When you are injured on the job in the state of Alabama, you may be entitled to the workers' compensation benefits. Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers has experienced Anniston workers' compensation lawyers ready to help and ensure you get the compensation you deserve and that the process is done properly.
We have the reputation of being one of the leading injury law firms in Anniston, and we will do our best to make sure you don't go back to your workplace if you have not fully recovered. If you want to know more about the process of workers' compensation claim and determine how much is it valued at, then talk to us today and get a free initial consultation.
What is Workers' Compensation?
This is a system where an employee is entitled to benefits when they are hurt when on the job. Some of the things injured workers are entitled to include;
- Medical care, which includes hospital stays and medication, and will be paid off by the insurer of the employer
- Total or temporary disability benefits if the doctor recommends the victim to take off their work for a given time
- Compensation for travel expenses
- Compensation for physical therapy and prescriptions
You may have the grounds to pursue vocational rehabilitation. Different states have different laws when it comes to workers' compensation, which is why it is important to get an attorney who has specialized in this field. You will have better chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
What Should I Do After Getting Injured at Work in Alabama?
Here are the steps to follow if you have sustained injuries when working:
- Let your employer know that you are hurt
- Immediately seek medical attention and follow the instructions you will be given
- Documenting your injuries and any symptoms related to the injury
- Taking videos and pictures of the injuries
- Filing a workers' compensation claim, and you should work with a workers' compensation attorney
- Sitting back, resting, and recuperating
If you fail to report the injuries to your employer as soon as possible, you might experience problems when seeking your benefits. You should always remember that your employer is not obligated to cover your medical care or injury payout, or a portion of your earnings until you have let them know about the injury. They will then refer you to a medical practitioner.
When dealing with such injuries, it is important to work with an Alabama workers' compensation lawyer who is going to make sure your rights are protected and look out for your interests. The lawyer will prove very helpful when it comes to navigating the murky process of filing for workers' compensation claims. You should always remember that you are going to deal with insurance adjusters, and their main goal will be to try to get you the least amount possible.
The insurance company carrying the coverage for the employer is going to benefit if your workers' compensation claim is denied. Knowing this is the case, you need to have someone to help you with the process and make sure you get the compensation you deserve. We have been able to help many injured employees in getting the compensation and benefits they deserve after getting involved in a workplace injury. The Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers has a team of experienced Alabama workers' compensation lawyers ready to help you.
Common Types of Work Injuries
There are some workplace injuries that are more common than others. People working in jobs that require physical labor have a higher risk of being involved in such incidents. This is because their jobs will involve the lifting of heavy objects, which puts a lot of strain on their bodies. Some injuries that are more prevalent when it comes to workers' compensation cases include:
- Back Injuries: they include disc issues and muscle strains. This can even lead to spinal cord injury
- Neck Injuries: This can be a torn tendon to a broken neck
- Brain Injuries: you deserve compensation if you end up suffering a traumatic brain injury
- Injured Knee: The meniscus or even the ACL can tear or injure. Surgery will be needed for both of these, then physical therapy later.
- Capital Tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel is the most common, even though there is a wide range of injuries from repetitive stress.
- Hip Injuries: you can suffer muscle strains and a broken hip
- Occupational Illnesses: This includes cancers, respiratory infections, etc.
There are some injuries that force you to miss work for a couple of months, and this can sometimes end up being years. There are some that are not that serious and you will be back working in no time. To be eligible for worker compensation, then the minimum time to be out of work is three weeks. If it is less than this, then you will be forced to use your own time and money when covering wages.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Work Injury?
Hiring a workers compensation lawyer in Anniston, Alabama is important because we have a good understanding of the state workers' compensation laws. We know the requirements you need to meet before qualifying for compensation.
The following criteria have to be met before qualifying for workers' compensation benefits;
1. You must have been on the clock when you realized you were sick or at the time of injury.
2. When you got injured, you must have been working within the scope of your employment.
For Example – Let's say you were working at a restaurant as a waiter, then get injured when unloading supplies from the truck. You will have a problem with your compensation. The claim can be denied unless it is your employer who gave you that task. The employer will just say you were doing something you were not employed to do. Hiring a workers' compensation lawyer in such instances can help because they are going to help in contesting the claims.
The lawyer needs to show enough proof that you no longer have the ability to perform your duties. If you work as a secretary and you injure your ankle, you can expect to have a harder time convincing the court that you have lost your ability to work.
3. You have to show that you were injured.
- The injury shouldn't be because of a pre-existing condition. While you aren't automatically disqualified because of a pre-existing condition, an employer can claim that they are not liable.
4. The kind of injuries sustained will determine whether they prevent you from working.
How Much Is Hiring a Workers' Compensation Attorney Going to Cost?
Here at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, we work on workers' compensation cases using the contingency fee basis. We usually charge 15% of the compensation you are going to get. If the case doesn't go our way, then you don't have to worry because you won't pay even a single cent.
My Workers' Compensation Claim was Denied, Why?
