>> Tiffany Bittner: Hey there. In our caller segment we talk about worker compensation. How long do you have to file a claim? How do you know if you qualify for disability? Call us tonight at 855-law-1955. Plus four will v. Two two. While motorcycle riders often get the short end of the stick. Ken Riley is here to look at e-mail questions. Tonight’s question comes from Karla. My son was plowed by a driver without insurance. He was injured. Do we have uninsured motorist insurance or do we have to ask for it? What are your thoughts?
>> Ken Riley: With any policy under Alabama Law, uninsured motor or under insured motorists comes with the policy. You can waive the coverage. When you do that, those are the folks that get in a wreck. If I’m talking to folks out there making insurance decisions or talking to agents, please don’t do that or don’t recommend I do that to save a few dollars. It’s the cheapest insurance out there. You have it unless you waive it.
>> Tiffany Bittner: For more information head to Ken’s website, delivering justice.com or go online and click on the link. Kirby Farris talks about why drivers often end up on the wrong side of an accident report. ¶ ¶
>> Kirby Farris: It seem it’s like accidents involving a motorcycle are painted as the biker’s fault. Is the system biased against bikers? Motorcycle accidents tend to have serious accidents. The public labels motorcyclists as dangerous drivers. An attorney may suggest you caused the accident by riding the motorcycle. The best thing to do is be a good motorist. Do you respect other vehicles? Do you wear a helmet while driving? Give evidence that you are law-abiding and responsible, and it will be heard to dispute your claim if you are involved in an accident. I’m Kirby Farris of Farris, Riley and Pitt in Birmingham.
>> Tiffany Bittner: we are glad you tuned into LawCall tonight. Our topic tonight is workers’ compensation. Give us a call tonight. We have Ken Riley with Farris, Riley and Pitt. You have a special guest to help answer questions.
>> Ken Riley: Right. If we talk about worker’s comp, we need to have an expert talk to us.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Our friend Lindsey is here. Thank you, Lindsey for coming on.
>> Lindsey Simmons: I’m from Hueytown, not far away. I have been practicing 11 years now. I have done worker’s comp all 11 years. I do wrongful termination and personal injury too.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Where do you practice?
>> Lindsey Simmons: Statewide. We have handled cases from the North to the South.
>> Tiffany Bittner: We have someone from your hometown. Wendy is calling in. How are you? Wendy, are you on the line there?
>> Caller (Wendy): Yes.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Okay. What’s your question?
>> Caller (Wendy): Yes, if you have been on workman’s comp and the doctors put you at maximum medical improvement and say there is nothing else they can do for you, but you are having problems, can you get like a settlement and go ahead and settle out and get released from the maximum medical improvement and see a private doctor?
>> Ken Riley: Excellent question.
>> Lindsey Simmons: Very good question. That’s what we see all the time. You can take a settlement at that point. That’s the point where once the doctor places you in medical improvement, that’s where you determine your claim. You can close it out and see your own personal physician. There are concerns because if you attempt to get treatment with blue cross or whoever your carrier may be, they may say we are not paying for this treat. Most policies will exclude that treatment. When you close out the case, there are ways you can prevent that. There is no way to guarantee it, but certainly, you can settle out your case at that point, but you need to do it in your best interest.
>> Ken Riley: talk about social security disability. How does their flexibility to go to another doctor, how does that change that?
>> Lindsey Simmons: If you have been granted social security disability, you will become Medicare eligible at some point. You have to be careful about — you know, what the doctors say. You have to be careful you are not going to get treatment that will ultimately be paid for because it’s secluded for workman comp.
>> Ken Riley: Medicare will do the same thing. We are not paying for this.
>> Talk about doctors and say there’s someone watching and not satisfied with the treatment they are receiving because they are going to specific doctors their told to go to. How does it work if you want to see another doctor?
>> Lindsey Simmons: You have the right to a panel of four. You ask the case manager or whoever handling your claim or your lawyer would ask, for a panel of four. You have a list of doctors that you choose from. You have one chance to use a panel of four doctor. You use it and it’s burned. That’s the one time you get a new doctor.
>> And its four doctors they choose for you.
>> Lindsey Simmons: You choose of the four, but they choose the list.
