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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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