Workers Compensation in Alabama

You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Alabama state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Alabama workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.

Workers Compensation Statistics in Alabama?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alabama’s non-fatal workplace illness and injury rates are lower than the national average. The leading cause of nonfatal workplace injuries is overexertion and bodily reaction, followed by slips and falls. In Alabama, service-providing occupations had the most nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Specifically, the top two work fields were trade, transportation & utilities, and education & health services.

How Does Workers Comp Work in Alabama?

There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Alabama workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins when you become sick or suffer and injury on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss. 

The Alabama Department of Labor stipulates that any business with five or more employees, other than contractors, is required by law to have workers’ compensation coverage. As well, the employer/carrier controls medical treatment, and is responsible for paying medical bills associated with the injury. The employee can expect to receive compensation of 66 ⅔ percent of their average weekly wage, subject to the state maximum of $920, and minimum of $253. However, compensation can be denied if the employee refuses to submit it to a blood or urine test.

The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Alabama are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.

Get Medical Attention

After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay receiving help from an Alabama healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.

Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report. One that details the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.

When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.

File a First Report of Injury

Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Alabama workers comp works.

Under Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Law, a claim is filed by notifying the employer within five days of the injury. Your employer then files the First Report of Injury, Supplement Report, and Claim Summary Form. If the employer denies liability, you can speak to an Examiner at the Workers’ Compensation Division or hire an attorney. The statute of limitations on a workers’ compensation suit is two years from the date of injury or the date of last compensation payment.

What to Include in the Report

The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to submit a copy of the doctor’s report  with the report of injury.

Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. 

According to the Alabama Department of Labor, once your claim has been approved there is a 3-day waiting period, and the indemnity or disability period starts on the 4th day you are out of work. Payment of compensation benefits should be paid within 30 days after becoming due. You will receive the 3-days back only if you are out of work for more than 21 days.

Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In learning how Alabama workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to call into question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire an Alabama workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Alabama

Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process can be tricky, you should work with a local attorney. Ideally, one who is well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Alabama state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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