Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law
Alabama workers’ compensation law requires all employers that regularly employ five or more employees to have workers’ compensation coverage.1 Alabama’s Workers' Compensation Division administers the state’s workers’ comp system. Workers’ comp is important because it can help protect both employers and employees. For employers, workers’ compensation helps:2
- Limit liabilities
- Protect against double compensation, penalties and fines
For employees, this coverage provides benefits when they suffer a work-related injury or illness. It also provides partial wage replacement if they need time off from work to recover.
To comply with state laws, you can get Alabama workers’ compensation coverage through:3
- The voluntary market
- Group self-insurance
- An assigned risk pool
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Alabama Coverage
Alabama workers’ compensation plans provide benefits to employees if they suffer a work-related injury or illness. Workers’ comp plans can also provide disability benefits if an employee becomes disabled from an injury or illness caused by their job. If a sick or injured worker needs to take time off from work, workers’ comp coverage can help replace some of their lost wages.
What’s Covered – Workers’ compensation can help cover an employee’s medical treatment costs if they have a work-related injury or illness. It also limits an employer’s liability. Employers are protected under exclusive remedy provisions in Alabama’s workers’ compensation law.4 A few examples of what workers’ comp can cover include:
- An employee trips over a misplaced box in the office and goes to the emergency room with a fractured wrist. Workers’ comp can help cover her emergency room visit costs and any necessary follow-up visits.
- An employee comes in contact with an allergen in the workplace. He is rushed to the hospital. Workers’ comp can help cover his medical service costs.
- An employee develops carpal tunnel syndrome from years of bad ergonomics. Workers’ comp can help cover their medical costs to treat the condition. It can also help cover the cost of ongoing care, such as physical therapy.
Coverage Requirements – All employers with at least five employees need workers’ comp in Alabama. Alabama state law counts part-time workers, corporate officers and members of an LLC as employees.5 Some employees who don’t need workers’ comp coverage include:6
- Domestic employees working in private homes
- Farm workers
- Casual employees, who don’t have guaranteed work hours
- Municipalities with less than 2,000 residents
Proof of Coverage – Businesses need proof of coverage to prove they have workers’ comp coverage. Also known as a certificate of insurance, this document can also detail who and what the policy covers. Get a coverage quote today and learn how you can get proof of coverage for your business.
What Workers’ Compensation Covers:
Alabama workers’ compensation from The Hartford can help cover expenses related to:
An accident or injury – An employee can get hurt on the job. They may need to go to the doctor or hospital for treatment. Workers’ comp can help cover their medical costs to treat their injury.
Illness – A work-related illness can happen if an employee is exposed to harmful substances or allergens. Workers’ comp can help cover an employee’s treatment costs if they get sick from their job.
Repetitive Injury – Some injuries happen after years of harmful, repetitive motions. Workers’ comp can help cover an employee’s costs to treat a work-related repetitive injury, such as carpal tunnel.
Missed Wages – Sometimes an employee’s work-related injury or illness is so severe they need to take time off from work. Workers’ comp can help replace some of their lost wages. The amount paid is equal to 66 2/3% of the employee’s average weekly wage. The benefit is subject to the maximum and minimum amount, which is specified by Alabama state law.7 Employees receive the benefit if they miss work for more than 21 days and after a three-day waiting period. An authorized treating physician also needs to approve the time away from work.8
Ongoing Care – Sometimes a work-related injury or illness may require ongoing care, even after the employee returns to work. This can include additional surgeries or physical therapy. Workers’ comp can help cover an employee’s ongoing care costs.
Funeral Costs – If an employee dies from a work-related cause, their family can receive benefits to help pay funeral costs.
Disability – Sometimes an injury or illness can leave an employee temporarily or permanently disabled. Disabled employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits. Permanent partial disability payments can be paid weekly or in a lump sum.9
Alabama Workers’ Compensation Settlements
Disputed workers’ compensation cases are filed with the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Labor. A dispute can happen if:10
- Payment is denied
- Authorization for payment of services is denied
- The commissioner has ordered a party to refund payments
Depending on the nature of the dispute, it may need to be reviewed by an ombudsman before settlement.11
An employer may elect to provide vocational rehabilitation to a sick or injured employee.12 In other cases, a physician can recommend it or an employee can request it. A vocational rehabilitation specialist and physician have to decide if it’s necessary to return an employee to gainful employment.
If both the specialist and physician decide it’s necessary, the employer is responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation.13 The employee’s board, lodging and travel can be covered by workers’ comp if the facility is far from their residence.
Important Timelines When Filing Claims
There are timelines employers and insurers need to follow for workers’ comp claims, including:14
- Employers submitting the first report of injury to Alabama within 15 days of an occurrence.
- After making the first compensation payment, a supplementary report should be filed with the state within 10 days.
- Insurers have 30 days after knowledge of a claim to make the first installment of compensation.
- If compensation isn’t paid in that time frame, insurers have 10 days to file a report with the state explaining why payment wasn’t made.
- There is a two-year statute of limitation on workers’ comp claims.
Alabama Workers’ Compensation Claims
To file a workers’ compensation claim in Alabama, visit our workers’ comp claim page today.
This article provides general information, and should not be construed as specific legal, HR, financial, insurance, tax or accounting advice. As with all matters of a legal or human resources nature, you should consult with your own legal counsel and human resources professionals. The Hartford shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, special, consequential, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages in connection with the use by you or anyone of the information provided herein.
9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Alabama Department of Labor, “Basic Claim Handling Manual”