Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler

The Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security Disability Group of Sellers, Ayers, Dortch and Lyons.

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Contacting an attorney before collecting workers' comp is crucial

Readers of this blog should be aware of the fact that workers' compensation benefits can be critical to the support injured workers and their families receive after a workplace accident. However, before you decide that workers' compensation is the only or best means of financial support available, you would be wise to consult an attorney.

Why would you need to consult an attorney? Well, if you don't know your legal rights and the legal limitations of certain benefits, you could wind up agreeing to something without understanding the ramifications. For instance, did you know that accepting workers' compensation benefits means you cannot sue an employer? 

This very situation arose recently when a woman filed a negligence lawsuit against her husband's employer after she found him crushed to death on a worksite. However, she evidently had already agreed to collect workers' compensation benefits.

In the state where this case was filed, as well as in many other states including North Carolina, the receipt of workers' compensation means that a person cannot sue an employer for negligence. While there are some specific exceptions, generally speaking, if you accept workers' compensation, you cannot sue an employer.

Despite the argument that the woman was seeking damages not covered by state workers' compensation laws, the widow's claim for damages related to emotional distress was denied because she had received workers' compensation benefits already.

While the laws are the same for everyone in North Carolina, every case is different and must be handled on its own merits. Further, the pros of workers' compensation benefits could far outweigh the drawbacks for some families, even though it may be the opposite for another family.

Because there are different options to consider when it comes to pursuing compensation in light of a serious work-related accident, it can be crucial that you consult an attorney before you agree to anything. Failure to do so could wind up being a costly mistake.

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