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Birmingham Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Seek the Benefits You Deserve Under Workers' Compensation

Nearly every job, no matter what industry, poses a risk of injury. Whether you work on a construction site, in a hospital, or in an office, you are exposed to a variety of hazards and potential injuries every day. Luckily, workers’ compensation law is in place to safeguard you from the physical, emotional, and financial burdens that a workplace injury can cause.

If you have been injured on the job in any capacity, you may not be able to return to work immediately and you might face exorbitant medical bills that you cannot afford to pay. There are countless problems that you could encounter as an injured worker, but the bottom line is that you have rights. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance owes you benefits that will help you recover from the incident and carry on with your life. With a skilled Birmingham workers' compensation attorney from Spellen Law fighting for your rights, you can seek the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about how Spellen Law can help you after a workplace accident in Birmingham, contact us online or call at (205) 810-2275.

Demystifying the Workers’ Compensation Process

The average employee might not be familiar with the benefits they are entitled to after they have been injured at work. There are a lot of hoops to jump through and red tape to tear down throughout the process of filing and settling a workers’ compensation claim. That is why it is important to have a trusted and knowledgeable attorney by your side as soon as possible. Your attorney can guide you through the process every step of the way, from filing the initial claim to negotiating with the insurance company to settling the case.

Our attorneys at Spellen Law can help you apply and fight for the benefits you need to recover as they pertain to your incident.

You may be eligible for one or more of the following benefits:

  • Medical coverage
  • Temporary disability (TD) payments, partial or total
  • Permanent disability (PD) payments, partial or total
  • Rehabilitation

We can help you understand and apply for each of these benefits. Although the insurance company might argue that you are not entitled to a certain benefit, our attorneys are prepared to fight for your rights on your behalf.

The Importance of Meeting DeadlinesTwo People Doing Paperwork

Insurance company claim representatives are trained to find the tiniest mistakes to deny a workers’ compensation claim — and missing deadlines makes it that much easier for them to do so. One way to ensure that your claim gets filed properly is to enlist the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney. A workers’ compensation attorney understands how the process works as well as the submitting time-sensitive documentation.

Treatment Protocol for Your Work-Related Injury

When you are injured at work, your employer will send you to a doctor that is deemed “authorized” to treat you. While you have the right to go to your private doctor, he or she will be noted as “unauthorized” in your case. Agreeing to use the doctor your employer chooses shows that you are being as compliant as possible and could help your case. If you are unsure whether or not using your personal physician will negatively impact your claim, you should discuss this concern with your worker’s compensation attorney so you can make the best choice possible.

Types of Injuries Covered Under Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation provides coverage for nearly any type of injury or illness that an employee suffers as a result of their occupational duties or the conditions of their employment. In legal jargon, an injury must be "AOE/COE," or arising out of employment and occuring during the course of employment. Examples may include a person who develops lung cancer as a result of working at a restaurant that permits smoking, an employee who develops carpal tunnel syndrome from constant typing at a computer, or a worker who sprains their ankle in an onsite slip and fall accident.

Other examples of work-related injuries include:

  • Pulled muscles from heavy lifting
  • Falls from ladders on construction sites
  • Car accident injuries while driving for work
  • Crush injuries from heavy machinery

Work-related illnesses typically covered by workers comp include:

  • Hearing loss from constant exposure to loud noise at work
  • Mesothelioma from asbestos exposure
  • Skin conditions from prolonged exposure to a workplace irritant
  • Occupational asthma
  • Musculoskeletal disorders from manual lifting

Proving that an injury is work-related may not always be as simple as it seems. While proving the AOE/COE connection may be simple for injuries that occur as a result of an accident on company premises, it gets trickier when an injury is suffered somewhere other than the primary place of work or if a condition develops over time.

Injuries Not Covered By Workers' Compensation

Generally speaking, all that matters for an injury to be covered by workers' comp is that it arose in connection with your employment. With that being said, there are some specific scenarios in which an injury is not covered by workers' compensation.

