Alabama law requires certain employers to buy workers' compensation insurance for their employees. Therefore, if any worker suffers an on-the-job injury or occupational disease, they can rely on the Alabama workers' comp benefits. However, workers' comp benefits usually don't last forever.
That's why it's essential to know when your benefits should end. It's possible to stop receiving comp payments before the reasonable date. If you don't have the correct information, you wouldn't know what to do.
If you think that your workers' comp benefits ended prematurely, hiring a workers' compensation attorney would be best. An excellent lawyer can evaluate your case and determine whether or not your employer is unjustly withholding your benefits.
When Does Alabama Workers' Comp Benefits End?
If you file a successful workers' comp claim in Alabama, you will receive two benefit classes. They are the cost of medical treatment and two-thirds of your weekly wages.
Your employer will foot all your medical bills flowing from the work accident or disease. Therefore, Alabama law allows your employer to choose your medical provider. They can also select the health facility. It'll help to have a lawyer at this stage. This way, your employer doesn't choose cheaper and less reliable hospitals to save costs.
You can also receive a percentage of your weekly wages in addition to your medical costs. The extra payment will cater to your non-medical needs. Usually, it's 2/3 of your average weekly salary. The relevant figure is the amount your employer was paying at the injury or disease date. Lawyers and employers will divide your gross annual income by 52 to get the correct figure.
From the above, there are two instances where your Alabama workers' comp benefits will end. They include when you recover and when you can no longer recover.
Full Recovery and Resumption at Work
If you fully recover from your injury or disease, you can resume work. When you restart your former job, your employer will most likely place you on your former wages. Since you're no longer disadvantaged, it'll be unreasonable to continue receiving the weekly comp payments. Furthermore, you also wouldn't require any medical treatment. Therefore, workers' comp medical benefits will end too.
Inability To Resume Work
Some work injuries can cause permanent physical disability. In such cases, returning to work will be impossible. Alabama law thus provides for lump sum settlements based on your:
- Medical impairment rating
- Vocational limitations
These lump payments can be “scheduled” or “unscheduled.” A scheduled payment would be for injuries the law assigns a definite dollar amount. This includes some severe and minor injuries. Conversely, the law doesn't give specific dollar amounts to unscheduled injury claims.
These lump-sum payments will effectively end your workers' compensation. However, in some instances, your employer may choose to pay two-thirds of your regular wage for life. Usually, they'll pick this option for employees with very severe injuries such as brain damage. Finally, you can also sue any third party that caused or contributed to your injuries.
Unfortunately, Alabama's Workers' Compensation Act is notorious for favoring employers and their insurance companies. Therefore, the chances are high that you won't receive very substantial benefits. However, if you have an excellent comp lawyer, they can ensure you receive fair compensation.
Can My Employer End My Workers' Comp Benefits as Retaliation?
It's not unlikely that a business owner will fire an employee for filing for workers' compensation. However, Alabama law protects you against such retaliation. Therefore, it's illegal for employers to end your benefits as an act of vengeance.
Once you recover from your illness or accident injuries, you can resume work with standard pay. If your employer sacks you for filing for Alabama workers' comp, you can sue them. The court can grant you lost wages and even punitive damages. Finally, your employer probably knows the legal position on retaliation. So, they most likely won't wrongfully terminate your employment.
Alabama Workers' Comp Attorneys Can Help!
Do you think your employer stopped sending your workers' comp benefits unduly? Or you're merely concerned as to when the benefits you're currently receiving will end? Whatever the case, only the best Alabama workers' compensation attorneys can answer your questions.
Indeed, you mustn't hire a workers' comp attorney in Alabama. However, there are some issues that require the specialized knowledge of a lawyer. Our attorneys at Mike Bell Injury Law Firm have spent multiple years helping Alabama residents with complex workers' comp issues.
In the process, we've gathered vast experience to win any workers' comp claim. Therefore, it'll be best to call us today for a FREE consultation on your case.