It’s no secret among lawyers in Alabama that our Workers’ Compensation Act provides very minimal benefits to workers who are injured on the job. In fact, Alabama law provides the nation’s lowest workers’ compensation benefits for amputations. Therefore, knowledgeable personal injury attorneys will always try to find another avenue to recover compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. This is especially important when a client suffers a severe or life changing injury on the job. The circumstances of how an injury occurred may allow a lawyer to recover additional compensation for an injured worker. While the majority of injured workers will be limited to workers’ compensation benefits, there a few exceptions in which additional compensation may be pursued:
- When the injury was caused by the negligence of a “third party”
Under Alabama law, you cannot sue your employer or even a co-worker for simple negligence if you were injured on the job. This is the case even when an injury is clearly the fault of the employer or a co-worker. However, if the person/entity who negligently injured you was not your employer or co-worker (i.e. a “third party”), you can bring a claim against that person/entity for compensation in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. The most common situation involves an automobile wreck. For example, if you are a delivery driver and another person runs a red light and injures you while you are making deliveries, you would be entitled to both workers’ compensation benefits and damages from the other driver. Other examples include injury by a defective product while on the job or being injured on a job site by someone acting as an independent contractor.