>> If you go to another doctor, it’s not covered. People need to be aware of that.
>> Tiffany Bittner: worker compensation is our topic today. It’s absolutely free. Pick up the phone and call us. We’ll be right back.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Have you been injured due to someone else’s injuries? Tonight Bob Prince details important guidelines following an accident.
>> Bob Prince: We have talked a lot about what you need to do if you are injured. Immediately seek medical attention. Keep nodes of the accident and the progress of your injuries. What about what you shouldn’t do? That can be important also. Watch what you say at the wreck scene. “I’m not hurt bad” can come back to hurt you. The other person’s insurance company is not on your side and the conversations are not off the record like they say they are. Don’t sign a release without talking to a lawyer. One wrong move at the appropriate time can deprive you of what you are entitled to from the other party. Back to you.
>> Tiffany Bittner: We have Tammy lined up tonight from door. How are you?
>> Caller (Tammy): We are good. My question is, first of all, the attorney you have on tonight, does she handle federal worker’s comp?
>> Lindsey Simmons: We do not. There are select few that do. That is not one of the areas we handle.
>> Tiffany Bittner: I don’t know if you have a work comp but if you have the name of someone if they were call you to tomorrow?
>> Lindsey Simmons: Absolutely.
>> Tiffany Bittner: I think you can ring Lindsey up tomorrow to get that name.
>> Tiffany Bittner: let’s hear from Randall in Center Point. Are you there?
>> Caller (Randall): I’m here. I have a question. Working for a public utility fleet. I was in a work fire truck, got injured, and got hit. They told me they didn’t have UM, uninsured motorist. Is that legal in Alabama?
>> Yes, it is legal in Alabama for them not to have that coverage. A lot of big companies waive it. Unfortunately, that’s legal.
>> But you can take into consideration if you are in a work vehicle or you are at work while injured, if you have UIM coverage. If you have a car, riding in it or not, that can be coverage you can access outside of worker’s comp. If you have multiple cars, you can use those insurances as well. Don’t give up. My guess is that you have a vehicle and probably have insurance, so my guess is there is coverage there.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Can he get coverage since he was working for a company that had a handful of employees.
>> You would think you have a worker compensation claim.
>> He needs to go to the department.
>> Report the injury, request treatment.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Let’s go to Linda in Ensley up next. Welcome to LawCall.
>> Caller (Linda): Hey there. My question is concerning worker comp. When the doctor says you are not able to work any longer, you can start getting social security. They tell you to pay the worker comp money back.
>> Lindsey Simmons: Right. That happens from time to time. We see that when people get social security benefits and if they per sue the worker compensation form, they will be paid weekly. That’s how it works if you take the case to trial. Social security will take a credit for the amount of money you receive in worker compensation. That can be a big effect.
>> Ken Riley: There are things as a lawyer that you can do if someone comes to see you in time to offset the problems, right, Lindsey.
>> Lindsey Simmons: Right. There is language we can put in the paper work that the judge slides off on to drastically reduce your social security or take away the credit at all.
>> Ken Riley: The fees are statutory and minimal.
>> Lindsey Simmons: Fees are worker compensation cases in Alabama are set at 15%. You don’t pay anything up front. It’s a contingency fee contract and the fees are set at 15%.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Let’s talk to Fred calling us from west Birmingham. Hey, Fred. You are on live here.
>> Caller (Fred): Yes, ma’am. Good evening to you all. I have a question. I have had workers’ comp and various neck surgeries and now I’m on disability. On the worker comp, they left it open for life. How do I stand closing out the medical portion on the worker comp or can I?
>> Lindsey Simmons: Have you settled the claim leaving the medical benefits open?
>> Caller (Fred): Yes, ma’am, I sure have. They said there is a specific part on my neck compared to worker comp covered. That’s only one part. You’ve the right to close out your medical benefits. Sometimes the insurance companies approach you and ask about that. Sometimes clients call me and say, I prefer to close out the benefit. There is a lot of concern there. It’s something you can do. I advise you to speak with an attorney if you had an attorney that represented you, talk to them or another attorney. There are a lot of concerns. We want to be sure you are protected so if you settle out your claim, you can get treatment and get the treatment paid for.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Let’s talk more about pros and cons of closing out a case after the break. We’ll see you after these commercials. We’ll pick up right where we left off.
