In Alabama, when someone gets injured while on the job, they are, in most cases, entitled to obtain workers' compensation benefits. If you've suffered injuries while at your place of work, hiring the services of an experienced and professional Tuscaloosa workers compensation lawyer from Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers is advised if you want your claim for compensation to be appropriately handled.
By choosing us, you choose to work with one of the best injury law firms in Tuscaloosa and the surrounding cities. As your legal counsel, we will make sure that you are not forced to go back to work until you have fully recovered. For more on what it takes to file a workers' compensation claim and how claims like yours are valued, give us a call today at 205-666-6000 and schedule a no-obligation, free-of-charge evaluation.
Workers' Compensation? What is it?
Workers' compensation is a form of insurance that covers the best interests of people who've been hurt while at their place of work. With workers' compensation, victims are legally entitled to:
- Temporary full disability benefits in cases where a doctor takes an individual off work for some time.
- Medical care, including hospital stays and medication. All bills and costs are paid for by the employer's insurance company.
- Compensation for necessary travel expenses
- Compensation for physical therapy and prescriptions
As a victim, you also reserve the right to pursue vocational rehabilitation. Since workers' compensation laws vary from state to state, it's vital to ensure that the lawyer you pick is conversant with Alabama workers' compensation laws to increase your chances of getting compensated for injuries.
I Got Injured While on the Job, What Next?
If you've sustained any work-related injuries in Tuscaloosa, make sure you follow these steps:
- Make sure your employer knows that you've been hurt
- Seek medical attention right away and make sure you follow their instructions
- Take videos or photos of your injuries if you are still able
- Do your best to ensure you maintain a good record of all your injuries and associated symptoms
- Hire the services of a Tuscaloosa workers' compensation lawyer from Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers and have them help you file a workers' compensation claim
- Take time off to rest and recuperate
Not reporting your injuries to your employer as soon as possible could affect your ability to file for workers' compensation benefits. As a victim, it is worth noting that your employer is not obligated to pay for work-related injuries and medical care or parts of your wage until you have informed them of the accident and have been referred to a doctor.
For this reason, you should employ the services of an experienced Alabama workers' compensation attorney. A personal injury attorney has your best interest at heart and can help you navigate the generally very complicated process of filing for workers' compensation. However, it is worth noting that you will also be dealing with insurance company adjusters. Their main aim? Doing their best to ensure the payment amount is as low as possible.
Insurance companies that offer employers workers' compensation coverage have their own economic interests, which is why they do everything possible to deny or lower the amount of your workers' compensation claim. With this in mind, it's vital that you have someone helping you navigate the different obstacles in your path to ensure you get compensated for your injuries.
As a law firm that handles personal injury cases, we have handled dozens of workers' compensation cases over the years, helping injured Alabama workers acquire the benefits they rightly deserve for their workplace injuries. Call Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers today and speak to our experienced workers' compensation attorneys for improved chances of getting compensated.
What are Some of the Most Common Injuries People at their Place of Work?
When it comes to workplace injuries, some damages are more common than others. For instance, people whose line of work involves a lot of physical labor are generally more susceptible to getting injured while at work. Since most of their tasks involve moving and lifting heavy objects, their bodies experience a lot of strain most of the time. Common injuries that people seeking workers' compensation benefits suffer include:
- Neck injuries: Workers could sustain anything from a broken neck to torn tendons
- Back injuries: These include disc issues and muscle strains. In more severe cases, one could sustain spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries: If one suffers a traumatic brain injury due to work-related injuries, they become eligible to seek workers' comp benefits
- Knee injuries: A worker might injure or tear their ACL or meniscus, injuries that generally require surgery and physical therapy
- Occupational illnesses such as cancers, respiratory infections, etc.
- Hip injuries: There is a chance a worker could suffer muscle strains or even a broken hip
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: While the range of repetitive stress injuries is quite wide, carpal tunnel is the most common
Some injuries could cause you to miss work for several months or even years. At the same time, others aren't that serious – with the right treatment and rest, you should be back to work in no time at all. If you plan on filing a workers' compensation claim, then please note that you need to prove that you've been out of work for at least three weeks due to your injuries. If you are okay and back to work within this period, you will use your time and personal resources to cover your wage.
Why Should I Hire a Workers' Compensation Attorney for a Claim in Alabama?
How Much Do Workers' Compensation Attorney Services in Alabama Cost?
All workers' compensation cases in Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers are handled on a contingency basis. We charge a legal fee of 15%, which we deduct from the amount you are awarded as compensation by the court. What this means is that if we fail to win the case, we don't get paid.
Why Was My Claim for Workers' Compensation Benefits Denied?
As long as there is a relationship between the employee and the employer, the employee is generally covered in the event they get injured, especially if the injury occurs while they are still under employment and is suffered as they perform their duty. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptional cases outlined by the law which insurers often exploit to avoid paying out benefits. Here is a look at some of these instances:
- When a fellow employee or third-party injures another because of personal reasons
- When willful misconduct by the worker results in injury
- When an employee deliberately refuses to use provided safety gear and appliances
- When an employee intentionally hurts themselves
- When an employee knows yet willingly breaches a regulation or rule set up by the employer
- When a worker willingly neglects or refuses to follow the law
- When an employee suffers injury due to being intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs
Insurers will always try their best to deny a claim based on their own assumptions of what really happened, and that's where our attorneys come into the picture. Our attorneys are here to fight for your rights and make sure you get compensated. To make this possible, we always strive to provide real and indisputable facts about the incident, and in the best light, so your claim stands a chance of being successful.
