Misconceptions About On-the-Job Accidents

When you’re injured on the job in Alabama, it can upend your life and your ability to put in the hard hours you put in each and every day for yourself and your family. Nobody wants to be forced out of work because of an injury, but workplace injuries add complicated layers to the way you’re compensated and how recovery will look. It’s important to know the facts about workplace injuries so your insurance and your employer don’t try to take advantage of your situation.

There is a ton of information to sift through on the internet and in the workplace. It’s imperative to know which pieces of information are true and which are meant to deter you from pursuing the compensation you deserve. We want to help you break through the noise and get what you’re owed.

Misconception #1: If the injury is your fault you won’t get workers’ compensation

This is one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding workers’ compensation cases. Workers and employers often believe that if a worker does something wrong and gets injured they are no longer owed workers’ compensation. In most cases, that’s simply not true.

Alabama’s workers’ compensation code is considered “no-fault,” which means that the fault of the accident does not impact the insurance payout with few exceptions. Generally, the only exceptions will be if you’re determined to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if you work for an employer who is not covered under the workers’ comp statute.

So, even if you’re fulfilling your role and decide to try to cut a corner and end up hurting yourself then you will still be owed workers’ comp. The same is true if you’re doing your job and somebody else makes a mistake that results in an injury to you.

Misconception #2: I must pay some expenses associated with treatment out of pocket

It’s important to take a thorough view of the compensation you’re owed after a workplace incident. You will obviously be most concerned about your wages and the cost of medical treatment, but there are additional costs associated with your treatment that you can bill to your employer.

For instance, you are actually owed mileage to and from medical appointments for all treatment related to the injury in question. The state sets the mileage rate as the same for official state travel. It’s essential to keep records of your mileage and get reimbursed to the fullest extent.

Misconception #3: HIPAA keeps workplace injury medical records private

The insurance company that’s paying out a workers’ compensation claim is going to want to confirm that the treatment they’re paying for actually relates directly to the injury. You’re going to want to get that covered, but you’re not going to be able to cheat the system and get any other unrelated medical issues covered by hiding those records.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services orders that HIPAA cannot supersede the need for medical records and receipts in workers’ compensation cases. This means the insurance company or employer that is paying your bills must be permitted to view those records. However, this does not mean the same company or employer has access to any other medical records. They are only permitted to view the records that relate directly to the treatment in question.

Misconception #4: Desk workers don’t get hurt at work

You might be sitting at a desk right now reading this and thinking, “that’s not going to be me.” Well, think again. Obviously, you could be exposed to dangerous conditions just moving to and from your desk that could prompt a case, but another scenario to consider is occupational diseases and injuries that would result in workers’ compensation.

Many desk workers develop eye strain, carpel tunnel syndrome, and other chronic conditions associated with sitting for long periods of time and repeated motions. These conditions are related to the work you’re doing and would thus result in a workers’ compensation case.

The best way to protect yourself and your work is to know what’s right and what’s wrong. At John M. Totten, P.C., we know the law and we can help you maximize the return in your Alabama workers’ compensation case. Contact us for a firm that represents good people who need a good lawyer.

John M. Totten