Each year in Alabama, nearly 40,000 workers are injured in workplace accidents, with some even losing their lives. If you have suffered a workplace injury or if a loved one has been killed while at work, you may be entitled to compensation for your financial losses.
As an employee in the state of Alabama, you have the right to worker’s compensation benefits from your employer if your employer has five or more employees. Unfortunately, many employers and their insurance representatives will try to discourage workers from collecting what is rightfully theirs under the law.
The experienced and skilled worker’s compensation attorneys at Chip Nix Attorney at Law can help you and your loved ones both protect your rights and collect the benefits you deserve. Navigating the Alabama worker’s compensation system is often more difficult than it appears, requiring the assistance of a dedicated workplace injury attorney.
Common Types of Workplace Injuries
Workplace injuries and accidents can occur in nearly any type of environment. While you may have a greater chance of being injured as a truck driver or in a manufacturing plant, there are hazards in just about every job and workplace that can cause injury or even death. The most common types of accidents include:
- Overexertion – The most common type of accident, this occurs from excessive pushing, pulling, carrying, or throwing objects while working.
- Slipping/Tripping – This is the 2nd most common type of accident resulting from slipping on wet floors or over poorly marked hazards in the work area.
- Fall From Height – These accidents occur when a worker falls from a ladder, roof, or stairway, sometimes due to the absence of personal protective equipment or other safety measures.
- Falling Objects – Objects falling from shelves or roofs on a construction site can cause severe head and neck injuries.
- Vehicle Accidents – Employees who drive in the course of their employment are at risk for work-related vehicle accidents, some fatal.
- Machinery Accidents – When heavy equipment or machinery is used at work, an employee could become entangled and severely injured.
- Repetitive Motion - Repetitive motion injuries occur when an employee completes the same tasks repeatedly in their job. These could lead to vision damage, strained muscles, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Violent Acts - Conflicts in the workplace that lead to violence are another cause of workplace injuries.
Common injuries include back strains, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, lacerations, broken and fractured bones, heart attacks, carpal tunnel syndrome, lung disease, Mesothelioma, severe burns, and accidents resulting in death.
What You Need to Know About Alabama Worker’s Compensation
Worker’s compensation coverage is meant to act as no-fault coverage and make it as simple as possible for injured workers to collect just compensation. In reality, there are several measures that an employer and their insurance company can take to ensure that your process is less certain. The methods that might be used to deny your claim include alleging any of the following:
- Your injury isn’t work-related or is due to a pre-existing condition
- Medical bills aren’t related to a work injury
- The accident itself wasn’t work-related
- You failed to provide proper notice as required by law
- Your accident resulted from your own willful misconduct
- The accident resulted from alcohol or drug use
- You failed to use safety precautions at work
- You breached a workplace rule or regulation
- Your injury was due to a personal conflict not related to employment
When these types of allegations are used to deny your worker’s compensation claim, you need the expertise of an Alabama worker’s compensation attorney who will fight to preserve your rights.
Types of Worker’s Compensation Benefits in Alabama
Alabama worker’s compensation benefits are based on the type and severity of your injury. Injured workers are entitled to medical care related to the injury, which could include surgery, physical therapy, medication, and supplies.
If an injured worker must miss time from work, there is wage replacement equal to two-thirds of weekly salary, subject to statutory minimums and maximums. Permanent disability benefits are based on the level of impairment from your injury that is expected to last indefinitely. These benefits can last for up to 300 weeks.
When a worker dies from a workplace injury, the worker’s estate will receive death benefits depending on the number of dependents. For example, if there is one dependent, the amount is one-half of the average weekly wage. If there are two or more dependents, the amount is two-thirds the average weekly wage. Benefits can last for up to 500 weeks.
Worker’s Compensation Third-Party Claims
If you are injured at work as the result of the negligence of someone other than your employer, Alabama law allows a direct suit against that person or company in addition to your worker’s compensation benefits. For example, you are a delivery driver and are rear-ended by another truck or work in a factory where a machine defect caused you to lose a finger. This is called a third-party claim, and you can pursue damages from these at-fault parties while you collect worker’s compensation benefits.
Retaliatory Discharge/Wrongful Termination
It is unlawful in Alabama for your employer to fire you solely for filing a worker’s compensation claim. If you have been fired after a work related injury or if you get fired in the future and you have had a work-related injury, you should contact a lawyer who knows how to investigate, evaluate and file a retaliatory discharge claim. Some employers in Alabama are made bold by the failure of the worker’s compensation system to provide adequate remedies and protections to injured employees and this boldness is all too frequently asserted by an employer through the act of firing an injured employee for no valid reason. If you think you may have a retaliatory discharge or wrongful termination claim contact us so we may discuss your situation.
What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job
If you are injured on the job, notify your employer immediately. Even if you don’t think that you’ll require medical attention, you should let your supervisor or boss know that an incident has occurred so that you protect your rights. If you do need medical care, your employer or worker’s compensation insurer will direct you to the proper facility.
Your next step should be to contact an experienced Alabama worker’s compensation attorney who can help you navigate this difficult process.
How Alabama Workplace Injury Attorneys Can Fight For You
If your claim is denied or delayed, the attorneys at Chip Nix Attorney at Law will immediately file the motions necessary to take the insurance company to court. Our team of attorneys has extensive experience trying worker’s compensation cases and has the resources to protect your rights. Even if your claim is accepted, we will use our medical and vocational experts, accountants, and accident experts to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available under the law.