No matter the job, many employees face the possibility of getting injured at work. When you get hurt on the job in Gadsden, Alabama, you can seek workers’ compensation benefits with the help of a good lawyer. Workers’ benefits can help pay bills as you focus on recuperating.
Unfortunately, filing a workers’ comp claim for benefits can be complicated, not to mention your application for workers’ benefits may be denied, or your benefits cut off before you make a full recovery. This is where a Gadsden Workers’ Compensation Lawyer comes in. We can help you fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve.
Call 256-666-6000 to find out more about our workers’ compensation laws and insurance in Alabama. Our experienced and compassionate personal injury attorneys will be happy to offer you a free consultation.
WHAT IS WORKERS COMPENSATION?
When an employee gets a workplace injury, they are entitled to be compensated by the employer or the business; this coverage is known as workers’ compensation. In Alabama, employees are eligible to get workers’ compensation benefits if they get hurt while performing their job duties, no matter who was at fault. These benefits include:
- Medical treatment, including prescriptions, hospital stays, paid for by your employer’s insurance company
- Physical therapy
- Temporary or total disability benefit if your doctor takes you out of work for the statutory amount of time
- Necessary travel expenses
- An employee may also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation.
However, employees waive this right if they were intoxicated or behaving recklessly. That’s why it’s crucial to speak to a lawyer who specializes in Alabama workers’ compensation claims.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I SUFFER A WORK-RELATED INJURY IN ALABAMA?
When an Alabama employee is injured on the job, we recommend that they follow the following steps to protect their right to workers’ compensation benefits:
TELL YOUR EMPLOYER YOU ARE HURT
In Alabama, one of the responsibilities of an employer is to file a workers’ compensation claim with their insurer on behalf of their employees. So, after getting hurt or injured on the job, it’s essential to let your employer know right away.
GET TO A DOCTOR AS SOON AS YOU CAN AND FOLLOW YOUR DOCTOR’S INSTRUCTIONS
You should get immediate medical care from an authorized treating physician. However, if it’s an emergency, you are entitled to see another doctor. Keep in mind that workers’ compensation will only pay for the services rendered by the authorized doctor.
START AND KEEP A WRITTEN RECORD OF YOUR INJURY AND SYMPTOMS
Gather statements about your workplace injury and ensure you include the date of the accident and any witnesses’ names. Record the written statements and keep them safe.
TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS OF YOUR INJURY, IF VISIBLE
They have been incidences where employers deny that their employees were injured on the job. For proof that you were indeed hurt at the workplace, take as many photographs or videos of your injury.
FILE A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM WITH HELP FROM AN ATTORNEY
File a workers’ compensation claim with the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney.
REST AND RECUPERATE
Your workers’ compensation lawyer can handle your case from here. Take some time to rest and recover.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON TYPES OF WORK-RELATED INJURIES?
It’s possible to get hurt or injured in almost any workplace environment. However, specific workplace environments have more incidences of accidents than others. But any employee can be injured on the job.
Following are the 10 most common workplace accident injuries:
- Back / Neck Injuries: Most workplace injuries are associated with the neck and the spine. Most employees suffer back and or neck injuries in accidents that happen in the workplace.
- Burns: In many places of work, the jobs involve working with heat or fire. Employees in such workplaces tend to get burn injuries more often than not.
- Fractures: Bone fractures are another common workplace injury. There are several ways employees can fracture their bones while at work. It could be as a result of a slip and fall or getting hit by machinery/equipment.
- Amputations: In job environments where heavy machinery/equipment is used, freak accidents happen all the time. It is not uncommon to see employees’ limbs getting torn away from their bodies.
- Hearing Loss: This workplace injury is mainly associated with the construction industry. The extreme loudness and noise can make workers and employees in such work environments lose their hearing if they fail to take the necessary precaution.
- Joint Pain: Employees/workers get joint pains as a result of overexertion during heavy lifting.
- Slip and Fall: In virtually any work environment, you can slip and fall due to wet or icy floors, poor lighting, uneven cords, scattered debris, and unstable walking surfaces.
- Construction accidents: These kinds of injuries happen on construction sites. Construction accidents may result from falls, electrocution, getting struck by objects, or getting caught between objects in the construction site and usually cause severe injuries and death.
- Accidents that happen while traveling for business: Sometimes, employees may get into accidents while they are away representing the company. This also counts as a workplace injury.
- Accidents while operating tools, devices, or machinery: Workers also get hurt while operating machinery or tools in the workplace. This happens when the worker gets struck by exposed moving parts or flying objects from machines or gets caught in the machine. Machinery-related injuries usually result in severed fingers, dismemberment, crushed body parts, or worse, death.
WHY SHOULD I HIRE A GADSDEN WORKERS COMPENSATION LAWYER?
If you decide to pursue workers compensation benefits, ensure you have a good workers compensation lawyer by your side, or else you don’t stand a chance of getting any compensation. This how a Gadsden workers compensation lawyer can help:
- They hasten the workers’ compensation claims process: Since lawyers are familiar with the ins and outs of a workers compensation claim, they will speed up the claims process.
- Attorneys gather evidence: From medical evidence, vocational evidence to witness statements. We will gather all the proof you need for your workers’ compensation claim.
- They negotiate the best possible workers’ compensation settlement: Our seasoned and experienced lawyers will know if and when to accept or reject a settlement offer depending on the degree of your injuries. We can calculate your lost income and also negotiate a reasonable and fair workers’ compensation settlement.
- An attorney can appeal your case if your claim is denied: We explain why your claim was denied and help you understand your remaining legal options. If we believe you still have a chance, we will scrutinize your claim and formulate a plan to overturn the denial.
