When you are injured on the job in Alabama, you may be entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits. When you work with an experienced Bessemer workers compensation lawyer from the Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers, it can help to ensure that your claim gets handled correctly. We are one of the leading injury law firms in Bessemer, and we will ensure that you are not pressured to return to work until you have made a full recovery. To learn more about the process of filing a claim for workers' compensation and how your claim's value is determined, contact our law offices today to get a risk-free evaluation scheduled.
What is Workers' Compensation?
It is a system that has been put in place where when an individual is hurt while on the job, they become legally entitled to the following:
- Medical care, which includes hospital stays and medication, which your employer's insurer pays for
- Temporary total disability benefits if you are taken off of work by your doctor for a certain period of time
- Compensation for physical therapy and prescriptions
- Compensation for necessary travel expenses
You may have legal grounds as well to pursue vocational rehabilitation. Every state has laws of its own for workers' compensation, and it is essential that you work with a lawyer who specializes in Alabama workers' compensation law in order to improve your chances of receiving it.
What Steps Should I Take If I Become Injured at Work?
You should do the following if you suffer any work-related injuries:
- Inform your employer that you have been injured
- Immediately seek medical attention and follow the instructions of your healthcare providers
- Keep good records of all of your injuries and any related symptoms
- Take videos or photos of your injuries if possible
- File your workers' compensation claim with assistance from a Bessemer workers' compensation lawyer
- Relax, rest, and recover
If you fail to report the injuries you have suffered as promptly as possible to your employer it could affect your ability for seeking workers' compensation. Be aware that your employer is not obligated to pay for work-related injuries and medical care or part of your injuries until you have informed them of your accident and have been referred to a medical provider.
You should strongly consider hiring an experienced Alabama workers' compensation attorney to look after and fight for your best interests and assist you with navigating through the complex process of getting a workers' compensation claim filed. Be aware that you will have insurance adjusters to deal with whose main job is lowering the payment amount you receive as much as possible.
Your employer's insurance company carrying their workers' compensation coverage has a financial interest to deny your workers' compensation claim in Alabama. Therefore, you need to have an experienced expert who can get past all of the red tape and make sure you get the compensation that you deserve and need. For many years now, we have assisted injured workers with getting the benefits that they deserve after they sustained a workplace injury. Call the experienced attorneys at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers now.
What are the Most Common Kinds of Work Injuries?
There are some workplace injuries that are more common than others. Individuals whose jobs involve physical labor are a lot more likely to become injured at work. That is due to the fact that many of the tasks that they perform involve lifting heavy items. This constantly places strain on their bodies. Some of the most common injuries found in workers' compensation cases include the following:
- Back injuries: This includes disc issues and muscle strains. You could suffer a spinal cord injury as well
- Neck injuries: A worker could tear a tendon in their neck or even break their neck on the job
- Brain injuries: You will be eligible to receive compensation if you sustain a traumatic brain injury at work
- Injured Knee: You may injure or tear the ACL or meniscus. These injuries both often require surgery and then physical therapy to recover
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: You can suffer from many different forms of repetitive stress injuries, although the most common is, perhaps, carpal tunnel.
- Hip injuries: You may suffer muscle strains and a broken hip
- Occupational illnesses: including cancer, respiratory infections, etc.
There are some specific injuries that can cause you to miss work for several months or even years. Others will not be as serious and you will be able to return to work quickly. To file for workers' compensation, you need to have been out of work for at least 3 weeks. You will need to use your personal time and resources for covering your wages for anything less than that.
Why Should I Hire a Workers' Compensation Attorney in Bessemer?
One of the main reasons why you should rely on experienced Bessemer, Alabama workers' compensation attorneys is they are thoroughly familiar with the local laws. They have a complete understanding of the requirements that are necessary to qualify to receive workers' compensation.
You must meet the criteria below in order to get workers' compensation benefits:
You must have been on the job at the time you realized you were sick or injured
You also must have been performing work that was within the scope of your regular employment. For example, if you are a waiter who works at a restaurant and you are injured as a result of unloading supplies off of a truck, there could be a problem. Unless you were given that task by your employer, your claim could be denied. Your employe may claim you were not employed to perform that type of task. However, your workers' compensation attorney can help you contest your claim.
Your attorney must provide conclusive proof that you are unable to perform your duties any longer. If you are a secretary and you injure your ankle, it might be hard to convince the court that you cannot do your job any longer.
You must demonstrate you were actually injured. Your injury cannot be due to a pre-existing condition. Although a pre-existing condition or ailment does not disqualify you from getting workers' compensation, your employer may try to claim that they are not liable for the injuries you have sustained.
Whether or not your injuries prevent you from being able to perform your job will completely depend on the type of injuries you have suffered.
How Much Does Hiring an Alabama Workers' Compensation Lawyer Cost?
All workers' compensation cases at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers are handled on a contingency fee basis. Our standard legal fee for these services is 15% of the compensation amount that the court awards you. If we do not win your case for you, then you will no have to pay us anything.
Why Did My Workers' Compensation Claim Get Denied?
