Alaska is home to many natural wonders and abundant resources. Every day, Alaskans work hard both harvesting those resources and sharing the beauty of the state with visitors from all over the world. Whether you are an oil worker on the North Slope, a sightseeing guide on the Inside Passage, a tour pilot flying over the state, or any employee providing vital services across Alaska, our workers face unique risks and challenges. The danger of suffering an on-the-job injury is real. Private industry employers in Alaska reported more than 7,000 work injuries in 2016 and 35 work-related deaths.
Getting injured or falling ill on the job can be a frustrating and stressful experience. When hard-working employees get injured, the consequences can be serious and long-lasting. Physical pain and financial pressure can feel overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know how to find the help you need. While the workers’ compensation system exists to help support injured workers, employers and insurance companies do not always play fair, and injured workers may need an experienced advocate to ensure they are able to obtain all the benefits they deserve.
At The Law Office of Ben Crittenden, attorney Ben Crittenden represents injured workers all over Alaska. Dedicated to providing personal, effective legal guidance, Ben can help you understand your rights and help you obtain all the compensation you deserve after a work-related injury. Call his Anchorage office today or fill out the contact form on this page to connect directly with Ben.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a system adopted by every state nationwide to help protect both employees and employers when a worker is injured or falls ill on the job. It provides medical care and wage replacement compensation for injured workers regardless of fault, and it shields employers from expensive and time-consuming litigation. This means injured workers are able to obtain the medical treatment they need and continue to receive some income, while employers can avoid personal injury lawsuits, with certain exceptions.
Common Causes of Work Injuries in Alaska
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to employees whose injuries are caused by the work performed for the employer, as well as to surviving family members of an employee who dies as the result of a work-related injury or illness. This can include injuries that occur at the office, on a jobsite, traveling on business, and more. Often, these injuries are caused by a single traumatic event, but they can also result from physical stress over time. Some of the most common work injuries are caused by:
- Slips and trips
- Vehicle accidents
- Repetitive motion
- Machine entanglement
- Exposure to harmful substances
Types of Alaska Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Workers’ compensation benefits cover medical expenses and provide wage replacement. Medical expenses can include any care related to the work injury, including medications, hospital stays, rehabilitation, travel to appointments, and more. Wage replacement benefits are divided into specific categories based on the nature of the injury. They typically pay a percentage of the employee’s pre-injury salary and are divided into five main categories:
- Temporary Total Benefits
- Temporary Partial Benefits
- Permanent Partial Impairment Benefits
- Permanent Total Benefits
- Death Benefits
What Jobs Are Covered by Workers’ Compensation?
Any employer with more than one employee is required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees or self-insure, with a few key exceptions. This encompasses most employers and offers protection for the majority of Alaska’s workers. It can be possible to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained doing many types of work, though some of the most common jobs that cause injuries include:
- Oil exploration
Alaska Fishermen’s Fund and Fishing Injuries
That list of risky occupations is missing one major industry in Alaska—fishing. Commercial fishing tops the list of the most dangerous occupations every year, and the fishing industry in Alaska is no exception. According to state data, Alaska fisheries account for half of the total U.S. harvest volume, and the seafood industry is the largest private-sector employer in the state.
At work, fishermen face unique challenges. Unpredictable weather conditions, slippery surfaces, sharp equipment, long hours, and more create risks and often cause serious injuries. Injured fishermen, however, are exempt from state workers’ compensation and are instead covered by the Fishermen’s Fund. This fund provides for care of work-related injuries for fishermen in Alaska and Alaskan waters who hold a valid commercial fishing license or limited entry permit. Like workers’ compensation, certain steps must be taken to obtain these benefits, and an experienced attorney can help navigate the process.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Seasonal, Temporary, & Part-Time Workers
Workers’ compensation benefits are not just for full-time workers. Any employee who is injured in the course of employment can be eligible for benefits. This includes workers who perform seasonal jobs and those who may only work in Alaska temporarily before returning to their home state.
Work injuries can have a significant, long-lasting impact on injured workers and their families. Workers’ compensation benefits can help ensure that workers are able to make as complete a recovery as possible and remain financially stable. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or illness on the job, contact The Law Office of Ben Crittenden to learn more about your rights and how Ben may be able to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.