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Job Injury Claims are being filed earlier-and that’s good news

Job Injury Claims are being filed earlier-and that’s good news

According to the attached AP new report, last March a study of workers’ compensation claims made over the last 10 years revealed that on average, more workers are suffering job injuries earlier in their careers than in the past. Initially, one might read this and think that work conditions are growing more dangerous for workers-but I don’t think this is what is going on with this report.

I believe that the increase in workers compensation filings is actually good news for injured workers, because I interpret the report as showing that workers are learning more about their obligation to report job injuries and ensure that a First Report of Injury is being completed after suffering a work injury-instead of just putting treatment for their injuries on their personal insurance.

Often a worker is not sure if they have suffered a serious injury or just a sprain, so they do not report the injury (providing notice) at first, but only later file a workers’ compensation injury report when their pain refuses to go away. We have spoken to numerous people who have called our office after being told by their employer that they had waited too long to report/give notice of a job injury and therefore they are not entitled to any workers’ compensation benefits. This is rarely true.

Another thing we have heard quite often is that after suffering a job injury, the injured workers’ supervisor or boss asks them to just use their personal health insurance, and the injured worker doesn’t know what they should do; they want to help their employer (perhaps they are afraid of being fired if they do not do as told), but they do not want to lie to the doctor about how they were injured-and in order to have their own insurance cover their medical treatment, they would have to lie about how they suffered their injury (your personal health insurance will not cover treatment for a compensable job injury).

So, what is a worker who suffered a job injury supposed to do?  File a First Report of Injury.  I think that fact the number of work injuries are being made earlier is because workers are learning more out their rights and responsibilities.

While it is true that according to Ala.Code §25-5-78, an injured workers is supposed to provide written notice of a workplace injury within 5 days of the on-the-job injury, but this section goes on to state that, in Alabama, a worker has up to 90 days in which to inform his employer about a job injury. An oral report is just as valid a notice means as a detailed written report, and “Company Policy” cannot override the law.

Having stated this, it is always best to report a potential job injury as soon as possible.

If you have suffered a work injury and have questions about your right to Alabama Workers’ Compensation benefits, don’t hesitate to contact Powell and Denny and speak with one of the experienced workers compensation lawyers and schedule a free consultation.  Appointments are available in person, or virtually through Zoom for your convenience from wherever you live.


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Job Injury Claims are being filed earlier-and that’s good news

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