by Allwin E. Horn, IV, head of HWC Workers’ Compensation Department
In a recent year, the United States witnessed some 36,500 non-fatal workplace injuries and 5,200 fatal workplace incidents, according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Of the fatal incidents, 89 were in Alabama.
While it is true that people are injured on the job every day and are able to recover quickly without the loss of income, often the injury is severe and requires extensive medical treatment, lost time from work, and lost wages. In many cases, the injured employee cannot return to their pre-injury job duties due to the physical limitations caused by the injuries. Injured employees are entitled to several different types of benefits under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. They include:
- Medical Benefits: benefits paid by the employer or their insurance company;
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD Benefits): compensation paid to the injured employee while out of work and recovering;
- Vocational Benefits: retraining for the employee should they not be able to resume previous duties;
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) or Permanent Total Disability (PTD): benefits paid based on the degree of the disability resulting from the injury.
A few important facts to keep in mind regarding benefits required to be provided under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act are as follows:
- The employer/insurance carrier typically has the right to select the initial treating physician. In order for the insurance company to be required to pay for medical treatment, the treatment must be with an approved or authorized doctor or healthcare provider. There are however, some exceptions to this rule, one involving emergency treatment. The Alabama workers’ compensation attorneys at Hollis, Wright & Clay, P.C. are familiar with physicians throughout the state, as well as the exceptions to the general rule. We will help you every step of the way to ensure you get qualified treatment that complies with the workers’ compensation laws.
- Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits are paid to injured employees when they are out of work per their authorized treating physician (or other physician with exception). These benefits should be equal to 2/3 the Average Weekly Wage (AWW), which includes the value of certain fringe benefits.
- Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) and Permanent Total Disability (PTD) benefits are paid to injured employees after their medical treatment ends, and they are placed at Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI). An insurance company is not required to pay these benefits in a lump sum, but rather in weekly installments. However, the Alabama workers’ compensation attorneys at Hollis, Wright & Clay, P.C. can negotiate your settlement to ensure a lump sum payment.
- Vocational Benefits: If you cannot return to your pre-injury job status, or vocation, due to your bodily injury limitations, vocational benefits come into play. These benefits can significantly increase the value of your case. Our attorneys are well versed in the factors that cause this situation to become relevant.
Additionally, often in workers’ compensation cases, the third-party claim comes into play as well. This is in addition to the workers’ compensation benefits. These claims often have more value than the workers’ compensation claim itself. If your on-the-job injury was caused by another employee or a separate entity, our attorneys are skilled in filing these claims to ensure you receive maximum recovery for both claims.
Remember, the employers and insurance companies have staff and lawyers well versed in the rights and remedies afforded to injured workers under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, as well as in third-party claims. However, they are neither under a duty to advise the injured workers of their rights, nor of the benefits owed to the injured worker. That is why it is so important to contact an attorney to help you, the injured worker, to ensure you and your family get what you are entitled to under Alabama law.
Obviously, workers’ compensation cases can be complex. However, the attorneys in the workers’ compensation department at Hollis, Wright & Clay, P.C. are well versed in all aspects of the law in this regard. We have handled thousands of cases for injured victims throughout the state and are here to assist you in your time of need. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an on-the-job accident, call the skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at Hollis, Wright & Clay, P.C. at 844.LAW.TALK or 205.324.3600. You can also reach us online here or on the form to the right of this post. If we cannot settle your claim, we will take your case to trial, as we have many times in the past.