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Hickory On-the-job Injury Attorney

Hickory On-The-Job Injury Lawyer

Thousands of people who work in Hickory and surrounding areas of North Carolina will experience injuries on the job this year from a wide range of causes. Some workplaces are inherently dangerous, and a few industries consistently top the rankings for workplace injuries and claims for workers’ compensation benefits each year. However, it is possible for severe or even life-threatening work-related injuries to occur in virtually every work environment.

Hickory On the Job Injury Attorney

Representing Victims of On-the-Job Injuries in Hickory

If you or a family member has recently suffered any injury at work in Hickory, an on-the-job injury attorney is the ideal resource to consult. Your legal advocate can help determine the optimal path to recovery from your injury, and you may have grounds for further legal recourse you would not have known to examine on your own.

Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler has a team of seasoned Hickory on-the-job injury attorneys with years of experience helping injured workers recover from their on-the-job injuries. Our firm can guide you through your workers’ compensation claim filing process, resolve any issues that arise with your employer’s insurance carrier, and help determine if you have additional options that can enhance your recovery. Whatever your case entails, our team is ready to provide the support and reassurance you need as you recover from your on-the-job injury in Hickory.

Commonly Reported Workplace Injuries in Hickory

Some industries, like construction, manufacturing, and commercial driving, are inherently dangerous, and these industries account for the majority of workers’ compensation claims filed throughout the country each year. However, it is possible for life-changing work-related injuries to happen in any workplace, so it is vital for every employee in Hickory to know what to expect when it comes to filing for workers’ compensation benefits. A few examples of common workplace injuries in the Hickory area include:

  • Falls. Throughout the country, falls account for most of the workplace injuries and fatal workplace accidents reported each year. Any fall has the potential to cause traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, internal organ injuries, broken bones, and many other medical complications.
  • Injuries from heavy equipment and machinery. People working in construction sites, factories, refineries, and other industrial workplaces face the risk of severe injury from all types of machines and devices they use every day. Some of these machines are capable of causing permanent harm, and most people who suffer this type of injury will require immediate medical attention.
  • Injuries from exposure. Some people work in inherently hazardous work environments or face exposure to harmful substances. Injuries can happen from toxic exposure, extreme heat and cold, or working in direct sunlight for long periods of time.
  • Repetitive motion injuries. Many people are required to perform the same physical movements every day while working, which eventually causes various health conditions. A common example of this is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that affects the bones and joints of the hands and wrists and is common among office workers who type every day.
  • Injuries from vehicle accidents. If you drive for work or work near specialized work vehicles, there is always a risk of injury from an accident. When an accident happens due to a driver who is not connected to your workplace, you have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits, file a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance for further recovery, and file a personal injury claim if their auto insurance cannot fully compensate your damages.
  • Acute traumatic injuries. Many people working in Hickory sustain injuries such as lacerations, head injuries from falling objects, crushing injuries, and other acute trauma. These injuries are often medical emergencies that demand immediate treatment and have a high chance of causing severe permanent disabilities. While these injuries are most common in fields like construction and manufacturing, it is important for all workers in all industries to recognize the risks of injuries they face every day in their workplaces.

This is not an exhaustive list of all the ways workplace injuries can happen in Hickory, and the state requires virtually every employer to have workers’ compensation insurance. This means that as long as your injury happened while you were working, you can file a claim for benefits, even if you caused the injury through your own error.

Injured Workers Sometimes Disqualify Themselves From Benefits by Their Actions

There are some instances in which injured workers can disqualify themselves from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. For example, if you were working while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol and caused your own injury, your employer’s insurance carrier is likely to deny your claim for benefits. Similarly, if you caused your own injury through horseplay or through a willful violation of an important workplace safety rule, these issues may also complicate your ability to recover workers’ compensation benefits.

Ultimately, if you are concerned about your eligibility to file a workers’ compensation claim in Hickory, or if your employer has been unhelpful or even directly interfered with your claim, you need to consult a Hickory on-the-job injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. The right attorney can help address any disputes regarding your eligibility for benefits and help determine the optimal way to deal with your employer.

What to Expect in the Claim Filing Process for Workers’ Compensation Benefits

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance, so filing a claim for benefits after an on-the-job injury is likely to mirror the process of filing any other type of insurance claim. However, you will face the additional complication of your employer’s involvement in the process. All employers in the state are legally required to facilitate their employees’ claims for benefits, and if they engage in any adverse reaction against a claim made in good faith, this is illegal retaliation.

