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What Is Workers’ Compensation in Alabama?
Each state in the United States sets its own laws for workers’ compensation. Texas is currently the only state that does not require employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance, although the program varies significantly from state to state. In Alabama, all businesses (with a few exceptions) that have five or more employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance, although virtually every business can potentially benefit from workers’ compensation coverage. The Alabama exceptions to workers’ comp requirements include those that hire the following types of workers:
- Municipalities that have fewer than 2,000 residents
- Farm laborers
- Casual workers
- Domestic workers
Workers’ compensation is particularly important among industries with a high risk of injury, like construction. Any Alabama building contractor involved in the construction of single-family dwellings is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Sole proprietors and independent contractors are exempt from workers’ compensation, although it is certainly worth consideration. Workers that are injured while on the job are almost always entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you have been injured while at work, it is important that you speak to a workers’ compensation attorney from the Carmichael Law Group to ensure that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney from the Carmichael Law Group Can Help
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of Alabama can be a complex process that comes with its own set of potential pitfalls. The Carmichael Law Group can help you seek workers’ compensation benefits after a work-related injury. We know that you have many choices when searching for an Alabama workers’ compensation attorney, but we believe strongly that your choice will be clear once you contact the Carmichael Law Group.
We strive to do everything in our power to help you obtain the best possible outcome for your workers’ compensation claim. Client service is our highest priority—we pride ourselves on being a highly client-centric firm that will always go the extra mile to ensure your rights and your future are properly protected. We understand the anxiety that comes with being injured and unable to work and make a living and will advocate on your behalf so that you can obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you need and deserve. When you choose the Carmichael Law Group, you will receive:
- A free, no-obligation consultation
- A law firm that has more than 300 positive Google reviews
- Attorneys serving clients across the entire state of Alabama
- A law firm that always answers all of your questions in a thorough, yet easy-to-understand manner
- Constant communication regarding the status of your case
Consulting with a highly experienced workers’ compensation attorney from the Carmichael Law Group will allow you to heal from your work-related injuries while we handle all the details of your claim.
What Are the Most Typical Work Injuries That Trigger a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Alabama?
While your exact injury will be related to your specific job and the facts and circumstances surrounding your injury, there are some workplace injuries that are more common than others. These include:
- Slips, trips, and falls are among the most common workplace accidents. Nearly a quarter of all workplace injuries are related to some type of slip and fall, trip and fall, or a fall from a height. Workplace factors that can cause slips, trips, and falls include electrical cables or other hazards blocking walkways, slippery surfaces, poor lighting, and inappropriate footwear. These types of injuries can result in cuts, bruises, dislocations, and fractures. The most common areas of the body affected by slips, trips, and falls are the back, neck, and knees.
- Repetitive strain injuries often impact the soft tissues of the back, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and wrists. Office workers that spend long hours in front of a computer are more susceptible to repetitive strain injuries, although these injuries can occur across most industries.
- Muscle injuries from handling and lifting heavy objects can occur among workers who lift, pull, carry, and push objects as a part of their job. Upper limb and back injuries account for more than half of all muscle injuries.
- Those who work with heavy equipment or machinery have one of the highest fatality rates. Moving parts in machinery, tools, and plant equipment can result in amputations, open wounds, fractures, internal organ damage, and joint damage. Workers can be struck by objects ejected from a machine, become entangled in machinery, or can be crushed between heavy equipment and a fixed object or wall.
Regardless of the type of injury you have sustained while at work, speaking to a workers’ compensation attorney from the Carmichael Law Group can ensure your claim goes smoothly and results in the best possible outcome.
What Is the Process for Filing an Alabama Workers’ Compensation Claim?
There are five crucial steps that must be closely followed so that you can receive workers’ compensation benefits for your workplace injury. These steps include:
- Provide your employer with a written notice within five days after your workplace injury has occurred. Your workers’ compensation benefits can be denied if you fail to provide this written notice to your employer. The only exception to this five-day notification rule is if your injury was so severe that you were physically or mentally unable to provide notification. If such circumstances are present, you have only 90 days to make a claim. Don’t make the assumption that your employer knows—anytime it is physically possible, provide written notice of your accident and injuries to your employer, preferably via certified mail so that you have confirmation.
