Montgomery Workers’ Comp Lawyers
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Regardless of your job, the danger of being hurt on the job is an unfortunate reality. It could be an equipment failure at a construction site, a slip and fall in a store, or various other scenarios. However, you are hurt, if your injuries are connected to your job or you were diagnosed with an occupational disease, then you should pursue medical care and compensation benefits through an Alabama workers’ compensation claim.
If you were injured in a work-related accident in Montgomery, AL, call at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. right away. Our Montgomery workers’ comp lawyers are experienced in helping individuals obtain the workers’ comp benefits they are entitled to. We also thoroughly investigate workplace accidents to determine who was at fault. If an outside party was responsible, then you may also have the right to pursue additional compensation through a third-party claim.
To discuss your rights and eligibility for workers’ comp benefits or a third party claim, contact our Montgomery personal injury lawyers at (334) 513-1841, or reach out online to schedule a free case consultation.
Understanding Workers’ Comp in Alabama
Under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, workers’ compensation is an insurance policy that covers eligible workers who are hurt while on the job, or who receive a diagnosis of a work-related medical condition. All employers in Alabama with five or more part-time or full-time employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance to their workers. The insurance coverage requires that your injuries or condition be related to your job, but it does not look at fault. In most circumstances, the insurer is not interested in whether you or a co-worker caused the accident.
As an insurance policy, it provides benefits based on the situation, such as paying for your medical expenses and paying out weekly compensation. Workers’ compensation benefits are obtained through an insurance claim. It is not a lawsuit. As such, workers’ compensation is typically your sole remedy when you are injured at work or develop an occupational disease. Unless you fit into an exception, you do not have the right to sue your employer for your injury or condition. This law ensures that workers’ comp insurance protects both workers and employers.
Workers’ Comp Eligibility
While workers’ compensation insurance coverage applies to many individuals, it does not cover every employee or scenario. To receive Alabama work comp benefits, you must meet the following:
Your employer provides workers’ compensation insurance.
To receive workers’ comp benefits, there must be an insurance policy in place. If your employer is not required to provide workers’ comp, then are likely not covered. Companies with five or more full or part-time employees must provide coverage. Employers with fewer than five employees, those who employ domestic workers, and municipalities with less than 2,000 residents are not required to carry workers’ comp. If your employer is required to provide coverage and fails to do so, there may be harsh penalties under the law.
You were injured in an unforeseeable accident.
You need to have incurred injuries in an accident that you could not predict would happen. In other words, you need to have been hurt in an incident that you did not cause yourself.
The accident that caused your injuries arose out of the course of your work.
You need to have been hurt while on-duty and performing tasks for your job. If you were not working at the time of the accident, then it is likely that your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance provider will deny your claim.
You gave your employer notice of your injury within a reasonable time.
In most circumstances, you need to notify your employer of a work-related injury within five days of being injured or receiving a diagnosis of an occupational injury. There may be a situation in which it is not possible to do that. However, you need to inform your boss, manager, or supervisor as soon as possible. If more than 90 days pass before you notify your employer, your claim may be denied.
Filing for Workers’ Comp Benefits
Once you have informed your employer of your work-related injury, then the ball is in their court. It is up to them to inform the workers’ compensation insurance provider and the state. Employers are required to file a First Report of Injury or Occupation Disease. However, we also recommend contacting our Montgomery workers’ comp lawyers for help in filing a claim and obtaining all of the benefits you are entitled to under the law.
Medical Benefits in a Montgomery Workers’ Comp Claim
When you are injured in a work-related accident and are covered by workers’ compensation insurance, then the insurer will pay for your reasonably necessary medical expenses, which may include:
- Emergency room visits
- Hospital or doctor’s visits
- Mileage to and from doctor’s appointments
- Diagnostic tests
- Stitches, surgery, and other medical treatments
- Medical supplies, like crutches or a wheelchair
- Prescription medications
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
For your medical expenses to be covered by workers’ compensation insurance, you need to receive care from an approved doctor. If you seek treatment outside this assigned physician or group, you may not be reimbursed for those expenses. However, if you do not like the physician or practice you are initially told to see, you can inform your employer in writing. You should then receive a list of pre-approved doctors to choose from.
In addition to seeing an approved physician, workers’ comp insurance will only cover reasonably necessary care. It does not cover experimental, unusual, or unnecessary visits, treatments, procedures, or medications. Unfortunately, this is often where disputes arise, but you have the right to request an independent medical exam or a utilization review to determine what medical care is reasonably necessary for your condition.
Workers’ Comp Insurance – Wage Benefits
Aside from medical care, when you are hurt in a workplace accident you are entitled to wage or “indemnity” benefits. To determine your wage benefit amount, the insurer will calculate your average weekly wages for the 52 weeks prior to your injury. This figure will then be multiplied by 66.66 percent. So long as the final amount falls between Alabama’s minimum and maximum limits, you will receive weekly benefits while off work.
If you a partially disabled, whether permanently or temporarily, you may receive wage benefits for up to 300 weeks. If you are fully disabled, you can receive wage benefits for an unlimited period of time.
Montgomery, AL Workers’ Comp Death Benefits
Workers’ comp insurance does not only cover a worker’s injuries. It also covers an employee’s death. If you lost your spouse or parent in a workplace accident, contact a Montgomery workers’ comp lawyer right away. You may file a workers’ comp claim and receive compensation for funeral and burial expenses and some wage benefits.
You can receive up to $6,500 for the cost of your loved one’s burial. If the decedent left behind one dependent, you can receive 50 percent of their average weekly wages. If the decedent left behind two more dependents, you can receive 66.66 percent of their average weekly wages.
Third-Party Claims & Compensation
If the party who caused you harm is someone other than your employer, you may have the right to file a third-party claim against that individual or business..
Third-party claims arise when the responsible party does not work for your employer. This can include independent contractors, subcontractor, or other parties like pedestrians, negligent drivers, or disgruntled prior employees who cause you harm.
Whether or not you obtain workers’ compensation, it may not cover all your damages. Through a third-party lawsuit, you have the opportunity to secure additional compensation. If you can prove the other party was negligent, reckless, or malicious in causing your injuries, you may also recover your:
- Medical costs
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life
Contact Our Montgomery Workers’ Comp Lawyers for Help Today
No one expects to incur injuries while at work. You depend on your job and the reality is that a serious workplace accident can put your financial security and health in tremendous peril. If you were hurt while on the job, or you were diagnosed with an occupational illness while working in Montgomery, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. as soon as possible.