If you work in the Great State of Alabama, then you are protected by workers’ compensation laws. It is your employer’s responsibility to provide all employees with an environment that is safe. This means sticking closely to federal and state guidelines.
Sadly, despite efforts made to keep workers safe, workplace injuries happen all the time. But they should not be taken lightly, even as an accepted common occurrence. As the victim of your employer’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your pain, suffering, lost wages, and emotional distress.
We at Norris Injury Lawyers will do the one thing your employer may not do: fight for your right to work in a safe environment. Our team of Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyers has helped thousands of clients like you get the justice you deserve.
You can schedule a free consultation with us today by filling out the online form or by calling (800) 477-7510. We are available 24/7. Our No Fee Guarantee® means you will not owe us a dime unless you win compensation.
How is a Workplace Injury Defined?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) is a government agency run by the US Department of Labor.
OSHA was created by Congress in 1971, with the aim to “ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards.” OSHA defines a workplace injury as an occupational incident that causes a physical or mental injury.
Occupational injuries may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Illnesses or injuries that require medical treatment, time away from work, restricted work, or a work transfer
- Diagnoses of cancer or chronic disease
- Fractured bones
- Punctured eardrums
The Main Causes of Work-Related Injuries
One recent report from the US Bureau of Labor shared dire news. There were “1,176,340 nonfatal injuries and illnesses that caused a private industry worker to miss at least one day of work in 2020.” This number is up 32.4 percent from just the year before.
Overexertion injuries are the most common (and expensive) type of job-related injury. They may be the result of carrying, lifting, pulling, holding, throwing, and pushing objects.
Falling from heights
When working on an elevated surface, such as a roof, stairway, or ladder, you are at an increased risk of falling and causing a work injury.
Slips and trips
Falls can also be caused by wet, slippery surfaces or objects that find their way into your path. Even if there is no fall, a slip can cause reaction injuries, such as muscle damage, ligament tears, and head trauma.
An employee who drives for their employer is subjected to all the risks on the road.
Unsecured objects can fall from the well, shelves, or ceiling. Other employees can also drop objects, injuring other workers.
Walking into things
Head, neck, foot, and knee injuries can happen when someone walks into a wall, door, window, table, chair, cabinetry, or machinery.
Becoming entangled in machinery
Many factories have large floors full of machines and other equipment. If proper safety precautions are not taken, a worker can become entangled with such machines. This includes hair, clothing, shoes, and even fingers.
Acts of violence
Disagreements, arguments, and fighting over office politics have led to injuries and death in the workplace.
Doing the same motion repeatedly can have lasting consequences on your body. These types of injuries may not be evident at first but can show up later.
Filing a Third-Party Workers’ Compensation Claim
The federal government protects workers by always making available workers’ compensation benefits. The only proof needed is evidence that you were hurt specifically while on the job. If you have suffered a work-related injury, it may seem that all you have to do is make a workers’ compensation claim.
In reality, it may be much harder to get all the money you need. You may be able to gain an additional recovery settlement in what is called a “third-party claim.”
Not all injuries that happen in a workplace are solo events. You may have been injured due to the conduct or negligence of another person, including:
- The owner of the property
- Private citizens
- Managers or supervisors
- Employees of another company
- Another driver
Third-party claims allow additional money damages than with workers’ compensation insurance alone. This is where contacting a workers’ compensation attorney can help to evaluate each personal injury claim you can make.
The Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
If you are injured on the job and want to file a workers’ comp claim, there is a process you must follow. The Alabama Department of Labor notes that your first step is to report the injury to your employer. This must be done within 5 days, but it may be possible for up to 90 days after the incident.
Reporting your injury might seem like an obvious step, but many injured workers do not bother to make workers’ compensation claims, let alone lay the legal groundwork. Some might try to “suck it up” and get back to work as soon as possible. They might underestimate the injury or fear making a claim due to a perceived threat of retaliation from their boss.
You have 2 years to file a work comp claim. The problem is, the longer an employee waits, the more difficult it becomes to get workers’ compensation insurance approved. The burden of proving the injury was caused at work would then fall on you or your Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyer.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Available
Alabama sets the monetary limit of workers’ compensation cases based on the employee’s average weekly salary over the past year. That number is multiplied by 66 and two-thirds percent.
The amount of time an injured worker can receive these workers’ compensation benefits depends on the type of injury he or she sustained. For example, the length of time depends on the percent of lost earning capacity or whether wrongful death has occurred. Permanent injury benefits are unlimited.
Weekly workers’ compensation payments are not the only type of financial support you can receive. Your employer’s insurance company is also on the hook for:
- Medical care
- Chiropractic care
- Medical supplies
- Artificial limbs or members
Typically, your employer will get to choose the physician you receive treatment from. If you are dissatisfied with the doctor they pick, you can request that another doctor be selected.
If you are making a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to note that you must accept the care provided by your employer. Any refusal on your part to be examined or receive medical service can result in a suspension of your benefits.
Should You Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Applying for and receiving workers’ comp benefits might seem like a smooth process after a personal injury. The problem is, many injured workers find themselves facing seemingly endless complications along the way.
These complications include:
- An employer who denies a claim
- Ongoing medical issues that keep the employee from returning to work
- A boss who resents and/or retaliates after a claim is made
- The settlement does not include enough to cover all medical costs or lost wages
If you were injured in a work accident and now are facing a future of pain and suffering, give Norris Injury Lawyers a call today. Your very livelihood is at stake. Do not let your boss stop you from getting the care you need.
Norris Injury Lawyers has been fighting workers’ compensation cases for over 40 years. Our priority has always been the needs of our clients. You may even be entitled to extra benefits you didn’t know were available.
To find out whether you can make a claim for more money damages, call Norris Injury Lawyers right now at (800) 477-7510. You can even send us a message to one of our online operators who are available 24/7. Consultations are free!