Alabama workers’ compensation provides essential benefits for injured workers, but depending on the nature of a given claim, it may not always work exactly as expected. Every situation is unique, so employees cannot always assume that they know the rules. Here are 5 myths clarified by a Tuscaloosa work injury lawyer at our firm.
The Alabama Department of Commerce created the Unemployment and Workers’ Compensation Manual in an attempt to simplify the state’s employment-related laws. However, the actual rules contain legal language that includes many details and exceptions. The following five misconceptions are among the ones that commonly affect claims:
Not true for part-time workers, but probably true for contractors. With some exceptions, the Alabama workers’ compensation system considers full and part-time workers to be employees, and businesses that have five or more employees must carry coverage.
Contract employees should be covered under their own employers’ workers’ compensation policies when working for a business under a lease agreement, and independent contractors may not have any coverage. Any contractor who is uncertain about coverage should seek guidance from our experienced Tuscaloosa workers’ compensation lawyers who can advise them on their legal options for getting coverage.
Not generally true. To determine benefits and the validity of claims, employers and their insurance companies generally need access to private information about a claimant’s injuries and past medical history. Still, requests for information need to be relevant to specific claims. Claimants who believe the request for information has gone too far may want to talk with a knowledgeable Tuscaloosa work injury attorney.
Only in an emergency. In most cases, the employer or insurance carrier selects the physician. If injured workers are dissatisfied with treatment, their employers must provide a choice of four other physicians upon the workers’ requests. Workers who do not reasonably comply with the physician selection rules essentially forfeit their right to benefits, at least for the time period of their refusal.
True up to a point. Future claims can be denied if there is not enough evidence that the future issues are actually a result of the original workplace injury or illness. Additionally, the claims are limited by the statute of limitations, so they cannot typically be filed beyond two years from the time of the accident or illness. However, there can be occasional exceptions to the statute of limitations, so an attorney can help in some circumstances.
Not always true. In most situations, workers’ compensation insurance pays claims in full for medical expenses related to workplace injuries or illnesses. However, employers have the right to monitor physician bills. If the bills are for services when the employer was not notified or if the employer did not approve services, those expenses may not be covered. Similarly, claims for services that do not relate to the covered illness or injury are not covered.
While employers or their insurers may have valid reasons for reducing or denying claims, injured workers should not always accept the denials without further research. The primary purpose of workers’ compensation is to ensure that victims of workplace accidents receive the benefits they need regardless of fault. In other words, regardless of whether employees sustain injuries due to their own carelessness or due to employer negligence, they can receive benefits in most cases without taking each other to court.When in doubt, it may be time to seek legal support to discuss their issues and learn about possible legal options.
Anyone who sustains disabling on-the-job injuries should strongly consider seeking legal advice when their workers’ compensation benefits fall short of their expected needs. Let a Tuscaloosa work injury lawyer get started on your case by contacting us today.