When there is an employee-employer relationship, the employees are going to be covered when they get injured at work, more so when it happens during the employment duration and arises due to employment. There are some exceptions that have been outlined by law, and insurance companies will try their best to deny benefits by exploiting them. Some of them include:
- When there was willful misconduct on the part of the worker that caused the accident
- When a fellow employee or third party causes injuries as a result of personal reasons
- When the employee fails when it comes to utilizing the safety appliance that the employer has willfully provided
- When the employee was intoxicated from alcohol or other drugs
- When there is deliberate self-harm to the employee
- When the employee has willfully neglected or refuses to follow the law
- If the employee breaches regulations or a rule that has been set by the employer
The insurance company will try their best to deny the claim based on their interpretation of what happened, and this is where our team of lawyers steps in. They will aggressively fight for your rights and make sure facts are presented, which will then increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve.
Some other disputes might come up because of the injuries, and this can include not attending doctor's appointments or choice of the treatment plan, readiness to get back to work, a disability rating, and disability settlement. If you are having a hard time with your compensation, let us represent you and make sure your rights have been protected, and also help you get the benefits you deserve.
Can I A Workers' Compensation Claim That Has Been Denied?
There are some things you need to do if you have been injured in a workplace accident. If you fail to follow the guidelines, then your claim can be denied. If your claim has been rejected, you will have a hard time appealing it. The process of appealing is very slow. As time goes, you will have to struggle with your bills.
When you get injured when working, you need to;
- Report to your supervisor or boss
- Let the human resources department know about your injuries and accident
- Get medical care from a physician that the company has approved
- Take a drug test if the employer needs it
- Talk to a workers' compensation lawyer
When you follow the rules above, then you can expect to have your claim approved. There is no guarantee for approval. A claim can be denied for a number of reasons. Hiring a workers' compensation lawyer is the best way of safeguarding your rights. Talk to us hear at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers and we will be there to protect your rights and represent you.
The Responsibilities of the Employer in a Workers' Compensation Case
The employer will be the one responsible for the medical costs, provided they are for the injuries that happened at the workplace. This will include both the immediate expenses and the ones you might have to deal with in the future. You also stand to get compensation for lost wages that happened when you were not working. There are issues that might come up between you and your employer when you file a claim.
There are instances where employers have denied the application. If you approach your employer and they claim that they are not responsible for the injuries, then the best course of action is contacting the Workers' Compensation Division then asking to talk with an ombudsman. They are going to be the mediator between your employer and you. Another option is contacting a workers' compensation lawyer who is going to handle it in the courts. From the day of the accident, you have two years to file a complaint in court.
There are cases where the employer approves the claim then asks you to come back to work before you have fully recovered. If you have been given time off by your doctor, then it is important to rest at home as long as needed. You should not be rushed to go back to work earlier than you should. If you are being pressured by the employer to return before recovering, then talk to a lawyer so you can know the options you have. If you go back to work before fully recovering, you are risking aggravating the injuries.
Talk to us if you are having doubts about how your employer is acting. There are laws protecting you. Companies are going to use any loopholes they get. This is why you are advised to hire an experienced attorney to help you with your case.
Can my Employer Fire Me for Filing a Claim?
There is an exception to the “at-will” principle given by the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act. This act states that an employer should not lay off an employee solely on the grounds that the employee filed legal action against them seeking workers' compensation benefits, or the employer filing a written notice of violating safety standards.
“Solely” is the keyword in that law, and it is the language the courts use when dealing with workers' compensation cases. If there are other reasons for firing an employee, the retaliation claim might not work.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer for a Workplace Injury?
There are some instances where an employee in Alabama can sue their employer outside of the workers' comp. There are four bases when it comes to the filing of a lawsuit regarding workers' comp injury:
- The employer did not obtain workers' comp insurance
- Intentional action that caused the injury
- Retaliation because the employee filed the workers' comp claim
- Sexual harassment
Is There a Time Limit for Workers Comp Claim?
In Alabama, a person will have two years from the date of injury to file a claim. You should try your best to file the workers' comp claim as soon as possible.
How Much is my Claim Worth?
After you have been involved in a work accident, the Alabama Workers' Compensation law is going to accommodate two benefits – paying the medical costs and also paying two-thirds of your average weekly earnings while you get better and stay away from your work. If you are not able to get back to work or you have to work with a permanent limitation, then you are entitled to a lump-sum payment that is contingent on either:
- The vocational limitations incurred
- The medical impairment
If your injuries were sustained because of negligence by a third party, then you can sue the third party and get compensation for the things that aren't found in the workers' compensation law.
Get In Touch With Our Anniston Workers Compensation Lawyers Today
If you have been injured when working, then make an effort of contacting Anniston compensation lawyer who will be able to help you out. Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers has experienced attorneys ready to help you. We are going to deal with the insurer and employer on your behalf.
One benefit of having an attorney helping you with your claim is how we can promptly file for an appeal if your claim is rejected. We have gotten our clients millions of dollars in such cases, and we can do the same for you too.
Contact our Anniston injury lawyers today for a free initial consultation.