Huntsville, AL - Workers' Compensation

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Huntsville, AL - Workers' Compensation

If you've been injured in an accident while on the job, you may have legal options available for you. Contact our Huntsville workers' comp lawyers at Mama Justice today.

Alabama’s workers’ compensation laws offer victims legal remedies if they’ve been injured in a workplace accident. Individuals who’ve sustained injuries while working might be qualified to receive economic benefits for their medical expenses and lost income as financial support.

Alabama workers’ compensation laws are complicated, and injured victims who are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim will most likely face several challenges. If you have sustained injuries while on the job, you might have grounds to file a personal injury suit or a third-party claim.

When you work with a Huntsville workers’ compensation attorney from Mama Justice, you will be confident that you are in good hands. Our workers’ comp lawyers have decades of experience representing victims injured in workplace accidents. Our team is well-versed in legal strategies should a personal injury case or a third-party claim be appropriate for your situation.

Contact us today to schedule a free, confidential case review with one of our Huntsville work injury attorneys.

Industries With Higher Than Average Workplace Injury Rates

People who work desk jobs are not exposed to the same potential hazards as highway construction workers. Some industries and places of work naturally put their employees at a higher risk of being injured. Some examples of these more dangerous jobs include:

  • Construction sites
  • Industrial manufacturing
  • Shipping/Warehouse work
  • Operating a tractor-trailer
  • Logging
  • Mining
  • Jobs within the gas and oil industry, such as offshore drilling
  • Jobs working with powerlines or utilities
  • Farming
  • Healthcare

Anyone who was hurt at their place of employment may be able to claim workers’ compensation. The best resource you have at your disposal when you claim your settlement is a reputable workers’ compensation attorney. While you recover from your injuries, your attorney can handle the compensation process.

Workers’ Comp Laws in Alabama

Employers who have at least five part-time or full-time employees are required to carry insurance to cover any workers injured in on-the-job accidents or workers who have been diagnosed with an occupational illness.

Those who employ farm laborers, domestic workers, day laborers, and other workers outside of an employer’s usual business practices are exempt, although they can choose to acquire it. Additionally, cities with a population of at least 2,000 can choose whether or not they want to have this coverage.

In Alabama, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. It provides a solution to workers who were injured while working inside the scope of their job duties without proving their employer was liable. In exchange for eliminating the burden of proof, the employee is instead restricted in the benefits they can collect.

For instance, pain and suffering, mental distress, and emotional anguish are not obtainable through workers’ comp. However, workers may only recover the cost of medical care directly related to their accident and two-thirds of their average weekly income while out of work.

Understanding Workers' Compensation in Alabama

The Alabama Workers Compensation Act clearly outlines the filing process for workers' compensation claims within the state.

Some basic things victims need to know about workers' comp in Alabama include:

  • Coverage: Almost all employed persons are covered under workers' compensation. Some exceptions are businesses with fewer than five employees, drivers undertaking interstate commerce, government employees, farm laborers, or casual employees.
  • Notification: You must notify your supervisor or employer right away if you sustain an injury, even a minor one. Failing to do so could cause a delay in or outright denial of your benefits.
  • Covered injury: Your injury has to have happened at work or in a work-related setting as expected or directed by your employer.
  • Denial of benefits: Benefits can be denied if the employee breached work regulations, intentionally injured themselves, horseplay, intoxication, and personal negligence.
  • Loss of use benefits: For serious injuries, compensation is available for the total or partial loss of a body part or death.

Is My Workers’ Comp Case Also a Personal Injury Case?

If someone else’s negligence was the cause of your injury, a separate personal injury claim might need to be filed along with your workers’ comp claim, especially with benefits being so limited. However, personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims have different requirements.

To learn if you have a personal injury claim, a workers’ comp claim, or both, speak with one of our workers’ compensation attorneys. We offer a free review of your potential claim so you can learn more about your legal options without adding to your financial worries.

Definition of a Workplace Injury

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines a workplace injury as an event that, in the course of work, causes mental or physical occupational injury. OSHA uses the following examples as valid workplace injuries:

  • A work-related death
  • A work-related illness or injury that causes a loss of consciousness, days off of from work, limited work, or transferring to a different job
  • A work-related illness or injury needing medical treatment beyond basic first aid.
  • A professionally diagnosed, work-related case of chronic irreversible disease, cancer, broken, fractured, or cracked teeth or bones, and ruptured eardrums.

There are also unique criteria for work-related injuries that involve being stuck with a needle, hearing loss, acute injuries (pokes and stabs), and tuberculosis.

What Does Workers’ Comp Cover?

The injuries people sustain at work are as innumerable as the jobs that cause them. Workers’ compensation is intended to cover any injury you sustain at your place of work, but the details of the specific injury may vary. Some of the more common job-related injuries that require employers to pay compensation are:

  • Accidents on industrial sites
  • Accidents involving machinery
  • Automobile accidents
  • Construction site/delivery accidents
  • Neck injuries
  • Repetitive stress injuries (tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, et al.)
  • Back injuries
  • Slip and fall/trip and fall injuries
  • Electrocution/Electric shocks
  • Overexertion/Overworked
  • Exposure to toxic substances

Even if the events surrounding your unique injury are not listed, you could still be entitled to collect workers’ comp benefits. Reach out to a Huntsville workplace injury lawyer to determine if you are eligible.

