Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Tuscaloosa
In Alabama, most employers with five or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are a few employers that are exempt, but the vast majority must provide workers’ comp coverage for employees who suffer a work-related injury or illness. Those who are eligible for workers’ comp benefits receive coverage for things like medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and permanent disability.
Even if you are eligible for workers’ compensation coverage, this does not guarantee you will receive the benefits you are entitled to after suffering an injury at work. Workers’ comp is a “no fault” system that is set up to provide benefits to injured workers without having to prove negligence on the part of the employer. In exchange for the “no-fault” provision, employees generally forfeit their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer.
Unfortunately, many employers and their insurance companies make it far more difficult than it should be for employees to access their workers’ comp benefits. The claims process is complicated and confusing to begin with, and it is made worse by employers (and their insurers) who deny legitimate claims without merit and/or throw up unnecessary delays in hopes that the employee will become frustrated and give up. If you are having any trouble at all with your claim, it is important to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, so you fully understand your legal rights and options.
At Burge & Burge, we have several decades of experience standing up for the working people of Alabama. Over the years, our lawyers have helped countless clients in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, and communities throughout the Yellowhammer State obtain the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. We work closely with our clients, providing highly personalized service and the individualized attention each case needs.
We have extensive experience not only with workers’ comp claims, but also with Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) claims for railroad workers. Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of these areas of the law, and we have a successful track record with even the most complex cases. We assist clients with workers’ compensation claims throughout Alabama, and we help clients with FELA claims throughout the U.S.
Types of Benefits available under Workers’ Compensation
Workplace injuries can happen in any industry, but some are more dangerous than others. Those who work jobs that involve at hard labor (such as construction) and repetitive work (such as manufacturing) are particularly susceptible to getting hurt on the job.
There are wide range of injuries that may be covered by workers compensation, including:
- Slips and falls
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Machinery and equipment accidents
- Struck by/struck against events
- Auto accidents
- Explosion accidents
- Being exposed to toxic fumes and other substances
Those who qualify for workers’ compensation can receive benefits for:
- Temporary Disabilities: If you have a temporary total disability in which you cannot work at all for a certain length of time, you can receive compensation for 2/3 of your pre-tax pay (subject to caps). If you have a temporary partial disability in which you can still perform limited work, you receive compensation for 2/3 of the pre-tax amount you are not able to earn because your work is limited by your injury.
- Permanent Disabilities: After a worker reaches maximum medical improvement (MMI), they are examined to determine if they have a permanent disability. A permanent total disability means the employee cannot do any work at all. This would make the employee eligible for workers compensation benefits for life, although sometimes a lump sum settlement is reached. A permanent partial disability means the employee can still work but cannot perform the job he/she once had. Compensation for permanent partial disabilities is calculated usually based on predetermined schedules of awards.
- Additional Benefits: Workers’ compensation provides coverage for necessary medical care, transportation costs to get to and from medical appointments, retraining for a new position (if you are unable to return to your old position), funeral and burial expenses, and death benefits.
Can a Workers’ Compensation Claim be Denied?
Although workers’ comp is a no-fault system and there is no need to prove employer negligence to receive benefits, there are still times when a claimant is denied benefits. Some possible reasons an employer may deny your claim include:
- The injury or illness you suffered was not work-related (e.g., you had a preexisting condition, or the injury happened while you were “off the clock”);
- You did not report the accident/injury or illness within the allotted time frame;
- The injury or illness was caused by willful employee misconduct (such as violating safety regulations);
- The employee was drunk or under the influence of drugs at the time of the injury;
- The injury or illness occurred because of intentional self-harm.
As mentioned earlier, some employers deny workers’ compensation claims for frivolous reasons. Other times, they might accept your claim then work to undermine it in a number of ways. For example, they may deny you legitimate medical care, undervalue your wages, or ask you to return to work before you are fully recovered.
If you have a dispute over your workers’ compensation benefits in Alabama and you want to appeal your case, it must be done by filing a lawsuit in civil court. This involves arguing your case usually in front of a judge, presenting evidence, calling witnesses, etc.
Speak with a Seasoned Tuscaloosa, AL Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have been injured on the job in Alabama, you have a right to be compensated. The workers’ compensation claims process can be stressful, however, and it is best to obtain the help of an experienced attorney early on, so you will receive the full amount you deserve without any needless delays.
At Burge & Burge, we understand that getting hurt at work takes a major physical, emotional, and financial toll on workers and their families, and our goal is to make the legal process as smooth and seamless as possible. We handle all of the complex legal tasks for you, so you can focus on your recovery. And throughout the process, we provide frequent updates on your claim, and we are always available to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.
For a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys, call our office today at 205-251-9000 or toll free at 800-633-3733. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.