Most people don't have to think about workers' compensation until after they have suffered a work injury or illness. At that point, though, workers' comp can be extremely important to injured workers and their families.
Following are three important workers' comp facts that Alabama workers should understand.
1. You don't have to prove that someone did something wrong.
While personal injury claims are typically based on proving that another party's negligence led to the injury, the same is not true for workers' comp.
Employers in Alabama are required to carry workers' compensation insurance, and someone who suffers a work-related injury or illness does not have to prove that the employer was negligent.
However, to receive all of the benefits you're entitled to, it is necessary to file a complete claim that includes all of the necessary evidence. This is where having an experienced workers' comp lawyer is very important. Many claims are denied because of lack of evidence or other mistakes in the filing.
2. Your income prior to the accident and the nature of your injury will in large part determine the amount of benefits you receive.
Wage and medical benefits are provided through workers' compensation. Wage benefits are based largely on your income prior to the accident, as well as how much the injury causes impairment.
In most cases, injured workers receive weekly wage benefits, but serious injuries -- those resulting in permanent partial disability or permanent total disability -- can lead to a lump sum settlement.
Workers' comp also provides medical benefits, but it is important to get the right kind of treatment for your specific injury. A workers' compensation lawyer can help you find this kind of care, and a workers' comp lawyer can help you document the medical care to ensure that you receive full coverage.
3. In special circumstances, injured workers may be entitled to compensation outside of a workers' comp claim.
Generally, workers' compensation is the exclusive legal remedy for job-related injuries, but that isn't always the case.
If the on-the-job injury was caused by the negligence of a third party -- for example, a delivery driver for another company -- then the injured worker may be entitled to compensation through a third-party liability claim.
If you have questions about any of these matters, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced workers' comp lawyer. For more on that, please see The Sapp Law Firm's workers' compensation overview. On our site, we discuss not only workers' comp benefits, but also coal mine accident claims and third-party liability claims.