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On February 2, 2016, Alabama Republican Senators Orr, Sanford, Livingston, Scofield, Stutts and Melson introduced SB122. The bill seeks to revise sections of 25-5-57 to limit an employer's responsibility for permanent and total disability benefits and medical benefits. Similar revisions have been included in past bills that were unsuccessful. However, those bills included numerous other items resulting in them getting tied up by competing interests.
The first proposed revision in SB122 would limit the employer's responsibility for payment of permanent and total disability benefits. The employer's obligation to pay those benefits would be terminated upon either the date of the employee's 65th birthday or 500 weeks after the date of the injury, whichever is longer.
The second proposed revision would limit an employer's obligation to pay medical benefits. If the employee did not receive treatment related to the injury for 2 years there would be a rebuttable presumption that any subsequent treatment was unrelated. The employer would only be liable for the treatment upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence that the treatment was related. If the employee did not receive related treatment for a period of 4 years, then the employer's obligation to pay for medical treatment would conclusively end.
The article was written by Joshua G. Holden, Esq. a Member of Fish, Nelson & Holden, LLC, a law firm dedicated to representing employers, self-insured employers and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation and related liability matters. Mr. Holden is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating an attorney can receive. Holden and his firm are members of The National Workers’ Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN). The NWCDN is a national and Canadian network of reputable law firms organized to provide employers and insurers access to the highest quality representation in workers’ compensation and related employer liability fields.