Alabama Workers Compensation: What are vocational benefits?
If you have suffered a permanent injury to a non scheduled body part (head, neck, shoulders, back, hip, or if you have an injury which detrimentally effects the efficient functioning of your body) and you are no longer able to perform you past work or earn the same type of money you were making prior to your injury, then you are entitled to vocational benefits under Alabama’s Workers’ Comp law.
Your vocational benefits allow you to request that your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier retrain you (if possible), or to obtain additional compensation for your loss of access to jobs now available to you in your post injury condition. It is extremely rare in our experience for the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to inform the injured worker of their right to vocational benefits, and they are under no legal obligation to inform you of your rights as everyone is assumed to know the law.
Additionally, if you are back at work and making the same amount of money it is assumed that you do not have any vocational loss, but this may change. Under the Alabama Workers Compensation Act, you right to vocational benefits exists for 300 weeks after the date you suffered your work injury; so, if you did return to work but within the 300 week period you later loose your job (not due to fault on your part), you can petition the court to reopen your settled case for additional vocational compensation, but this right is not mentioned by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier when they contact you in hopes of settling your case.
If you have suffered an accident at work and have sustained a permanent impairment and you are not able to return to your past job, or if your employer has allowed you to return to work and you have been offered some additional compensation to close your right to future vocational benefits, your should not accept this offer without first speaking with an experienced Alabama Workers Comp lawyer.
If you have suffered a permanent injury and have questions about what you have been offered to settle your case, the experienced Alabama Workers Compensation lawyers at Powell and Denny would be happy to speak with you about your case.
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AL Workers Comp Questions What are vocational benefits