Workers’ compensation is a system to help protect workers who are injured while on-the-job. It serves as a way to offer timely compensation to help workers heal from illness or injury. The details can vary by state, but benefits generally include:
- Medical care. In Alabama, the law requires these benefits extend beyond doctors bills to also cover reasonably necessary services like tests and medical devices like crutches. The benefits also cover physical therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and additional treatment, as needed.
- Financial compensation. If the injury leads to the inability to return to work, the benefits include cash to serve in place of wages. The exact amount varies depending on a number of factors including pre-injury wages, type of injury, and amount of time estimated until the ability to return to work but are generally around 66.6% of the injured worker’s weekly wage.
Lawmakers intend the system to serve in place of a lawsuit. Instead of having workers go through a complicated and time-consuming legal process of filing a lawsuit to hold their employer accountable the workers’ comp system provides payment. It is a no-fault system, meaning the worker does not have to prove that the employer was at fault to file a successful claim.
In theory, this process is easier than a lawsuit. In reality, it has its own problems. It acts much like an insurance company and, like all insurance companies, is known for offering too little or denying a claim altogether.
If the workers’ comp provider offers too little or denies your claim, know that you have options. You can appeal the decision and fight to get the benefits you are entitled.