Alaska Workers' Compensation
Alaska workers' compensation is administered by Alaska's Division of Workers' Compensation and provides benefits to Alaskan workers who are injured on the job or who suffer from an occupational illness.
Workers' compensation in Alaska can include paid medical care, wage loss benefits, vocational rehabilitation services and survivor benefits.
Work injury compensation has eliminated the right of most workers to file personal injury claims for work injuries, thereby eliminating the need for protracted legal battles for both the employer and the employee. The employee forfeits their rights to a higher potential judgment and the employer avoids having to prove they were not negligent for the worker's injury.
Hiring a Alaska Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Alaska employees have the right to hire an Alaskan work comp lawyer at any point in the workers' compensation process, but if the Alaska workplace injury is minor, or the employer is willing to provide sufficient compensation, an employment attorney may not be needed.
If however, employers are refusing to provide work compensation benefits or an employee has suffered discrimination or wage loss and has not been given the work comp benefits they need, an Alaska work comp attorney can help. Remember that your employer or the insurance company will most likely have a team of lawyers working for them.
Work Injuries Covered Under Alaskan Workers' Compensation
Most work injuries will be covered under Alaskan work comp. Common injuries which are generally covered, if they occur during the normal course of employment, can include any of the following:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Diseases caused by inhalation of chemicals or other toxins
- Heart attack or strokes on the job
- Back and neck injuries
- Abrasions and burns
- Amputations of arms or legs
If an employee is intoxicated when they are injured, attempting to injure themselves or others, is injured while committing an illegal action, knowingly fails to follow written safety instructions which are clearly posted, or fails to perform a statutory duty, they may have difficulty getting Alaska work injury compensation.
Employees who have been denied work comp benefits in Alaska should contact a workers' compensation lawyer for more information about whether or not their work injury is covered under Alaskan work comp law. Alaska employment lawyers may also be able to help an employee who has been injured by a third party product.
Types of Alaska Worker's Compensation Benefits
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD) - Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) are offered to workers who have been temporarily and totally disabled and are unable to return to work.
TTD benefits are paid at up to 80% of the worker's spendable weekly wage (subject to the maximum amount allowed under Alaskan workers' compensation law). Weekly, monthly or annual calculations may vary somewhat.
Temporary total disability benefits are paid every 2 weeks until the worker has reached their maximum medical recovery level and returns to work.
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD) - Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) are paid to workers who suffer an injury at work and are able to return to work but who are can not make the same wage they could make prior to their work injury (due to a lighter work assignment or residual work injuries).
Temporary partial disability payments are paid every 2 weeks and are paid at 80% of the difference between the amount of money the worker was earning prior to their Alaskan work injury and after their Alaskan work injury.
An employee may receive TPD benefits until they reach their maximum medical improvement level or for a maximum of five years (or the earliest of the two).
- Permanent Partial Impairment Benefits (PPI) - Employees who suffer permanent partial impairments may receive payments for their loss. Examples of permanent partial impairments can include loss of a body part such as a finger or toe.
PPI benefits are paid according to the rating assigned by physician. Ratings are based on the percentage of loss and are calculated by multiplying the percentage of the body loss by $177,000, which is the value of a whole person as determined by Alaska's workers compensation. Permanent partial disability payments may be paid in addition to other types of Alaskan wage loss benefits.
- Permanent Total Disability Benefits (PTD) - Permanent total disability benefits are paid to Alaskan workers who are injured and who are unable to perform any type of work due to their residual permanent and total disabilities.
PTD benefits are paid to Alaskan workers until they are no longer disabled and able to return to work or they die.
- Death Benefits - Death benefits may be paid to the surviving beneficiary of an Alaskan worker who dies from their work injury or occupational disease.
Death benefits can include a lump sum payment or a weekly wage loss compensation award. Wage loss compensation can vary depending on a variety of circumstances.
Death benefits may also include funeral expenses which are paid up to the state's maximum payment amount which is currently $5,000.
- Medical Benefits - Medical benefits are paid to Alaskan workers for all necessary and reasonable medical expenses related to their Alaskan work injury. Medical benefits are paid for up to 2 years following the work injury, subject to a review by the Board of Insurers if medical care is still needed after this amount of time.
Unlike many states, Alaska workers' compensation allows the employee to choose their own treating doctor. Workers who wish to change doctors after they have made their choice must submit a change request to their employer or insurer. Talk to your employer prior to making any physician decisions or visiting the doctor.
- Vocational Rehabilitation - Vocational rehabilitation services are currently offered to injured Alaskan workers who are unable to return to their current job. If you are injured and have not received the vocational help you need to return to some type of employment, contact a work injury lawyer.
Vocational rehabilitation services vary by state, but generally include: job retraining, job placement services, job modification services or job counseling. The goal of all vocational rehabilitation benefits is to help the Alaskan worker find suitable employment after an Alaskan work injury.