>> Tiffany Bittner: All right, here’s our upcoming docket for the weeks ahead. May 8th, we talk about mom. May 15th, identity theft and may 22nd, dui related phone calls. We hope you will join us for all of those shows. Call us for questions you have. If you are watching this evening she’s call 871-1310. You can check her out on the web, king simmons.com. Bob Prince (800)536-1105 or prince law.net. Ken Riley with Farris, Riley and Pitt, 324-1212 or delivering justice.com. That’s how you can find them. Get in touch with the attorneys you have seen on the show and use them. That’s what they are here for, a tool to help you sort out whatever legal issue you have to deal with at the moment. Ken if you will share about your practice and what you do.
>> Ken Riley: Sure, we are an accident and injury firm. We handle auto accidents, trucking accidents. Anytime someone is negative and results in injury or wrongful death, we try to help those folks. When it comes to work injury, we get someone like Lindsey involved. That’s what we do.
>> Tiffany Bittner: before the break we were talking about a claim or red flags you need to be concerned with. Walkthrough the pros and cons or things people need to think about closing out a claim?
>> Lindsey Simmons: If you are present wd the opportunity to close out the claim, looking at closing your rights to future benefits. If you were to go to court, the judge can’t force you to close your case but for various reasons people want to. They don’t like their doctor or things like that. You have to have put into the paper work that you have a way to pay for treatment. You may have blue cross blue shield and you can’t just go see any doctor. If you tell them you were injured on the job, a red flag will come up and your insurance may not pay it.
>> Ken Riley: Once you take the money, you’re done. If it’s not a big deal, it’s not a big deal, but like the previous caller, if you have a neck surgery coming up, you better be careful.
>> Lindsey Simmons: You never know what could happen.
>> Tiffany Bittner: let’s hear from Jessica in Hueytown. Hey Jessica.
>> Caller (Fred): This is in regards to my father. He has a claim and is that the max with the doctor, they said there’s nothing else that they can do for him. He’s been before the panel of four also. He’s wanting to know if he can close out his case and get the rest of it and find another doctor to help them because they said there’s nothing else they can do for him either.
>> Lindsey Simmons: That’s a situation where closing out your future medical benefits may be the best choice. Every circumstance is different, but if the doctors are saying, there is nothing else we can offer, another doctor may have a different position, but if you are locked into the worker comp, that’s something to talk to an attorney about to see if you can get that taken care of.
>> Tiffany Bittner: We hope that helps you. Jay in center point, you are the next caller.
>> Caller (Jay): I was injured while working in November 2015. I was denied worker comp as well as unemployment. I was going to see what I could do about it or what can be done about it?
>> Lindsey Simmons: It seems you have quite a few issues to be looked at. You have a claim. I presume it’s been reported in making the claim and you are being treated, if there was an automobile accident involved, you would get treatment for that depending on if it was due to someone else’s negligence. Be careful if you are getting worker compensation doctor. If he’s taking you out of work, that can affect you.
>> Ken Riley: There are a lot of things going on. You need to talk to someone like Lindsey on that.
>> Tiffany Bittner: let’s hear from Sharon in Gadsden.
>> Caller (Sharon): I’m trying to find out what are my rights? I had a worker comp claim and been treated and released to go back to work. I have had surgery on my knee. Nobody has come and said anything about — I was hearing you all saying about the signing off on your rights and things like that, but no one has come to me with it. What do I need to do to find out exactly because I’m still having problems with my knee?
>> Lindsey Simmons: I think the first piece of advice I can tell you is if you have someone handling your case, talk to them. I would get clarification from the doctor. I have clients say, the doctor didn’t tell me I was released. If you are having problems, I would talk to the doctor to see if he has released you and figure out what is next step might be.
>> Tiffany Bittner: we are just about out of time, but Lindsey, thank you for coming in. Thank you for all of you at home calling us. Join us again next week. We are here every Sunday night at 10:30. Thank you, Ken for coming in.
>> Ken Riley: Have a great week, everybody. We’ll see you for LawCall next Sunday night.