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On-the-job injuries and accidents are more common than many of us realize. Whether you are a white-collar or blue-collar employee in Gastonia, NC, you run the risk of suffering an injury at work. While some are minor and require no treatment, others are severe and will demand consistent medical care for a proper recovery. When you need help with your medical bills, workers’ compensation can help.
If you’re having difficulties with your claim, you may want to speak with a Gastonia workers’ compensation attorney and law firm to help with your case, such as Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler. Your Gastonia lawyer can help you through the process and fight for you to get the benefits you deserve on your road to recovery.
At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we have experience working with many clients dealing with a hang-up in the workers’ compensation process. Many of our clients struggled to get the compensation they deserved, and we fought to get them a better deal to help with their recovery.
When you are looking for a Gastonia workers’ compensation attorney, you’ll want someone with experience. Our firm and its attorney have won awards for our work in employment law and personal injury. We offer free consultations so you can get an idea of how we can help and what to expect from your case before spending any money.
Workers’ compensation is a system employees can use to seek reimbursement for lost wages and medical bills. Companies pay workers’ compensation to employees who suffer injuries in the course of their work duties. In Gastonia, the North Carolina Industrial Commission oversees workers’ compensation regulations and hears any appeals when an employer denies an employee coverage.
Most employees in North Carolina are eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If you’re not sure if you qualify, you may want to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney and see if they believe you have a case.
Injuries and illnesses happen daily in North Carolina workplaces. No matter what industry you work in, you will run the risk of finding yourself in danger. Of course, some industries are more dangerous than others. For instance, you will have a higher chance of ending up injured when you work in construction than if you are a white-collar office employee.
Let’s look at some of the most common injuries that happen at work and if they qualify for benefits:
Under a mandate from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, almost every employer has to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This mandate applies to nearly every business with three or more employees in its workforce. The commission does provide a few exceptions to the rule and employees who don’t qualify for workers’ compensation. These exceptions are for:
To qualify for workers’ compensation, you’ll need to showcase that you have a legitimate injury and it happened as a result of your work. You cannot use an injury you sustained at home as a reason to file for workers’ compensation. Your company’s insurance agent will want you to establish the moment you suffered the injury and ask for evidence and witnesses to corroborate your story.
Your injury must have occurred during the normal course of your job. The inciting incident could be an honest mistake or negligence, but you must have been doing your job while it happened.
An insurance company will look for ways to discredit your attempts to seek workers’ compensation. They may attempt to show that you were doing something unrelated to work or that you were messing around when the injury happened. Additionally, if you were intoxicated at the time of the injury, your employer’s insurance company may deny your claim for workers’ compensation.
Filing for workers’ compensation can be an easy process in some cases, but many times, the situation turns ugly. Having a lawyer on your side for the process isn’t mandatory, but it will help you avoid some of the biggest hurdles. Regardless, we have a step-by-step guide to help you understand the basics of applying for workers’ compensation. You may still want to speak with a Gastonia attorney to see if your injury qualifies for benefits.
After an injury, you need to keep your cool and follow the proper procedure so you don’t put your benefits in jeopardy. The first step is to report your injury to the appropriate person. In most cases, this will be a supervisor or human resources representative. You’ll need to detail the situation and what led up to the injury. Ensure the person you talk to makes an official report of the injury and sends it through the proper channels. Don’t let somebody convince you that you don’t need workers’ compensation when you suffer an injury.
Your company will likely ask you to speak with a workers’ compensation physician to diagnose the injury and come up with an estimated recovery time. The doctor will also assign you a disability rating of how much you will be able to work.
These doctors are not always entirely impartial in their analysis of a patient. One of their primary concerns is getting you back to work as quickly as possible, and they may try to lowball your recovery time. You can always go to a second doctor to seek a second opinion if you are unhappy with your initial diagnosis. You can then use both these doctor’s notes to state your case when fighting for workers’ compensation coverage.
After the doctor visits, you may need to speak with an insurance agent as they try to ascertain what happened. You can hire a Gastonia workers’ compensation attorney to work with you and walk you through some of the basic questions. When all the paperwork is done, you’ll have to wait for the verdict to come in. The insurance company will either accept or deny your claim. This process usually takes a few weeks, though it can get bogged down in bureaucracy in complicated instances.
Sometimes, you see your workers’ compensation settlement and feel it isn’t enough to cover your injuries. In other instances, your company may deny your claim you believe is valid. If you aren’t happy with the verdict, you can speak with a Gastonia workers’ compensation attorney to see if you have grounds to appeal.
If your attorney agrees an appeal is in order, they will need to inform the insurance company you disagree with the verdict. Then, your attorney will file an official complaint with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
In the event of a major accident, you’ll want to see an emergency physician to provide first aid and any immediate treatment you need. After you get your immediate medical attention, you’ll have to speak with a workers’ compensation doctor who gives you a disability rating. These ratings range from 1 to 100 and describe how much you can work in the near future while recovering from your injury.
