Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Birmingham, AL
Employees are hurt in workplaces every day, with damages ranging from broken bones to electrocution and even death. In general, employees injured on the job can receive compensation only from their employer’s compensation insurance. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the injured employee can also sue outside of workers’ compensation for damages. An experienced Birmingham, AL workers’ compensation attorney will help you recover the proper compensation for your recovery if you have suffered an injury while working.
When Can I Sue Outside of Workers’ Compensation?
Our Birmingham injury attorneys can go over your various options in detail during a free consultation.
If a workplace accident involves certain factors, the courts will allow the injured party to sue beyond the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. Exceptions to the rule include if a defective product injured an employee. In this situation, the injured worker may also be able to sue the manufacturer, according to product liability laws. When employees are hurt by exposure to a toxic substance at work, they may be able to bring a mass tort lawsuit against the substance manufacturer.
If your employer engaged in intentional misconduct or reckless activity, causing your workplace injury, you may have a case against your individual employer for negligence. You can also sue outside of workers’ compensation if your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. In this case, you could sue the employer for your damages. If you are in need of legal counsel after suffering from a workplace injury, contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Birmingham, AL for help.
Why File a Claim Outside of Workers’ Compensation?
Most injured employees settle for the money and benefits they receive from workers’ compensation without realizing they could be eligible to receive much more. While workers’ comp is great for paying for medical costs, disability payments are very low and often don’t take into account pain and suffering or other punitive damages.
Workers’ compensation only covers workers injured on the job, performing duties within the scope of employment. A personal injury lawsuit, on the other hand, doesn’t limit the scope of the injury to these specifications. If, for example, you’re injured on the job while performing a duty above and beyond the scope of your employment, workers’ comp won’t help you the way a personal injury claim could.
Workers’ compensation benefits generally are paid without the need to determine who is at fault for the worker’s injury. If the employee is hurt on the job, workers’ comp applies with no questions asked. In contrast, the victim in a personal injury case must prove the defendant was negligent in his or her duties and this negligence caused an injury. While this distinction makes personal injury lawsuits more difficult, it’s often worth it for the higher payout.
An injured worker usually does not have to worry about paying for lawyer costs and fees in a personal injury lawsuit, because most Birmingham injury lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis. That means the plaintiff does not have to pay any fees unless the lawyer wins the case. At The Mitchell Law Firm, LLC, our Birmingham, AL workers’ compensation lawyers work on a contingency-fee basis, so injured workers do not have to worry about paying out of pocket for court fees.
3 Types of Benefits in Alabama
Depending on several factors including the cause and severity of your work injury or illness, employees may qualify for one of three benefits: disability, rehabilitation and death benefit for survivors.
- Disability: If you miss a significant amount of work from a debilitating work injury, you may qualify for one of four types of disability benefits, generally providing you two-thirds of your pay.
- Temporary Partial Disability: Doctor allows you to return to work while recovering, but may limit the type of work or advise part-time; if you’re doctor allows you to work while recovering, you must do so in order to receive this worker comp. benefit.
- Temporary Total Disability: If a doctor says you can’t work for four or more days than you may qualify for temporary total disability; this benefit will typically continue until you’re able to return to work.
- Permanent Partial Disability: The nature and severity of your permanent disability will determine how long and the gross amount of payments you’ll receive; a doctor will assign a percentage to your disability once you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI).
- Permanent Total Disability: If a doctor says you can never return to your job or gain similar employment again, you’ll receive a maximum of $220 per week for the remainder of your life.
- Rehabilitation: If required, workers’ compensation may cover your physical and occupation therapy sessions. If unable to return to your previous position, many employers will pay for vocational rehabilitation to prepare you for a new position within the company. This can be a win for both of you as you properly heal and are able to work again after proper healing and you’re employer will eventually pay you for hours worked versus the lifetime payments associated with permanent total disability (mentioned above).
- Death Benefit for Survivors: The spouse or children of the deceased worker are entitled to funeral expenses and compensation based off the workers’ salary at the time of his/her death.
Ask a Birmingham Workers’ Comp Lawyer About Your Workers’ Compensation Case
If you’re unsure whether the circumstances of your injury qualify for a claim outside of workers’ compensation, use a free consultation with a lawyer to find out for sure. It’s important for injured employees to understand their rights within the full scope of the law to ensure they receive proper compensation for injuries. Filing a personal injury lawsuit on top of workers’ compensation can get you the financial compensation you truly deserve.
Turning your workers’ compensation case into a personal injury case can be hugely beneficial to you and your family. With the skilled Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyers of The Mitchell Law Firm, LLC, by your side, you’ll greatly improve your chances of recovering damages outside the scope of limited workers’ compensation. For more information about workers’ compensation laws in Alabama or to discuss your case with a personal injury attorney, contact us today. We’re more than happy to speak with you one on one, over the phone, or in person.