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Nobody in Lincolnton, NC ever wants to think they’ll suffer an injury at work. Unfortunately, workplace accidents are more common than you think. After an on-the-job injury, you will likely not know where to turn or what to do. That’s when you need to speak with a Lincolnton accident lawyer who can help you navigate the process of seeking workers’ compensation or filing a negligence claim.
At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we can work with you to get the restitution you deserve following a workplace injury. Our team is experienced in working with personal injury and workers’ compensation cases and can use this familiarity to handle your case.
You’ll want an attorney with some experience in on-the-job injuries when you find yourself in a tense battle over your workers’ compensation benefits. At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we’ve handled countless cases. While every on-the-job injury case has its unique aspects, we can use that previous knowledge to assist you through the process and try to push through any snags you find along the way.
Our attorneys have received awards from numerous sources, including Super Lawyers and Expertise.com. We’re confident we can help you.
On-the-job injuries cover any afflictions you suffer from working. Generally, these injuries must happen on company property, but there are exceptions to the rule. When you suffer an injury at work, you will have the right to seek workers’ compensation or file a claim if there was negligence involved. A few of the most common workplace injuries or incidents include:
There doesn’t need to be malice or negligence for an employee to seek workers’ compensation for an injury. Even honest mistakes and accidents can lead to an employee getting a worker’s compensation payout. If negligence is involved, an employee does have the right to file a claim against a coworker or employer for the injury, though these are much more difficult to prove than a workers’ compensation case.
If you’ve ever suffered an on-the-job injury, you’ve probably felt a storm of emotions after the accident. One of the emotions workers most often feel after the accident is anger or resentment. You may direct your anger at your employer or another coworker and begin to wonder if you have the legal grounds to file a claim against someone for the injury. While every case is different, you may have a chance for legal action against your employer or coworker.
Most workplace accidents fall under the umbrella of workers’ compensation in North Carolina. You cannot file a claim against anyone for a workplace injury stemming from an honest mistake or no-fault accident. Workers’ compensation will cover some of your medical expenses and lost wages. To file additional legal action, you’ll need to prove there was some negligence or fault at play.
To bring a claim against an employer, you’ll need to demonstrate how the company’s actions or inactions led to your injury. For instance, let’s say your company asked you to drive one of their trucks for work duty. The company keeps the vehicle poorly maintained, and while you were driving it, the brakes failed, resulting in a crash. You may be able to bring a claim against your employer for negligence in keeping the equipment in shape.
In another example, you notice a loose handrail and report it to your superior, as it represents a hazard. If you later suffer a fall because the company never fixed the handrail, you should have legal grounds for a claim. You also have legal precedent for filing a claim against your employer if they do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Any company employing more than three people must carry workers’ compensation insurance as per North Carolina law. There are a few expectations for specific industries, but most companies will need to carry insurance to cover any accidents and injuries.
Filing a claim against a coworker works similarly. You’ll need to showcase the coworker’s negligence that led to an injury. For instance, your coworker may have been fooling around or causing issues in an unauthorized area. In these situations, you may have a case against your coworker in court.
While workers’ compensation can be a simple process in many situations, trying to file a claim against an employer or coworker will come with additional challenges. You’ll want to hire an attorney to handle your case in these situations as you will be navigating some confusing legalities.
Most on-the-job injuries qualify you for workers’ compensation in North Carolina. There does not need to be any fault for a worker to seek restitution. An injured worker must follow proper procedures and file an official report with their company.
Some industries and workers do not have workers’ compensation coverage. These industries include:
Additionally, you will need to demonstrate a few key aspects before you can successfully seek workers’ compensation. The company will ask you to show that you were injured at work or during your work-related duties if not on company property. You will also need to showcase that your normal work duties led to the injury. You cannot file for workers’ compensation for injuries that happened at home while off duty, for example.
Companies may try to deny workers’ compensation benefits if they have reason to believe there were extenuating circumstances involved in the incident. If you were in an unauthorized area or were not performing your regular duties, the company may look to deny your workers’ compensation claim. You also will not get compensation if the company finds you injured yourself on purpose.
The most crucial thing to do after a workplace injury is to remain calm. You need to keep your wits about you so you can make it through the workers’ compensation process without making any costly errors that could cost you benefits. As soon as you sustain an injury and notice something is wrong with your body, you must follow company policy on reporting the accident. You will likely need to speak with a supervisor and detail the situation. You will then file an official accident report and detail everything leading up to the accident. Be as thorough as possible so your employer and their insurance agency have a complete understanding of the situation.
Once you file the report, you’ll want to speak with a doctor and have them examine the injury. Make sure you get a full report from your doctor, as you might need to contest any claims from the insurance company. Your company may also ask you to see a different doctor to evaluate your injuries and assess your disability level if you need to take time off work to recover. Comply with this visit if prompted. Workers may also need to speak with an insurance agent to explain the situation and answer any questions.
Early in the process, you may want to enlist the services of a Lincolnton on-the-job injury attorney. While some workers choose to handle their compensation claims by themselves, having an attorney present will help you avoid messing up the process or improperly filling out paperwork. Your lawyer can also help prep you for any interviews you need to do and prepare for typical questions.
Once the company’s insurance agent gathers all the relevant details, they will either move to accept or deny your workers’ compensation filing. If the company denies your claim, you can have your attorney file an appeal and start a process to secure your benefits. The appeal will go to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
There’s no statute in North Carolina law saying you must have an attorney with you during the workers’ compensation process. Some workers handle the process solo, and it works smoothly for them. For others, the situation becomes difficult, and they may miss out on benefits. That’s where the guiding hand of an on-the-job injury attorney comes into play.
Your attorney will have experience working on similar cases and can guide you through every step of the process. They can check over your paperwork to make sure you’ve filed everything properly. Improper forms or forgetting to include something may lead to you losing your benefits or delaying them. If the situation goes south and the company’s insurance agent denies your workers’ compensation claim, you can rely on your attorney to handle the appeal process and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Attorneys also come at every case from an objective point of view. They don’t have the same emotions tied up in the case that an injured worker does. This objectivity doesn’t mean they won’t approach your situation with empathy. Your attorney will instead give you an unbiased view of what your circumstances are and what you should expect from the insurance company.
You may want to file a claim after an injury for what you perceive as negligence on your employer’s part. You can ask your attorney if they think you have a case and a chance in court to settle.
Time is of the essence after an on-the-job injury in Lincolnton. You need to speak with an attorney as soon as you can to get the ball rolling on filing for benefits and any claims you may want to file. You only have two years from the date of the injury to file for benefits, and waiting longer may lead to a loss of evidence and losing a chance at money to help with your recovery.
At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we’ve helped countless clients with their Lincolnton on-the-job injuries. We can represent you and fight for your rights. Contact us today for a consultation and to see how we assist clients after a workplace injury.
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