Generally speaking, if there is an employer-employee relationship within the company, then employees are covered in case of an injury. This is even more so when an injury takes place during the course of employment and arises from employment. However, there are some exceptional cases that the law outlines that insurance companies frequently attempt to exploit in order to deny benefits. These include:
- Whenever a fellow employee or third party causes your injury due to personal reasons
- Whenever a worker's willful misconduct causes the accident
- Whenever an employee deliberate self-harms
- Whenever an employee willfully fails to use the safety appliances that the employer has provided
- Whenever an employee is intoxicated at work due to taking drugs or alcohol
- Whenever a worker willfully and knowingly breaches a regulation or rule that the employer has set up
- Whenever an employee willfully neglects or refuse to follow the law
Your employer's insurance company may attempt to deny your claim based on how they interpret the event, and that is where our attorneys will aggressively fight for your rights and provide facts in the best possible light about the accident to give the best chance for your claim.
A couple of other types of disputes may arise from your injuries. They include your choice of doctor and treatment plan, readiness to return to work, a partial disability rating, and disability settlement. If you are faced with any problems related to workers' compensation, you can rely on us to advocate aggressively for your rights, represent you, and obtain favorable results.
Is It Possible To Appeal a Workers' Compensation Claim That Has Been Denied?
If you were injured as a result of a workplace accident, there are several standard things you should do. Failing to properly follow these guidelines could put your entire claim at risk for being denied. If your claim is rejected, appealing it will not be easy. The appeals procedure is very slow. While you are waiting, you may struggle with trying to pay your bills.
You should take the following steps, immediately after you are injured:
- Report the accident immediately to your supervisor
- Be sure that the human resources depart is aware of your injuries and the accident
- Seek medical care promptly from a physician that your employer has approved
- If necessary, take a drug test
- Contact a Bessemer workers' compensation attorney
If you follow those rules it will help to ensure that your claim gets approved. However, there are no guarantees. Your claim could be denied for a number of different reasons. If you would like to protect your rights under Alabama state laws, then you should hire a workers' compensation attorney on retainer. To ensure your rights stay protected, contact Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers's expert team.
What Responsibilities Do Employers Have in Workers Comp Cases?
Your employer is responsible for all of your medical expenses as long as they took place due to a workplace-related injury. That includes immediate expenses as well as other costs you are likely to incur later on. You also should be compensated for lost wages due to spending time away from work. However, when you file your claim, many issues could arise between your employer and you.
In certain cases, an employer will deny your workers' benefits application. If your employer is insistent that they are not responsible for the injuries you have sustained, you should immediately contact the Workers' Compensation Divisions and ask to talk to an ombudsman. Ideally, they will act as a mediator between your employer and you. Or, call a workers' compensation attorney to have them handle your case in court. Remember that you have two years to file your complaint with the court, starting on the day that your accident took place.
There are cases where your claim is approved by your employer but then later they demand you come back t work before you have fully recovered. If you were given time off by your doctor, you should stay at home and rest for as long as necessary. Do not let your employer pressure you into going back to work before you should. If your employer is trying to compel you to return to work before you have fully recovered, contact an attorney to discuss what options are available to you. Returning to work before you have fully recuperated can place you at risk for aggravating your injuries.
If you are not sure whether or not your employer is fulfilling their obligations or acting within the law, contact us. There are been certain laws put into place to help protect you. Some of these laws are quite complex, and if any loopholes can be found, companies will definitely try to use them. That is why working with an experienced lawyer is so important.
Can I be Fired in Alabama for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim?
There is an exception provided by the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act for the “at-will” principle. It is stipulated in the act that an employee cannot be laid off by an employee based solely on the fact that the employee has initiated legal action against their employer in order to seek workers' compensation benefits or because a written notice is filed by the employer of the violation of safety standards.
“Solely” is the keyword here. It is often used in courts during workers' compensation cases. Therefore, the retaliation claim may not survive if there were any other reasons why the employee was fired.
Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer for Workplace Injuries?
An employee in Alabama has the right in a number of situations to sue their employee outside of the workers' compensation system. There are basically four bases to file a lawsuit for workers' compensation injuries:
- The employer failed to get sufficient workers' compensation insurance
- The employer retaliated against the employee for filing their workers' compensation claim
- Sexual harassment
- Intentional action that causes an injury
Are there any Time Limits for Getting a Workers' Compensation Claim Filed?
Under Alabama State Law, whenever an individual sustains an injury while at work, they have a maximum of 2 years starting on the date of their injury to file their claim. It is best to file a workers' compensation claim as quickly as you can.
What is My Alabama Workers Compensation Claim Worth?
There are two benefits that are accommodated for under Alabama Workers' Compensation law – paying medical expenses and payment two-thirds of your average weekly salary or wages while you are out of work. If you are unable to resume work or have permanent limitations once you return, the law allows for you to receive a lump-sum payment that is contingent on one of the following:
- The vocational limitations that you have incurred
- Your medical impairment
Also, if the injuries you suffered were caused by a third party's negligence other than your employer, you have the right to sue this third party and obtain the compensation that is not available under workers' compensation law.
Contact A Bessemer Workers Compensation Lawyer Today
If you were injured while on the job, immediately contact a Bessemer, Alabama workers' compensation attorney. A Mike Bell law Firm lawyer will ensure that your claim is handled properly. We will also contact your employer as well as their insurance company.
The key advantage to being represented by an attorney is if your claim does get denied, we will move quickly to get an appeal filed for you. We have been able to win millions of dollars worth of compensation for many clients. We can do the same for you.