Workplace injuries are a major issue with more than 30,000 Alabama employees suffering workplace injuries each year. National Safety Council statistics show, on average, 2.5 out of every 100 full-time employees sustain injuries. Across the country, a worker is injured every seven seconds, amounting to 4.6 million workplace injuries each year.
Depending upon how and where the injury took place, Alabama workers may qualify for benefits to replace lost income and medical costs.
What types of benefits are available and who is eligible?
There are three main types of benefits available to employees who are unable to work due to an injury or illness:
Workers’ compensation: Federally-mandated workers’ compensation insurance covers employees who are injured or become ill as a direct result of their job. Benefits will generally cover lost wages and medical bills. However, there are some exceptions. The injured worker must act to claim these benefits in Alabama within five days after the injury took place, or they risk losing certain rights and benefits. The worker will receive a part (usually two-thirds) of their salary while recovering.
Social Security benefits: Workers must first be employed in jobs covered by Social Security and have medical conditions that meet the agency’s definition of disability. Benefits are usually paid to those unable to work for a year or more due to their injury or illness. The Social Security Administration lists the types of impairments that qualify, including:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Sense and speech disabilities such as loss of hearing and vision
- Respiratory diseases such as asthma
- Cardiovascular problems such as heart disease
- Digestive disorders
- Blood disorders
Short-term and long-term disability: Only five states require employers to provide this type of coverage, and Alabama is not one of them. Employers can voluntarily offer this coverage, or workers can buy private policies from insurance companies. If covered, workers usually receive about 50% of their weekly salary.
Protecting workers’ earning ability while recovering from injuries or illness
Injured workers can benefit from an attorney who is experienced in workers’ compensation or social security disability claims here in Alabama, helping the worker navigate the complicated systems and improving their chances for benefits that can help make up for lost income, medical expenses and other related costs.