Experienced Alabama workers’ compensation lawyers guide you through the process
A workplace injury can knock you out of commission for several weeks or months and may even render you permanently disabled. Workers’ compensation is supposed to protect you under those circumstances, but you have to follow proper procedures to claim your benefits. If you suffer an injury or illness related to your job, speak to a trustworthy source at your company about how to make a claim. For comprehensive advice and guidance, consult with an Alabama workers’ compensation attorney at Carey & Hamner, P.C. in Dothan.
How workers’ compensation insurance works in Alabama
Under Alabama law, companies with five or more regular employees must purchase workers’ compensation insurance or be sufficiently self-insured. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system of insurance, which is designed to provide coverage quickly and adequately without the need to prove anyone was negligent in causing the accident or illness. Employees are eligible from their first day of work for a full range of benefits, such as medical treatment, partial wage replacement, disability and death benefits.
Steps to take after a work-related accident or illness
If you are hurt on the job or have become sick due to working conditions, you must immediately notify your supervisor or your employer. The law requires that you give notice within five days. Exceptional circumstances may extend that period, but not beyond 90 days. If your employer has actual knowledge of the accident, that awareness can serve as notice, but it’s always best to formally notify your boss rather than take the chance of a denied workers’ compensation claim. Your employer is required to submit a First Report of Injury to the insurer to get your claim started.
You should then seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If your injury does not require emergency care, ask your supervisor or employer for a list of healthcare providers you are permitted to see. Make sure you choose someone on the list. The workers’ compensation insurance company can deny coverage of medical bills from unapproved providers.
Follow the physician’s plan of treatment. If you have a disagreement about proposed treatment, or if a treatment doesn’t seem to be working, you can seek a second opinion. However, you shouldn’t go off on your own to another doctor, because the insurer might refuse to pay the bill.
Grounds for denying a workers’ compensation claim
Despite the no-fault nature of workers’ compensation, insurance companies can and do deny injury claims for many reasons. Among them:
- The injury was not work-related
- The accident resulted from the worker’s willful misconduct
- A person deliberately injured the worker for purely personal reasons
- The injury resulted from deliberate self-harm
- The worker's impairment from alcohol or use of illegal drugs caused the injury
- The worker failed or refused to use safety equipment provided by the employer
- The injury occurred because the worker broke the law or breached a reasonable rule set down by the employer
Depending on the severity of your injury, you could be out of work for a substantial period of time. You’re going to need your medical and wage benefits to make ends meet. If an insurer blocks access to those benefits, you should immediately contact an Alabama workers’ compensation attorney at our firm, who will fight aggressively for your rights.
Contact our Alabama law firm for answers to workers’ compensation questions
Carey & Hamner, P.C. in Dothan represents clients in workers’ compensation benefit disputes. To schedule a consultation, call 855-435-4797 or contact us online. Our office is located across Main Street from the First United Methodist Church.