Workplace injuries can be gut-wrenching, and they can leave a worker with extensive medical bills and reduced ability to work, if at all. Luckily, in North Carolina, there are laws – workers’ compensation laws – put in place to make sure that workers who sustain injuries on the course or the scope of their employment can recover lost income, pay medical bills, and get disability benefits if returning to work is not an option. The workers’ compensation lawyers at Harman Law are committed to helping you secure all the benefits you deserve after a workplace injury in Caldwell.
Unfortunately, even with the workers’ compensation laws in place, many employers and their insurance companies still deny legitimate claims. Our Caldwell personal injury lawyers have helped many injured employees claim the benefits and monetary damages they deserve, and you can turn to us for counsel and support with confidence. It would be an honor to represent your workers’ compensation claim. Call us and tell us about your on-the-job accident to get started now.
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What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is unique insurance coverage purchased by an employer to provide benefits for workers who get injured on the course of doing their job. In Caldwell, North Carolina, workers’ compensation provides two primary benefits:
Workers’ comp covers all medical expenses (past, present, and future) related to your on-the-job injuries. They include:
- Hospital stays
- Prescription of medications
- Medical devices like wheelchairs
- Bills for initial doctor visits
- Physical therapy
These are benefits given to cover the workers’ inability to work. Disability benefits include:
- Temporary disability benefit: For workers who are temporarily out of work due to their injuries.
- Totally and permanently disabled benefits: For workers who suffer permanent injuries.
What Steps Should An Employee Who Sustains Injuries On The Job Follow?
It’s easy not to know what to do after an accident. If you’ve suffered injuries on the job in Caldwell, NC, follow the following steps:
Tell your Employer
Within a period of 30 days after your injuries, notify your employer in writing that the accident happened.
Get Medical Care
See a doctor as soon as you can because the sooner you start focusing on your treatment, the more quickly you’re likely to recover. Follow your doctor’s instructions, and if you are scheduled for an appointment with a specialist or follow-up appointments, make sure you keep those as well.
Keep Track of Symptoms and Injuries
Start to keep a record of all your injuries and symptoms. Get a note in writing from your doctor that specifies the details of your injuries and the amount of time you are going to miss work because of your injuries.
Keep Track of Your Expenses
Keep copies of all receipts from the providers of medical devices or pharmacies. Also, write down all the miles you drive to your physical therapist, doctor, or other appointment related to the accident.
Work with a trustworthy attorney to file a workers’ compensation claim: Your lawyer can take care of communications with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer, investigate the accident and your claim, and make sure you file your workers’ compensation claim on time. With an experienced attorney handling your claim, you can rest easy and focus on getting well.
What Are The Most Common On-The-Job Injuries?
At Harman Law, we know that workers’ compensation settlement is vital to recovery because on-the-job accidents can be fatal, sometimes resulting in permanent disability. We offer you years of experience and can provide you with the reassurance that only seasoned attorneys can bring. Workplace illnesses and injuries in Caldwell can be debilitating, and they take many forms, including:
- Neck and spinal injuries
- Slip and fall injuries
- Back injuries
- Head injuries
- Lung disorders
- Brain injury
- Hearing and vision loss
The most common on-the-job accidents include:
- Construction accidents
- Accidents while traveling for business
- Accidents while operating machinery or working with tools
Why Should I Hire A Caldwell Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Not every injured employee will need to hire a workers’ comp lawyer. After all, the workers’ compensation laws are designed to be relatively straightforward for workers to navigate. However, even if you have a straightforward claim, you will still need to – or you can significantly benefit from – hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Caldwell. A lawyer can help fight and appeal any disputes that might arise. Consider hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer if:
- Your claim was denied
- The settlement offer is not enough to cover your medical bills and lost income
- You have a preexisting condition
- Your permanent disability benefits are denied
- Your ability to earn wages/income has been affected
- You are receiving other government benefits alongside your workers’ compensation benefits
- Your employer/boss retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim
- You are scheduled to have a workers’ compensation hearing
Hiring a reputable workers’ compensation lawyer will go a long way in helping you get a prompt and fair compensation for your on-the-job injuries.
