The Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”) specifies what conditions must be met for various on the job injuries to be compensated. The Act also determines how injuries sustained by Alabama employees will be compensated when the Alabama employee’s work is performed outside the state. These out of state injuries will only be compensated pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act when specific conditions are triggered. These conditions are that the employment must have been set in motion by acts in the state of Alabama and the employment cannot be said to be localized in any other state. If the employment is found to be formed in another state or localized there, then the laws of that state would be the controlling law.
The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in Ex Parte Lost River Oilfield Services, LLC, decided a case where an Alabama citizen was contracted in Alabama to work for a Texas company in Texas. The company did not do business in Alabama and only contracted for the employment in the state of Alabama. While this did uphold the element that the employment was formed in the state of Alabama, it did not achieve the element of being localized in this state and not another. The facts here showed that the work was localized in another state and had few to no ties in the state of Alabama. Thus, the Alabama court found that the Alabama citizen’s employment was centralized in Texas and not applicable under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act.
Determining if a venue is proper usually includes several factors such as residence of the parties, location of the event in question, location of the evidence for the case and how changing the forum would affect each party’s case.
This does not mean that workers in this situation will not receive compensation; however, it does mean that these cases will follow the laws of the state where the employment was localized. Therefore, for an employee’s case to follow the laws of Alabama and be heard in an Alabama court the employment must be set in motion in the state of Alabama and the work must not be wholly localized in another state or states.
If you have any questions about whether your workers’ compensation claim is an Alabama claim or that of another state, please call the attorneys at the Nomberg Law Firm (205) 930-6900 or find us at nomberglaw.com.