Huntsville Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you’ve been injured on the job, you should expect workers’ compensation insurance to cover your medical treatment and compensate you for the losses you have incurred. That only seems reasonable, but the fact of the matter is that this simply isn’t the way it always works. Workers’ compensation cases can become very complicated very quickly, and it’s important to recognize that the insurance provider is not necessarily on your side and is not necessarily invested in providing you with the compensation you need to fully recover from the damages you’ve suffered. If you’ve been injured on the job, you owe it to yourself and to your claim to work closely with an experienced Huntsville workers’ compensation attorney at the Cloud, Ryan & Rouse Law Firm.
Workers’ compensation is a form of no-fault insurance that every Alabama employer of at least five employees (whether they are full-time or part-time employees) is required by law to carry. Not to do so can result in financial penalties for companies. Workers’ compensation is designed to compensate employees who are hurt in the course of their work – or who contract an occupational illness in the course of their work – without those employees needing to litigate. In exchange for the no-fault benefits, workers forfeit their legal right to bring personal injury claims against their employers. What employees gain in terms of expediency of compensation, they lose in terms of diminished legal options. It is important to maximize your workers’ compensation benefits with the help of an experienced attorney.
Your Workers’ Compensation Case
No one goes to work expecting to be injured in the course of their day, but dangerous accidents happen on the job more frequently than you probably realize, and certain industries are exceptionally dangerous, including construction. If you are injured on the job (or contract an occupational disease on the job) in Alabama, certain factors apply, including:
- Alabama has a no-fault system of workers’ compensation, which means you do not have to prove that your employer’s negligence – or anyone else’s – was responsible for your injury.
- With very few exceptions, you are entitled to compensation even if your own negligence contributed to or caused the accident that left you injured.
- If you are awarded medical benefits, they can apply indefinitely into the future (for as long as your injury remains an issue) – there are no limitations or caps related to the duration in the State of Alabama.
If You’re Injured on the Job
Being injured while at work can be extremely stressful and upsetting, and if your injury is serious, it can upend the course of your life. As such, there are some important steps you should follow after being injured on the job that can help your case proceed more smoothly, including:
- Inform Your Employer – You should report both the accident and the injury to your supervisor or employer as quickly as possible. This helps establish exactly which work-related activity you were engaged in when the accident and injuries happened. Waiting too long to report an injury can result in a total loss of workers’ compensation coverage, so don’t delay.
- Seek Medical Treatment – If you have an emergency, call 911 and get the immediate care you need. For non-emergency accidents, your employer has the right to choose your healthcare provider for your initial visit and treatment. If you fail to use the appropriate doctor, you could run the risk of forfeiting your workers’ compensation benefits. If you aren’t happy with your initial doctor, there is a mechanism for selecting your own doctor, which is yet another excellent reason for working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Seeking immediate medical attention is critical to both your workers’ compensation case and your health. Even if you don’t believe you were seriously injured in the work accident, it’s important to remember that, over time, an asymptomatic injury can develop into something far more serious and more difficult to treat. Seeking prompt medical attention helps ensure that you obtain the medical care you need and helps you establish the medical records you need to bring your strongest workers’ compensation claim.
- Follow Your Medical Provider’s Advice – Once you’ve begun receiving medical care, it’s imperative that you follow the advice of the medical professionals who are providing you with care. This is obviously important for your health, but it also serves as a testament to the severity of your injury and to exactly how serious you’re taking your condition. If you don’t demonstrate that you are taking your injury seriously, the workers’ compensation provider will have more reason to attempt to minimize the severity of your injury and, accordingly, the compensation you receive.
- Hire an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney – Even if your case seems very straightforward and your employer is cooperating fully, it’s a good idea to retain the professional legal counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Your attorney will provide a variety of important services that include building your strongest case to help ensure that your claim isn’t unfairly denied and that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, to ensure that you meet all necessary deadlines and that your claim moves forward efficiently, and to help ensure that you aren’t returned to work before you’re physically ready to do so. Employers and workers’ compensation insurance providers are typically motivated to minimize payouts and benefits in any way that they can, and your attorney will do everything within his or her legal power to help ensure that you obtain the compensation you need to reach your fullest recovery.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits for wage loss come in several forms that include:
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits – If you’ve been injured on the job and are granted workers’ compensation, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average wages per week throughout your leave. Once your health has improved to what is considered maximum medical improvement (MMI), you’ll return to work, and your pay benefits will end.
- Permanent Partial Disability Benefits (PPD) or Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) – If the injury you incurred is a permanent injury – or if it prevents you from returning to work permanently – you are entitled to additional workers’ compensation benefits, but these benefits are capped as a matter of law.
- Employee Death – If an employee dies as a result of an injury sustained on the job, then his or her family should be entitled to death benefits (and burial costs). This benefit typically hinges on whether the employee had dependent family members when he or she sustained the fatal injury on the job.
It’s Time to Call an Experienced Huntsville Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Being injured on the job is an especially difficult experience, and workers’ compensation claims are often protracted and exceedingly complicated. Because obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is critical to your ability to recover fully on the damages you’ve sustained, you’re well advised to work closely with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney. The legal team at Cloud, Ryan & Rouse in Huntsville is committed to fighting for your rights and to guiding your claim toward its most beneficial resolution. We care about your case and are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 256-801-1000 for a free consultation today.