Alabama Injured Workers’ Bill of Rights

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2018.

If you’ve ever suffered a workplace injury, then you may be aware of your right to workers’ compensation. However, you have specific rights you may not have realized that apply to that compensation and treatment. The Alabama Injured Worker’s Bill of Rights encompasses all the following conditions for injured workers:

  • Medical treatment at the expense of the employer. This applies to all “reasonable” treatments that are “necessary” for recovery from a work-related injury. Medical costs can include medical supplies, such as crutches and other aids.
  • Select a new doctor. This right applies when you’re dissatisfied with the treatment of the first doctor and your injury requires further treatment. Your employer must then provide a list of four alternative doctors and pay for the subsequent treatment.
  • Lifetime medical care. If your condition necessitates surgical treatment, rehabilitation, medicine, medical supplies, crutches, prosthetics or other conditions, the employer must provide benefits for life, if needed.
  • Compensation benefits. If you are unable to do work full or partial work because of your injuries, then you can receive weekly compensation of your wages. These benefits can take on several forms, depending on your condition.
  • Temporary Total Disability. This applies when your condition prevents you from working for the recovery period. You will receive compensation based on your average weekly earnings at the time of the injury.
  • Permanent Partial Disability. This applies when you suffer permanent injury to part of your body. You will receive compensation based on the degree to which your injury has reduced your ability to earn wages.
  • Permanent Total Disability. This applies when your injury prevents you from returning to your former job and/or to gainful employment related to your former job. You will receive compensation equal to two-thirds of your weekly earnings received before injury.
  • Compensation for scheduled injuries. This applies when you suffer injury to a specific body part, such as fingers, hands, feet, eyes, hearing, and other extremities. You will receive compensation based on your earnings and the extent of the loss of use.
  • Death benefits. Your dependents may recover death benefits if you die because of a work-related injury.
  • Compensation for occupational diseases. If your workplace causes you to contract a disease or exaggerates an already existing condition, you have a right to compensation.
  • Vocational rehabilitation. If you require rehabilitation to return to work, your employer must pay for it. Costs may include necessary board, lodging, and travel.
  • Petitioning the court for reconsideration of your rating. If you try to return to work but are unsuccessful, you may appeal your claim to court to receive the appropriate level of compensation.
  • No termination for making a workers’ compensation benefits claim. If you make a claim, your employer may not retaliate against you by firing you.
  • Timely payment of compensation. Compensation should begin four days after the disability. If your employer fails to pay the compensation you are owed in 30 days, he or she must pay the delinquent amount plus a penalty of 15% of that amount.
  • Payment of medical bills. Medical reimbursements must be made in no more than 25 working days. Failure to pay compensation on time means a penalty of ten percent will be added.
  • Attorney fees of no more than 15%. Workers’ comp attorneys can charge no more than 15% of recovered disability benefits.
  • You may contact an ombudsman for help. An ombudsman can help provide information about workers’ compensation, and is also empowered to mediate benefits claims disputes.
  • Making a third-party claim. While you generally cannot file a lawsuit against your employer, you may make a claim against a third party responsible for your injuries. Such lawsuits can cover damages not included in workers’ compensation.
  • You can make a claim for social security disability. You may file for social security benefits while receiving workers’ compensation so long as your disability keeps you from working and is likely to last for at least one year.

A workplace injury can lead to devastating consequences. It’s important to know your rights so you can receive all the compensation to which you are entitled. Contact a workers’ compensation attorney in Alabama today to see how you can get started.