It’s just another typical day at work, until it’s not.
You are injured on the job, badly injured. And while your first thoughts rightly should be to seek immediate, emergency medical care, you soon wonder – just who is responsible for my injury?
Who will pay the bills and how long do I have to recover?
Well, your employer is responsible for providing medical care through its workers’ compensation insurance coverage (if they have this coverage), including:
- Visits to the doctor
- Any hospitalization and therapy sessions
- Tests that may be needed in your diagnosis
- Medical treatment including drugs you’ve been prescribed
- Any prostheses needed during your recovery
- Add mileage to and from the doctor add to the costs that can be reimbursed
Report Your Injury
As the employee, in most cases, you are guaranteed a “benefit certain” in the event of an on-the-job injury.
If your employer has more than four employees, they are required to provide medical treatment for your workplace injury under the federal workers’ compensation laws.
Even if your injury does not require a visit to the ER, do not hesitate to report it.
Perhaps you were cut from some heavy machinery. Upon closer inspection, the cut seems to be getting worse. Or maybe you were not wearing all of the required safety gear at the time of the injury and you don’t want that discovered.
Under Alabama law, all job-related injuries must be reported to your employer who contacts his insurance carrier. The insurance company files the Employers First Report of Injury to the state workers’ compensation division. It has the responsibility of promoting safety in the Alabama workplace under Alabama law and all employers must carry workers’ compensation coverage.
Do not opt instead to go to your private doctor. It will be up to the insurance carrier to determine which doctor you should see unless you are going to the emergency room for treatment.
While you are receiving workers’ comp benefits, you may still be able to recover from a third-party if an equipment failure was responsible for your injury.
Contact the personal injury lawyers at Mann & Potter for a complimentary consultation to discuss your accident, and your recovery both physically and fiscally.
Also, if the workplace is unsafe in any regard, OSHA, the federal Occupational and Safety and Health Administration will inspect the potential workplace hazard. Your employers cannot retaliate against you for filing an OSHA complaint.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Coverage in Alabama
Your workers’ compensation coverage should apply even if you were working for your employer part-time. You also may not have been at the actual worksite but involved in work-related activity, such as driving goods to another location.
Even under those conditions workers’ compensation covers any accidental injury.
You may be entitled to one of two types of temporary disability benefits to make up for lost wages while you recover.
Temporary total disability –Allows you to recover monies equaling 66 2/3% of your regular wages if your doctor says you cannot work. Certain more severe injuries may allow you to recover 80% of your regular wages for up to six months.
Temporary partial disability – If you can work with restrictions, according to your doctors’ direction, you may receive partial disability benefits up to 80% of your wages at the time of your accident.
If your disability is total and you are not expected to recover and cannot return to work, you may be eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits.
In the event of a death, your dependents will receive benefits based on your average weekly earnings.
You may not be able to seek benefits if the accident involved your intentional misconduct, you were intoxicated, or breached safety rules in the workplace.
Workplace Injuries – Where do they happen in Alabama?
The most dangerous jobs in Alabama appear to be in natural resources, mining, transportation, warehousing, and construction.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics considers injuries in the following categories:
- Transportation – Many jobs in Alabama involve construction and transportation. Transportation incidents resulted in 34 of the fatal work-related injuries in 2017, more than any other category recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This may include accidents involving the operator of eighteen-wheelers and injuries involving unloading big-rigs, or being struck by a vehicle.
- Equipment – The economy of Alabama relies on the use of heavy equipment. Forestry is the state’s second largest industry and altogether that sector accounted for 21 fatalities, whether being injured by a saw, or being hit with a heavy falling object on the job, or crushed in equipment, or a collapsing structure.
- Falls – Falls, slips, and trips accounted for the third most frequent category of job events with 13 fatalities. Falls to a lower level were a frequent cause of death.
- Exposure – Eight job-related deaths were due to exposure to harmful substances or environments, often at the states 200 known chemical companies. Contact with toxins, chlorine, stabilizers, and oxidants can come through direct skin contact or inhalation of the harmful substance.
- Violence – Believe it or not there were five incidents of violence in the workplace in 2017 that led to three homicides.
Your Alabama Workplace Injury Law Firm
During the course of the claims process it is always advised you have an experienced workers’ compensation law firm representing your interests. Though it is not required, understand that the employer will have one or more attorneys to represent their interest.
Your claim may involve complex issues concerning partial liability, compliance with safety rules and regulations, engineering, third parties, and indemnity. You may have to appeal any workers’ compensation claim.
The attorneys at Mann & Potter have the workplace accident experience to help you determine if you have a case, and if you do, the best way to pursue it. Contact our office today at 205-879-9661 or reach out to us online to schedule your free consultation.