Workers' Compensation Attorney in Birmingham, Alabama
Have you or a loved one suffered an on-the-job injury? If so, I may be able to assist you. I have been handling worker’s compensation cases for approximately 30 years. Alabama requires an employer with five (5) or more employees to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. As with many legal claims, there are many statutory requirements and relatively short deadlines, so you should obtain legal advice as soon as possible. It is extremely important that you give your employer prompt notice of your injury. Failure to give notice to your employer can be a bar to recovery.
What Types of Injuries Are Covered?
In order for a work-related injury to be covered, it must arise out of and in the course of employment. In other words, you must be performing job duties, or something incidental to your job, and be at a place where you can reasonably be expected to be at the time of your injury.
Typically, worker’s compensation covers “accidental” injuries. That is, injuries that are unforeseen and arise suddenly and violently during the course of employment that result in an injury. A common example of a work-related accident is when an employee suddenly injures his or her back while attempting to lift something heavy. However, certain occupational diseases, such as occupational pneumoconiosis, as well as non-accidental injuries, such as repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and rotator cuff tears and even heart attacks and strokes may also be covered when the employment created a risk of such injuries that was much greater than the risk of such injuries that the employee would have been exposed to in his or her everyday life outside of employment.
What Benefits Are Available?
If you’ve been hurt on the job, you should alert your employer as soon as possible in order to be referred for medical treatment by an authorized treating physician. The employer is responsible for all reasonable and necessary medical bills, including prescription medication, and even your mileage expenses in going to and from treatment. However, it is imperative that you alert your employer so that you can receive treatment from an authorized physician.
If your physician takes you off of work, you may qualify for Temporary Total Disability Benefits.
If you are assigned a permanent impairment rating and/or permanent restrictions on your work activities, you may qualify for Permanent Partial Disability Benefits or Permanent Total Disability Benefits.
If you cannot return to previous employment, you may qualify for Vocational Retraining.
What If You Want a Second Medical Opinion?
While your employer gets to choose your authorized treating physician, you still have some rights under Alabama law. For example, you if you become dissatisfied with your authorized treating physician, you may request a panel of four authorized physicians from which to select a new authorized treating physician (though this can only be done one time). Also, if surgery is recommended by your authorized treating physician, you may request a panel of four authorized physicians to obtain a “second surgical opinion.”
Workers’ Compensation benefits are paid pursuant to a complex statutory framework. Many issues must be determined and each may greatly impact the compensation payable to you. For example, whether your injury is to a scheduled member or not, whether evidence of vocational disability is admissible in your case, and whether it is advisable to hire a vocational expert. You should contact me as soon as you suspect you have suffered a work-related injury so that I may evaluate your case and advise you of your options.