Every year, thousands of Alabamians are injured while at work. Workers’ compensation is there to provide benefits for injured workers who need treatment and may not be able to continue working (either over a set period of time or indefinitely).
But getting compensation isn’t without its challenges. It all starts right after the accident occurs – when the law says you’re supposed to notify your employer of the event.
Here’s what the law requires and why it’s important that you submit this notice in writing, instead of just telling your boss.
The Need to Give Notice
According to Alabama law (the Workers’ Compensation Act), an injured employee is required to notify the employer via a written notice. The notice must be delivered within five days.
This seems straightforward, but you’d be surprised how many times injured workers don’t adhere to one or both of these requirements.
One of the easiest ways to miss out on the compensation you deserve is to not tell your employer until after the five days have passed. Providing notice in a prompt manner is an absolute requirement, unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e. you’re incapacitated as a result of the injury and can’t serve notice).
Some people also think that the notice can be oral. While this is technically true – courts have ruled in favor of workers when there was no written notice, just a verbal one – it opens up a huge can of worms that can go against you.
Why a Written Notice Matters
As much as we’d like to think that our employers have our best interests at heart, they are more concerned with their best interests.
If you don’t serve written notice, and have proof of it, then it could very well come down to a he-said, she-said situation where your employer denies being notified of your accident. It may be crummy if you’re telling the truth, but it happens – and sometimes, your claim will be denied as a result.
You need to protect yourself by not only issuing a written notice, but providing supporting documents. You can’t rely on your employer backing you up, or even other witnesses.
Don’t put your compensation at risk. Take all necessary measures; tell your employer as soon as possible – within five days after your accident – and do it in writing.
Wettermark Keith has a roster of experienced workers’ compensation attorneys who have represented families from all walks of life in serious accidents in the workplace. Our commitment to caring for you and your family is built on a strong foundation of compassion. Contact our team to learn how you can get compensation for your case.