Florence Workers' Compensation Lawyers Fighting For You
Every day in Florence, people go to work in factories, construction sites, school buildings, retail stores, and offices to help make our city the pride and joy of northwestern Alabama. In return, these companies pay your wages and provide benefits. But if you are injured on the job or lost a loved one in a workplace accident, you may worry about how you will make ends meet. Reach out to a Florence workers compensation lawyer.
You are legally entitled to workers’ compensation insurance and benefits, which provides medical care to employees injured on the job. Filing a workers’ comp claim can be complicated and if the process isn’t followed correctly and in a timely manner, your claim may be denied. Whether you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits for the first time or want to appeal a previous denial, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at McCutcheon & Hamner can help. Call us today for a free consultation.
How Common Are Workplace Accidents in Alabama?
Florence serves as the economic hub of northwestern Alabama and is home to several major manufacturing companies, including Southerwire, the American Metal Chemical Corp (AMCOR), and TASUS Corporation. About 20 percent of all workplace accidents happen in manufacturing plants, but really, no industry is immune to work-related injuries and fatalities.
Unfortunately, Alabama is one of the deadliest states in the country for workers. According to a recent report by the AFL-CIO, Alabama ranked seventh in the nation with a 5.5% fatality rate out of 100,000 workers and 2.4% of work-related injury or illness out of 100 workers. However, due to rampant underreporting in the state, the true rate of workplace injury and illness is considered to be much higher than what’s documented.
Who is Eligible for Workers Comp Benefits?
Any employer in Alabama with five or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. And, most full-time, part-time, and seasonal workers at these companies who suffer an injury or develop a medical condition related to their job can file a workers’ compensation claim and receive benefits. Surviving family members of workers who died from work-related injuries or illnesses may also file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Workers’ compensation covers any work-related injury or illness, including exacerbations of preexisting conditions, such as a flareup of a back injury or worsening of a lung condition.
Workers who may not qualify for workers’ comp include:
Employees of businesses with fewer than five employees
Those who do qualify are entitled to benefits even if they were at fault in the accident. However, those who were acting recklessly or were under the influence at the time of their injury may be disqualified from collecting benefits.
Steps to Take After a Workplace Accident
Taking the following steps take after suffering a workplace injury can greatly improve your chances of recovering workers comp.
Immediately report your injury to your employer.
Take photos or videos of the accident scene with your smartphone.
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Be aware that your employer may or the provider of their workers’ compensation insurance may require you to see a specific doctor for your initial medical treatment.
Save any medical bills or invoices for medical treatments or procedures, as well as transportation costs to and from medical appointments.
Collect copies of your pay stubs or income tax returns.
Save any communications with your company regarding the workplace accident or your injuries.
Ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records to document your injury.
Contact an experienced attorney who specializes in workers’ comp laws.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available in Florence?
Alabama workers’ comp system provides injured employees with financial compensation for the following:
All reasonable and necessary medical treatments, including medication, surgeries and procedures, prosthetics, and mobility equipment.
Vocational rehabilitation services, such as job training for workers who cannot return to their previous job due to their workplace injury.
Transportation costs for mileage and travel to doctors’ appointments.
Death benefits for surviving dependents of a worker killed on the job, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
Workers comp also provides disability benefits that provide a portion of lost wages as your recover.
Temporary Disability Benefits
Temporary disability benefits are paid if you are physically unable to work as you recover from your injuries.
Temporary partial disability benefits are paid when you can work but not at the capacity you did before your injury. For example, if you are restricted to light-duty work.
Permanent Disability Benefits
Permanent disability benefits are paid to an employee who reaches maximum medical improvement. Payment is based on the severity of the worker’s disability.
Permanent total disability benefits are awarded when they are deemed permanently disabled and unable to do any work for the company due to their workplace injury.
Alabama Workers’ Comp Laws and Social Security Disability
The law relating to workers’ compensation is complicated and ever-changing, as is social security law. Both have some component of mathematical determination and both have objective and subjective determinations that must be made. In other words, certain facts must be present in each (objective), certain limitations and effects must be believed (subjective) and the final award is in large measure a product of a mathematical calculation.
When an injured person receives social security disability, the law is that they may not then earn more than 80% of their pre-disability wages. The law does not allow for someone to make more money not working than working and that makes some sense. So if you begin receiving a weekly workers’ compensation benefit, that would reduce the amount of the social security disability you would be entitled to receive for as long as you are receiving workers’ compensation payments.
Workers’ compensation law is complicated by the fact that judges may only award benefits payable by the week. A judge does not have the authority to order benefits paid in a lump sum. Many cases would result in payments being made weekly in a small amount such as $32.00 a week over several years. Most people would rather have that money all at once, in a lump sum.
Contact Our Florence Workers' Compensation Attorney Today
Workers’ comp laws are designed to provide medical treatment to injured workers and death benefits to their family members. But the claims process can be complicated, especially if you qualify for social security disability. If your Florence workers’ compensation attorney anticipates that you are or will receive social security disability, the law allows language in the workers’ compensation settlement to protect social security benefits. If your workers’ compensation attorney knows about your social security potential they are then in the best possible position to advise you as to how to settle or resolve your on-the-job injury case in a manner that helps you the most. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
The experienced legal team at McCutcheon & Hamner can guide injured employees or their surviving family members through the entire process of filing or appealing a Florence workers’ compensation claim.
2210 Helton Drive
Florence, AL 35630