Several disputes can arise from your injuries, including readiness to get back to work, choice of attending doctor and treatment plan, disability settlement, and partial disability ratings. If you've suffered workplace injuries and don't know where to start with your workers' compensation claim, give us the chance to represent you as we fight for your best interest.
Can I Appeal If My Workers' Comp Claim gets Denied?
If you have suffered injuries while at your workplace, there are several things you need to make sure you do. When you fail to follow these guidelines, you put your entire claim at risk of being denied. In the event your claim gets rejected, appealing won't be that easy, especially considering that the procedure takes time. The problem with this is that while you wait for your case to be reviewed, you might find yourself in a difficult place, considering you still have to pay for your bills.
Therefore, make sure you do the following immediately after your accident:
- Report the incident to your supervisor immediately after it happens
- Make sure you let Human Resources know that you've been involved in an accident and that you've been injured
- Seek medical care from a company-approved physician as soon as possible
- Take a drug test if your employer requires it
- Call a professional and dependable Tuscaloosa workers' compensation attorney as soon as you can
Doing these things will help improve your chances of getting your claim approved.
However, it is worth noting that there is no guarantee your case will get approved. There are several reasons why such cases get denied. To ensure you safeguard your rights as per Alabama laws, consider hiring the services of a workers' compensation attorney on retainer. Reach out to us at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers now for professional legal counsel and representation.
What are the Responsibilities of Employers in Workers' Compensation Cases?
In workers' comp cases, employers are responsible for all medical costs as long as they are for injuries suffered while on the clock. This includes all immediate expenses and any other expenses you might incur in the days to come. At the same time, it is their responsibility to ensure that you are compensated for the wages you lost while away from work due to your injuries. As a victim, keep in mind that once you file your claim, a variety of issues might or will arise between the two of you.
Some employers deny the workers' comp benefits application. If you've been injured while at work and your employer maintains that they are not responsible for your injuries, contact the local Workers' Compensation Division and ask to speak to an ombudsman (acts as a mediator between you and the employer.) If that option doesn't work for you, the other option would be to hire the services of a workers' comp attorney and have them handle your case in court. Do not forget that you have approximately two years from the day of your accident to file your complaint.
In some instances, an employer approves a claim then later on demands the worker to return back to work before they've fully recovered. If your physician prescribed that you take time off and rest for as long as needed, do not let your employer push you into getting back work sooner than recommended. If your employer is pushing you to get back to work before you've fully recuperated, contact an attorney and let them help you weigh your options. Going back to work before you've fully recovered leaves you more susceptible to injuries.
If you are not sure your employer is fulfilling their obligations or if he is acting within the law, get in touch with us now! There are laws in place that are designed to protect you. At the same time, some are quite complicated. If some of these laws have loopholes, rest assured that some companies will find and exploit them, which is why you need to consider working with a professional and experienced lawyer.
Can Injured Employees be Fired for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim in Alabama?
Alabama's Workers' Compensation Act provides an exception to the “at-will” principle. The act specifies that no employee/worker should be laid off by their employer solely because the employee filed a case against the employer seeking workers' compensation benefits or because the employer has filed a written notice of safety standards violations.
The main word here is ‘solely,' and this is often the language that's used by the court system during workers' compensation cases. This, therefore, means that the retaliation claim might fail in case the employer has other reasons for dismissing the employee.
Can I Sue My Employer for Injuries Suffered at the Workplace?
There are several instances where an employee in Alabama has the right to file a lawsuit against their employer outside of workers' compensation. There are basically four bases for filing a suit with regards to workers' comp injuries:
- Sexual harassment
- Intentional actions that result in injury
- Reprisal for filing a workers' compensation claim
- The employer failed to acquire the right workers' compensation insurance
Does the State of Alabama Have a Time Limit for Filing a Workers' Comp Claim?
In Alabama, when a person gets injured while in their place of work, they have up to two years from the day they got injured to file a claim. It is, therefore, in your best interest to ensure you file your claim as soon as you can.
How Much is My Workers' Compensation Claim Worth?
Workers' comp laws in Alabama accommodate two benefits for people who've been injured while on the clock – payment of two-thirds of their average weekly wage for the time they were away from work and payment of medical costs. If your injuries leave you with permanent limitations that limit your ability to perform your duties or make it impossible for you to resume work, the law allows for lump-sum payments contingent on either:
- Vocational limitations incurred
- Medical impairment
Moreover, if the negligent actions of another person caused your injuries, you reserve the right to sue them and receive compensation that is not available under workers' compensation law.
Call a Tuscaloosa Workers' Compensation Lawyer for Assistance
If you have suffered injuries while at your place of work, make sure you contact our Tuscaloosa personal injury attorneys as soon as you can. The attorneys at Mike Bell Accident & Injury Lawyers will help ensure your claim is handled the right way and that you get compensated for your damages. As your advocate, we understand that you are going through a tough time, which is why we take it upon ourselves to handle your employer and their insurer so you can enjoy peace of mind as you recuperate.
One benefit of having a lawyer by your side is that in the event your claim gets declined, we will do our best to ensure we promptly file an appeal for you. Over the years, we have won millions of dollars in compensation for people who've chosen us to be their legal representatives, and we can do the same for you. Give us a call today for a chance to speak with one of our workers' compensation attorneys and schedule a free consultation!