no fault workers compensation

What Does “No Fault” Mean in a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Unfortunately, workplace injuries are part of building a career. No matter which field you work in, the risk of injury is always present. From stress injuries and falls to crush injuries and broken bones, it’s important to know what your rights are after a workplace accident. When you discuss workers’ compensation with your employer, you may hear the term “no fault system.” Find out more about what that means, and when you’re ready to start your workplace injury claim in Mobile, call Thiry & Caddell at 251-336-3627.


Fault vs. No-Fault

Fault is a crucial topic when it comes to injury claims. If you are seeking compensation after a car accident, slip and fall, or other type of personal injury, you generally have to establish liability. That means proving that another party was negligent in a way that caused your injuries. Until you prove this, you will be unable to receive compensation.

Workers’ compensation works under a different system. The no-fault system does not require you to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your injury in the workplace. It does not matter if your injuries are the result of your own error, a coworker’s error, a third party’s negligence, or a machine malfunction—if you were injured at work, that alone is generally enough to entitle you to workers’ comp. Under this system, the focus is not on assigning blame but on providing compensation to workers.


Why Fault Matters in a Workplace Injury Claim

It’s important to understand why a fault-based system is not necessarily beneficial to injured workers. In some cases, proving negligence is an uphill battle. Victims may have minimal evidence or hard-to-prove injuries, or perhaps they are up against someone with an incredibly aggressive legal team. This puts them at a disadvantage. Even if they are entitled to compensation based on the facts of their case, they may not be able to recover it.

This would obviously be a significant barrier in the workplace. To receive compensation in a fault-based system, you would likely have to go up against your employer or a coworker to prove that their negligence caused your injury. Not only is that time-consuming, it doesn’t exactly strengthen workplace relations. You’d likely be in the position of having to switch jobs entirely every time you were injured at work.


How the No-Fault System Benefits Both Parties

The no-fault system benefits both employees and employers. For employees, it offers prompt and guaranteed access to medical care. Employees do not have to worry about waiting to see if they can afford treatment—they can go to an approved care provider and immediately begin treatment. Injured workers are also entitled to partial income replacement.

In Alabama, injured workers receive up to two-thirds of their average weekly income, subject to a weekly maximum that changes each year. In 2023, the maximum amount is $1,084 per week and the minimum is $298 per week. Rather than spending their time trying to build a case against a coworker or employer, an injured employee can simply focus on recuperation.

How do Mobile employers benefit? Consider the legal risks they’d face in a fault-based system. Every time an employee was injured, they would potentially face a personal injury claim. One successful personal injury claim against an employer could bankrupt them. With workers’ compensation, employers can protect their employees rather than being pitted against them after an injury.


When Fault May Play a Role

There are some cases in which fault may play a role in your claim. If a third party is to blame for your injuries, you may be able to seek additional compensation from them with a personal injury claim. For example, this may be available to you if you are injured in a car accident while on the clock or if you are injured by faulty equipment. If this is available to you, you will have to prove the other party’s negligence.


Injured at Work? Start Your Claim with Thiry & Caddell

Workplace injury claims can be complicated, especially if you’re worried about the security of your job after reporting an accident. Let us support you throughout this process. To set up a free consultation with our team of Mobile workers’ compensation lawyers, call us at 251-336-3627 or send us a message online.

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