Job Injuries / Workers’ Compensation
Back injuries, knee injuries, broken bones, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck injuries, occupational diseases, and other conditions affect Alabama’s work force constantly. Often, when workers are afflicted with work-related conditions or injuries, employers refuse to pay workers’ compensation benefits or even to provide payment for the medical treatment that the law requires.
The lawyers at King Simmons, PC have handled thousands of workers’ compensation claims, involving virtually every type of injury or condition imaginable – from broken backs to myofascial pain syndrome to reflex sympathetic dystrophy to torn knee ligaments to ruptured or bulging discs.
Injured workers have a variety of complex rights available, involving medical treatment, vocational retraining, job protection, and cash payments for disabilities. Most cases involving workers’ compensation are settled, usually in such a way that results in lump sum cash payments to the injured workers.
Railroad employees, unlike most other classes of workers, are permitted a jury trial when injured on the job. In late 2005, the firm represented an engineer injured on the job when a boxcar was accidentally directed onto the track where he was aboard his locomotive; he suffered a ruptured disc in low back, and was not able to return to work. After a week-long trial, a Jefferson County jury returned a $720,000 verdict to compensate the engineer for the losses that resulted from his injury. The railroad’s motion for a new trial was denied.
The lawyers at King Simmons, PC have handled a great number of sexual harassment cases, involving both the “traditional” male-versus-female type of harassment, and the unusual male-versus-male type of harassment. This workplace evil has become a growing problem in the workplace in Alabama, and redress can be found in state court, or in federal court, and sometimes in both courts. In 1996, our lawyers successfully represented three female police officers who were sexually harassed by their supervisor resulting in the largest settlement ever paid by the City of Birmingham in such a case.
Remedies available to victims of this type of harassment can include having the perpetrator transferred, recovery of lost wages, damages for mental anguish and emotional distress, and recovery of punitive damages. The firm’s lawyers are intimately familiar with the procedural pre-requisites of filing charges in appropriate cases with federal agencies, and have sued some of the largest corporations in America in this area of the law.
Many employers are subject to state or federal laws that forbid discrimination on the basis of race, or gender, or age, or disability. These laws provide a selection of remedies that permit recovery under varying circumstances for lost wages, future wages, and other benefits.
Discrimination has been a perpetual problem in the workplace for years. The lawyers at King Simmons, PC have settled, prosecuted, and litigated many types of discrimination cases through jury verdict. The lawyers have represented older and younger workers, male and female workers, able-bodied and disabled workers, and Caucasian and African-American workers in state court and federal court, and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in seeking fair treatment and just compensation under the laws.
In Alabama, being fired because a worker served on jury duty or because a worker made a claim for workers’ compensation benefits can be unlawful. Being fired due to age, race, gender, or disability can also violate federal law. The financial duress that follows the wrongful and unexpected loss of employment has a ripple effect affecting the entire family. Bills do not stop, children need clothes, and the rent or mortgage payment comes due – even when there has been a job loss.
The lawyers at King Simmons, PC have been responsible for tremendous changes in Alabama law – in favor of fired workers – in several landmark cases before the Supreme Court of Alabama. The firm has also secured a jury’s verdict of $2.2 million against the world’s largest producer of construction aggregates for a cement truck driver fired for claiming workers’ compensation benefits, a $1,250,000 jury verdict in favor of a truck driver fired for claiming workers’ compensation benefits, and a $1,000,000 jury verdict in favor of a 76 year-old woman fired by a nationally prominent prosthetic manufacturer after she was injured on the job, and several six-figure settlements for workers fired for unlawful reasons. In late 2004, the firm secured what is believed to be a record verdict by a jury in ultra-conservative Shelby County for a person fired in retaliation for claiming workers’ compensation, and then raised the bar again in 2006 with a six-figure judgment following a trial of another client fired for the same reason; in 2010, the waterline was raised again in Shelby County when the firm scored a $300,000 jury verdict against Material Delivery Services, a major national trucking company, which had fired one of the firm’s clients days after he reported his workplace injury.
Employers as diverse as trucking companies, hospitals, retailers, food service companies, and insurance companies have faced liability for wrongfully firing their workers. Until employers finally get the message that wrongfully firing workers will have dire financial consequences, this type of litigation will continue for many years to come.
Disclaimer: All cases are different, dependent upon the facts unique to each case and the applicable law. The description of results the firm has achieved in particular cases should not be taken as a guarantee of any result, or as a representation that similar results are achieved in any cases other than the ones described. Results will vary depending on a variety of circumstances, and the results described are not necessarily representative of results that might be reached in other cases.