Accidents are common at work. They could lead to a broken arm, a back injury, or tunnel syndrome as a result of typing for many years. These are just a few examples, and they can throw your life into turmoil financially if the injury is serious. You can lose your ability to work and generate income temporarily or permanently.
If you are not familiar with this aspect of the law, you will require the services of a diligent workers’ compensation lawyer in Davidson to help you recover compensation for the injuries, including lost wages and medical bills. The laws on workers’ compensation in North Carolina are complex, and it is vital to contact a personal injury attorney in Davidson for you to get the compensation you deserve.
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What is Workers Compensation?
Workers’ compensation law is a system designed to compensate you for injuries sustained during the job. It covers the medical bills, including hospital stays during the recovery period and all associated expenses. All businesses in Davidson, North Carolina, are required to have workers’ compensation insurance to take care of employees who get hurt on the job.
Some of the things covered by this law include;
- Medical bills
- Transport expenses to the medical facility
- Cost of medical prescriptions
- Vocational rehabilitation cost
- Temporary disability benefit
What Should I Do If I’m Hurt on the Job?
You need to follow due process when you get hurt on the job as your employer won’t award you the compensation automatically. Note that the insurance companies holding this policy will try to reduce the amount of compensation you get. Do not leave anything for chance, and be careful with the steps you take after suffering from an injury.
Report Your Injury to Your Employer
In most cases, the employer can deny knowledge of the injury if you do not report it soon enough. Do this through an official communication channel that can be used as a reference, such as an email.
Seek Medical Care
When you are being treated inform the doctor that the injury is work-related. Ensure that the doctor takes note of this in their medical notes. If you are forced to make recurrent visits to the doctor, keep a record of the progress and symptoms. If the injuries are visible, take a photo to back up the medical records.
Review Your Injury With an Attorney
During this time, you need to rest and recuperate, and let the experts deal with your employer and their insurance company.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
The type of injury you can suffer at your workplace depends on the kind of work you do. Here are some common ones;
- Slips, falls and trips
- Muscle strains
- Getting hit by falling objects
- Repetitive strain injury
- Inhaling toxic fumes
- Loud music exposure
- Walking into objects
- Fights at work
- Accidents while working with machinery
- Accidents while traveling for business
Why Should I Hire a Davidson Workers Compensation Lawyer?
In theory, workers’ compensation is an administrative issue that is straightforward. This way, you probably do not need the services of an attorney. However, the reality is different as the insurance companies can make the process very complicated. Don’t get me wrong; some of these cases go smoothly, especially when the injuries are minor and do not require extensive medical treatment. However, you will have to hire a lawyer in instances where;
- Your claim is rejected
- You have a preexisting condition involving the same part you got injured at while working
- Your permanent disability rating is not clear
- You cannot access the medical treatment you need because of delays by the medical insurance firm
- You are a beneficiary of other government benefits
A Davidson Workers’ Compensation Lawyer understands all the laws surrounding these cases and can handle all the unique cases that might prompt the insurance company to reject your claim. They are experienced and will allow you the much-needed peace of mind to recuperate as they process the claim.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Davidson Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
This goes down to the complexity of the case and what it takes to settle it. The judge must approve the fees before the attorney gets their cut, which ranges from 10% to 20% of the total amount. A case that will be settled without an administrative hearing or litigation will warrant a lower percentage fee than the ones that go to trial.
After the initial consultation, your lawyer should give you a breakdown of the fees. You can always negotiate this amount as it all goes down to what works for both of you.
What Should I Do If My Workers Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your claim is denied, find out the reason why. Some possible reasons include;
- The injury was not reported in good time
- The claim was not filed in time
- Employer disputes
- The injury is not compensable
- You did not require medical treatment to recover from the injury
- Insufficient evidence that the injury was work-related
These are just a few reasons, and there are many more. You might want to appeal the decision, and the denial letter should have provisions for this. In most cases, you should appeal within 30 days, but it is better to meet with your employer and see if you can resolve the matter amicably. The appeal process is complicated and will require a hearing before an administrative law judge, depending on the level of the appeal.
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have in Filing a Workers Comp Claim?
In North Carolina, Workers’ compensation is mandatory for all employers with three or more employees. However, workers have a responsibility to adhere to the set guidelines for them to be compensated fully. They should follow the safety rules and report all accidents within thirty days. They should accept reasonable medical treatment and show that the incident was not caused as a result of their negligence. They should inform the employer of any change of address and be open to accepting any job recommended by the doctor, even if it is a low paying one.
Can I be Fired for Filing a Workers Comp Claim?
It is normal to be worried about facing off with your employer because of a workers’ compensation case. However, the law warns employers about discriminating against employees because of injuries that resulted in hefty claims. It is obvious that numerous claims do not amuse the employers since they increase their insurance rates, but the law protects you, and it is illegal to be fired or demoted for filing this claim.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Workers Comp Claim in Davidson, NC?
In North Carolina, you should report any work-related injuries within thirty days. This is the first step after you are injured, and the insurance company should also be notified. However, filing for a claim has a more extended window, and you should do it within one year after the date of the previous authorized medical treatment. Alternatively, you can do it within two years of the last payment of weekly benefits if you believe that you should receive them, and your insurance carrier denies them.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers Comp Claim?
In North Carolina, independent contractors are not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Legally, they are self-employed, and they are both the employer and employee. However, some clauses of the law still offer some lifeline to the contractors, and they might still be eligible for some compensation.
For one to qualify for compensation, there has to be some employer-employee relationship. The courts will determine this by looking into a couple of factors such as the mode of payment, length of time you are employed, the party that selects the working hours, the intent of the work contract, and whether the employee has the right to hire and fire among others.
One notable example is where a Court of Appeal had to decide whether a cab driver contracted by a company was eligible for the benefits. The Court devised a “right to control” test to prove this. They assessed whether the employer had the power to direct the cab driver. The facts of the case stated that the employer had the authority to tell the driver when to arrive at work. They determined the duration of the shifts and when the driver could stop working for the day. If the cab driver didn’t adhere to these directives, the employer had the right to terminate the contract. From the evidence, the Court established that the employer had control over the “time, manner and method” of the driver’s employment, and they were eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lawyer For Your Davidson Workers’ Compensation Claim
The Workers’ Compensation Law in North Carolina is wide, and if you happen to suffer from an injury while working, trust an experienced lawyer to handle your case. Insurance companies are keen on reducing their expenditure and will find all the loopholes they can exploit to reject your claim.
This is why you should contact Harman Law today and let us take over your claim. Our Davidson personal injury firm is experienced in North Carolina law and will take every necessary step to ensure that you are compensated.