- Seek immediate medical attention following your accident. Under Alabama workers’ compensation laws, your employer may select your treating physician, beginning on the date that you provide written notification of your accident. Ask your supervisor which physician you must see. If you see your own physician and he or she is not on the approved list, you may not be reimbursed for the associated costs.
- Follow up to ensure your employer files a First Report of Injury Form (WCC Form 2). This form includes information about how your accident and injuries occurred, as well as information about your wages. If your employer refuses to file this form, speak to your workers’ compensation attorney from Carmichael Law Group, who can contact the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Ombudsman Program on your behalf.
- Proceed with the investigation. Once the WCC Form 2 is received, an investigation of your claim will ensue. You should expect to be contacted by an investigator who will question you about how the accident occurred. Your social media accounts are fair game during this process, so the best course of action is to stay off of social media in order to avoid a photo or post being misconstrued and used to deny your claim.
- Receive a decision. If the outcome of your claim is not favorable, you have the right to dispute the decision by either filing a lawsuit in an Alabama district court or attempting a resolution with the help of the Ombudsman. Your workers’ compensation attorney can help you make this decision.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation coverage includes all medical expenses associated with your workplace accident, including ER costs, expenses for surgical procedures, rehabilitative therapies, physician costs, and prescription drugs. Income benefits under workers’ compensation are usually about two-thirds of your normal salary. If you have a partial or permanent disability, whether short-term or long-term, you could be paid a lump sum for the disability, as well as temporary disability coverage while you recuperate.
As an example, if your accident resulted in the loss of three fingers, then under the Impairment Rating, you would be entitled to a specific sum of money. Occupational illnesses caused by workplace exposure to chemicals or other hazards entitle you to the costs of treating the resulting illness. If a workplace accident results in death, the survivors are entitled to funeral expenses, as well as continuing wages for the deceased worker.
What Is Not Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
While workers’ compensation covers most workplace-related injuries, there are some situations where workers’ compensation is unlikely to pay, including:
- If you intentionally caused a workplace accident or the accident was the result of your intoxication then it is not covered under Alabama workers’ compensation.
- When your drive to and from work is not considered a part of your actual employment, an injury during that commute is not covered under workers’ compensation.
- If you were engaged in an illegal activity while at work then you would not be covered by your company’s workers’ compensation insurance.
- “Horseplay” that leads to injury is generally not covered under workers’ compensation, although if another employee who was not involved in the horseplay is injured, his or her injuries would be covered.
- If you are injured while violating your company’s protocols, procedures, or policies, your injuries are not covered.
- After being terminated from your job, any injury will not be covered, unless it predated your termination.
If your employer is claiming one of the above exceptions to deny your workers’ compensation benefits, but you believe that your claim is valid, contact a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney from the Carmichael Law Group.
Do You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Many people injured in the workplace wonder whether they actually need a workers’ compensation attorney. While having a workers’ compensation attorney who will fight for your benefits is virtually always beneficial, the following situations necessitate the hiring of a workers’ compensation attorney:
- Your benefits are being delayed or denied
- You are Medicare-eligible or will be within thirty months
- Your symptoms are worsening over time
- You are being told by your employer that you are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits
- Your employer is accusing you of workers’ compensation fraud
- You have a pre-existing condition
- Your employer has asked you to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
- You have serious injuries and a potential disability
- Your employer is denying that your injury occurred in the workplace
- There may be a third-party claim involved
- You are facing workplace retaliation because of your workers’ compensation claim
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney from the Carmichael Law Group
Speaking to a workers’ compensation attorney from the Carmichael Law Group can not only answer all of your questions, but it can ensure that you receive the benefits you need and deserve. Our firm helps workers across the state of Alabama who were injured at work and are now struggling as a result. Don’t wait—contact the Carmichael Law Group, LLC today.