A huge portion of our lives is spent working, earning and providing for our families and ourselves. Unfortunately, putting in this amount of time on the job can also put us at risk for work-related injuries and conditions. But fortunately, the government has created a program called workers’ compensation to help employees in the event of an injury.
Sometimes an injury is minor and you may only miss a few hours from work to get bandaged up. Some workplace injuries, however, are more serious and require a significant amount of time off to heal. And this can lead to problems due to lost wages and medical bills. When you suffer an accident or are diagnosed with a work-related health condition, you may be anxious about your financial future.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm are skilled in securing Montgomery workers the benefits and wages they need and deserve after suffering injury on the job. Our decades of experience can help you with your initial claim or work with you on an appeal if your claim is denied. Call us today.
Under Alabama workers’ compensation rules, Montgomery employers with five or more employees must carry workers’ comp insurance in order to protect workers injured in on-the-job accidents, or who have developed occupational illnesses. (Note that domestic workers, farm laborers, contract workers and temporary workers are typically not covered by workers’ compensation.)
This insurance provides medical care and partial wages for the injured employee while they’re unable to work. It also provides survivor benefits if an employee is killed on the job.
Workers’ comp is a no-fault system. What this means is that workers’ compensation insurance provides you – as an injured worker working in the scope of employment – a remedy without needing to establish that your employer was responsible for your injury. And, because you don’t have to prove fault, you agree not to bring a personal injury case against your employer. For example, losses like pain and suffering or emotional distress are unavailable through workers’ comp. However, workers’ compensation does compensate for injury-related medical care and two-thirds of your average weekly wage.
To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you simply must be a bona fide employee of the company. This comes with two major exceptions – crewmembers on vessels and railroad workers are not eligible for workers’ comp. Under federal law, these types of employees must use litigation instead. Other ineligible employees, as mentioned earlier, could include independent contractors or freelance employees.
And, even though workers’ compensation is designed to be no-fault, there are certain circumstances where an employee may be disqualified for benefits. The injured employee can be denied benefits if they were behaving recklessly at the time of the accident or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re unsure as to whether you qualify for workers’ comp, talk to an experienced attorney for guidance.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that workers’ comp insurance covers just about every injury or occupational illness, as long as it occurred during the course of employment. Even a previous or chronic injury may be eligible, if your job has exacerbated or caused it to flare. Job-related injuries can also happen when you’re not on your job site or at your office – for example, during work travel.
Workplace accidents and injuries can happen at any moment, so it’s important to know what to do in order to protect your rights to benefits and file a successful claim. You may find the following steps helpful:
It’s not required to have a lawyer represent you for a workers’ comp claim, but it’s recommended for several reasons. A lawyer can walk you through the process, warn of any potential pitfalls and offer guidance when needed. And trying to recover your benefits without a lawyer, especially in cases of serious injuries or chronic conditions, can result in unnecessary delays or outright denials.
Your workers’ comp attorney can also assist you with:
Other times you may benefit from working with a lawyer might be when an employer attempts to retaliate against you for filing for workers’ comp (which is illegal), or when your job tries to force you back to work before you’re fully healed.
And, even if your injuries are minor and you don’t feel you’ll need much time off, even a consultation with an attorney is prudent. Some injuries take longer to manifest in their severity, and lead to higher medical bills in the future.
Talk to the workers’ compensation lawyers at Mezrano Law Firm if you’ve suffered injury on the job. We can help with everything workers’ comp related – from filing your claim to appealing denied claims to appearing at hearings. Our team works hard to get you the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 205-206-6300 or fill out our contact form to set up a consultation at our Montgomery office.