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The construction industry reports more workplace injuries each year than almost every other industry in the country. Construction workers face many significant safety risks at work every day, some resulting in painful and traumatic injuries. Whenever construction injuries happen, victims are likely to have many pressing legal questions concerning their recovery options and how they will handle the financial impact of their inability to work and earn income.
If you or a family member is struggling with any kind of construction injury in Mooresville, NC it is crucial to understand North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws and to have an idea of what to expect in your recovery process. If you were injured while working, you are likely covered by workers’ compensation insurance, as the law requires almost every employer in the state to have this insurance coverage. However, the workers’ compensation claim filing process can be more complex than you might expect, and the average person will need legal counsel they can trust to guide them through this process.
Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler can provide the legal representation you need to recover from a construction injury with confidence. Our firm has years of professional experience helping our clients secure workers’ compensation benefits and exploring alternative recovery options. You may have more options for legal recourse than you initially expect, and the right legal team can help you maximize the insurance benefits and other compensation you obtain for your construction injury.
Construction is a dangerous field for many reasons. Construction workers build and work in structures that lack basic safety features until completion, and they are often required to use various tools and pieces of equipment that also pose safety risks. They must also use specialized vehicles on a regular basis, and completing many construction jobs requires moving and handling large materials and various heavy objects.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and various other agencies have identified the biggest risk factors in the construction industry, such as:
This is not a complete list of all the various types of injuries construction workers might suffer on the job in Mooresville; just a few of the most common. Whenever an injury occurs, the first steps the victim takes in the aftermath of the incident can have profound effects on their recovery efforts.
When you sustain an injury at work, you are required to report the incident to your supervisor as soon as possible. Even if you think the injury is minor, report it immediately so there is a formal record of the incident. This will ensure that nothing interferes with your future recovery efforts and shows that you responsibly sought to immediately address the problem. When an employer learns that their employee has been injured at work, they are required to create a formal incident report and provide the employee with the materials needed to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation functions similarly to most other types of insurance. The policyholder pays a premium to maintain their coverage, and the insurer provides compensation for covered events when claims are filed. Almost every employer in the state is legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance, and almost every construction worker in the state will have the ability to file a claim for these benefits if they are hurt while working.
Like any other type of insurance claim, a workers’ compensation claim typically begins with an investigation. Once an insurance carrier receives a claim, it will investigate it to verify its legitimacy before disbursing any benefits to the claimant. The injured worker faces potential challenges not only from the insurance company’s review process but also from their employer’s involvement in the claim process.
While most employers in Mooresville handle their injured workers’ claims in good faith and facilitate their claims for workers’ compensation benefits, others attempt to interfere with these claims. Some even retaliate against employees who attempt to file claims for benefits. Workers’ compensation insurance is just like any other insurance policy in that the policyholder pays a premium based on their perceived level of risk. If an employer has multiple employees file claims in a short time, they could see their premium rate increase, and some will attempt to avoid this by actively discouraging injured workers from filing claims or engaging in illegal retaliation.
If your employer fulfills their legal duties and provides you with the materials needed for your claim, you will likely need to undergo a medical examination as part of your claim filing process. You can see any available doctor for emergency treatment when needed, but you will likely need to see a physician approved by your employer’s insurance provider as part of your claim filing process.
The medical examination process will result in a disability rating for the injured worker. This is a numerical value indicating the overall severity of their injury and the scope of long-term effects it is likely to cause. Disability rating has a strong influence on the injured worker’s total compensation from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. The higher the rating, the more the claimant can potentially receive in benefits.
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide a financial safety net and job security to injured workers. When a claim is approved, the claimant will generally receive two types of compensation: medical expense coverage and disability benefits for missing income.
Workers’ compensation insurance will typically cover all medical care a claimant needs to reach maximum medical improvement from their injury. This includes both immediate and future healthcare expenses until they recover as fully as possible. When it comes to disability benefits for missing income, this is more variable. Typically, a claimant can receive about two-thirds of their average weekly wage each week for up to 500 weeks or until they are able to return to work. For example, if the claimant usually earns about $1,500 per week, they should receive about $1,000 each week in disability benefits.
Construction injuries can be very traumatic, often resulting in long-term or permanent damage to the victim. It’s possible that a claimant could be unable to return to their previous job, or they may not be able to work at all in the future. If the claimant’s earning capacity has been diminished but they can still handle lower-paying work, the insurance carrier may offer partial disability benefits that help offset the difference in their earning power after their injury.
Workers’ compensation insurance generally protects employers from civil liability for their injured workers’ damages. However, there are exceptions to this rule. For example, if the employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance or if they caused the injury through some intentional act, the injured worker would have grounds for a civil suit against their employer. What’s more likely is for the injured worker to have grounds for a civil suit against a third party who caused their accident.
Construction accidents might occur due to the actions of parties outside of the victim’s workplace. For example, if you were working in roadside construction and you were hit by a drunk driver while performing your job duties, you would have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim because the injury happened while you were working, but you will also have grounds for a third party personal injury claim. If a bystander suffers an injury from a construction accident in a public area, they may not be able to claim workers’ compensation benefits, but they will have grounds for a civil suit against the party responsible for causing the accident.
Whether you are filing a third party personal injury claim along with your claim for workers’ compensation benefits or you must file a standalone personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing your injury, North Carolina law allows a personal injury plaintiff to claim compensation for any damages they suffered because of a defendant’s actions. If you have filed for workers’ compensation benefits, your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income will be covered, but a personal injury suit can enable you to recover the remainder of your lost income as well as compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced.
Proving liability is not always necessary for work-related injury claims. If you caused your own injury, you would still likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits as long as you did so through an honest mistake or simple negligence while working in good faith. However, if you intentionally violated a workplace safety rule or were working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, these issues would likely disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Similarly, if you intend to file a personal injury claim, any fault you bear would disqualify you from claiming compensation from the defendant under the state’s contributory negligence rule.
Any construction-related injury has the potential to impose life-changing complications on the victim’s life, and the recovery process could be far more complex and challenging than they initially expect. However, the right attorney on your side can enable you to approach this difficult situation with confidence and peace of mind. The attorneys at Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler have extensive professional experience handling all types of work injury claims on behalf of Mooresville area clients, and we know how damaging any construction injury can be.
Our goal in every case we accept in Mooresville is to help our client recover the maximum amount of benefits possible through workers’ compensation insurance when available. Whether you anticipate recovering through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy or you expect to file a personal injury claim in response to the construction accident you recently experienced, we can help. The sooner you reach out to our team, the more time we have to build a compelling case on your behalf, so contact us today and schedule a free consultation with a Mooresville construction injury attorney you can trust.
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