Unfortunately, workplace accidents remain a serious issue. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor of Statistics (BLS) there were 33,800 nonfatal workplace injuries and occupational illnesses reported in Alabama in 2020 alone. A person who was hurt on the job in Alabama needs to know what to do to protect their rights and interests. Our Birmingham workers’ compensation lawyer provides a comprehensive guide to the steps that you should take if you have been injured on the job in Alabama.
Alabama Mandates Workers’ Comp for Employers With at Least Five Employees
As explained by the Alabama Department of Labor, all companies and organizations that regularly employ at least five employees (full-time or part-time) are required to obtain no-fault workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Smaller employers may still opt to get workers’ compensation coverage, but they are generally not required to do so by law.
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid on a no-fault basis in Alabama. Through a workers’ comp claim, an injured worker can obtain medical coverage and wage replacement benefits regardless of who bears fault for the accident. In exchange for these benefits, workers’ comp is an exclusive legal remedy—meaning a worker cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against his or her own employer.
Four Steps to Take if You are Hurt at Work in Alabama
- Notify Your Supervisor or Employer (Required by Law)
Workplace accidents can occur in a wide range of different ways—from slip and falls in office buildings to injuries caused by defective machinery. Regardless of how and why your accident occurred, you must tell your employer. The Alabama Department of Labor is clear: An employee has a duty to “report any injury immediately to your supervisor, boss or employer.”
The notification period is short in Alabama. Under Section 25-5-311 of the Alabama Code, an injured employee has five days to tell their employer about the accident. (It is recommended that you tell your employer even sooner than this, as you could lose your right to take legal action if you wait). The notice must be written, and it should include details about how the accident happened.
What happens if you do not tell your employer about a work-related accident in Alabama? You could be denied your opportunity to recover workers’ comp benefits. It is illegal for an employer to punish (or fire you) for reporting an accident. If they do so, they may be held legally liable for unlawful retaliation.
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention
You should seek immediate medical attention from a licensed doctor after a work-related injury or illness in Alabama. To start, getting care from a qualified doctor is important to protect your own health and well-being. You have a right to get medical care. Beyond that, seeing a doctor is a required part of the workers’ comp claims process. If you do not see a doctor, you may not be able to recover any workers’ comp benefits. In Alabama, your employer will generally select your doctor—at least at the outset of the process. You should consult with your employer about which physician you should see for treatment.
- File for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Notifying your supervisor and seeing a doctor is not the same thing as actually filing for workers’ compensation benefits in Alabama. You need to complete and submit the proper workers’ compensation claims form. Notably, both an injured employee and their employer have certain obligations to submit workers’ comp claims information. If you run into any problems while trying to file for workers’ comp benefits, please do not hesitate to seek professional guidance. A workers’ comp attorney in Birmingham can help you navigate the process.
- Consult With a Birmingham Workers’ Comp Attorney
You should also be prepared to consult with a workers’ comp attorney if your benefits are denied or if you are considering filing a third party liability claim. Here is what you need to know:
- Workers’ Comp Appeal: Sadly, you cannot always rely on employers or insurers to handle your claim properly. Workers’ comp denials are a significant issue in Alabama. Was your claim denied? You are not out of options. An experienced Birmingham work injury lawyer can help you file an immediate appeal.
- Third Party Liability Claim: Workers’ comp coverage is an exclusive remedy in Alabama—but only as it pertains to your own employer. If a negligent third party was responsible for your work injury (another company, an equipment manufacturer, etc), you have the right to file a fault-based personal injury lawsuit called a third party liability claim. Additional financial compensation may be available.
How the Alabama Workers’ Comp Attorneys at Lewis & Feldman Can Help
Work injury claims are complicated. You do not have to go up against your employer or an insurance company alone. At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, we work tirelessly to help injured workers secure the full and proper financial benefits that they need to pay bills and support their family. Our firm will work proactively to help you get justice and compensation. When you reach out to our Birmingham office, you will have an opportunity to consult with a Alabama work injury lawyer who is prepared to:
- Listen to your story and answer questions about work injury claims;
- Investigate the workplace accident, gathering relevant evidence;
- Help gather and organize the medical records you need;
- Handle the workers’ comp paperwork and any settlement discussions; and
- Take your claim as far as needed to maximize your financial benefits.
Call Our Birmingham Work Injury Attorney for a Free Case Review
At Lewis & Feldman, LLC, our Birmingham workers’ compensation attorneys are standing by, ready to protect your rights and interests. If you or your loved one was hurt on the job, we are here to help you navigate the claims process. Give us a call at 205-896-6410 or contact us online for a no cost, no obligation initial case evaluation. From our Birmingham law office, we provide workers’ comp services in Jefferson County and throughout the surrounding region in North-Central Alabama.