Legal Expertise You Can Count On
1. If you are injured on the job, the Alabama Workers Compensation Act generally
provides your only means of recovery against your employer. You may have
claims against third parties such as co-employees, product manufacturers and so
2. Employer/Workers Comp Insurer selects the doctors, and pays for and
directs the medical care provided to the injured employee.
3. The workers recovery is limited to certain number of weeks with a $220 per
week cap on permanent partial disability. WC pays 2/3 of Average Weekly Wage
(based upon the injured worker’s 52 prior to the accident weeks average wages)
Workers comp is an adversarial system where the employee may have a
claim against the employer and workers comp insurance carrier.
The employer has several different ways of obtaining coverage through WC
Ins, being self-insured, or in a pool of other similar employers. If employer or
insurer goes out of business, employee can be covered under state controlled
4. No fault on the part of the employer must be shown by employee to recover
workers comp, nor is a defense of the employer unless caused by drug/alcohol use,
5. Injury must be caused by nature of employment. Purely mental injuries are
excluded, such as being a store employee robbery victim without any physical
injury. Occupational injuries like carpal tunnel must be proven by clear and
convincing evidence – otherwise by preponderance (50.1%)
6. Employer may arrange light duty or continue to pay temporary total
disability or permanent disability once at maximum medical improvement.
There is no requirement of work satisfaction, so the employee may be required to
sit at a desk in empty room.
7. Who is an employee? An employer has the right to control how the
employee does his or her job. Certain employees are excluded from the workers
comp act such as State employees, prisoners, farm hands, domestic employees at
home, casual employees and unpaid interns. A small employer can elect coverage
to avoid other liability. Employer can use employee leasing from outside employer.
Employer must have WC Ins if it has 5 or more employees.
8. Jurisdiction is where accident happened or where employer located.
Alabama has jurisdiction over truck drivers or others working out of state.
9. Ala. WC disputes handled through Circuit Courts, not admin board like
most other states. The Minnesota WC act was model for 1992 Ala WC Act. No
legislative changes since but there have been many differing interpretations by
Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.
10. Who to contact if an injury is reported?
A. Your supervisor immediately
B. Human Resources/Safety Director within 24 hours
C. Attorney Bryan S. Blackwell within 48 hours
11. What to do if you are injured?
a. Go (by ambulance if needed) to the employers authorized hospital. You
need to know which hospital/doctor before you go.
b. Stay in touch with your supervisor regarding your release to work if any
and work duties.
c. work on light duty work if needed or seek accommodations otherwise
d. Your employer may not do not terminate employee for filing a workers
comp claim under Code of Alabama 25-5-11.1 Wrongful termination for firing
employee solely for filing workers comp claim.