Maybe you slipped and fell on a wet floor at work and ended up breaking your ankle. Or after many years working as a nurse, you threw out your back while moving a patient into his bed. Or you’re a construction or logging worker who was hurt when a concrete beam or heavy log fell on you. In any of these cases, if you’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim, you’re likely thinking about how long it will take the State of Alabama will process your claim.

Workers’ compensation rules

Generally, Alabama processes workers’ compensation claims in four to six weeks. No matter how long it may take a claim to process, employees should seek medical treatment right away. For a claim to qualify for workers’ compensation, other than your employer having proper workers’ comp insurance, your injury must:

1. Be related to your work and employment and have happened during your employment

2. Have been caused by a sudden accident or event, without human fault

You also need to notify your place of employment promptly, within five days, to receive full workers’ compensation benefits. You won’t qualify for workers comp if your injury is the result of your own misconduct, your misuse of safety equipment or your being under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the accident.

Claim denials

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can file an appeal, but it’s better if you work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before you do that. They understand how the claim process and can ensure that you’ve completed all the paperwork thoroughly.

Workers’ compensation settlements

If you receive a workers’ compensation settlement, benefits for lost wages vary, depending on if your injury is a temporary disability or permanent one. Also, you do not have accept any settlement your employer’s insurance offers. Often, insurance companies make low-ball offers. Again, you should consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you decide if the settlement is fair and does not require you to sign away your legal rights.

You want to do all you can to recoup your medical care costs and the costs of lost wages. Seeking treatment right away, filing a claim and consulting an attorney are the best ways to do that.