Workplace Injury Lawyer in Dothan

Alabama Work Injury Attorney

Getting hurt on the job is one of the biggest fears many Alabama workers have. It is the fear of getting so badly injured that they can’t work and provide for their families. No hardworking person should ever have to worry about what happens if they are injured on the job. If you have been injured on the job, call our experienced Dothan Workplace Injury Lawyers at Gartlan Injury Law today for a free consultation!

However, the reality is that workplace injuries do often result in serious economic hardship for the worker and his or her family. There’s a loss of income, high medical bills, and lots of frustration, inconvenience, and pain. So what can be done after a work injury?

The good news is that victims of workplace accidents are typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits to help offset their financial losses. While these benefits are supposed to be paid without much hassle, the truth is that many injured workers need help from an attorney to get the full benefits they deserve under the law.

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Reasons Insurers Give for Denied Claims

Here are two of the more common tactics used, along with methods of combating them.

  • They Say You Are Not Actually an EmployeeThe first big defense is calling a worker an independent contractor. Often people are paid with a 1099 and labeled an independent contractor or subcontractor, when really they have little to distinguish them from any other employee. The problem with this defense is it is often based on just the method of payment. Tax rules are very different from workers’ compensation laws. Just because an employer calls someone a contractor does not mean the person is exempt from compensation.Things that will be taken into consideration may include:
    • How much control did the employer assert over daily work?
    • Did the worker wear a company uniform?
    • Did the worker use the company’s tools and equipment?
    • Did the worker have the ability to work for other companies or competitors?
    • How much independence did the worker have in performing duties?
  • They Try to Blame the Deceased Individual for the AccidentAnother common tactic is to blame someone who died. The dead person has no ability to defend himself or herself and cannot testify. The insurance company will try to bring forth other people to testify and raise defenses, all the while knowing the decedent cannot speak up. The problem with this is twofold. First, there are rules of evidence that limit the ability of a witness to testify about what a deceased person said. Second, there are often a host of evidentiary items that can prove the case with or without a decedent’s testimony, such as business records, medical records, videos, and even past conduct.Ultimately a job injury attorney with years of experience handling these types of claims can help to protect you and your family from the tactics employed by insurance carriers who want to avoid paying your claim in full.Contact Gartlan Injury Law today for more information or to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.

A workers’ compensation case is not a lawsuit in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it is an administrative proceeding brought before the Workers’ Compensation Division of the Alabama Department of Labor. These cases are handled much the same way as a typical civil lawsuit, except that instead of having a jury decide the case, a panel of commissioners will hear all evidence and make a decision.

Here’s what a workplace injury lawyer can do for you in Dothan, AL.

Who Is Entitled to Workers’

Alabama law strikes a balance between making employers pay for worker
injuries and putting limits on the compensation workers can receive.

worker hurt on the job
This is known as workers’ compensation. You generally do not get to sue your employer the same way you could sue someone else for hurting you. However, you are also not required to prove that your employer was at fault for the accident. Instead, you simply must prove that you were injured in the performance of your work duties.
This can get a little more complicated than it should be, however. There are also a number of specific exceptions when an employee may not be entitled to compensation, such as:

  • Employee’s willful misconduct
  • When it is an intentional and personal act (fights between coworkers based on something that happened outside of work)
  • Intentional self-harm
  • Employee impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Employee failing to follow safety rules or laws

These are just a short list of the types of disqualifiers that may exist. Of course, you should always talk to an attorney about your specific case to be sure.

When are You Entitled to More Than Workers’ Compensation?

There are times when a third party (someone other than you or your employer) is responsible for a workplace accident. Some examples may include:

  • A car accident caused by a negligent driver
  • An injury caused by a subcontractor or different contractor company
  • A defective device made by another company

When some third party is responsible, you may actually have two separate cases – one against your employer for workers’ compensation benefits and one against the at-fault party for negligence.