If an employer retaliates against an employee for a workers’ compensation claim filed in good faith, they can face fines and other penalties, and the employee would likely have grounds for a civil suit in addition to their claim for benefits. Your Hickory on-the-job injury attorney can assist you in determining the ideal method of fighting back against any retaliation you experience.

If your employer upholds their legal responsibilities and they are helpful to your claim, they can provide you with the claim forms you need to file for benefits. This will include a list of local doctors you can visit for a medical examination. Many workers’ compensation insurance carriers demand claimants undergo medical examinations from approved physicians, but a worker with an injury is allowed to see any available doctor in an emergency and then see a workers’ compensation doctor once they are stable.

The workers’ compensation doctor will assess your injuries and assign a disability rating based on the level of long-term or permanent harm you have suffered. The higher your rating, the more you can receive in benefits. If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment, you have the right to seek a second opinion, and your Hickory on-the-job injury attorney can help navigate any such issues that arise with your medical examination process. Once you have your disability rating, the incident report from your injury on the job, and completed your claim forms, you can file your claim to your employer’s insurance carrier.

Benefits Available for On-the-Job Injuries

The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide financial support to an injured worker, and most claims filed for on-the-job injuries in Hickory yield two forms of compensation. First is medical expense coverage. A workers’ compensation insurance carrier will typically pay for any and all medical care an injured worker requires to reach maximum medical improvement from their on-the-job injury. This includes immediate care as well as any ongoing rehabilitative treatment they need to restore function as much as possible.

Second is disability benefits, which help to offset the economic impact of the claimant’s inability to work and earn income. These benefits are more variable and are awarded on a case-by-case basis. There are four common formats for disbursing disability benefits in work injury claims:

  1. Temporary partial disability benefits can be awarded when the claimant can still work after their injury but cannot earn as much income until they fully recover. The insurance company pays weekly benefits to compensate the claimant for lost earning power while they recover, and these benefits will continue until the claimant reaches maximum medical improvement from their injury and can resume their previous job.
  2. Permanent partial disability benefits are awarded to claimants who can work after their injury but, even after fully recovering, cannot earn as much income as they did previously. These benefits can continue for quite a long time; it is also possible for the claimant to receive new job training to help them make up for lost earning power.
  3. Temporary total disability benefits are the most commonly awarded benefits for on-the-job injuries, suitable for claimants who cannot work at all until they recover. These benefits usually amount to about two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly pay and can continue for up to 500 weeks.
  4. Permanent total disability benefits are only awarded to claimants who are left completely unable to work in the future, even after recovering as much as is medically possible. Some insurance carriers may attempt to avoid long-term payment plans by offering large lump sum settlements to these claimants.

If you qualify to receive any type of partial disability benefits, this can make up the difference between what you are able to earn now and what you were able to earn prior to your injury. However, you will be required to provide the insurance carrier with updates on your recovery and report your earnings. Failure to do so could lead to a loss of benefits or even criminal charges for workers’ compensation fraud.

It is important to note that while weekly benefit payments typically end after a maximum of 500 weeks, some claimants may qualify for extensions based on their level of disability. Permanent disability benefits can be awarded in some cases, but workers’ compensation insurance carriers generally try to avoid these arrangements and offer clincher offers, which include large lump sums of compensation. If you have any concerns about maximizing your workers’ compensation benefits, your Hickory on-the-job injury attorney can help determine your most viable options.

Filing a Third-Party Personal Injury Claim for an On-the-job Injury

Workers’ compensation provides economic relief to injured workers while protecting their employers from civil liability for the damages their employees suffer while working. An injured worker usually cannot file a civil suit against their employer for a workplace injury except under very specific conditions. First, if the employer does not have workers’ compensation as required by North Carolina law, the injured worker can not only file a personal injury claim against them, but the employer would also face fines and other penalties. Second, if the employer somehow caused the injury intentionally, they would also be liable for the victim’s civil damages not covered by their workers’ compensation insurance.

While it may be possible in some very specific situations to file a claim against an employer for an on-the-job injury, it is more likely for a third party to bear fault for your injury. When a third party, such as an individual driver, bystander, vendor, or contractor, caused your workplace injury, you can still file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits if the injury happened while you were working. However, you would also be able to file a third-party personal injury claim against them to recover compensation for the damages that workers’ compensation insurance won’t cover.

