The origin of workers’ compensation in the U.S. goes back more than 100 years. And by 1949, every state in America had created a workers’ compensation program. These important state-run programs help workers suffering from work-related injuries and illnesses to keep getting a percentage of their paychecks until they’re fully recovered or they’ve returned to work, depending on the severity and type of injury.
Not all workers in Alabama are eligible for these benefits. Both part-time and full-time employees of companies with five or more employees can get benefits after on-the-job injuries and illnesses. But contractors, household domestic workers, and farm laborers aren’t eligible.
In addition, people who work for the state of Alabama are instead covered under the State Employee Injury Compensation Trust Fund, while people who live in Alabama and work for the federal government are covered under the Federal Employees Compensation Act, which works similarly but has different rules for applying for and receiving compensation.
People who are eligible to receive Alabama workers’ compensation can get benefits to cover the following expenses:
Whether it’s a wound, burn, a broken bone, torn ligament, nerve damage, or any other type of physical injury, workers’ compensation helps injured workers pay for their medical costs while they’re unable to work.
Many workers in Alabama are at risk of developing illnesses by working in potentially harmful environments and being exposed to harmful substances, toxic chemicals and gases, and other dangers. Alabama workers who get sick on the job and can’t work are eligible for benefits.
Some injuries take years or even decades to show up. When workers can’t do their jobs because they’ve developed repetitive stress injuries, they’re eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits while they receive treatment.
Paying for medical bills is only one aspect of assistance that workers’ compensation covers. It also helps injured and sick workers pay for their living expenses by providing them with roughly two-thirds of their average weekly wages until they’re well enough to return to work.
Many work-related injuries and illnesses require care for weeks, months, or years—even after employees return to work. Workers’ compensation can help cover the costs of this ongoing care, including surgeries and physical therapy.
Sadly, some work-related injuries and illnesses are severe enough that they can prove fatal. Surviving family members of deceased workers are eligible to receive funeral assistance through Alabama’s workers’ compensation program.
When an injury or illness causes a worker to become disabled, whether it’s partial or complete, temporary or permanent, they can receive compensation for the duration of their disability based on how severely it affects them.
When a worker’s injury or illness prevents them from doing their job for a long time or even ever again, they, their physician, or their employer can request vocational rehabilitation/training for a new job. When a job training site is far from the employee’s residence, workers’ compensation will cover the cost of travel.
Workers’ compensation doesn’t cover:
Despite covering many types of injuries and being available to most workers in Alabama, there’s no guarantee that workers suffering from work-related injuries and illnesses can get these important benefits. That’s because the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Alabama Department of Labor oversees and reviews claims to ensure that benefits are distributed properly and fairly.
However, their strict criteria mean that minor oversights and small mistakes can result in otherwise valid claims being denied. Unfortunately, many people who are denied workers’ compensation benefits give up, and others are too intimidated by the process to even attempt to get benefits in the first place. That’s when hiring a lawyer to help you submit your claim can help, with both initial claims and appeals.
At The Vance Law Firm, we know Alabama’s workers’ compensation system, including who is eligible, who is not eligible, and what it takes to win claims and appeals. If you were injured or developed an illness on the job, there’s a good chance you can get benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages—even if you’ve already applied and been denied.
Contact our Montgomery workers’ compensation lawyers today for a free consultation. We know what you’re going through, and we’ll do everything in our power to ensure that Alabama’s workers’ compensation program works for you and your family.