If you’ve suffered a work-related injury or illness in Decatur, Alabama, you may be entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits. These may cover a portion of your lost wages, your medical expenses, as well as other related costs.
Navigating the workers’ compensation claims process can be complicated. Sometimes, insurance companies wrongfully delay or refuse to provide employees with the benefits they’re owed.
After you’ve suffered a work injury or occupational illness in Decatur, AL, turn to the workers’ compensation attorneys of Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. We offer free consultations so you can learn more about your eligibility for workers’ compensation, how to file for benefits, and what kinds of benefits you may be entitled to.
Common Work Injuries in Decatur
Work-related accidents or conditions can lead to many different types of occupational injuries and illnesses. Some of the most common work injuries suffered by employees throughout the Decatur area include:
- Broken bones
- Dislocated joints
- Sprains and tears of joint tissues or muscles
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Herniated and ruptured spinal discs
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ damage and internal bleeding
- Electrocution injuries
- Exposure to toxic substances or disease
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Hearing loss
- Pulmonary illnesses
- Work-induced heart attacks or strokes
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Alabama?
In Alabama, the workers’ compensation system is considered a “no-fault” system that requires employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits to any employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness.
Other than a few narrow exceptions, all employees who work for wages or salary are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim, including part-time and seasonal employees and employees under the age of 18. If you work two or more jobs, you must file your workers’ compensation claim with the employer where your work injury or illness occurred.
How Do I File for Workers’ Comp in Decatur?
If you suffer a work injury or illness, you should notify your supervisor or employer as soon as possible and request a referral to a doctor or other medical provider approved by your employer. If you wait to seek medical treatment, you run the risk that your employer will contest your workers’ compensation claim.
You are generally required to give your employer notice within five days of a workplace injury, and in any event, provide written notice no later than 90 days following a work accident. If your injury or occupational illness does not result from a single incident, the deadline runs from when you knew or reasonably should have known that the condition was due to your work.
If your employer declines to accept liability for workers’ compensation, you can file suit in the Alabama Circuit Court to formally pursue your workers’ compensation claim. You also have the option to participate in mediation of your workers’ compensation claim conducted by a state ombudsman.
Types of Workers’ Comp Benefits
The workers’ compensation system in Alabama provides injured or ill workers with certain types of benefits, including:
- Medical treatment – Workers are entitled to have all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for their work injury or illness paid for by their employer. The employer has the right to make an initial selection of a medical provider, although a worker may later select a treating provider from a list of providers approved by the employer.
- Temporary disability benefits – If you cannot work or earn the same wage due to an occupational illness or injury, you may receive temporary total disability benefits if you cannot work at all, or temporary partial disability benefits if you can perform some work. Temporary total disability benefits are calculated as two-thirds of your average weekly wages (based upon your wages from the 12-month period prior to your injury), subject to state-mandated minimums and maximums. Temporary partial disability benefits are calculated at two-thirds of the difference between your average weekly wage and your earnings during your disability. Total disability benefits are paid until you reach maximum medical improvement. Partial disability benefits are paid up to a maximum of 300 weeks.
- Permanent disability benefits – If you’ve suffered a permanent partial impairment to a body part or bodily function, you can receive benefits as set forth in a schedule established under Alabama law. If you are totally disabled from performing any gainful employment, you may continue to receive the same benefits that you received for temporary total disability, either for the rest of your life or until you are found in an independent medical examination to no longer be totally disabled.
- Vocational rehabilitation – If you can’t return to your old job but can perform other work, you may request vocational rehabilitation to be retrained in another job within your abilities.
- Transportation costs – You may also request reimbursement for the costs of traveling to medical treatments or vocational rehabilitation.
- Death benefits – If an employee dies from a work-related injury or illness, their family is entitled to partial replacement of the worker’s income equal to between one-half and two-thirds of the worker’s pre-injury average weekly wage, up to a maximum of 500 weeks. Workers’ compensation also provides contributions for funeral and burial expenses up to $6,500.
How Our Attorneys Can Help You with Your Workplace Injury Claim
At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our Decatur workers’ compensation attorneys can help you pursue a claim for benefits for your workplace injury or illness by:
- Conducting a free evaluation of your case to determine your legal rights under the workers’ compensation law.
- Performing a full investigation of your work-related injury or illness, including examining equipment or materials, taking accident scene photos, and talking to eyewitnesses.
- Advising you of your rights and options with respect to workers’ compensation benefits, including if you choose to return to work or elect to receive pension benefits or unemployment or SSDI compensation or if you decide to pursue a third-party personal injury claim if eligible to do so.
- Reviewing your case to ensure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to under the workers’ compensation law, including if you are disabled from working other jobs that you hold.
- Negotiating with your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer to reach a settlement that provides you with fair and full benefits for your injury or illness.
- Filing your workers’ compensation claim in court if your employer denies your claim or declines to pay the full benefits you believe you deserve.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Decatur, AL
If you’ve suffered an injury or an occupational illness on the job, contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., today for a free case review. Don’t wait to speak to one of our Decatur workers’ compensation lawyers about your legal options and learn more about how our firm can help you pursue the workers’ compensation benefits you need.