Workers Comp Law in Gadsden
Gadsden is the county seat of Etowah County, Alabama and it is about an hour’s drive northeast of Birmingham. The city is located on the Coosa River and has a population of around 35,000 people. The overall Gadsden metro area has a population of over 100,000, and the area’s economy is powered by a diverse range of industries.
In Alabama, businesses with five or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries and illnesses that are work-related. There are some exceptions to this, however. Most notably, workers’ comp coverage is not required for domestic workers, farm laborers, casual workers, and employees of municipalities that have less than 2,000 residents.
If you have been injured on the job in Gadsden, AL, it is likely that your employer provides workers’ compensation to cover it. However, filing a workers’ comp claim is far more complicated than it should be. Although you do not need to prove fault on the part of your employer (as would be the case if you were filing a personal injury claim), you still need to have your claim approved by your employer and/or their insurer, and these parties are known for wrongfully denying claims to injured workers.
In a situation like this, it makes good sense to work with an experienced Gadsden, AL workers’ compensation attorney. Although you are not required to hire an attorney, doing so will help you will avoid any missteps that might get your claim denied or otherwise unnecessarily delay the process. Your attorney can also help ensure that you receive the level of benefits that you deserve.
For strong legal guidance with workers’ compensation claims in Gadsden, AL, and nearby communities, contact Burge & Burge for assistance. Workplace injuries are one of our major areas of focus, and we work closely with our clients, exploring every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. Call us today or message us online to speak with one of our attorneys.
Important Industries in Gadsden, AL
The Gadsden area is home to several important industries, which include:
- Agriculture: Gadsden’s location in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and along the Coosa River provides the area with fertile soil and a long growing season. The Gadsden area has over 90 agricultural entities that employ thousands of workers.
- Medical/Healthcare: Alabama has nearly 800 bioscience companies, and many of them are located in Etowah County and other counties around the northeastern part of the state. Thousands of residents are employed in biotechnology and life science jobs, and pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing are other emerging industries that employ a growing number of workers.
- Automotive: Alabama is in the top five US states for the production of cars and light trucks. There are also more than 200 automotive supply companies that are based in the Yellowhammer State. The state’s automotive industry employs more than 40,000 workers, many of whom reside in Etowah County.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing is the second largest employer in Etowah County. As more US companies are moving their manufacturing facilities back home from overseas, many of them have realized the numerous advantages of doing business in Alabama.
- Aviation: Alabama has always had a strong presence in the aerospace and aviation industry – dating back to the establishment by the Wright brothers of the nation’s first civilian flight school in Montgomery in 1910. More than 300 aerospace companies have a presence in Alabama, including industry giants such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. In addition, Northeast Alabama Reginal Airport (GAD) facilitates hundreds of takeoffs and landings each week.
There is no doubt that the Gadsden area has a vibrant economy and is a great place to work and raise a family. But unfortunately, workplace injuries do happen, and when they occur, injured employees have the right to receive the level of compensation that they are eligible for.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Gadsden, AL Employees
Under the state’s workers’ comp program, Alabama employees are eligible to receive 66 2/3% of their average weekly wage (subject to a minimum and maximum) after a three-day waiting period. If you are expected to recover but the doctor says that you are unable to work during your recovery period, then you should receive your weekly wage benefit for the amount of time you are out. This is known as a temporary total disability.
If your injury prevents you from doing some or all of the tasks with your current job but the doctor says that you are able to do some work (usually light-duty or part-time work), this is what is known as a temporary partial disability. If you are in this category, then you will receive as benefits the difference between your pre-injury earnings and what you are able to earn now.
There are also categories for permanent injuries – permanent partial disability and permanent total disability. A permanent partial disability is when a doctor determines that you have a permanent impairment that will inhibit your ability to do your pre-injury job, but you are still able to do some type of work. A permanent total disability means that your injuries have left you totally unable to work at your current job or be retrained for any other type of gainful activity.
There are various levels of benefits/awards for permanent injuries depending on the type of disability, and there are scheduled awards based on specific impairments, such as amputations/loss of body parts and disfigurement. There are also unscheduled awards for certain types of permanent injuries.
Other benefits that Gadsden, AL employees can recover through workers’ comp include:
- Reasonable and necessary medical costs.
- Vocational rehabilitation and training.
- Mileage costs for traveling to and from medical and vocational rehab appointments.
- Death and burial costs when an employee dies as a result of a work-related accident or event.
Representation for Injured Railroad Workers in Gadsden, AL
Etowah County, Alabama is located along the Norfolk Southern Railway route, and the trains run regularly through Gadsden. Area railroad workers have laborious jobs, and they are exposed to numerous hazards on a daily basis. But when a train worker gets hurt, their injury is not covered by the workers’ compensation program. Instead, they are required to file a Federal Employer Liability Act (FELA) claim.
FELA claims work much differently than workers’ comp claims. They involve filing a federal personal injury lawsuit and proving negligence on the part of the railroad or another responsible party. There are also specific steps and procedures that must be followed in order to successfully lodge a FELA claim, and it is very important to work with a firm with specific experience handling these types of cases.
Burge & Burge is one of a small number of firms in the region that handles FELA claims. We have represented numerous Alabama clients who have suffered railroad injuries, and we know what it takes to ensure that railroad workers receive full and fair compensation.
Contact Our Seasoned Gadsden, AL Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you or a loved one suffered a work-related injury or illness in Gadsden or anywhere else in Northeast Alabama, Burge & Burge is ready to go to work for you! Call us today at 205-251-9000 or send us an online message to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.