Thousands of people working in Albemarle and throughout North Carolina sustain injuries on the job every year. When these injuries happen, victims are likely to worry about how they can continue working, how they will pay for the medical care they will need, and what they can do about mounting economic pressure due to their inability to work. When you find yourself in this situation, legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset.
The team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler has years of professional experience helping injured workers in Albemarle and surrounding communities navigate the workers’ compensation claim filing process. While this system may seem similar to any other form of insurance claim, and you might think that you can handle it on your own, the reality is that many injured workers encounter unexpected legal issues from their work-related injuries and have no idea how to address these problems effectively without legal counsel.
Hiring the right attorney can make a tremendous positive impact on your recovery from any on-the-job injury. Our team can provide comprehensive legal support through every stage of your claim filing process, ensuring you receive the benefits you legally deserve after an injury at work. You may encounter legal problems with your employer, their insurance carrier, or the specific party who caused your injury. Whatever your case entails, the team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler has the skill and experience needed to guide you to a positive conclusion to your recovery efforts.
Some industries are inherently more dangerous than others, such as construction, commercial driving, and manufacturing. However, it is important to recognize the fact that everyone in every industry faces the risk of injury at work, even in seemingly safe work environments. A few of the most commonly cited on-the-job injuries in the Albemarle area that generate workers’ compensation claims include:
When you suffer any injury at work, you should notify your supervisor immediately. They are legally required to document the injury in a formal incident report, and you will need a copy of this report for your workers’ compensation claim. They must also provide you with the materials needed to file your claim for benefits and may not interfere with your claim in any way.
North Carolina law requires virtually every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance, and every covered employer pays a premium to maintain their coverage. Unfortunately, this will compel some employers to act with hostility toward injured workers who intend to file workers’ compensation claims. If too many claims are filed, the employer’s insurance premium rate may increase. However, if an employer engages in any unlawful retaliation against an employee who intends to file a workers’ compensation claim in good faith, the employer can face many penalties for this behavior.
As long as your injury occurred while you were performing your job duties, you are eligible to file a claim for workers’ compensation under state law. This applies even if you caused your own injury as long as it occurred through an honest mistake. If you were working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, intentionally violated a workplace safety policy, or your injury resulted from any illegal misconduct, such behaviors could disqualify you from claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
If your injury happened due to the actions of a specific party, you could still file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, but you may have grounds for further legal recourse that can enhance your total compensation. It’s ideal to consult an Albemarle on-the-job injury attorney as soon as possible after your injury so they can assist you with the claim filing process and explore these other legal matters.
Filing your workers’ compensation claim is similar to filing any other type of insurance claim. You must provide a clear explanation of your damages and the amount of compensation you are seeking. Many workers’ compensation insurance carriers demand claimants undergo medical examinations from approved physicians. Your employer should provide you with a list of local physicians you can visit for your medical examination, but you can visit any doctor during an emergency. Once your emergency condition stabilizes, a workers’ compensation doctor will need to review your condition to assign your disability rating.
The disability rating is a numerical indicator of the severity of your condition following an on-the-job injury. The higher the rating, the more disabled you are, and this will entitle you to receive more expansive benefits. Generally, injured workers in Albemarle and throughout the state can qualify to receive two forms of compensation.
First is medical expense coverage. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will cover the cost of any medical care you require to reach maximum improvement from your injury. This may include immediate healthcare costs as well as ongoing medical expenses for rehabilitative care you require. Second is disability benefits, which are awarded based on your disability rating, the overall ability to work following your injury, and your doctor’s prognosis for potential future medical complications.
Workers’ compensation can not only cover your medical expenses after a workplace injury but also provide weekly support in the form of disability benefits if you are unable to work while you recover. Every workers’ compensation insurance policy includes unique terms, and your Albemarle on-the-job injury attorney can help interpret your employer’s policy to ensure a fair and reasonable determination of benefits. In the state, injured workers can potentially receive ongoing disability benefits in four possible formats:
Your Albemarle on-the-job injury attorney can help determine which form of benefits is most applicable to your situation and verify that the insurance company handles your claim in good faith. If your claim is denied, if the insurance company requests specific supporting documentation, or if you encounter any other issues in the claim filing process, your attorney can be readily available to handle these problems on your behalf.
