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Lincolnton Workers Compensation Attorney

Lincolnton Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

Workers’ compensation insurance is a legal requirement for almost every business in North Carolina. This insurance serves two very important purposes; it protects covered employers from civil liability for injured workers’ damages, shielding them from personal injury claims, and it provides valuable financial benefits to injured workers when they sustain injuries on the job. If you work in Lincolnton and suffer any work-related injury, it’s essential to know your rights under the state’s workers’ compensation laws.

Lincolnton Workers Compensation Attorney

Experienced Legal Representation for Workers’ Compensation Claims in Lincolnton, NC

The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have extensive professional experience helping clients in Lincolnton and surrounding communities with their workers’ compensation cases. Each Lincolnton workers compensation attorney takes time to carefully review the details of each client’s injury, guiding them through the process of filing their claim for benefits.

Some injured workers also have grounds for additional recovery, and we assist with these claims as well. For example, if anyone outside of your work caused your injury, you could potentially increase your total compensation substantially by filing a third-party personal injury claim after filing your workers’ compensation claim. If you are unsure how to approach the claim filing process in Lincolnton, you can rely on the team at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler to guide you through every step.

Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Lincolnton

Under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws, almost every employer in every industry is covered through their employer’s insurance. There are some exceptions to this, and exempt employees generally include domestic workers, employees of agricultural businesses with fewer than 10 employees, and independent contractors. Your employer is required to fully inform you of your eligibility status when it comes to workers’ compensation, and if you believe your employer has intentionally misclassified you, it is vital to discuss your concerns with an experienced Lincolnton workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.

Some injured workers wonder whether their particular injuries are covered. Generally, as long as an injury happened while the employee was performing their job duties, they qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim. This includes an injury the worker caused themselves, as long as it happened through an honest mistake made while working in good faith. However, if the employee injured themselves through engaging in horseplay at work, working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if they intentionally violated workplace safety rules, these factors could work against them in the claim filing process or even disqualify them from workers’ compensation benefits.

It’s important to file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible after your injury in Lincolnton. There is a two-year statute of limitations in which you can file your claim under North Carolina law, and this time limit starts on the date your injury occurred. However, any delay in the filing of your case could lead to problems with the claim determination process. The insurance company could assume that because you did not file your claim immediately after your injury, your injury must not have been as severe as you claim. It is generally advisable to file your workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible after your injury at work to have the greatest chance of success.

Commonly Reported Workplace Injuries

Many people sustain injuries while working without realizing that they qualify to file for workers’ compensation benefits. As long as you were hurt while working or developed a medical condition through performance of your job duties, you can file a claim. A few of the most commonly reported types of workplace injuries in the Lincolnton area that lead to workers’ compensation claims include:

  • Injuries from slip and fall accidents. Falls are one of the most commonly reported workplace accidents throughout the United States each year and can easily result in catastrophic injuries such as broken bones, spinal cord damage, or traumatic brain injuries.
  • Heavy equipment accidents. Many people are required to use specialized equipment and machinery to complete their work duties. When these devices malfunction or when they are misused, they can easily cause devastating traumatic injuries.
  • Acquired illnesses. Some people working in Lincolnton have inherently hazardous jobs that expose them to potentially dangerous substances. If you acquired cancer, a severe respiratory condition, or any other significant medical condition from your work conditions, it is possible to file a workers’ compensation claim, but proving that your condition directly resulted from work may be a challenge.
  • Vehicle accidents. Those who are required to drive for work face the same risks on the road as they would when driving their own vehicles for personal reasons. When you suffer injuries in a vehicle accident caused by another driver while you were driving for work, you likely have grounds for additional legal recourse against the at-fault driver beyond your workers’ compensation claim.
  • Repetitive stress injuries. Anyone who is required to perform the same manual tasks every day at work faces the risk of a repetitive stress injury. These injuries most commonly affect the soft tissues of the body, gradually worsening over time. You must be able to prove your repetitive stress injury arose from your work duties to succeed with a workers’ compensation claim.

Some industries are inherently more dangerous than others, but it is possible for anyone to suffer an unexpected injury while working in Lincolnton. After you sustain any type of work-related injury, you should report it to your supervisor immediately so you can begin the claim filing process.

Your employer must create a formal incident report for your injury and provide you with the forms you need to submit to their insurance carrier. As part of the claim filing process, you will need to undergo a medical examination from a physician approved by your employer’s insurance carrier.

