The Alaska legislature passed a body of laws named the Alaska Workers Compensation Act upon statehood, which has been modified from time to time. The purpose of the Act is to provide the "quick, efficient, fair and predictable" delivery of benefits to the injured workers at a reasonable cost to the employers. AS 23.30.001. Workers Compensation claims differ from a personal injury insomuch as in Workers Compensation, the injured worker does not have to prove that someone was negligent and caused his or her injuries. In fact, an injured worker can draw benefits even if he caused the injuries to himself.
Workers Compensation and personal injury differ also in what kind of benefits you can obtain. In personal injury cases, you are entitled to lost wages (calculated at your net), past and future medical costs, and past and future pain and suffering. In Workers Compensation, you don't receive compensation for pain and suffering. Ever. But you do receive compensation for you lost wages (calculated according to tables on the Alaska Workers' Compensation Board website), medical benefits for as long as you need them which are reasonable and necessary to treat your injury (which sometimes may be for the rest of your life), possibly a permanent partial impairment rating and possibly retraining benefits.
If you are injured at work as the result of someone else's negligence, you may be able to draw both Workers Compensation benefits and pursue a personal injury claim. You cannot pursue a personal injury claim against your employer or any co-workers but you can pursue the claim against persons who caused your injury who are not your employers or co-workers. This is frequently the case if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while working.
The Law Office of Keenan Powell provides free consultations for Workers Compensation claims regardless of whether or not you have been controverted. Consultations for personal injury cases are free as well. To contact Keenan Powell, use the contact form on this page or call 258-7663.
For more information about Workers Compensation, see: http://www.keenanpowell.com/faq-wc.html.