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws aim to protect employees and their employers. While employees have a valuable lifeline that provides economic relief from an injury that impedes their ability to work and earn income, employers are shielded from civil liability for their injured workers’ damages. However, some exceptions apply to this rule.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, you can file a civil suit against them for your workplace injury; they will also face legal penalties that can include fines and other punishments. If your employer or a coworker intentionally caused your injury, this would also negate their typical protection from civil suits. If you were harmed by a third party on the job, you can proceed with your workers’ compensation claim and then file a third-party personal injury claim against whoever caused your injury.
Workers’ compensation may cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income after an injury on the job, but a successful personal injury case can provide much more. You can seek the remainder of your lost income that workers’ compensation insurance doesn’t provide, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering in the state. There are no caps or limits on pain and suffering compensation in most personal injury claims. Depending on the nature and the severity of your injury, you may be eligible to claim a substantial amount of compensation for your non-economic damages from the defendant.
One legal issue that could come into play and interfere with a third-party personal injury claim is North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule. If you contributed to causing your workplace injury, this may not necessarily disqualify you from filing a workers’ compensation claim as long as you made a mistake in good faith. However, any fault on the part of the plaintiff will negate their ability to file a personal injury claim under the state’s contributory negligence law. If you have any cause for concern that you bear partial liability for your workplace injury, it is imperative that you consult trustworthy legal counsel as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler are committed to providing responsive and meticulous legal counsel to injured workers in Albemarle and surrounding communities. We take time to listen carefully to each client’s story and help them determine the optimal path to recovering from their experiences. When you choose our firm to represent you in an on-the-job injury case, we can help you with the workers’ compensation claim filing process as efficiently as possible and then explore any options for further legal recourse that may be available to you. Our goal in every case we accept is maximum client recovery in the most efficient manner.
A: It’s technically possible to file a workers’ compensation claim on your own, and there is no law that requires you to hire legal counsel for a workers’ compensation claim. However, an experienced attorney’s assistance will make the entire claim process easier and more likely to generate the results you hope to see. You will also be better prepared to handle disputes regarding your claim and any subsequent legal matters you will need to address, such as a third-party personal injury claim.
A: Under state law, an injured worker has two years from the date of their injury to file their workers’ compensation claim. However, it is always a good idea to start the claim filing process as soon as possible. If you delay in filing a claim, this may cause the insurance carrier to doubt the severity of your injury, assuming that you should have sought medical care and filed your claim immediately after the injury occurred.
A: If you succeed with your workers’ compensation claim, you can generally expect full coverage for all your medical expenses, and ongoing disability benefits may be awarded in several possible formats. If you qualify for total disability benefits, you will receive about two-thirds of your average weekly wage with each weekly benefit payment. You can also qualify for partial disability benefits if you can still work after your injury but cannot earn as much income.
A: Most injured workers who file claims for workers’ compensation benefits will receive their first checks within a few weeks of filing their claims. You can speed up the process by starting as soon as your injury occurs. Hiring reliable legal counsel should also streamline the claim process and help obtain benefits more quickly. If any disputes arise with your claim, this will extend the time it takes to receive benefits, and if you intend to file a personal injury claim for your on-the-job injury, this will also take longer to complete, potentially several months.
A: The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler accept clients on a contingency fee basis. With this billing system, the client does not need to worry about expensive legal fees overtaking their recoveries. Instead of upfront and ongoing legal fees, we take a percentage of the total case award we obtain on your behalf, and only if we win. If we cannot obtain benefits and other compensation for you, you pay nothing.
The team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler has successfully represented many past clients in their workers’ compensation claims and related legal matters in response to their on-the-job injuries. We know the challenges you face as you seek the compensation you rightfully deserve and want to provide the support you should expect from a seasoned legal team. If you are ready to learn how our firm can empower your recovery efforts, contact us today and schedule a consultation with an Albemarle on-the-job injury attorney.
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