Most people who succeed with their workers’ compensation claims will receive full coverage for their medical expenses and compensation for their lost income, but this usually amounts to only two-thirds of their average weekly pay. If you have grounds to file a third-party personal injury claim, you could potentially recover compensation for the remainder of your lost income and lost future earning capacity, and state law permits personal injury plaintiffs to claim compensation for pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering sound difficult to translate to financial amounts for the average person, but there are several methods for calculating appropriate pain and suffering compensation in a personal injury claim. The state does not place a limit on pain and suffering compensation for most personal injury cases, so this could ultimately become the largest share of your total recovery. An attorney might seek a large lump sum calculated by multiplying your claimed economic losses by a factor between one and five, or they may seek ongoing per diem pain and suffering compensation that awards a set amount each day you spend recovering from your injuries.

What to Expect From Your Hickory On-the-Job Injury Attorney

Any serious injury at work can be a life-changing experience, and the average person is likely to have many questions and confront multiple legal challenges they do not know how to properly address on their own. Your injury has likely generated expensive medical bills and further economic strain from the inability to work. Economic pressure can mount when you are unable to pay your bills and manage everyday living expenses. Additionally, your employer may not be as helpful as you would expect when it comes to facilitating your workers’ compensation claim.

While you are technically able to file your claim for benefits on your own, and there is no strict requirement for you to hire legal representation, you have a much greater chance of recovering your losses when you have an experienced Hickory on-the-job injury attorney representing you. Your legal team can assist you in filing a claim for benefits, addressing any problems that arise between you and the insurance carrier, and verifying that the insurance company handles your claim in good faith.

If you have grounds for further legal action outside of your workers’ compensation claim, such as a third-party personal injury case against the specific party responsible for your injury, your attorney can assist with this as well. Ultimately, you are not only more likely to succeed with a workers’ compensation claim in a timely manner with your attorneys’ help, but they may also uncover other avenues of compensation you did not know were available to you.

The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler believe in providing client-focused legal counsel in every case we accept. We take time to learn as much as we can about each client’s unique needs and provide them with responsive legal guidance and answers to their most pressing legal questions as they arise. Our team has cultivated a strong reputation as a leading choice for legal representation after on-the-job injuries in Hickory, and we are eager to apply our professional experience to help your recovery efforts.

Work Injury Law FAQs

Q: When Should I Consult a Hickory On-the-Job Injury Attorney?

A: It is generally ideal to file your claim for workers’ compensation benefits as soon as possible after an injury occurs at work, but you have the greatest chance of success with your claim when you have legal counsel you can trust advising you. Reach out to trustworthy legal counsel as soon as possible after a workplace injury so they can verify your employer handles their legal obligations correctly and that you have the support you need to navigate the claim filing process as efficiently as possible.

Q: Why Do You Need to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in North Carolina?

A: North Carolina does not enforce a law requiring you to hire legal counsel for your workers’ compensation claim, but doing so dramatically improves your chances of reaching optimal results. Your attorney can make every aspect of the claim filing process easier, and they can address any disputes that arise on your behalf. This can streamline your receipt of benefits, and you will also be prepared to handle any further legal recourse you can explore to enhance your recovery.

Q: How Much Will I Receive in Benefits?

A: Most injured workers in Hickory and throughout the state can successfully obtain compensation for their medical expenses as well as ongoing disability benefits that make up for their inability to work. These ongoing disability benefits are awarded in different formats based on the individual claimant’s needs. Your Hickory on-the-job injury attorney can help maximize the benefits you obtain from your workers’ compensation claim, and they may be able to assist you in further legal action against the party responsible for your injury.

Q: How Long Does It Take to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Hickory?

A: Most injured workers will receive their first benefits checks within a few weeks of filing their claims. You can streamline your claim filing process by having an experienced Hickory on-the-job injury attorney represent you, and they can resolve any issues that may arise between you and your employer’s insurance carrier. Filing a claim for benefits as soon as possible after your on-the-job injury will significantly reduce the time it will take to start receiving your benefits checks.

Q: How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Hickory On-the-Job Injury Attorney?

A: The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler ensure our legal counsel is accessible to those who need it most with contingency fee billing. Instead of paying upfront or ongoing legal fees throughout your case, our firm takes a percentage of the final case award we obtain on your behalf. Additionally, we only take this fee if we win your case, so if we are unable to obtain an award for your injury, you owe us nothing. This eliminates any financial risk of hiring the legal counsel you need when you need it most.

The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have years of professional legal experience in workers’ compensation law, and our firm has successfully guided many past clients to the recoveries they deserve for their workplace injury claims. Whether you anticipate a relatively straightforward claim process or a complex series of legal proceedings in the aftermath of your workplace injury, we can help you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with a Hickory on-the-job injury attorney.

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