Alabama Workers Compensation

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

guarantee fund.

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,

horseplay, etc.

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.