It’s devastating to suffer injuries in a workplace accident, but Alabama’s workers’ compensation laws do provide you with legal remedies. You may be eligible to receive monetary benefits for your lost wages and medical expenses as a means of financial support during these difficult times. However, the state workers’ compensation statute is complicated, and you may encounter multiple challenges. Plus, you may have grounds to file a third-party claim or personal injury lawsuit, which can make your situation even more complex.
When you work with Alabama workers’ comp lawyers from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., you can feel confident that your rights are in good hands. Our workers’ compensation attorneys have decades of combined experience representing victims of workplace accidents. Our team is knowledgeable in legal strategies if a third-party claim or personal injury case is appropriate for your circumstances.
Under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, employers with at least five full or part-time employees must carry insurance to protect workers who are hurt due to on-the-job accidents, or those who have developed occupational illnesses. Employers of domestic workers, farm laborers, and workers hired outside the usual course of the employer’s business are exempt, though they can choose to secure it. In addition, municipalities with a population of 2,000 can elect whether or not to have this coverage.
Workers’ compensation in Alabama is a no-fault system. Workers compensation insurance provides a remedy to workers injured while working within the scope of their employment without needing to establish that their employer was responsible. In exchange for removing the burden of proving fault, the employee is limited in the benefits they may collect. For example, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and mental anguish are not available through workers’ comp. Instead, workers can recoup accident-related medical treatment and 2/3 of their average weekly wage while they are unable to work.
If you’re injured and your employer is required to carry insurance, you may be eligible for monetary benefits. You must meet the following qualifications to do so:
Under some circumstances, you may not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You do not qualify if your own willful misconduct was a contributing factor to your accident and injuries. Your claim may also be denied if you ignored employer regulations or refused to employ proper safety precautions.
Within five days after getting hurt, you must notify your employer of the workplace accident by informing a supervisor or manager of the situation. it’s important to include all the details regarding the accident and your injuries. Many companies have internal policies on notifications, so make sure to follow the protocol established by your employer. Once you notify your employer of your injuries, a First Report of Injury Form must be filed with the Alabama Department of Labor.
The next step to filling an Alabama workman’s comp claim is to consult with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney in Alabama. At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we will help will you fill out the forms and provide supporting documentation, including medical records describing your injuries and how they affect your physical capabilities.
When you’re injured at work and are eligible for compensation under workers’ comp laws, you may be entitled to receive benefits falling into three categories:
Alabama workers’ comp is intended to cover the cost of all medical care that’s necessary to treat your work-related injuries. Medical benefits include expenses for surgery, outpatient procedures, medical supplies, prescription medication, physical therapy, transportation for appointments, and any other costs related to your treatment. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier is allowed to control where you seek medical treatment. This usually means providing you with a list of pre-authorized physicians or medical groups. If you seek unauthorized treatment you risk not being reimbursed.
Additionally, workers’ comp does not compensate for experimental procedures or treatments deemed unnecessary, but you have the right to request an independent medical exam to determine what is reasonably necessary, as well as to seek a second opinion from a panel of physicians. So if an insurer is trying to deny your claim based on the care you received being experimental, call our Alabama workers’ comp lawyers immediately.
When you miss work because of your injuries, workers’ compensation laws allow you to recover for a portion of your lost wages or “indemnity” benefits. The exact amount is based on various factors, but the calculation is tied to your average weekly earnings for the prior year. In Alabama, compensatory benefits in a workers’ comp case are calculated by multiplying your average weekly earnings (for the 52 weeks prior to your injury) by 66.66 percent. As long as this number falls within the state’s minimum and maximum amount as allowed by law, you will receive weekly compensation.
There are also other categories of indemnity benefits that you could be entitled to: temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability. Each of these has various rules and restrictions that may apply to affect the amount of benefits applicable to these assignments.
If you or a loved one was killed in a workplace accident, your dependents might be able to receive death benefits. The exact amount is based upon how many dependents the decedent had. For up to 500 weeks, you are eligible for 50 percent (in the case of one dependent) or 66.66 percent (in the case of two or more dependents) of the deceased’s average weekly earnings. In the event that there are no dependents, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is eligible for $6,500 in death benefits.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits is your sole remedy if you’re injured in an on-the-job incident. You cannot seek damages in a civil lawsuit, and you can’t recover for your pain and suffering. There are exceptions to this rule, however. It’s possible to file a personal injury claim if:
Third-party claims often occur in several industries – including construction – when a contractor, vendor, business partner, or other unrelated entity causes an accident.
You’re not limited to medical costs and compensatory benefits when you file a civil lawsuit This means that if you can prove the other party was negligent, reckless, or malicious in causing your injuries you can recover for damages such as:
Third-party personal injury cases and workers’ comp claims do share one common element. You must take action within two years after the date of the injury-causing accident, either by filing a workers’ comp or third-party claim in court. If you don’t do so, you are barred from seeking compensation for your injuries.
If you incurred injuries in an on-the-job accident, time is of the essence to take action under state workers’ compensation and personal injury laws. At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., our team can tell you more about all your options after reviewing your circumstances. Please call (205) 933-1500 to set up a no-cost case assessment with one of our Alabama workers’ comp lawyers. You can also contact us online for more information. We’re based in Birmingham, but have additional office locations in Montgomery and Huntsville for your convenience.
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