Workers’ Comp Eligibility Requirements

If you were hurt at work and your employer is obligated to carry insurance, you might be eligible to receive monetary benefits. To do so, victims must meet the following qualifications:

  • Your employer must offer workers’ compensation insurance.
  • The circumstances that caused your injuries have to have been unforeseen and unexpected.
  • You were injured while performing a task related to your job that falls under the scope of your employment.
  • You have to notify your employer and file your claim within a reasonable time.

You might not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits in some situations. For example, you will not be eligible if willful misconduct on your part played a role in your accident and subsequent injuries. Your claim could also be rejected if you ignored workplace rules or refused to take appropriate safety precautions.

Filing an On-the-Job Injury Claim

You must notify your employer of your accident by telling a manager or supervisor of the incident within five days of your injury. It is essential to report as many details of your accident as possible.

Most businesses have their own internal policies regarding these notifications, so make sure you follow any protocols put in place by your employer. After you have notified the appropriate person of your injuries, you must file a First Report of Injury with the state’s Department of Labor.

The next part of filing a workman’s comp claim in Alabama is to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. At Mama Justice, we help you fill out any necessary forms and supply supporting documentation such as medical records that describe your injuries and their impact on your physical abilities.

Alabama Workers’ Compensation Benefits

If you are entitled to collect benefits, they will fall into one of three categories:

Medical Benefits: Workers’ comp is designed to cover the expense of the medical care required to treat your injuries. Medical benefits include the cost of surgery, outpatient treatments, physical therapy, medical equipment, prescription medications, transportation to and from any appointments, and other expenses related to medical care for your injury.

Your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company can decide where you receive your medical treatment. Typically, you will be provided with a list of pre-selected medical groups or doctors. If you seek treatment from an unauthorized physician, you run the risk of being unable to collect any reimbursement.

Additionally, workers’ comp does not offer any compensation for experimental treatments or procedures considered unnecessary. Still, you are entitled to ask for an independent medical examination to establish what is and isn’t reasonably necessary and to get a second opinion from a board of physicians.

So, if the insurance carrier is threatening to deny your claim by saying the care or treatment you are receiving is experimental or excessive, call the law offices of Mama Justice right away.

Compensatory Benefits: When your injuries cause you to miss work, workers’ comp regulations entitle you to recoup part of your lost income. This is known as indemnity benefits. The specific dollar amount hinges on multiple factors, but the calculation is rooted in your average weekly wages for the previous year.

In our state, compensatory benefits for these cases are figured by averaging your weekly earnings for the 52 weeks that preceded your injury and multiplying that total by 66.66%. Provided that the total falls between the state’s maximum and minimum amount under the law, you will be able to collect weekly financial compensation.

You may be entitled to several other benefits depending on the severity of your injuries, such as temporary partial disability, temporary total disability, permanent total disability, and permanent partial disability. Each of these categories has its own set of restrictions and rules that could be relevant depending on the specifics of your case.

Death Benefits: If you or a family member was killed in a job site accident, your dependents could be eligible to collect death benefits. The precise amount depends on how many dependents the victim had. For up to 500 weeks, victims’ families are entitled to 50%, with only one dependent, or 66.66%, for two or more dependents, of the decedent's average weekly wages. If the victim has no dependents, the personal representative of their estate is entitled to $6,500 in death benefits.

Personal Injury and Third-Party Claims for a Workplace Accident

Filing a workers’ comp claim for benefits is your only recourse for being injured in a workplace accident. You will not be able to pursue damages in a civil suit, and you will not be able to collect any economic recovery for your pain and suffering. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. It is possible to file a claim of personal injury if:

  • Your employer does not carry workers’ comp insurance in accordance with the law
  • Your employer deliberately caused your injuries
  • Your injuries were caused by someone other than your immediate employer (a third party)

Third-party claims frequently occur in many industries, most notably construction, when a vendor, business partner, contractor, or other unrelated party causes an accident.

Types of Third-Party Compensation

When you file a civil suit, you are not limited to medical expenses and compensatory benefits, meaning if you can show that the other person’s maliciousness, recklessness, or negligence caused your injuries, you can recoup damages such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Disfigurement/Scarring
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma

Statute of Limitations

Workers’ compensation claims and third-party personal injury claims have one thing in common. You have to take action no more than two years from the day of your injury by filing either a third-party compensation claim or a workers’ compensation claim in court. Should you fail to file within the allotted time frame, your case will be dismissed by the court and you will be prohibited from pursuing financial compensation for your workplace accident injuries.

Call Our Alabama Workers’ Comp Lawyers for Help

According to state personal injury and workers ' comp laws, if you were injured in a job site accident, the clock is already ticking. At the law firm of mama Justice, our team will review your case and tell you what legal options are available to you. Contact our Huntsville workers’ compensation attorneys at (844) 239-3403 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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