Workers' comp is what employers pay to their employees who get injured on the job. In Alabama, workers' comp laws provide two basic rights (benefits) for those who sustain injury. These rights are applicable during the recuperating period and cover medical impairment and vocational limitations.
Alabama law provides a lump sum for either of the two. If a third party's negligence caused the work injury, you could sue the third party. If you do, you'll be able to get compensation other than the basic workers' comp benefits. A Birmingham workers' compensation lawyer would help file the lawsuit.
Below, we list out some of your rights under Alabama workers' compensation law.
Right to Medical Medical Treatment
Alabama law provides that employers or their workers' comp carrier must pay for all accident-related medical treatments. Because of this provision, the law allows the employer to choose the physician for the treatment or the hospital. It means that the employer will most likely pick conservative doctors who do not perform expensive surgery or diagnosis.
The goal is to reduce the employee's downtime and get the person back to work as soon as possible. While this might appear not to be in the employee's best interest, the law allows it. The essential thing is that the injured employee gets the treatment they need, and the employer pays for it.
However, the employee can ask for a different doctor if they are unsatisfied with the physician provided by the employer. In this instance, the workers' comp insurance carrier will provide four alternate physicians for the employee to choose from.
Also, under Alabama law, there is no Statute of Limitations for payment of workplace injury. It means that the employer will continue paying for your treatment for as long as the injury or a condition caused by it persists. If it lasts for the rest of your life, the employer will keep paying.
Right to Average Weekly Payments
During the time you're unable to work, you have the right to receive two-third of the average weekly wage (AWW). Employers arrive at the sum by adding up the employee's gross income over the past year and dividing it by 52. Alabama law allows this because if the employee gets their full wage, they may not want to return to work.
Ideally, when an employee finishes treatment, they should be able to work and resume their duties. If this happens, they will no longer receive workers' compensation. Conversely, the person might return to work and be unable to perform the functions they used to.
In this instance, Alabama law provides that the employee receives either a “Scheduled” or “Unscheduled” lump-sum payment. Note that the scheduled payment differs from injury to injury. For example, certain body part injuries get a specific dollar amount. Thus, what someone with a broken arm gets is different from someone with an amputated arm.
Unscheduled injury claims are not assigned to a specific limb and do not get a fixed dollar amount. Examples are hip, brain, or back injuries. Unscheduled injuries that are permanent get a higher workers' compensation settlement than scheduled injuries. If it is a catastrophic wound, like brain damage, the employer will forgo the lump sum. They will pay the employee two-third of their wages weekly for life.
Right To Sue for Wrongful Termination
It's not unheard of for employers to sack their injured employees to avoid paying workers' compensation. However, Alabama laws frown against this and forbid employees from terminating employees solely for claiming workers' compensation. If your employer fires you for bringing a workers' comp claim, you can file a civil lawsuit against them in a court of law.
Right To Institute Third Party Claims
Generally, in Alabama, the only benefits claimable by injured employees are workers' compensation. However, in situations where a third party played a role in the employee's injury, they can claim against the person. For example, an employee has to make a delivery using the company's vehicle.
While on the trip, a vehicle crashes into the employee's car, leaving them with injuries. In that instance, the employee will bring a workers' comp claim and personal injury lawsuit. The latter would be against the driver of the other vehicle (the third party). Compensation awarded for third-party claims includes pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, and sometimes punitive damages.
Mike Bell Injury Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights!
Have your rights been breached by your employer and your workers' compensation denied? Mike Bell Injury Lawyers can help you. We have years of experience in protecting our clients' rights and getting the benefits they deserve. Call us today to get started on your case.