The workers’ compensation system exists to provide financial relief to injured workers in all industries, and thousands of workers’ compensation claims are filed throughout the state each year. One of the most common concerns cited among workers’ compensation claimants is the time required to receive their benefits. While many injured workers receive their settlements within a few weeks, others contend with denials and extended investigations for many reasons.
A Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney is the ideal asset to have on your side after any injury at work. While it is technically possible to file your claim on your own without hiring legal representation, you are more likely to succeed with your case and more likely to maximize your recovery with an attorney’s help. Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler routinely provides compassionate legal support to injured workers and can help navigate your claim filing process with confidence.
Workers’ compensation provides financial benefits to injured workers, and the claim filing process is similar to what you would encounter when filing any other type of insurance claim. However, an injured worker faces the additional complication of their employer playing an important role in their claim filing process.
When a workplace injury occurs, the victim should report the incident to their supervisor and seek medical care immediately. The employer must create an incident report for the injury and provide the injured worker with the materials they will need to file their claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
The injured worker will need to undergo a medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation physician to determine their level of disability. After completing this evaluation, they can proceed with filing their claim, and their employer’s insurance carrier will review the claim and all associated documentation before delivering its determination. If approved, the injured worker will receive a determination of benefits that explains the compensation the insurance company will provide. If the claim is rejected, the claimant will need an attorney’s help to appeal the decision or raise the issue with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
The claim filing process should ideally only take a few weeks before the claimant receives their determination of benefits letter from the insurance company, but many unpredictable variables might arise that complicate the issue and extend the time required for them to receive their benefits. One of the most important things you can do to shorten the time it takes for you to receive your workers’ compensation benefits is to hire an attorney you can trust to help with the claim filing process.
A: A workers’ compensation settlement will include two types of benefits for the claimant. The first is medical expense coverage, and the average injured worker can usually expect the workers’ compensation insurance carrier to cover all medical treatment costs associated with their injury, including the cost of ongoing rehabilitation. Second is disability benefits, paid based on the claimant’s level of disability and the time they require to recover enough to return to work. It’s possible to qualify for partial disability benefits when earning power is diminished by an injury, or a claimant may receive total disability benefits if they are completely unable to work until they recover.
A: If you are awarded total disability benefits as part of your workers’ compensation settlement, these payments will continue until you are able to return to work or for up to 500 weeks. It’s possible for a claimant to move from total disability benefits to partial disability benefits if they recover enough to handle light duty or lower-paying work, but they will need to report their weekly income to the insurance company to maintain their eligibility. It is also possible for total disability benefits to extend beyond 500 weeks if the claimant remains medically unable to work and an extension is granted.
A: Technically, no, hiring legal counsel is not required, but doing so can dramatically improve your chances of success with your claim and the quality of the final settlement you receive. Having legal representation assisting you with the claim can make every step of the filing process easier to manage and more likely to yield the results you hope to see. Additionally, you will be prepared to address any disputes raised against your claim with confidence.
A: Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance protects them from civil liability for your damages after an injury at work in most cases. If your employer does not have insurance as required by North Carolina law, then you may file a personal injury claim in response to your injury at work. It is also possible to have grounds for a civil claim if your supervisor compelled you to perform a task outside your usual duties that had a virtual certainty of causing harm, or if a third party outside of your work caused your injury.
A: It’s understandable to worry about the cost of hiring legal counsel for your impending workers’ compensation case, but the majority of attorneys handling these cases work on contingency. This means a client is only required to pay a fee if and when their attorney wins their case, and there is no fee at all if the attorney is unable to secure compensation for their client.
Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, can provide comprehensive legal support for your impending workers’ compensation claim. We know the answers to the many questions you are likely to have in this difficult situation and how to streamline your receipt of the benefits you legally deserve. Contact us today to make an appointment for a free consultation with a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney and learn how we can assist with your recovery.