How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Caldwell, NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
You’d be surprised by how easy and affordable it is to hire a workers’ compensation attorney in Caldwell, NC. Most lawyers will handle workers’ comp cases on a contingency agreement basis. That means your lawyer will receive a percentage of the settlement or workers’ compensation benefits.
Different states have laws that cap lawyers’ fees in workers’ comp cases. In North Carolina, the standard attorney’s fee is set at 25%, which will come from your settlement. However, if your attorney doesn’t help you recover compensation in the form of workers’ comp benefits, he or she doesn’t get paid.
What Responsibility Does A Worker In Caldwell Have In Filing A Workers Compensation Claim?
Workers have specific responsibilities in filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you have a work-related illness or you’ve been injured at work, you’re responsible for the following actions:
- Work responsibly
- Report the injury
- Getting medical care immediately
- Be cooperative
- Maintain accurate records
- Get legal assistance with handling a workers’ compensation claim
What Are The Responsibilities Of An Employer In The Worker’s Comp Process?
Employers are responsible for not only implementing preventative measures within their business but also for specific components of the workers’ compensation process. Below is a look at the responsibilities that an employer has when a workers’ compensation claim is filed include:
- Prevent workplace accidents by providing workers with a safe working area
- File a report of the worker’s injuries
- Respect the worker’s rights
- Cooperate with the insurance provider and investigative parties
- Allow employee’s return to work
- Cooperate with workers’ compensation board
- Not to retaliate
What Are My Options If My Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied?
There are many reasons why an employer or their insurer would limit or deny a legitimate claim. The most common reasons why many employees find themselves with a denied claim include:
- Failing to adhere to state time limits for filing
- Forms aren’t correctly completed
- Missing documentation or forms
- Dispute with the insurance provider or employer
- The injury is minor and doesn’t qualify
- Off-site injury
- Lack of causation
An injured worker in Caldwell, NC, must report their injuries or illness to his or her employer/supervisor orally and in writing within 30 days following the accident. Injured employees will also be required to file form 18 – the claim – with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This document establishes the worker’s legal claim of injury on the worker’s behalf and must be submitted within two years of the injuries.
If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached for your workers’ compensation claim, or if the claim was denied, you can appeal the decision and have the denial overturned. It is crucial to discuss the appeal of your denied claim with a qualified lawyer.
Can An Employer Be Fired For Claiming A Workers’ Comp Claim in North Carolina?
No! A worker cannot lose their job for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, even so, there are employers who start to frown on workers who file for workers’ comp benefits, and others even blatantly discriminate against such workers. North Carolina prohibits employers from harassing, discriminating against, punishing, or unjustly firing employees who exercise their rights under workers’ comp laws. If you believe that you’re being harassed at work, discriminated against or discharged in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you can file a retaliatory discharge civil suit against your employers.
Can An Independent Contractor File A Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Independent contractors like consultants and freelancers in North Carolina do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. However, some employers falsely classify their employees as independent contractors to bar employees from filing a workers’ compensation claim and avoid paying payroll taxes.
If your employer or their insurance provider claims you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits – because you are an independent contractor – consider consulting with an experienced attorney.
Call a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Caldwell at Harman Law
Workers’ compensation provides a safety net for employees who suffer workplace injuries. The workers’ comp claim process in North Carolina follows strict procedural guidelines that can be complicated for a layperson to understand. Harman Law firm contains the talent, resources, experience to help you pursue workers’ comp benefits after suffering on-the-job injuries. We will start your case the same way we do with all others: by listening. We want to hear everything about your situation so we can determine the best legal approach for your case.
You’re welcomed to contact our Caldwell injury law firm and request a free no-pressure consultation regarding your workers’ compensation claim in Caldwell, NC.