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Salisbury Workers Compensation Attorney

Salisbury Workers Compensation Attorney

Some jobs naturally carry more inherent risk of injury than others. Injuries, though, can happen in any job—sometimes, in situations that we least expect them to. That’s why the state of North Carolina has created laws that mandate that most employers carry workers’ compensation insurance policies. Working with a Salisbury workers’ compensation attorney is one of the better ways you can help your chances of getting everything you are rightfully owed.

Workers’ comp policies should address the major costs that an injured worker has to face. Unfortunately, though, the process of making that happen can often be a little more messy than one would hope. At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we seek to make sure that those who have suffered an injury at work get the restitution that they need.

Salisbury Workers Compensation Attorney

What Employers Are Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?

North Carolina requires that most employers with a minimum of three employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. There are some exceptions to this rule which could lower or raise the threshold. In other cases, employers in certain industries may be exempt altogether. However, these rules do apply to both private employers and government entities.

Who Is Eligible to Receive Workers’ Compensation?

To receive workers’ compensation, you must be eligible. Generally, this would mean needing to meet two different requirements:

  • Qualified Employee – First, you must be an employee who is qualified to receive workers’ compensation. You need to both work for an employer who is required to carry workers’ comp insurance and have qualifying employment status. Independent contractors, for instance, are usually not qualified for workers’ comp. This can sometimes be an issue, as some employers will, either in error or intentionally, misclassify workers. A workers’ comp attorney can help you understand if you qualify.
  • Qualified Injury – The injury you sustain must be the responsibility of your employer. In most cases, if you get injured at work, it will likely be the responsibility of your employer. There are some exceptions to this: if your injury was the result of horseplay, because of intoxication at work, or intentionally done, then it’s possible that it may not be covered. Additionally, if your injury occurred on your commute to work, it is also not likely to be covered.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Address?

Workers’ compensation is meant to cover the costs associated with an employee’s injury that happens at work. The compensation package that you are given will vary depending on the nature and severity of the injuries that you incur. One of the factors will be how your injury is categorized. Generally, if an injury is going to keep you out of work, then it could be categorized in one of four ways:

  • Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) – In this case, you are expected to make a full return to work eventually, and in the meantime, you can still work, but not at the capacity that you were capable of prior to the injury.
  • Temporary Total Disability (TTD) – For some injuries, someone may be unable to work altogether but still expected to make a full recovery and be able to return to work at full capacity at some point.
  • Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) – In this classification, the injuries are of a sort where the worker may be able to work in a diminished capacity but is not expected to make a full recovery.
  • Permanent Total Disability (PTD) – In this situation, a person’s workplace injuries are so severe that they are not able to work and are not expected to make a full recovery at any point.

While the type and severity of the injury will determine the specifics of the compensation, there are a few specific categories that are covered. They are:

  • Medical Bills – The medical costs that are a direct result of the injury should always be covered in a workers’ compensation policy. This may mean going to a doctor that is within that company’s network of approved providers. The kinds of costs that could be covered include physician’s visits, medical testing, medication, surgeries, and physical therapy or rehabilitation.
  • Wage Reimbursement – In most cases, employees are paid about two-thirds of their normal wages, but the benefits are tax-free, which means that the take-home pay should not be too much of a reduction from usual. The rate is determined based on your average weekly wage. There is also a maximum rate, which cannot be exceeded. To understand what your wage reimbursement should look like, it’s helpful to contact a workers’ comp attorney.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation – There are some injuries that are so significant and permanent that they are going to prevent a worker from returning to the same kind of work that they had done before. In these situations, workers’ compensation could cover training that can help assist in a career change for the injured worker. Additionally, it could also cover job placement services that could help the injured worker find work in a new career.
  • Penalties and Interest – Penalties or interest may be a part of your compensation package if your claim was unduly rejected or delayed.
  • Death Benefits – If a workplace injury leads to the death of the employee, the family may be able to collect compensation to cover the costs of a funeral and burial.

What Does a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Do?

Working with a workers’ compensation lawyer in Salisbury, NC can often be tremendously beneficial to your claim. They can help even before the legal system is involved. Workers’ comp insurance companies may try to lowball you with their initial offer.

Many workers don’t even recognize that this is happening. They don’t know what to expect as an offer, much less what to do if their claim is denied altogether. When you work with a workers’ comp lawyer, though, they can look at the initial offer and help you understand if you’re being short-changed or not.

If your claim is denied or not as much as you should reasonably expect, then it is possible to appeal that decision and file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which is responsible for overseeing workers’ compensation. The process of fighting for the compensation that you deserve can be complex.

Your lawyer, though, can represent you and ensure that the proper forms are filled out and that the procedure is followed. If that weren’t to happen, it’s possible that your claim could be delayed and even denied. Additionally, they can represent you in any hearings and make the case for what you’re owed.

What if My Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Compensation as Required?

Despite a legal requirement to carry a workers’ compensation insurance policy, there are many employers who fail to properly do so. These employers are putting themselves at risk of significant fines, and, potentially, even criminal charges could be made against them. If your employer should have workers’ compensation but doesn’t, and you’re injured at work, it could feel like there is nothing you can do. That’s not the case, though.

Even if your employer fails to carry the proper workers’ compensation insurance, that does not mean that they are exempt from having to pay the restitution. They are still responsible for the costs that the workers’ compensation would have covered. Further, by not having insurance, they have waived the exemption that required workers’ compensation issues to be handled through the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

This means you could opt to file a personal injury claim against them. Even the individual who had the ability and authority to bring your employer into compliance with the workers’ comp insurance requirement may be held personally liable for your injury costs.

If You Want to Make Sure You Get the Workers’ Compensation You Deserve, We Can Help

Workers who are injured at work count on workers’ compensation to cover the costs that they incur as a result of that injury. The medical costs are the responsibility of the employer, and so are the wages that the employee has lost as a result of missing work due to the injury.

These things are usually paid by the workers’ compensation insurance companies that most employers are legally required to carry a policy with. These insurance companies, though, have a tendency to deny claims they shouldn’t and award less compensation than they should.

There are legal options available to seek to remedy the situation. However, the process of legally seeking proper workers’ compensation can be complex and a challenge to navigate. Unfortunately, many injured employees aren’t even aware of the options available to them or even know that they’ve been given too low an offer.

That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney early on in the process. They can help make sure you take advantage of every option available to you and help you understand what a reasonable compensation award should look like.

They can also help you negotiate with the workers’ comp insurance provider if needed and represent you through the appeals process as well. At Ayers, Whitlow & Dressler, we help our clients through the workers’ compensation process and fight to get what they deserve if needed. Contact us today if you have a workers’ compensation claim.