Federal and state governments have established worker’s compensation laws that makes it mandatory for employers to offer certain kinds of insurance benefits to employees who are injured in the workplace. These laws and procedures can vary from one state to another, but the following are some general rules highlighted by Birmingham, AL worker’s compensation lawyers.
To qualify for worker’s compensation benefits an individual must be an “employee.” However, the crew on vessels and interstate railroad employees are excluded from this. If such employees are injured at work they have the right to sue their employers, as required by federal law.
In regards to railroad employees, this could have been good or bad for Dewey (Ethan Suplee) in the movie Unstoppable. He was too heavy for this job and failed to be able to run about 40 feet at about 7 mph. If he was able to do that, he could have entered that train and switched off the engine before it took off causing so much in damage and many deaths.
Now Dewey was not hurt in this story so he would not need any worker’s compensation but many other people were hurt and some even killed.
Difference between an employee and an independent contractor
An employee is an individual who works for a company or person, and not an independent contractor. But how do these differ? Here are some general pointers:
- Works under the control and direction of an employer
- Performs the employer’s regular business
- Uses tools provided by the employer
- Holds a long term position with an employer
- Has taxes deducted from his or her salary by an employer
However, an independent contractor is just the opposite of an employee. Contractors are often highly skilled and make use of their own tools while they may be hired to do only one specific job. They are not a part of an employer’s regular business activities. In addition, the employer does not deduct any tax from the contractor.
Nature of compensation
Leading Alabama worker’s compensation attorneys explain that you have a right to obtain all the benefits under workers’ compensation rules irrespective of whether your injury is your own, your employer’s or nobody else’s fault. The only criterion is that the injury occurred at the workplace or while on the job.
In fact, workers’ compensation insurance remains the only remedy for an injured employee and your employer is not in any way involved in this. In other words, you are not in a position to sue your employer by claiming damages for any injury that you sustain.
However, it is not necessary for the injury to take place at the employer’s premises. Several types of work are done away from the employer’s premises. Therefore, you can receive workers’ compensation benefits whenever you are injured while performing any task related to your employment.
Travel to business meetings and back and work related training or education also fall under the purview of your employment. Injuries sustained at a recreational event or picnic organized by your company is covered under the workers’ compensation.
Types of benefits under workers’ compensation rules
Although there can be minor differences in state’s law, workers’ compensation regulations usually offer injured employees with various types of benefits. According to Birmingham, AL worker’s compensation lawyers these include:
- Weekly compensation benefits
- Cost of medical treatment
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Vocational rehabilitation
However, an injured employee is not entitled to benefits such as “pain and suffering” as is the case with private injury lawsuits.
If you or your loved one has been injured at the workplace make sure to seek assistance from a competent Alabama worker’s compensation lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected.