Clocking Injuries: Knowing When to File for Workers’ Compensation
No one expects to get injured while on the job, but unfortunately, it does happen. If you have experienced a workplace injury, you may need to file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits for your injury. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist you with the best legal advice and assistance through all steps of the process.
How Long Do I Have to File My Claim?
Each state has specific statute of limitations rules for filing a workers’ compensation claim. The state of Tennessee allows one year from the date of your injury, or from the date the last benefit is paid to file your claim. The Alabama workers’ compensation laws allow 2 years from your date of injury, or from the date the last TTD (commonly called a “work comp check”) was issued. In the state of Florida you are allowed 2 years from the date you are involved in a workplace injury to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. Wettermark Keith has offices in these three states, with decades of experience with the best resources for your case. It is important that you understand the laws related to workers’ compensation for your state. The lawyers at Wettermark Keith can provide you with the best legal advice for your case, and assist you through every step.
Should I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Any workplace injury that requires additional medical attention after initial first-aid treatment, should be filed as a claim. It is important that you notify your employer immediately after your injury, so that it can be reported to the insurance company. A delay in reporting can not only limit you from receiving workers’ comp benefits, but it could potentially harm the employer for not reporting your injury within a certain time frame. When you file your workers’ compensation claim, you can be expected to provide this type of information:
- Date of injury
- Name and contact information of any witnesses
- Photos of injury
- Where at work did the injury happen
- What caused the injury
What to Do After a Workplace Injury?
When an accident happens at work that causes a serious injury, you should do the following, if possible:
- Report the accident and your injuries to your employer
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible
It is important that you do these things immediately after you have been injured on the job. You do not want to decrease your chances of receiving the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Do I Need to Give a Written Notice?
According to Alabama law (the Workers’ Compensation Act), an injured employee is required to notify the employer via a written notice. The notice must be delivered within five days.
This seems straightforward, but you’d be surprised how many times injured workers don’t adhere to one or both of these requirements.
One of the easiest ways to miss out on the compensation you deserve is to not tell your employer until after the five days have passed. Providing notice in a prompt manner is an absolute requirement, unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. you’re incapacitated as a result of the injury and can’t serve notice).
Some people also think that the notice can be oral. While this is technically true – courts have ruled in favor of workers when there was no written notice, just a verbal one – it opens up a huge can of worms that can go against you.
WHY A WRITTEN NOTICE MATTERS
As much as we’d like to think that our employers have our best interests at heart, they are more concerned with their best interests.
If you don’t serve written notice, and have proof of it, then it could very well come down to a he-said, she-said situation where your employer denies being notified of your accident. It may be crummy if you’re telling the truth, but it happens – and sometimes, your claim will be denied as a result.
You need to protect yourself by not only issuing a written notice, but providing supporting documents. You can’t rely on your employer backing you up, or even other witnesses.
What is the Process for Disputing a Claim Denial?
If your workers' compensation claim is unfortunately denied, it’s not the end of the road. You have the right to dispute the decision. The process typically involves filing an appeal, which should be done within a specific timeframe - this varies by state. In Tennessee, for example, you might have 30 days to challenge the decision.
The appeal process usually begins with a request for reconsideration or a hearing before a workers' compensation board. This is where the details count - you'll need to gather compelling evidence to support your claim, such as additional medical records or expert testimony.
Navigating through this process can be intricate, and having an experienced attorney can significantly increase your chances of a favorable outcome. They understand the nuances of the law and will represent your interests vigorously.
What about Preventative Measures and Workplace Safety?
Workplace safety isn't just a matter of compliance; it's a commitment to the well-being of employees. Employers are responsible for creating a safe work environment, which includes regular safety training, proper maintenance of equipment, and adherence to safety protocols.
Employees, on the other hand, should be proactive in following these safety measures. Simple steps like wearing protective gear, being aware of your surroundings, and reporting potential hazards can significantly reduce the risk of injuries.
It’s a collaborative effort - when employers and employees work together towards maintaining a safe workplace, the likelihood of accidents diminishes greatly. Remember, prevention is always better than seeking compensation after an injury.
Wettermark Keith: Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
The lawyers at our firm have had thousands of successful workers’ compensation cases. We understand that this can be difficult while you may be injured, we want our clients to focus on a successful recovery throughout the process. This is why we choose to operate on a no fee guarantee basis: if we do not win your case, you don't owe us anything. If you have endured a workplace injury and need to file your claim, contact our lawyers at one of the following locations:
- Birmingham, AL
- Montgomery, AL
- Dothan, AL
- Huntsville, AL
- Knoxville, TN
- Chattanooga, TN
- Panama City, FL
Reach out to the location closest to you for a free consultation.
Wettermark Keith is a personal injury law firm that believes in taking cases personally. Our purpose is to practice with care and compassion - to tell our clients’ stories and make their voices heard. We do this by building strong relationships based on constant communication and an unwavering dedication to truth and trust. Winning cases isn’t our goal - caring for you is. Winning is just how we show it.
- We’ll never be too big to care.
- It’s More To Us, It’s Personal.
- Our mission is to represent you as if you were family - because to us, you are.
- We win cases because we build relationships.
- Your lawyer is your advocate and representative because at the end of the day it’s about you - not us.
- People trust us because they’ve seen the results.
- Wettermark Keith is a family-first law firm.
- We build relationships on an unwavering dedication to truth and trust.
- Our attorneys believe in constant communication with our clients.
- Any personal injury lawyer can talk; ours listen.
- When tragedy strikes, your family needs someone who will listen.
- At Wettermark Keith, your voice will be heard.
- Hire an attorney who keeps you in the loop - and not out in the cold.
- You should never wonder what is going on with your case.
- Ask questions, get answers. It’s just that simple.
Clients Who Know They Matter
- Compassion is our passion.
- We believe you - and we believe in you.
- Your story will be told.
- The best way to win any personal injury case is to tell your story - your pain, your suffering, and your needs.
- We will respect you, even when you feel no one else does.
- Be known.
- Don’t let the system tell you your truth is wrong. It’s not - and we’ll prove it.
The time limit for filing a workers' compensation claim varies by state. To make a claim in Tennessee, you have one year from the date of injury or the day the last compensation was paid. In Alabama, you have two years from the date of injury or the latest TTD (work comp check) to file a claim. In Florida, you have two years from the date of the employment injury to seek workers' compensation payments.
HERE'S WHAT TO DO NEXT
If you or a loved one have been injured and think you might have a case, call us now for a free consultation.