Birmingham Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Help for injured workers throughout Alabama
If you sustain an injury while working, you can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. But what do you do if you are denied? Or if you get fired after applying benefits? Or if you aren’t an employee? Having a Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can make all the difference. Call Mezrano Law Firm today to find out more.
Alabama’s workers’ compensation program
In the state of Alabama, almost every employer with 5 or more employees – part-time and/or full-time – must carry workers’ compensation insurance. You are eligible to apply for benefits under this insurance plan provided:
- You work for an employer whose business is covered under the law.
- Your injury resulted from an accident at your workplace, or during the course of your employment.
- You inform your employer within 5 days of your injury, and file written notices within 90 days.
There are a few exceptions to the rule when it comes to coverage. For example, if you staged your own injury, or if you were drunk or drugged on the job when you got hurt, your claim can be denied. The same is true if your own behavior – like not wearing safety equipment, or while goofing around on the job – is what caused you to be hurt.
There are also a few employers who are exempt from the law:
- Employers of domestic help
- Construction of single-family, detached, residential dwellings
- Farm laborers
- Municipal employees where the municipality has fewer than 2,000 people
- Contract employees (non-employee workers)
Claiming benefits after a work injury
Alabama lets you file for specific types of benefits, depending on the severity of your injury.
Weekly compensation: wage-loss benefits
As of 2018, the maximum weekly wage-loss benefits an employee can claim is $865 per week. The minimum amount is $238 week. Benefits are calculated at 66 2/3 your salary, and you can collect for up to 52 weeks.
Example: You make $400 a week, and need workers’ compensation benefits for 12 weeks. That equates to $266.64 a week, for a total of $3199.68 in benefits.
Death and burial expenses
If an employee dies while working, or as a result of worksite injuries, the average weekly earnings are either multiplied by 50% (for one dependent) or 66 and 2/3% (for more than one dependent). These payments cannot exceed 500 weeks. If there is no dependent, then a one-time, lump-sum payment of $7,500 will be made to the workers’ estate. The employer will also make a one-time, lump-sum payment of up to $6,500 to help with burial costs.
Injured workers can also have their medical bills covered, even if they have insurance.
How long do workers’ compensation benefits last?
It depends on the type of injury you have. Per the state of Alabama, you can collect benefits for:
|Permanent Partial Body (Disability)||300 weeks|
|Temporary Total Disability||Unlimited|
|Temporary Partial Disability||300 weeks|
In cases where a worker is claiming temporary total disability or temporary partial disability, there will be no benefits paid for the first three days of that disability unless the employer as been told, or has knowledge of the worksite injury. After 21 days, the first three days’ worth of compensation will be added to the installment.
Seeing a doctor after a workplace injury
When you get hurt on the job, the most important thing you have to do (next to informing your boss) is see a doctor. However, you cannot necessarily see your own doctor. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier or your employer picks the primary care provider. If that doctor refers you to someone else, you still need permission from your employer or the carrier to see the other doctor.
Why is this important? Because if you fail to see the chosen provider, or if you don’t get permission to see a different doctor, your claim for your medical bills can be denied. In fact, your claim for workers’ compensation can be denied, too.
What injuries are eligible for workers’ compensation?
Any injury that you sustain while in the course of your job duties should be eligible for workers’ compensation. Some of the most common types of claims involve:
- Car accidents. If you drive for a living, or if you are running an errand for your job, you can claim benefits.
- Repetitive stress injuries. Constant bending, lifting, and twisting can lead to joint and tendon injuries. Things like “barista wrist” (from carrying trays) and carpal tunnel (from using a computer, or swiping things on a checkout lane) are also fairly common workers’ comp claims.
- Overexertion injuries. If you strain or sprain a muscle, tendon, or ligament in the course of your work, you can make a claim for benefits.
- Crushing injuries. If an object falls on you, or if you are crushed between two objects, workers’ compensation will cover that.
- Falls. Falls are the leading cause of workplace death. If you fall on the job – either from a slip or a trip, or from a ladder or scaffold – you can claim benefits.
- Toxic exposure. If your work exposes you to deadly chemicals, pathogens, or other toxic elements, you can file a workers’ compensation claim.
What if I was already injured?
It depends. If you had a previous injury that was exacerbated by an accident at work, you may still be entitled to workers’ compensation.
Why you need a Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyer to file a claim
You can file a workers’ compensation claim on your own, but we would advise against it. Your Birmingham worksite injury attorney will:
- Ensure your paperwork is correct and filed on time
- Make sure your medical records are up-to-date
- Help you settle your claim with the Alabama Circuit Court if a mistake has been made in the determination of your injury
- Represent you in a hearing during the appeals process, if you are wrongfully denied benefits
Filing a third-party injury claim
If you are hurt on the job but are ineligible for workers’ compensation, you may need to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit in order to collect damages. You can also file a third-party lawsuit while you file for benefits, but you will be required to pay back your workers’ compensation award if you win your lawsuit. An attorney at Mezrano Law Firm can help you determine what is best for you, and make sure you have the tools and resources you need to move forward with your decision.
Learn more about workers’ compensation from a trusted Birmingham law firm
If you were injured at work, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits. Our Birmingham injury lawyers can help you decide if workers’ comp is right for you, or if you would be better served by a personal injury claim. To learn more, please call Mezrano Law Firm at 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Alabama.
If you have a case, you have a lawyer. Call us today to learn more.