Disability Ratings for Workers’ Compensation Claims

After you notify your employer of your injury and they provide you with the forms you need for your claim, they should provide a list of local physicians you can visit for your disability rating. You could see any doctor if you suffered an acute traumatic injury and require emergency care, but after you stabilize, you will need to visit a workers’ compensation doctor. They will examine your injury and then assign you a disability rating. This is a numerical value between 1 and 100, indicating your level of disability resulting from the injury. The higher your rating, the more you are likely to receive in workers’ compensation benefits.

If you disagree with the doctor’s assessment of your condition, you have the right to seek a second opinion. Your Lincolnton workers’ compensation attorney can be an invaluable asset when it comes to resolving any such issues that arise with your claim, and they can help ensure the physician you visit assesses your condition fairly. After you complete the medical review process, you should be ready to file your workers’ compensation claim with the insurance carrier.

What to Expect in Your Determination of Benefits

After the insurance company has reviewed the details of your claim, it will deliver its determination of benefits. This will explain the total compensation the company will provide for your injury, and most injured workers in Lincolnton will receive two types of benefits: medical expense coverage and weekly disability benefits for the time they are unable to work while recovering.

Medical expense coverage is relatively straightforward. In most claims, the insurance company will pay for any medical treatment costs associated with the claimant’s injury. This includes immediate expenses like hospital bills, surgical fees, and ambulance transportation, but it also includes ongoing rehabilitative care costs if the claimant needs continuous care. Ultimately, most injured workers in Lincolnton receive full medical expense coverage for all the care they require to reach maximum medical improvement from their injury.

Weekly disability benefits are more variable, awarded based on a claimant’s disability rating. When a claimant can still work but cannot earn the same amount of income as they did prior to their injury, they are likely to receive partial disability benefits. These aim to offset their diminished earning power, and the amount they receive each week depends on how much they are able to earn on their own. If you are assigned partial disability benefits, you will need to report your weekly income to the insurance carrier to continue receiving benefits.

Total temporary disability benefits are awarded to claimants who are unable to work at all due to their injuries. The claimant’s prior year of wages is taken into consideration to assess their average weekly wage, and they will receive about two-thirds of this amount each week until they can return to work or for up to 500 weeks. For example, if the claimant usually earns $1,500 per week, they can expect roughly $1,000 with each disability benefits payment.

Recovery Beyond Workers’ Compensation in Lincolnton

Workers’ compensation insurance will typically prevent you from filing a civil claim against your employer in response to your workplace injury in Lincolnton. However, if your employer does not have appropriate insurance coverage, they have no such protection, and you would have grounds to file a personal injury claim against them to seek compensation for your damages. Alternatively, you could have grounds for a third-party claim.

If any party outside of your work caused your injury, you can still file your workers’ compensation claim but will also have the right to file a third-party personal injury claim against whoever caused your injury. Under the state’s personal injury laws, it is possible to recover much more compensation from your personal injury suit than workers’ compensation can provide. For example, if you only receive two-thirds of your lost income through workers’ compensation, you could seek compensation for the remainder in your personal injury suit. You can also claim pain and suffering compensation, which workers’ compensation insurance does not provide.

What to Expect From Your Lincolnton Workers’ Compensation Attorney

The right legal representative can make a tremendous positive difference in the outcome of your workers’ compensation case. They can provide ongoing support through every step of the claim filing process, from gathering your initial paperwork and navigating the medical review process to filing the claim with the insurance company and addressing any disputes the insurer raises against your claim.

When you receive your determination of benefits, your attorney can review it to verify that the terms of the insurance company’s offer are suitable based on the severity of your injury. If you have grounds for further legal action in the form of a civil suit against a third party, you will be able to rely on your attorney for help with this aspect of your recovery efforts as well. Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler not only has extensive professional experience handling workers’ compensation cases, but also personal injury claims filed in response to workplace injuries in Lincolnton.

If you are nervous about the potential cost of hiring an attorney, it’s vital to understand that most of the workers’ compensation attorneys working in the Lincolnton area operate on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee agreement, the client is only required to pay a fee if and when the attorney resolves their case, and the fee is a percentage of the final settlement. If the attorney is unable to secure benefits for their client, there is no fee at all, so there is no risk to you by choosing a Lincolnton workers’ compensation attorney to represent you under a contingency fee agreement.

The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have an extensive professional record of successful workers’ compensation claims filed on behalf of clients in Lincolnton and throughout the state. We provide client-focused legal counsel, meaning we take the time to get to know you and learn as much as possible about your experience to ensure we address all the unique concerns you have about your workers’ compensation claim. You have a limited time in which to file your claim, and acting as soon as possible significantly improves your chances of reaching a positive result in a timely manner. Contact Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler today to schedule a free consultation with a Lincolnton workers’ compensation attorney and start working toward your recovery with peace of mind.