Are you feeling confused and overwhelmed by the workers’ compensation process?
Here are some helpful links and information.
What should I do if I am injured at work?
Report the injury to your employer by telling your supervisor right away. Your employer should provide you with an “Employee Report of Occupational Injury or Illness” form to make a written statement. If you don’t receive one, you can find one here. Fill it out and give it to your employer as soon as you can. If you’re not sure of an exact injury date (for example, if you have pain that developed over a period of time), make your best estimate of when you believe your condition was caused by work.
If you need medical treatment, go to the doctor. Make sure to tell your physician you were hurt at work.
Types of Workplace Injuries
When people think of work injuries, they usually think of construction site accidents and heavy lifting injuries. While these do make up a portion of employee injuries in Alaska, there are also many other types of compensable injuries.
Some different types of workplace injuries include:
- Repetitive motion injuries — caused by the same tasks done over a period of time (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, etc.)
- Toxic exposure – caused by exposure to chemicals or dangerous substances, either in a single incident or over time
- Hearing loss – caused by exposure to dangerous noise levels or vibrations, either in a single incident or over time
- Third-party accidents — injuries that occur during the course and scope of your employment, caused by the negligence of a third party (for example, auto accidents, equipment defects)
- Psychological injuries – if you have experienced an extremely stressful event or if you have regularly encountered ongoing stressful conditions that are out of the ordinary for your job, you may be entitled to timeloss and medical treatment for your condition (for example, post-traumatic stress disorder)
Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When you are injured at work in Alaska, your employer/insurer is required to pay you certain benefits. These are grouped into two types: indemnity benefits and medical benefits.
- TTD (temporary total disability): If you have an off-work note from your doctor and you are totally unable to work because of your work injury, you are entitled to timeloss benefits to compensate you for your lost wages. As long as you continue to be totally disabled, you should receive TTD checks every two weeks until a doctor says you are medically stable.
- TPD (temporary partial disability): If you are able to return to work but at a limited capacity with reduced wages, you are entitled to timeloss benefits to compensate you for lost wages. As long as you continue to be partially disabled, you should receive TPD checks every two weeks until a doctor says you are medically stable.
- PTD (permanent total disability): If you are permanently unable to return to work because of your work injury, you may be entitled to PTD benefits to compensate you for your lost wages for the rest of your life.
- PPI (permanent partial impairment): Once you are medically stable, you are entitled to an examination by your doctor to determine the extent of any permanent impairment you have due to your work injury. Your PPI benefit is a monetary amount based on a percentage rating provided by your doctor.
- Reemployment benefits: When certain conditions are met, you may be entitled to retraining so you can return to work. If you are actively participating in the reemployment process, you are also entitled to timeloss benefits during that time.
The employer/insurer is required to pay for medical treatment that is reasonable and necessary and related to your work injury. You may choose your doctor and you may change doctors once if you notify the employer in writing.
Can I be fired for reporting a work injury?
No. Alaska law prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee in any way for reporting a work injury or seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
What if my employer doesn't have insurance?
If you are hurt at work and your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, you should still report the injury and seek benefits. The state has a fund called the Workers’ Compensation Benefits Guaranty Fund, which will pay benefits when an uninsured employer can’t or won’t pay.
What if the insurance company doesn't pay me on time?
If you are entitled to timeloss benefits and the insurance company doesn’t pay them on time, you may be entitled to a 25% penalty and interest on the compensation amount.
My adjuster sent me a controversion notice. What does this mean?
A controversion is a formal denial of some or all of your workers’ compensation benefits. The employer/insurer must have evidence to support the denial. To pursue benefits denied under a controversion notice, you must file a workers’ compensation claim. This begins the litigation process.
The adjuster scheduled an appointment for me with the insurance company's doctor. Do I have to go?
Probably. As part of the investigative process, employers and insurers may have injured workers examined by a physician they choose. The insurer must provide reasonable notice to you, pay for all travel-related costs, and may not send you for employer evaluations more than every sixty days.
The insurance company's lawyer wants to take my deposition. What is that and do I have to go?
A deposition is part of the discovery process, and as long as the insurance company provides you with reasonable notice, you should go. It sounds intimidating, but it is just a formal question-and-answer session with the insurance company’s attorney. You will give your sworn testimony about your work history, medical history, and injury. A court reporter will provide a transcript afterward.
Am I required to pay my doctors if the insurance company won't?
No. If you have notified your doctors that your injury or illness was caused by your work, they cannot require you to pay for your treatment. You should give your doctor (and your insurance company, if you have private health insurance) a copy of the controversion notice.
I don't live in Anchorage. Can you still represent me?
Yes. Eklund Law Office represents injured workers from all over the state and appears before the workers’ compensation board in all three venues (Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau).
How is my attorney paid?
The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Act provides that an employee’s attorney’s fees are paid by the employer/insurer if the attorney is successful in obtaining benefits for the employee. These fees are never taken from your benefits, and you will not be responsible for paying any attorney’s fees.
Where do I get a copy of my worker's compensation case file?
You are entitled to one free copy of your case file. You can request your file in person at the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Division office or submit a form online at email@example.com. The form (Request for Release of Information) is available on the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Division website at http://www.labor.state.ak.us/wc/pdf_list.htm.
What should I do to prepare for my consultation?
You should gather as much information as you can about your case before meeting with your attorney. All of these documents will help us to determine how we can help you.
- All correspondence between you and your employer or insurance company about your work injury
- All medical records for treatment you have received for your work injury
- Your tax returns and wage information for the two years before your injury
- A copy of your workers’ compensation division case file. You are entitled to one free copy of your file. Here’s a link to the form to request one.
You may also request a copy of any documentation about your workers’ compensation case from your adjuster.
In the meantime…
Below is a form with information we will need to review your case. The more information you can provide, the sooner we will be able to determine how to best help you.
The use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Eklund Law Office does not accept new clients before checking for possible conflicts of interest and obtaining a signed engagement letter.