by David P. Nomberg, Partner, The Nomberg Law Firm
“That’s all?” is a common response we receive from clients after telling them what their workers’ compensation claim is worth. The Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act can be very limiting as to the amount of money an injured worker receives due to an on-the-job accident.
It is important to understand what benefits the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act permits for an injured worker, which includes the following:
1. Medical treatment
2. Temporary total disability benefits
3. Mileage reimbursement
4. Compensation for permanent disability
5. Compensation for vocational loss
What follows is a list of benefits a worker is NOT entitled to pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act:
1. Compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish
2. Reimbursement for lost wages
3. Loss of consortium
4. Punitive damages
As an attorney representing injured workers, one of the more important responsibilities we have is advising clients through the settlement process. Many factors determine the value of the workers’ compensation claim. Some of those factors include the impairment rating, whether there are permanent work restrictions, the average weekly wage, and the client’s age, education level as well as jobs performed.
In order to receive compensation for an on-the-job accident, the injury must be permanent. The treating physician can assign the medical impairment rating or the case can be tried to a judge and the judge can determine the disability rating. Another way an injured worker can receive compensation is if they are not able to return to their job or a find similar work due to permanent work restrictions, they may be entitled to compensation for their vocational loss.
Further defining what amount of compensation an injured worker may receive pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act is whether the injury is a scheduled injury, such as fingers, toes, eyes, hands, arms, etc. Certain body parts like the back, hips, shoulders are not scheduled. Mental injuries like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder are not scheduled.
We have had permanent and total disability claims settle for as low as $75,000, which happened to be a very good result for the client in that particular case. In contrast, we have favorably resolved other permanent and total disability claims for our clients for over $300,000. The disparity in the amounts is due in large part to the average weekly wage and the age of the injured worker.
An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you maximize your recovery under Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Remember: we represent injured workers on a contingency basis which means we, the attorneys, do not get paid unless the client gets paid. The more money the client receives, the more money the attorney receives, so we do all that we can to maximize the client’s recovery.
We can also investigate whether you have a third–party claim against a negligent driver or against the manufacturer of a product. Further, you may have a claim for retaliatory discharge, wage and hour violations or Social Security disability. An attorney who represents injured workers can explore these potential claims with you. An insurance adjuster and case nurse do not represent you or your best interests and will not and cannot give you legal advice on your workers’ compensation claim or other potential claims.
No two workers’ compensation claims are alike. Your claim should be investigated and analyzed by an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. If you have questions about your benefits pursuant to the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, please call the attorneys at the Nomberg Law Firm today (205) 930-6900 or contact us here.
David P. Nomberg has practiced workers’ compensation law in Alabama for more than 13 years. David has earned an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell’s peer-review rating. He has been selected a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers Magazine as well as a Top Rated Attorney by B-Metro and Birmingham Magazines.