Those Suffering Amputations Due to Work Accidents Will Receive Better Workers Comp Help in Alabama
A workers comp bill filed on April 2nd in Alabama would triple the amount of compensation awarded to those who suffered amputations caused by accidents on the job.
The bill may have been inspired by an investigative series on workers comp conducted by Pro Publica, a watchdog publication, and NPR. The reports found that Alabama currently has the lowest workers comp benefits in the country, leaving many disabled workers struggling below the poverty line.
Part of the problem with the state’s workers comp system stems from a 1985 bill that caps weekly awards at $220 per week – even in a state with a low cost of living, that amount is not enough to pay rent and bills. The new legislation would raise that amount 80%, to $635. The bill would also adjust how damages for losing limbs are calculated: for example, workers can receive up to $45,000 for losing an arm now, but with the new legislation, that amount would go up to $140,000. While this amount is still below the national average of $169,878, it will help the state’s injured workers much more.
Other changes in the proposed workers comp bill will finally allow compensation for those with psychiatric illnesses, and increases benefits for those suffering back and shoulder injuries due to repetitive strain. Workers could see more choices in which doctor they go see, and there will be an increased amount set aside for attorneys’ fees.
However, the bill has some compromises which limit benefits for receiving workers comp. Workers would no longer be able to receive benefits for a lifetime, but instead the benefits would end at age 75, or 10 years after the accident, whichever provides benefits for the longest period. Additionally, employers and insurance companies have more control over the amount of benefits spent on health care, and would cap what physicians and hospitals can charge injured workers for treatment.
Although the workers comp bill will likely face opposition from the medical community, it is a bold move at a time when many states are moving to privatize workers compensation, allegedly to save tax payers’ money, and to place stronger limits on amounts and time that workers comp would be awarded to injured workers.
“This bill is designed to force all three—the business community, trial lawyers and the medical community to get in the same room,” Alabama State Senator Cam Ward said in an interview. “This bill will change many times, but we’ve got to start somewhere.”
The Strom Law Firm Represents Injured Workers Before the SC Workers Comp Commission
If you suffered an injury on the job, whether it is loss of a limb in a construction site accident, or PTSD from harassment on the job, you could be eligible for workers compensation to help pay for your treatment. The South Carolina workers compensation attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand the intricacies of the state’s laws, and can help you navigate through the claims process, enabling you to focus on getting better. We offer a free case evaluation to discuss your injuries, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800