Workers’ compensation is an important lifeline for anyone who suffers an injury at work in the state. Every state has different laws pertaining to workers’ compensation, and North Carolina’s are among the most substantial in the United States. Virtually every employer in the state is required to have this insurance, but this does not mean that every injured worker will have an easy time securing the benefits they legally deserve for a workplace injury.
If you or a family member recently suffered an injury while working, it is natural to have many questions about the claim filing process and what you can do to streamline your receipt of benefits. A Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney is the ideal resource in this situation. The right attorney can help you understand the claim filing process, resolve disputes that may arise with your claim, and ultimately help you obtain the benefits you legally deserve.
When a workplace injury occurs, the victim should report the incident to their supervisor immediately. North Carolina law requires the employer to provide the employee with the materials they will need to file their claim for workers’ compensation benefits and to document the injury in an incident report. Most employers in the state uphold these responsibilities and facilitate employees’ claims to the best of their ability, but some, unfortunately, do not.
Employer retaliation can arise in many ways due to employers’ fears of rising insurance premiums and other economic losses. If your employer interferes with the workers’ compensation claim filing process in any way or attempts to prevent you from filing your claim, it is imperative to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you connect with an attorney you can trust, the more time they have to review the details of your case and resolve the issues you have encountered with your employer.
It is also possible to encounter problems with your employer’s insurance carrier. Like any other type of insurance carrier, a workers’ compensation insurance provider will seek to limit their financial exposure and try to justify the lowest possible determination of benefits to an injured claimant. Your workers’ compensation attorney can verify that the insurance carrier has handled your claim in good faith and provide direction if not.
Every case is unique, and it is possible for numerous issues to arise with any claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Having an experienced attorney helping with your claim can not only reduce the chances of encountering such issues, but you will also be better prepared to address them effectively as your case progresses. Some workers’ compensation claims can be resolved within weeks, while others will take several months to reach conclusions. Whatever your case entails, you have the greatest chance of a positive outcome when you have legal counsel you can trust on your side.
A: The time your case could require to reach a conclusion can vary based on multiple factors. However, having an experienced attorney on your side can streamline your proceedings significantly, and your attorney can provide an estimate of your case’s likely timetable at the outset of your claim filing process. It is possible to settle your case in a matter of weeks to months depending on the overall complexity of the claim.
A: No, pain and suffering are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance. The average injured worker will qualify to receive disability benefits and medical expense coverage to offset their lost earning power after an injury at work. Pain and suffering compensation can only be claimed through a personal injury suit. An injured employee can only file a personal injury suit if their employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, if they caused the injury intentionally, or if a third party caused their injury.
A: Disability benefits can be paid on a partial basis if the claimant is still able to work after their injury but cannot earn as much income. The claimant will need to report their earnings each week to maintain eligibility for benefits. If the claimant is unable to work at all, the total disability benefits they receive are likely to equal about two-thirds of their average weekly wage. For instance, if you usually earn $1,200 per week, total disability benefits may amount to about $800 per week until you are able to go back to work at your job.
A: It is possible to file a workers’ compensation claim without an attorney, but having legal representation makes every aspect of the claim filing process much easier to handle and more likely to yield acceptable results. Your attorney can help you file your claim to the insurance company and resolve any issues that arise with the insurance company’s handling of the claim. You may also have additional options for legal recourse you did not know were available to you, and your attorney can help you maximize the results of these legal efforts.
A: Causing your own injury at work does not necessarily disqualify you from workers’ compensation benefits. As long as you were working in good faith and caused the injury through simple negligence or an honest mistake, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, bearing any partial fault for your injury does preclude you from filing a personal injury claim under North Carolina’s contributory negligence rule.
Any work-related injury has the potential to generate complex legal proceedings and a difficult road to recovery for the victim. If you need help filing your workers’ compensation claim and navigating the proceedings to follow, it is crucial to have legal counsel you can trust on your side. Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler can help fight for you, so contact us today and schedule your consultation with our team.