You Cannot Wait to Report After a Work Injury in Alabama
The most important dates and deadlines in a workers’ compensation case
on February 8, 2022
Updated on June 29, 2022
Workplace safety remains a significant problem in Alabama. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 33,000 non-fatal work-related injuries occurred within the state in 2019 alone. In Alabama, all companies and organizations that regularly employ five or more employees are required to obtain no-fault workers’ compensation coverage.
To be eligible to file a workers’ comp claim in Alabama, an injured employee must report their accident to their employer in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in the denial of workers’ compensation benefits. In this article, you will find a more detailed overview of the most important dates and deadlines in a workers’ compensation claim in Alabama.
First Deadline: Report Your Accident Within Five Days
The Alabama workers’ comp laws put legal obligations on both employers and employees. One of the most important responsibilities for an injured worker is the duty to report their accident in a timely manner. You should notify your employer that you were hurt on the job within five days, and they should recommend you seek medical treatment.
As explained by the Alabama Department of Labor, actual notice—for example, a business owner witnessing a serious accident—has been held the equivalent of statutory notice. An employer who was fully aware of your injuries cannot use “lack of notice” as a valid defense.
That being said, you do not want to risk any problems after a serious workplace accident in Alabama. You should notify your employer in writing that an accident has occurred as soon as possible. Failure to follow this deadline could lead to a denial of your workers’ comp claim.
Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation: Two Years
Reporting a job-related injury or an occupational disease to an employer is not the same thing as filing for workers’ compensation benefits. Beyond notifying your business or organization that an accident has occurred in the workplace, you still need to file for workers’ comp. Alabama workers’ compensation law has a two-year statute of limitations for claims.
The sooner you get started with the claims process, the sooner you will be able to access all available benefits from the insurance company.
Alabama Workers’ Comp Appeal: 15 Calendar Days (Mail), 7 Calendar Days (Person)
Unfortunately, some people struggle to get their workers’ compensation claim paid. If your workers’ compensation benefits were denied by an insurance carrier, you have the right to file an appeal in Alabama.
Unlike the majority of U.S. jurisdictions, Alabama does not have an administrative law system in place for workers’ comp appeals. In effect, this means an injured worker must appeal the denial of benefits by filing a civil lawsuit in the appropriate Alabama district court. You have 15 calendar days to initiate a workers’ comp appeal if you receive a denial by mail, and 7 calendar days to initiate an appeal if you receive a denial letter in-person. If your claim was denied or your are otherwise struggling to recover your medical benefits, an experienced Alabama workers’ compensation attorney can help.
To learn more about this area of law, see our workers' compensation overview or reach out to a workers‘ compensation lawyer for legal advice. They commonly offer a free consultation.