- Pursue potential third-party claims: In some instances, you are eligible to recover money for a workplace accident from someone other than your employer. Our credible attorneys can help you recover maximum compensation by filing third-party personal injury claims.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO WORK WITH A GADSDEN WORKERS COMPENSATION ATTORNEY?
In Alabama, workers’ compensation attorneys are paid on contingency. This means our Gadsden workers’ compensation lawyers only get paid if they successfully contest your claim.
MY WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM WAS DENIED? WHAT CAN I DO?
If your workers’ comp claim is denied, all is not lost. In Alabama, workers/employees whose workers compensation benefits claims have been denied can file a lawsuit in state court. This being a highly complex process, you will need solid legal counsel in your corner. Our seasoned attorneys can guide you through this process’s complexities and work towards achieving a favorable outcome.
WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DOES AN EMPLOYEE HAVE IN FILING A WORKERS COMP CLAIM IN ALABAMA?
During the workers’ compensation claims process in Alabama, the injured employee has the following responsibilities:
- Abide by all the written safety rules and other procedures and policies set by the employer.
- Report any incidents leading to injury immediately or within 30 days after the workplace accident to your immediate supervisor or foreman, your employer, or your employer’s representative.
- Accept any reasonable medical or rehabilitation treatment and services if ordered by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
- Show that the employee’s willful misconduct was not the cause of the workplace misconduct.
- Notify the employer and insurance carrier of your new address when you relocate; also notify your employer and insurance company when you will be available to work part-time or full-time and report your weekly earnings because you may be entitled to income benefits despite having resumed work.
- Notify the employer/ insurance carrier if and when you change your address or remarry (in the case of a spouse who was dependent on a deceased worker)
- Attempt a job that has gone through the authorized treating doctor’s approval, even if it pays less than your previous job.
- File a claim before the end of two years after your last payment of weekly benefits or before one year ends after your previous authorized medical treatment appointment if your employer’s insurance carrier denies you income benefits that you believe you were entitled to.
- File a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation before one year ends after a loved one’s demise due to a workplace accident.
- Submit any reimbursement requests for medical-related expenses to the employer/insurance carrier before the end of one year after the last incurred cost.
- Agree to a drug test after a workplace injury if requested, or submit justifiable proof for refusing.
- Tell the truth or risk being found guilty of a misdemeanor for making misleading or false statements during the claims process.
WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DOES AN EMPLOYER HAVE IN THE WORKERS COMPENSATION PROCESS?
During the claims process, employers are responsible for:
- Filing the first report of injury form: It’s an employer’s duty to fill out the first report of injury form, file it and send it to the assigned WC doctor and their workers’ compensation insurance company.
- Respecting employees’ rights: Employers should not violate their injured employees’ rights. For instance, employees should respect the employees’ rights to see a doctor.
- Cooperating with investigative parties: Employers should cooperate with investigative bodies and submit any relevant documentation like an employee’s payroll history or personal file.
CAN I BE FIRED BECAUSE OF FILING FOR A CLAIM FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION?
No. In Alabama, it is a crime for an employer to sack or penalize an employee for claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
Have you been fired after reporting a work-related injury? Have you been denied permission to resume work in Gadsden after receiving your workers’ compensation benefits? Call our Gadsden workers’ compensation lawyers. Depending on your case’s specific details, you may be able to recover more settlement and resume work.
ARE THERE TIME LIMITS FOR FILING A WORKERS COMP CLAIM IN ALABAMA?
In Alabama, you should file your workers’ compensation claim within two years from the time of your injury. Two years might seem like a lot of time, but it’s important to note that other strict time limits apply when filing an Alabama workers’ compensation claim.
CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER?
No, employees in Alabama can’t sue their employers over workplace accidents. However, employees may be able to lodge personal injury claims against third parties involved in the accident. For example, if you were performing work-related tasks such as driving a company vehicle at the time of the accident, you might be able to file your workers’ compensation claim with your employer and at the same time sue the at-fault driver.
CAN AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR IN ALABAMA FILE A WORKERS COMP CLAIM?
Alabama state law doesn’t require employers to get workers’ comp coverage for independent contractors. However, independent contractors can still get reimbursed for their workplace injuries in the following instances:
- If there is a possibility that the employer misclassified the injured worker as an independent contractor while they were an employee.
- An independent contractor may be able to recover compensation if they can provide evidence that another party’s negligence caused their injuries.
WHAT IS MY GADSDEN WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM WORTH?
Your Gadsden, Alabama workers’ compensation will pay for:
- Your medical expenses: Workers’ compensation pays for all medical care required to treat a workplace injury or illness as long as an authorized treating physician provides it.
- Any rehab costs: Rehabilitation costs are paid for by workers’ compensation. If you are required to retrain for another job, workers’ compensation has that covered.
- Lost wages: Workers’ compensation can help recover some of your lost wages. The amount you can receive is equal to 66% or 2/3 of your average weekly pay.
- Prescription medication: Workers’ compensation also covers bills for prescription medication needed to treat workplace injuries.
- Any necessary mileage costs related to the treatment of your injuries: Your traveling expenses while moving to and from doctor’s appointments will also be covered by workers’ compensation.
CONTACT OUR GADSDEN WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYERS TODAY
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Mike Bell Injury Law Firm protect employees’ rights all over Gadsden, Alabama. Count on us to help you file your claim accurately and within the statute of limitations. We will represent you if your claim is denied and stand by you to the end. We’re here to help you recover the benefits you deserve.