A Guide to Workers’ Compensation Claims in Alabama
If you suffer an injury or illness at work in Alabama, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp is a no-fault system in Alabama that provides financial compensation to eligible employees. Most employees in Alabama can receive workers’ compensation benefits after on-the-job accidents and injuries. Learn more about this program to better understand your recovery options after a work injury.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation in Alabama?
The law in Alabama requires all employers with five or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Any worker who is classified as an employee – not an independent contractor – is covered by workers’ comp insurance. If an employee suffers an injury or illness while performing occupational tasks (an injury in the scope or course of employment), he or she can file a workers’ comp claim to seek financial benefits, without having to prove that someone was at fault for the injury.
What Injuries and Illnesses Are Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Almost all physical injuries and ailments are covered by the Alabama workers’ compensation system. As long as the injury or illness can be traced back to work or tasks related to the individual’s occupation, he or she can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Covered conditions include bone fractures, soft-tissue injuries, lacerations, losses of limb, burn injuries, back injuries, brain injuries, repetitive motion injuries, illnesses or cancer, some psychological conditions, and worker deaths.
How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Alabama?
If you wish to seek workers’ comp benefits for an occupational injury or illness in Alabama, take the following steps:
- Report your medical condition to your employer in writing right away.
- Go to a hospital in an emergency or visit an approved physician on your employer’s list if it is not an emergency.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan exactly. Don’t skip any appointments or medications.
- Cooperate with your employer to file a workers’ compensation claim by the deadline.
- Learn your rights by consulting with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Alabama before accepting an insurance settlement.
Your employer should take care of the paperwork side of your case. You should receive confirmation that your claim has been received, as well as updates about whether your claim has been accepted and when you should expect your first settlement check.
What Workers’ Comp Benefits Are Available in Alabama?
If your workers’ comp claim is approved, you may receive the following financial benefits to pay for your injury or illness and related losses:
- Medical benefits. Compensation to cover all past and future related medical care, including surgeries, medications, physical therapy and rehabilitation.
- Disability benefits. Payments equal to two-thirds of your average weekly wage for as much time as it takes to recover from a disability. With a permanent disability, these benefits can last for life.
- Vocational benefits. A payment to help you rehabilitate or learn a new vocation if this is necessary to return to gainful employment after a serious injury or illness.
- Death benefits. Benefits paid to surviving family members in the event of an employee’s death on the job, such as for funeral and burial costs.
The value of your workers’ comp settlement will depend on the extent of your injuries, among other factors. If your workers’ compensation claim gets denied, you have the right to appeal the decision.
What Are the Time Limits on an Alabama Workers’ Comp Claim?
There are important time limits that you must obey if you wish to be eligible for workers’ compensation in Alabama:
- First, you must notify your employer of your injury or illness as soon as possible – at least within five days of its occurrence.
- Then, your employer has 15 days to notify the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Division.
- Once an insurance company receives the claim, it has 30 days to make its decision and pay the claimant, if applicable.
- If you wish to file a lawsuit regarding your workers’ comp claim or work injury, you have two years from the date of the incident to do so.
Before you accept a workers’ compensation settlement, contact Drake law Firm for a free case consultation. We can guide you through a workers’ comp claim and discuss the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit for a workplace accident instead.