Unfortunately, injuries sometimes happen in the workplace. If this happens to you, it’s important to recognize that the injury wouldn’t have occurred if you weren’t working in the employment of someone else. Because you were in the service of working for someone else, the law makes the injury the responsibility of that employer. This means that the costs associated with the injury should be paid by your employer.
More specifically, it will likely be your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company that will pay, as most North Carolina employers with three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. These companies, though, aren’t always quick or as complete in their compensation as they should be and, sometimes, they deny benefits altogether. This is why the option to file a claim exists. At Christina Rivenbark & Associates, we can help you seek everything that you’re owed in Fayetteville, NC.
Workers’ compensation can cover a variety of things based on the nature of the injury. There are also a few different categories that the compensation can fall under. They are:
Generally, all medical expenses will always be covered. These could also include things like physical therapy or rehab necessary for the recovery process. Additionally, mileage is covered if there is significant travel necessary to get to the appropriate medical specialists. Compensation for missed wages, both present and future, may also be included. The law states that you are to be paid two-thirds of your weekly wages. Depending on the severity of the injury, there may be disfigurement compensation. If the injury is significant enough that it may require a career change, then vocational rehabilitation may be awarded to help you seek a new career.
Workers’ compensation is meant to provide restitution for those who have suffered a workplace injury. However, determining what makes something a workplace injury can often be ambiguous, which is why working with a lawyer can be so beneficial. They understand how to describe an injury in a way that makes it clear that it’s a legitimate workplace injury. For an injury to be considered a workplace injury, it must meet three qualifications, which are:
There are a few other factors or ways to consider the situation related to a workplace injury. One of these is the matter of fault. In North Carolina, who is at fault for the accident leading to the injury is irrelevant. Even if you were at fault, if the injury arose from the normal course of performing your job duties, then you will be covered. That said, if you can be shown to have intentionally injured yourself, then the injury will not be covered.
It’s also possible that the safety protocols involved in a situation may have been a critical factor in your injury. For instance, if it can be shown that you failed to follow the proper safety protocols, then it’s possible that the workers’ compensation you receive may be reduced. The same is true if you were unfit for work in some manner, such as intoxicated. On the other hand, if your employer failed to follow safety protocols or lacked proper safety measures, then your workers’ compensation may be increased.
If you’re injured at work, there are two things that you will want to do first. One thing is to make sure that you notify your employer. While you have 30 days from the time of the injury to let them know, generally the sooner that you do so, the better off you will be. The second thing you will want to do is seek medical help for your injury. If the injury was a serious one, it’s possible that you will have already been to the emergency room. If not, and even if you think you know the extent of your injuries, it’s still important to get them looked at. You may have injuries that you don’t yet recognize. Your employer may have a specific doctor they will send you to who is pre-approved by their workers’ compensation insurance.
It’s critical that you document everything you can about your injury, including the circumstances and any diagnosis from doctors. You will also want to talk with a lawyer who has experience and a solid grasp of workers’ compensation law. We can help you understand the next steps and the prospects for your case.
A: For many people, the difference between a successful claim and an unsuccessful claim can be working with a lawyer. There are a few different ways that a lawyer can help. One way is simply navigating the workers’ comp process. It can sometimes feel like a maze of forms, procedures, and different bureaucracies that you need to navigate. Our familiarity with and understanding of this process can be beneficial to you, as any mistake could lead to painful delays or even a failure to get your claim approved. We can also help in dealing with other parties on your behalf. Whether it is communicating with your employer or going through claim hearings, we understand how to communicate what’s necessary to give your claim a favorable chance at success.
A: You should not be fired for making a workers’ compensation claim. Nor should others, if your coworkers are needed to back up your account, be fired as well. Of course, this is not to say that your employer won’t fire you. They could fire you, though that may mean that they have a wrongful termination suit to face in addition to the workers’ comp claim. In that case, it would need to be demonstrated that the firing was a result of the claim and not for some other reason.
A: Injuries at work can take all sorts of forms. Each job carries its own unique set of risks, and there is also the possibility of unforeseen freak accidents. Some of the more common kinds of accidents that can occur at work include:
A: Once you recognize that you have a workers’ comp injury, you have 30 days to notify your employer. Failing to do so promptly could cause your claim to be dismissed. If it’s possible to notify your employer immediately, that is always the ideal option. If your employer is failing to address the situation properly, then you may need to resort to filing a claim against them. In these cases, you have two years to file the claim. However, because the process of filing a claim can often be complex and difficult to do correctly, you should not delay and work with a lawyer as soon as possible.
It is possible to attempt to handle your workers’ compensation case alone, but it’s always unwise to do so. We have found that those who are unfamiliar with the process, and what they should be getting, are often taken advantage of by workers’ comp insurance companies, who know all the ways to avoid doing what they should. Working with an experienced lawyer means that you will have someone on your side who can recognize these schemes and put a stop to them. It’s also helpful to work with someone who understands the process and can help steer your claim through it. Lastly, we employment lawyers have a solid understanding of what the expectations are of the officials involved in the process and know how to tell them what they need to hear. If you want to be sure that your workers’ comp claim is given the strongest case that it can, then contact us today to discuss your situation.