What Compensation May You Be Entitled to Receive?

Unlike a typical personal injury case, a workers’ compensation case will compensate you based on a set of statutory guidelines that set forth the amount of money you can receive for your injuries. There is no jury, but rather the government agency will review the injuries to determine the statutory amount to award.

There are three calculations that need to be made in order to determine your compensation:

  • Your Average Weekly Wage for the Past 52 Weeks Prior to Injury. First, you must calculate your average weekly wage based on the last year of employment before your accident or injury. You can receive weekly compensation at a rate of 66.67% of your average weekly earnings for the last year before the accident or injury. However, payments cannot exceed the average maximum wage or fall below the average minimum wage, which are set forth by state law each year. See average weekly wages.
  • Whether Your Injury Is Permanent or Temporary. Next, you must determine if the injury is permanent or temporary. The difference will affect how long you receive payments.
  • Total or Partial Injury. Finally, you must determine if your injury is only partially disabling or if it is a total disability that affects your entire body or so significantly impairs you that there is little else you could do for work.

How Long You Can Be Compensated.

In general, you can receive compensation as follows. Just keep in mind these are subject to change, and the determination may not always be as clear as it seems.

  • Worker death: Maximum of 500 weeks
  • Permanent / Total Disability: Indefinite / unlimited payments possible
  • Temporary / Total Disability: Indefinite / unlimited payments possible
  • Permanent / Partial Disability: Maximum of 300 weeks
  • Temporary / Partial Disability: 300 weeks

The amount of compensation a family can receive for the death of a worker will depend on the number of surviving dependents.

Common Types of Workplace Injury Cases We Handle

No two work injury cases are the same. At Gartlan Injury Law,
we handle all types of workplace injuries, including:

  • On-the-Job Car Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Federal, State, and Municipal Employers
  • Trip/Slip and Fall Injuries
  • Scaffolding Injuries
  • Healthcare Worker Injuries
  • Assaults
  • Chemical Exposures
  • Electrocutions and Burns
  • Other Injuries Incurred At Work
  • Industrial Accidents

How Long Do You Have to File a Workplace Injury Lawsuit?

After an industrial accident or other work injury, you have very limited time to take action. In general, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the date of the injury.

More importantly, there are other deadlines that need to be understood. For instance, you are required to notify your employer of the injury immediately. This should happen as soon as possible. Many employers are clearly made aware of the injury but later claim to have no notice. Therefore, you should put it in writing, yet be careful to stick to just the facts. An attorney can help you with this as well.

Contact an Experienced Work Injury Lawyer Today

After a workplace injury, follow these simple steps to protect your rights and preserve your claim for benefits.

  • Report Your Accident in Writing. If you have a work email, this is the easiest way to document and prove that you notified your employer of the injury. Do not use hyperbole or exaggeration. Simply state in 3 to 4 sentences what happened. Your notice can be as simple as saying you were involved in an accident on a specific date, you suffered injuries, and you would like to seek medical attention right away. There are workers’ compensation forms you will also need to complete, but it would be best if you had an attorney before signing anything.
  • Hire an Attorney. Do not delay. Talk to an experienced work injury lawyer right away. The sooner you have an attorney, the sooner you can avoid costly mistakes that could cost you and your family thousands in lost benefits.
  • Follow Medical Recommendations. If the doctor puts you on a lifting restriction, follow this guidance on the job and off. Do not perform heavy lifting at home or at the gym. Remember that insurance companies routinely engage in covert surveillance to catch work comp recipients doing things they claim to be unable to do. If you have questions, call your attorney.
  • Do Not Discuss Your Case. Aside from your attorney, do not talk to anyone about your case. Do not post things on social media, and keep your claim private. Insurance companies can take a harmless picture of you with friends at dinner and make it seem like you are cured and feeling great.

If you’ve been hurt at work, contact Gartlan Injury Law to schedule a free case consultation today.

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