Birmingham, AL asked in Workers' Compensation and Constitutional Law for Alabama

Q: Can I use for work comp as long as medical is open? Even if it's been over 2 years?

It's been just over 2 years, but medical is still open, they offered 1000 and was gonna keep medical open but I didnt take money

1 Lawyer Answer
Jeffrey G. Blackwell
Jeffrey G. Blackwell
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Huntsville, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: The short answer, is yes. Medical benefits are not currently subject to the two year statute of limitations. They are legally available for the remainder of your life. If you are still suffering problems from your accident and injury, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Keep in mind, you will have to go through the work comp system and see the authorized treating physician.

You should be aware of a couple practical issues related to ongoing medical benefits. First, many clinics have internal rules requiring re-authorization where a patient has not been seen over an extended period of time. If your authorized physician's clinic has such a rule, you may have to fight with the work comp insurance carrier. But, the law provides lifetime medical benefits. So, care with the previously authorized doctor should be approved.

Second, your treatment must be related to the accident and injuries it caused. If you go an extended period of time without seeing the physician, it may be more difficult for the physician to attribute your current condition to the accident. This is a frequent issue for injured workers. We've seen many cases where, after the passage of significant time without evaluation, the physician can no longer say the current problems are related to the past accident. We urge workers with ongoing problems or chronic injuries to periodically see the physician.

Workers compensation also provides money benefits for impairments / disabilities arising out of a work-related injury. These benefits are determined by specific formulas in Alabama. You did not inquire about the available disability benefits. Claims for those money benefits are subject to the statute of limitations. That period is currently two years from the date of the accident but can be tolled by the receipt of TTD (temporary total disability) benefits.

If you have any questions, let us know. We have pursued work comp claims to trial in counties across Alabama. We are happy to answer questions. Consultations are always free and confidential.

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