Alaska has one of the most resilient workforces around. No matter how rugged of a worker you are, though, sometimes you will need time to recover from an injury. It’s in those moments that you should speak to your employer and secure workers’ compensation.
There is no shame in making use of these benefits – after all, when you’re unable to work you still need to pay your bills, make ends meet and keep food on the table for yourself and family. Alaska has unique workers’ compensation laws, and you may be wondering if you are eligible.
Workers’ compensation is a lot more than simple broken bones and cuts and bruises. Injuries that qualify for workers’ comp are robust:
- Workplace violence – Millions of people are assaulted at work each year. If you were attacked while on the job, odds are you qualify for workers’ comp and possibly other compensation.
- Back and neck injuries – Just because a bone doesn’t break doesn’t mean you aren’t injured. If you were in an accident that hurt your back or neck, or are experiencing pain from cumulative trauma, workers’ comp could help cover the cost of physical therapy and other needs.
- Vehicle accidents –An injury sustained while driving for work is well within the realm of being covered by workers’ comp.
- Diseases that develop over time – Some vocations are more susceptible to these types of ailments. Diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can take years to surface and are often covered by workers’ compensation.
- Vision and hearing damage – Similar to diseases like COPD, your sight or hearing degrading due to working conditions is almost certainly covered.
If you’re unsure of whether an injury you’ve sustained might be eligible, consider consulting with a professional.
Once you feel confident that you have an injury that qualifies for workers’ compensation, you will no doubt have plenty of questions about how to proceed. The workers’ comp process can be confusing, but here are the answers to three common introductory questions:
When do I get benefits?
Once you’ve submitted your written request for benefits to the Workers’ Comp Board and also informed your employer, it will take up to 21 days for them to allow or deny your claim. If it is denied, you may appeal – this may the time to contact a workers’ comp attorney if you haven’t already.
Do I actually need a lawyer?
An experienced attorney is always an asset when you’re dealing with workers’ comp or other legal matter where you may be owed compensation. Alaska has a unique set of workers’ comp laws which dictate that a lawyer will only be paid if they win your case. And even then they will be paid by the insurance company. You have nothing to lose by hiring a lawyer.
Will this get me fired?
Absolutely not. An employer firing you for filing a workers’ compensation claim is against the law and can result in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Alaska cares about its workers and affords them unique workers’ compensation benefits. If you’ve been injured, make use of them; you don’t have to be ashamed of taking the help offered to you.