Alaska Worker’s Compensation Laws

If you are working in Alaska and have been injured or hurt while on the job, whether at the workplace or at a third place, the Alaska worker’s compensation laws can provide you a critical lifeline. Even if you are unable to join the work because of the temporary or permanent disability caused by the injuries, you may still be able to obtain weekly or monthly payments by your employer, which is usually less than your actual working salary but is often sufficient enough to provide you financial support while you are “jobless” (unable to work) and trying to recover from a work-related injury. In the state of Alaska, the Division of Worker’s Compensation handles these types of cases. However, in order to make the best use of your legal rights and to protect your interests, it is always advisable to have a thorough understanding of at least a few basic things associated with the state laws applicable for occupational injury cases. Following is a brief rundown on it.

Laws Regarding Attorney’s Fee

The Alaska worker’s compensation laws can sometimes make things very complicated for you, especially if you are handling the legal proceedings on your own. That is the reason why it is always recommended to hire an expert Alaska occupational injury lawyer to represent you in the courtroom. Unlike many other states in the United States of America, Alaska does not impose any maximum limit on the amount of fee that a lawyer can charge for handling these types of cases. The state laws only say that the fee awards must be reasonable and compensatory. In general, you should expect to pay anywhere around $300 as a one time consultation fee. For the first one thousand dollars of compensation benefits received, the minimum attorney fee can be as much as 25%. For compensation amount over $1000, the attorney’s compensation is minimum 10%. Therefore, you have to be very careful with your choice of the lawyer. Make sure that the lawyer is not only specialized and experienced one but is also the one that charges a reasonable amount of fee.

Amount Of Compensation

As per Alaska worker’s compensation laws, there is a wide array of factors that are taken into account in order to determine the actual amount of compensation that you deserve. This is again a complicated process. An expert lawyer can help you figure out the expected amount of compensation. The method of calculating the amount of compensation however will vary depending upon the various factors involved in your specific situations, such as whether you receive your wages or salary on yearly, monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis. As a general thumb of rule, when an injured employee is on worker’s comp, he or she can expect to receive up to 80% of his or her “spendable” income. The year when the injury actually took place also plays an important role in determining the maximum and minimum compensation rate.

Fisherman’s Fund

Alaska worker’s compensation laws have specific provisions to protect the rights and interests of seasonal commercial fishermen by providing them worker’s comp if they get injured while at work. It was back in the year 1951 when the fisherman’s fund was first created for this purpose. The taxes that the state collects on permit and licensing fees for commercial fishing are used to finance this fund. The funding program is supervised by the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development in Alaska. There are basically two conditions that must be met in order to qualify for this type of worker’s compensation – first, the injuries must take place on the job while fishing, and second, the worker must be a duly licensed commercial fisherman. Those fishermen who get injured outside of the job are not eligible for worker’s compensation as part of the fishermen funding program.

Choice Of Doctors

As per the Alaska worker’s compensation laws, the initial choice of the doctor is made by the employee. However, the laws also allow employers to provide a preferred list of physicians. Still, the injured employee is free to choose any doctor of his or her choice regardless of whether that physician is included in the list or not. However, you must make sure that the doctor you have chosen is a duly licensed one. The injured employee also has the right to change the treating doctor, but not more than once. If the doctor is changed, all associated parties must be duly notified about the same.

Sometimes, the disability caused by the inquiries continues for a very long period of time. It is very important for you to keep in mind that if the disability continues for longer than twenty eight days, the compensation is retroactive as per the Alaska worker’s compensation laws. Besides that, there can be a maximum of three days of waiting period for compensation benefits after injury. It must also be noted that the Alaska laws do not allow any numerical exceptions.