Workplace Accident in Alabama? What Are My Options?
You have just suffered a serious injury in a workplace accident. Confused about your rights and options? Alabama law provides several remedies, some better than others. This article will discuss the choices that may be available to you.
Step 1 – Is it covered by Alabama worker’s compensation law? Alabama law requires employers with 5 full-time employees to provide worker’s compensation benefits. If you are not covered by workman’s comp, then your only remedy against your employer is the Employer’s Liability Act. This rarely used law allows an injured employee to maintain an action for negligence against the employer, with recoverable damages much like a car accident or slip and fall case, e.g. mental anguish, future lost wages, medical bills, permanent injury, etc. Like a workers compensation claim, fault on the part of the employee is not a defense.
Step 2 – If your accident is covered by Alabama workers comp law, then the employer (workers comp insurance carrier) must pay your related medical bills, mileage reimbursement and 2/3’s of your average weekly wage while you are unable to work. If your injury results in a permanent disability or impairment, a lump sum settlement is usually offered when you return to work. If, however, you are unable to return to your previous job duties and no accomodation can be made by your employer, then you may be entitled to your workers comp check as long as you are unable to work.
Step 3 – Know your rights! Alabama law provides immunity to employers for on-the-job accidents, meaning that they can only be sued for work comp benefits and nothing else. If you are permanently injured and will be unable to work, retain a good Birmingham workers compensation lawyer as the employer will rarely pay what your claim is worth.
Step 4 – Injured as the result of the negligence of someone other than your employer? Alabama law allows a direct suit against that person or company outside of work benefits through your employer. So, imagine that you are delivering a package for your employer to a local business. You fall on their premises due to a hidden defect on the property. You can recover workman comp benefits and sue the local business directly for your injuries. This is known as a third-party claim.
Regardless of your rights and options, hire a lawyer who has years of experience with on-the-job accidents and knows the ins and outs of the legal process.