The following injuries and illnesses are typically not covered:

  • Injuries suffered off company premises during a break period
  • Injuries suffered off company premises after clocking out for the day
  • Injuries suffered while commuting to or from work
  • Injuries suffered while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Injuries resulting from horseplay or fighting

What to Do If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied

Denied workers compensation claims are not uncommon. However, you have the right to appeal the decision. The first step in the appeals process is to find out why your claim has been denied. Ensure you take note of the appeal deadline date that is provided in your denial letter. Here are some common reasons why workers’ compensation claims are denied:

  • The work-related injury was not reported in time
  • The claim was not submitted within filing deadlines
  • Your injury is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits
  • You did not obtain medical treatment for your work-related injury
  • There is a lack of evidence that your injury happened on the job or was work-related
  • Your employer is disputing the claim

Common Reasons Why Injured Workers Fear Filing a Claim

Many injured workers fear that reporting an injury or filing a workers’ compensation claim could have a negative impact on both their work and personal life. Fortunately, there are many laws in place that protect injured workers from employer retaliation. If you are fearful of being treated unfairly by your employer due to a work-related injury, or if you are facing these issues after filing for workers' comp, our attorneys can help ensure your rights are protected.

Here are some things that injured workers commonly fear:

Retaliation / Being Fired - Retaliation happens when an employer penalizes an employee for filing a workers' compensation claim or exercises any other protected right. The most common form of retaliation is termination of employment. It is against the law to be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you were fired before returning to work, you may have a retaliatory case. Each case and circumstances regarding retaliation are unique so it’s imperative to seek the counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to defend your rights.

Deportation - Undocumented immigrants often fear they will face deportation if they seek medical treatment or file a workers’ compensation claim. If you are an undocumented immigrant worker and your employer has threatened to report you to ICE or fire you for filing a claim, this is considered retaliation. Undocumented workers who have sustained a workplace injury should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney immediately so that they can be informed of all their rights. Undocumented immigrants are protected under workers’ compensation law and have the right to file a claim.

Lack of Compensation - Workers who fear they will lose time or pay may forgo their right to workers’ compensation. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide benefits to injured workers to supplement their loss of time and compensation for their injuries. Each workers’ compensation case is different, but you may be eligible for one or more of these benefits: medical coverage, partial or total temporary disability benefits, partial or total permanent disability benefits, and rehabilitation.

Critical Steps to Take After Sustaining a Work Injury

If you’ve had an accident at work that has caused you to sustain an injury, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. The following steps are crucial to increasing your chance of a favorable decision.

Step 1 - Report Your Injury

No matter how minor your injury may be, it’s imperative to report the injury to your employer immediately. The injury report provides proof that your injury happened at work and without an injury report, you will not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim. Here’s what needs to be included in the injury report:

  • How the accident happened
  • Witnesses to your accident
  • What body parts were injured
  • Who you reported the accident to
  • Time and date when the accident occurred
  • Symptoms from your sustained injury (swelling, pain, cuts, bruising)

It’s important to meet all required deadlines. You have 90 days from the date you were injured to file a workers’ compensation claim.

Step 2 - Seek Medical Attention

You’ll want to get proper treatment for your work-related injury so you can heal as quickly as possible and resume regular activities — including work. The medical documentation from your treatment also serves as a vital piece of supporting evidence in your workers’ compensation case.

Step 3 - Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Taking on the insurance company alone may not only be confusing but it can also add stress on top of the worries you already have about your injury. Focusing on healing is important. If you decide to take on your workers’ compensation case alone, you’ll be expected to know workers’ compensation laws, filing deadlines as well as how to deal with insurance companies. Individuals who do not have experience in filing a workers’ compensation claim could put their case in jeopardy.

What We Can Help You With

A Team with Your Best Interest in Mind

At Spellen Law, we understand the pain you are going through after a workplace injury. No matter how severe your accident was, the recovery process can be difficult and stressful. Our compassionate Birmingham workers' compensation lawyers are patient and respectful of your situation. We will go the extra mile to make sure you are well cared for throughout your workers’ compensation claim process. We are in this together.

Call Spellen Law at (205) 810-2275 for compassionate yet aggressive assistance to help you achieve a favorable resolution of your claim.

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