Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Bessemer, Alabama
Bessemer is a growing city in Alabama with a vibrant culture, and a long history of different industries. Indeed, ore mining and iron smelting were once the most important industries in Bessemer, as was the railroad industry. Today, ore mining has come to a conclusion, and rail restructuring and manufacturing has been moved offshore. However, manufacturing is still a prominent industry in Bessemer, and more industries have also grown in recent years, helping to support the area’s economy. Workers can be found in myriad industry types, ranging from manufacturing to construction to government employees to farmers and more. While these industries may be very different, something to recognize is that workers in these industries are all usually covered by workers’ compensation insurance, which pays for their injuries and losses should they be injured while working.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance coverage type that pays for medical expenses and a portion of an injured worker’s lost wages when an on-the-job injury occurs. The compensation is called “no fault” because injured workers do not have to prove fault to recover benefits under workers’ compensation, nor are barred from recovery if they are partially at fault. In exchange for no-fault benefits, workers are also barred from filing a lawsuit against their employers, and employers are protected via the concept of immunity.
Who’s Covered by Workers’ Compensation in Bessemer?
Workers’ compensation laws are governed by the state, not individual cities. Per Alabama law, most employers with five or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, there are some exemptions to this. For example, agricultural employers are subject to different requirements. If you are unsure of whether your employer carries workers’ compensation benefits, you should ask. If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation benefits and you think they should, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
What You Must Prove to Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits
To recover workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker does not need to prove that someone else was at fault, but they do need to prove that:
- The injury occurred during employment; and
- The extent of injuries they have suffered.
If a workplace injury does not occur during the worker’s employment, then they are not eligible for benefits. However, this does not mean that you can only get benefits if you were at the site of your job; you must simply prove that you were “on the clock” or performing a work-related task at the time of injury. If your employer disputes that you were doing something that is within the course and scope of your employment at the time your injury occurred, our attorneys can investigate your case and present evidence to support your claim.
You will also need to prove the extent of injuries that you have suffered. This is important for two reasons:
- You will be compensated via workers’ compensation insurance for all the necessary and reasonable medical expenses that were required for treating your injuries. If you do not have proof of medical expenses, you will not be compensated for them.
- If your injuries result in disability, either permanent or temporary, and you cannot return to work, you will receive wage replacement benefits. However, if the extent of your injury is disputed, you may be released back to work earlier than you believe you are ready, and may lose out on benefits (in addition to not being able to heal completely) as such. Our attorneys can guide you through what to do should you disagree with the doctor about when you are ready to return to work.
Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation Insurance
As stated above, the most common benefit type that is available through workers’ compensation insurance is medical expense coverage. Medical benefits provide coverage for the full extent of your necessary and reasonable (as judged by your doctor) medical costs, including costs of prescriptions, hospital stays, doctors’ visits, surgeries, prosthetics, and more.
In addition to medical benefits, you may also be able to recover compensation for:
- Permanent total disability;
- Permanent partial disability;
- Temporary total disability; or
- Temporary partial disability.
The duration of the benefits you receive depends on whether your injuries are temporary or permanent, partial or total. Except for death benefits, your benefit rate will be 66 ⅔ of your average weekly wage (average weekly earnings for 52 weeks prior to the workplace accident). For death benefits, beneficiaries of a deceased worker will be entitled to 50 percent of the deceased worker’s earnings for one dependent, and 66 ⅔ percent of earnings for two or more dependents.
Things that Can Negate Your Claim for Benefits
While workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, there are certain things that can bar you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits when you are injured in Bessemer. These include:
- When the injury is caused by another employee or third party for personal reasons (i.e. another employee hits you because they are mad about an issue outside of work);
- When the injury is caused by willful misconduct;
- If your injury occurred while you were impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs;
- If your injury occurred because you knowingly breached a rule set forth by your employer; or
- If your injury resulted because you knowingly refused to use safety equipment or follow safety procedures.
Contact Burge & Burge, P.C. for Experienced Counsel Today
If you are injured in a workplace accident in Bessemer, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. To improve your chances of recovering the compensation award that you deserve, our lawyers strongly recommend that you contact our law firm. We can help you to file your claim, prove elements necessary to recover workers’ compensation, or appeal a denied claim. We work on a contingency fee basis, and always offer consultations free of charge. Please visit our law office today, call us at 205-251-9000, or send us a message using our online form at your convenience.