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Frequently Asked Questions

Workers' Compensation

What does a workers' compensation lawyer do?

A workers’ compensation lawyer helps ensure that a worker injured on the job receives the workers' compensation benefits to which he or she is entitled under the law.

What questions should I ask a workers' comp lawyer?

When evaluating a workers’ compensation lawyer, you should ask about their experience doing workers compensation cases, including what types of cases, have they handled cases like yours, how long they have been representing injured workers, and what you should expect from their representation.

What should I not say to a workers' comp doctor?

Every case is unique.  Ideally, you should consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.  While you may have received emergency or urgent care as a result of the on-the-job injury, you should see a workers’ compensation lawyer before going to any follow-up visits and certainly before agreeing to any particular course of treatment.

How is workers' compensation calculated?

The Alabama Code generally specifies how workers' compensation is calculated though there are many variables that come into play in the actual calculations. Workers’ compensation may be based on temporary total disability, temporary partial disability, permanent total disability, and/or permanent partial disability. Compensation is based upon the injured worker’s average weekly wage. An injured worker is also entitled to medical benefits.

When does workers' compensation pay?

Workers’ compensation benefits are due whenever a worker injured on the job is unable to work the job for which they were employed, whether that is a temporary or permanent condition. 

Can workers' compensation be garnished?

Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are exempt from garnishment.

Are workers' compensation benefits taxable?

Generally, workers’ compensation benefits are not subject to withholding or income taxes.

Can I be fired for filing a workers' compensation claim?

It is unlawful for a worker to be fired for making a workers’ compensation claim. If a worker is fired because they have or have made a workers’ compensation claim, the worker may be entitled to compensation and even punitive damages.

Can I sue my employer if they deny my workers' compensation claim?

 It is unlawful for an employer to fail or refuse to pay workers’ compensation benefits due to an employee injured on the job. If an employer fails to pay workers’ compensation due to an employee injured on the job, that employer is subject to a lawsuit by the employee.

Can I file a workers' compensation claim for an injury sustained on the way to or from work?

Depending on the job, a worker injured on the way to or from work or a job site may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Does FMLA cover workers' compensation?

An employee injured on the job may benefit from the protections afforded by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but generally, an employee cannot be forced to take earned paid leave in lieu of workers’ compensation.

Can I file workers' compensation for mental health?

Workers’ compensation covers on-the-job injuries. If a mental health condition results from an on-the-job injury, it may be covered by workers’ compensation. There may be other circumstances where a mental health condition results from an on-the-job occurrence, exposure, or situation which could be covered by workers’ compensation.

Does workers' compensation apply to independent contractors?

Workers’ compensation does not generally apply to true independent contractors; however, many workers referred to as independent contractors are not actually independent contractors under the law.  Simply calling someone an independent contractor does not make them one.  So even someone who is called an independent contractor may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits for an on-the-job injury.

How do workers' compensation and short-term disability work?

Workers’ compensation and short-term disability are two very different benefits – they are taxed differently, they are calculated differently, and they provide different benefits. If you are injured on the job, you should generally pursue workers’ compensation benefits. However, if your workers' compensation claim has been denied and if you have a short-term disability policy, you may wish to pursue short-term disability payments while pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. The advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney is critical in evaluating which benefits should be pursued when.

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