After suffering an on-the-job injury, there’s likely a lot of questions swirling around in your head. If you were to call us just moments after that injury, my first advice to you would be to tell someone! Alabama law requires that an injured worker give notice to their employer of the injury. That doesn’t necessarily mean “written” notice, or really any formal paperwork at all — you simply must tell a supervisor/manager/someone in charge that you injured yourself and how, and give that notice as soon as practically possible. The legal responsibility of filing paperwork is on your employer, not you. Always be aware, though, what your particular employer’s process is; if there is some sort of incident report you must complete, follow the process so your employment isn’t jeopardized. If you don’t know, ASK.
Once you provide notice, your employer should send you to the “company” doctor; always give them an opportunity to do so before seeking your own treatment with your own doctor. Otherwise you may end up being responsible for the bill; most personal health insurance plans will not cover treatment related to an on-the-job injury. Alabama law gives employers the right to “control” medical treatment in the sense that your employer dictates what doctor you may initially see following your injury. If your employer is simply ignoring your requests or not providing you with the doctor’s information, you may seek treatment independently. The cost of that treatment should be borne by the employer, but it may take a fight to prove they gave up the right to control the choice of treating doctors.
If the workers’ comp treating doctor takes you out of work or places you under restrictions that your employer is unable to accommodate, you are entitled to receive temporary total disability payments (or “TTD”) during that time period. TTD is paid at the rate of two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are only able to work a portion of the hours you previously worked, and are paid less money, you would then be entitled to temporary partial disability payments (or “TPD”) for the difference in pay you lost as a result of the restricted duty/hours, etc.
There are a lot of opportunities for things to go off the rails immediately after an on-the-job injury; we are here to help, to give advice, and to make sure insurance companies don’t take advantage of the situations from the outset. The employers and their workers’ compensation insurance companies are looking out for the bottom line – we’re here to look out for you. Contact us if you have any questions about your situation.