A second opinion may be necessary if you disagree with the doctor’s prognosis on your health and ability to work.
Every workers’ compensation case is unique, but there are some guidelines and precedents we can look at to see what an employee should expect after an accident or contracting an illness. Your benefits will fall into two categories: medical and disability coverage.
Medical coverage will help you pay for any debts you have stemming from the injury. You should expect payments to cover any hospital bills, prescription costs, and emergency transport you needed in the immediate aftermath of the injury.
Your workers’ compensation will also cover any long-term medical bills you might have pertaining to your injury. Your workers’ compensation should cover future hospital visits for additional work or surgery. Additionally, if you require any at-home care or accommodations, the insurance company should cover them as well.
Your disability coverage will vary depending on your rating and how much you can expect to work while recovering. You will get partial disability benefits if you can still work but cannot work for as long or as much money as you used to. So, if you need a reduced schedule or workload, your disability benefits should help cover some of the lost income.
North Carolina also mandates insurance companies provide total disability benefits for employees unable to work. You should expect these benefits to cover roughly two-thirds of your usual salary. A worker making $1,000 per paycheck will get a disability payment of around $667 for as long as they remain on the program. You can keep your total disability benefits for as long as you cannot work or for 500 weeks.
While workers’ compensation can be a life raft for an employee after an accident, some may wonder if there is any way to seek additional restitution. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation laws prevent an employee from filing a claim against their place of business for an injury. However, there are some instances where an employee has the right to seek legal action against their employer or coworker.
First and foremost, if you find out your company does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you will have the legal right to seek restitution in the form of a claim. If there was negligence involved, you may also have a case for a claim against an employer. For instance, you noticed there was a loose patch of carpeting in your office and reported it to your boss as a danger. If you slip and fall on it after your company fails to replace it, you may have the basis for legal action for negligence.
Filing a claim against a coworker will depend on whether the other party acted recklessly or maliciously. If a coworker causes an injury through an honest mistake or accident, you likely won’t have any grounds for legal action.
You can handle a workers’ compensation claim without additional help if you want, and if all goes smoothly, you should be able to navigate the situation with relative ease. However, employers and their insurance companies may try to deny your benefits if you aren’t careful. When you’re not getting everything you believe you deserve, an experienced Gastonia workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Your attorney can help you with the filing process and check your paperwork to ensure the insurance agent won’t hold it up over a technicality. An attorney can also direct you to an appropriate doctor if you need a second opinion on your injury.
You’ll likely be feeling some anger and resentment after an injury and want to file a claim against your employer. An attorney won’t have that same emotional closeness to the case, and they can give you a more rational and unbiased look at your chances of successfully taking an employer to court. They will still approach your case from a place of empathy, but they won’t be so caught up in emotions they’ll miss the forest for the trees.
At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we understand that workers going through the process of trying to get compensation for their injuries sometimes need help along the way. Whether you just need an attorney to oversee the paperwork and check your work or you want an objective answer to what you should expect in a settlement, we can help.
Contact us today and see how Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler can help you through your workers’ compensation situation. We can give you an idea of how we help with a consultation. Time is of the essence with workers’ compensation cases, so don’t wait to enlist the help of an experienced Gastonia workers’ compensation attorney.
I was in a bad situation but John did everything that need to be done so I could have a clear mind with my financial situation, surgery, medical. John Ayers and team is the best!!…
My most sincere thanks for the most professional representation. You and your team have stuck by me through the years in dealing with this very stressful case. I admire your composure, work ethic and most…
Christian was handling a situation for my brother-in-law when my brother-in-law unexpectedly passed away. He followed up until the matter was resolved. He was easy to contact and always got back to me. I would…
Christian was patient with me as we navigated my workman’s comp claim. He supported my rights to proper reimbursement. He explained what I should expect and was exactly right! I felt comfortable with his expertise.…
During an extremely stressful event in our lives we sought out the services of a Workers Compensation Attorney. Christian Ayers came highly recommended. He was great to work with and explained everything in detail, making…
When I went to see John the company Lawyers had offered me $26K for an on-the-job injury that resulted in leaving me a paraplegic. We met and John immediately put me at ease. He explained…
John is a excellent attorney, he’s very caring and professional. He has given us peace of mind and security. My husband is a quadriplegic and he fought hard for our rights and came to us…
John really understands the laws and is willing to go the extra mile to make things easier for his clients. I really liked the “ no nonsense “ approach in an industry that doesn’t make…
Mr. Ayers is the best attorney I've ever had the privilege to work with. Not only is he a knowledgeable professional, but he's honest and truly cares about his clients. He was a crucial part…