictions at age 46.
Given his age, the defendant argued that our client was not permanently disabled, so we filed suit and were able to successfully get our client permanent total disability benefits under Alabama’s workers’ compensation laws. Judge Robert Vance signed the order awarding our client his benefits and typically that is the end of the case—but not in this instance.
Given his injuries and the pain associated with said injuries, the doctors at The Doley’s Clinic were prescribing our client anti-inflammatory and pain medication, and our client was using his pharmacy to get his medication, believing the workers’ comp was continuing to pay for his prescriptions per Alabama law-when one day he was told by the pharmacist that workers compensation has been refusing to pay for his prescriptions and that $2,000 was owed. Our client contacted us, and we immediately contacted the defense attorney to inquire why our client’s medical bills were not being paid. We were told that the workers compensation insurance adjuster was demanding that our client use a specific pharmacy they wished to be used because they had entered into a contract in which their pharmaceutical provider would charge less for the medication. There was no case law on this issue, but our view was that the law did not grant the employer the ability to micro-manage an injured workers’ medical treatment to the extent that workers comp could decide what pharmacy could be used, so we filed a Motion for Declaratory Judgment with the Judge Vance in Birmingham, and he agreed and signed an order compelling the defendant to pay for our client’s outstanding pharmacy bills and continue paying for his reasonably necessary medical treatment. At this point the defendant filed an appeal to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
We had oral argument in Montgomery before the full Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, and had oral argument on the issue, and we are happy to say that the Court of Civil Appeals ruled in our favor and the Alabama Supreme Court refused to take up the issue, so now there is case law which specifically holds an injured worker may use the pharmacy that is most convenient for them.
While we were not paid for our efforts in this appeal, we believed it was our responsibility to continue helping our client because that is what we were hired to do-to help them navigate the oft times complicated and confusing realm of workers compensation law here in Alabama.
If you have suffered a work injury and have questions about your right to workers’ compensation benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Powell and Denny and speak with one of the experienced workers compensation lawyers and schedule a free consultation and let us see if we can help. Appointments are available in person, or virtually through Zoom for your convenience from wherever you live.
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Offices in Birmingham, AL and Huntsville, AL
Alabama Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Birmingham Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Hoover Workers Compensation Lawyers
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Powell and Denny have been selected as one of the Best Law Firms by U.S. News and World Report for each of the last 9 years, have been selected as one of Birmingham’s Top Lawyers by B-Metro Magazine for the last 5 years, have been selected by The National Advocates as one of the Top 20 Workers’ Compensation Firms (plaintiffs) and Powell and Denny, P.C.-has been selected as one of the “Best of the Best” law firms by The American Registry and included in the list as one of the Mid-South’s Super Lawyers.
Mr. Denny is AV rated by Martindale Hubbard (the highest rating possible) and Mr. Powell has been rated as Superior by The National Registry
+ Powell and Denny have successfully represented injured workers from Birmingham, Huntsville, Florence, Muscle Shoals, Tuscumbia, Athens, Decatur, Town Creek Ardmore, Hartselle, Madison, Toney, Scottsboro, Ft. Payne, New Hope, Guntersville, Albertville, Boaz, Ashville, Anniston, Gadsden, Cullman, Jasper, Gardendale, Morris, Kimberly, Centerpoint, Leeds, Tarrant City, Fairfield, Hueytown, Bessemer, Adger, Tuscaloosa, Cordova, Alabaster, Pelham, Harpersville, Opelika, Phenix City, Montgomery, Clanton, Calera, Enterprise, Monroeville, Mobile, Evergreen, Alabaster, Pelham, Trussville and towns and cities in between.
From the Files of Powell and Denny