Alabama Workers Compensation Questions: (15) What if I have a permanent injury as the result of my job injury?
Once you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), the treating physician will give an opinion as to whether you have sustained a permanent physical impairment as a result of your job injury. If you have not suffered a permanent injury (as is oft the case after a hernia has been repaired), your case is essentially over, although your employer and their workers compensation insurance provider will remain responsible for any medical treatment you require in the future related to your job injury. If you have suffered a permanent injury as a result of your job injury, then you are entitled to compensation based on said impairment.
Alabama’s Workers Compensation Act has broken permanent physical impairments into two categories: (1) Scheduled Injuries and (2) Unscheduled Injuries.
Scheduled Injuries are injuries to a specific body part, where the injury or pain does not interfere with the efficient functioning of other body non scheduled body parts. Alabama’s Workers Compensation Statute lists the number of weeks of permanent physical disability benefits an injured worker is entitled to receive (eg, 62 weeks for the loss of a thumb, 170 weeks for the loss of a hand, 222 weeks for the loss of an arm below the shoulder, etc.). While the Alabama Legislature did not define what a permanent physical impairment means, most physicians give impairment ratings based on the A.M.A. Guides to Permanent Impairments, and this rating is a good starting point to use in trying to determine the amount of compensation the injured worker is entitled to.
Non-Scheduled Injuries are injuries to a workers’ spine, neck, back, shoulders, hips and also incorporates injuries which effect the efficient functioning of the body as a whole (such as RSD). These injuries entitle the injured worker to 300 weeks of permanent physical impairment benefits, and unlike injuries to a schedule member, if a non scheduled permanent impairment prohibits the injured worker from returning to their past work or from making the same amount of money, the injured worker is also entitled to vocational benefits.
Medical benefits for both scheduled and non schedule injuries remain the responsibility of your employers’ workers compensation insurance provider for life as long as the treatment is related to the initial job injury.
If you have suffered a permanent impairment as the result of a job injury and you would like to speak with an experienced Alabama Workers Compensation attorney, the Alabama Job Injury attorneys at would be happy to speak with you.
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