Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Charlotte, Helping Victims of On-the-Job Injuries Seek Financial Recovery
Going to work is one of the few things required of most adults. In many cases, days are fairly predictable and end with workers clocking out and heading home. However, the potential for serious accidents exists on every job site. If you’ve sustained workplace injuries, you may find yourself wondering what to do next. Does your employer have to pay for your medical treatment? Will you continue to earn a wage while healing from your injury? Can you file a personal injury claim against your employer? These are all complex questions, but an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte can help you seek answers.
At Harman Law, we know that a workplace injury can cause serious disruption to a person’s life. Fortunately, most injured employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when hurt on the job in North Carolina. However, this doesn’t mean that receiving these benefits will be a simple task. There are various hurdles you could encounter along the way, and if you don’t follow the proper filing procedure, you may find yourself unable to work with no financial support. Don’t let this happen to you or your family. Contact our Charlotte workers’ comp attorneys today to schedule a free consultation.
“Am I Entitled to Workers’ Compensation Under North Carolina Law?”
One of the most common questions we hear in our law offices is whether an injury entitles a person to workers’ compensation benefits under North Carolina law. In most cases, the answer is “yes.” That’s because our state has a no-fault system in place regarding workplace injuries and workers’ comp. Even if an injury would typically involve various legal issues regarding liability, this isn’t generally the case while on the job. If you are injured while engaged in required activities in your workplace, it usually will not matter who was at fault. Even if your own negligence led to an accident, a workers’ comp claim may still secure benefits on your behalf.
There are some instances, however, where your employer may not have workers’ compensation insurance. North Carolina law requires employers with three or more employees to carry such insurance. If a company does not meet this threshold or doesn’t have required coverage, an employee who suffers a workplace injury can file a personal injury claim to seek financial recovery. This is a more involved and complex process, but a Charlotte personal injury attorney can help you through it. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in, speaking with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer may be in your best interest.
How Do You File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina?
If you’re injured while on the job in North Carolina, your path to receiving workers’ compensation requires you to file for benefits. Before doing this, however, you need to let your employer know what happened. This obviously won’t be possible in all situations — such as instances where a manager is unavailable and you need immediate medical care. Still, you need to report your workplace injury within thirty days. Failure to do so can forfeit your eligibility to seek benefits through the workers’ compensation claims process. You’ll also need to seek medical attention in order to show that an injury was legitimately sustained.
Even if you do all of this, however, you will not receive benefits without filing a claim. The paperwork that’s necessary in most cases is known as Form 18. This alerts the North Carolina Industrial Commission of your injury so that the claims process can move forward. Keep in mind that your claim form must be submitted in a timely manner. The North Carolina statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is two years from the date you were injured. Failure to meet this deadline means you’ll likely be unable to receive economic recovery for lost income, medical treatments, rehabilitation needs, or other losses you may incur.
Can You Be Denied Workers’ Comp Benefits?
The workers’ compensation system is meant to ensure injured employees have financial support even when unable to work. These benefits can also pay family members who lost loved ones in workplace accidents. However, it is possible that an individual or their family will be denied such benefits. A denial can occur if your employer disputes your version of events or if the workers’ comp insurance company believes you’re ineligible. If you find yourself in such a situation, having experienced attorneys on your side can prove invaluable. A workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte can help appeal denials based on any of the following:
- The injury was not sustained on the job or work-related
- The injury was not reported promptly (within 30 days) to the employer
- The employer disputes the injured worker’s version of events
- The injured worker did not supply proof of treatment
- The injured individual is not classified as an employee
- There’s a lack of proof that an injury was caused by on-the-job issues
While work-related injuries are typically eligible for benefits, workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina require that there be a solid paper trail and evidence. Workers’ comp providers are just like any other insurance company — their primary goal in providing services is to maximize profit. This goal is often in conflict with those seeking compensation for a work-related injury. This is why establishing an attorney-client relationship early on can prove so invaluable. At Harman Law, you can get a free workers’ compensation consultation to better understand your rights. Contact us today to get started.
What Injuries Are Eligible for North Carolina Workers’ Com?
Most people understand that serious on-the-job accidents could make them eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately, not every work injury is as clear-cut. What if you develop a condition related to long-term strain on your body? Is it possible that mental health issues could be covered under workers’ comp? These and many other questions show just how complicated this area of law can be. However, employees who suffer the following injuries will typically find that they’re eligible for benefits:
- Muscle sprains, tears, and strains
- Puncture wounds, lacerations, and cuts
- Broken bones
- Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) such as back pain or carpal tunnel syndrome
- Mental health issues related to your job
The important thing to remember is that this list is not exhaustive. Any on-the-job injury that interferes with your ability to work could make you eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The law is on your side in these cases, but it doesn’t mean that everything will go smoothly. This is particularly the case if your employer doesn’t think they should have to cover certain workplace injuries. This is why it never hurts to have legal representation. Reach out to the Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys at Harman Law to get a better understanding of your case and figure out the best way to proceed.
Can You File a Lawsuit Over Workplace Accidents?
The entire point of the workers’ compensation process is to prevent the courts from being swamped with workplace accident cases. As such, most on-the-job injuries are not eligible for additional damages through a lawsuit. While this removes your ability to secure higher monetary awards, it also removes the need to prove liability on the part of your employer. However, there are some exceptions that could allow a personal injury claim to move forward in court. It’s imperative to seek out legal representation in these situations. A workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte can let you know if your case qualifies.
The following are all common situations where a personal injury lawsuit may be allowed:
- The employer acted intentionally in an effort to cause injuries to their worker (e.g., assault).
- The employer engaged in intentional acts that were “substantially certain” to cause harm.
- A co-worker causes intentional injury to the victim.
- Negligence by a third party — not employed by the victim’s employer — causes injury.
In several of these situations, it is not typically the employer who would be held liable in personal injury claims. For instance, it is not a business owner’s fault if a third party engages in negligent acts. However, it is possible that an employer could be liable in some of these situations. For instance, perhaps they brought in an unlicensed third-party contractor. These cases can be quite complex, so it’s important to seek out legal representation regardless of whether you think you have a personal injury case or just your typical workers’ compensation claim.
What Potential Issues Could Arise With Your Employer?
If you’re injured on the job, your employer can cause issues by saying that your workers’ compensation claim is invalid. If they honestly think your injury is unrelated to the job, they have every right and motivation to take such a step. After all, their insurance rates could easily go up if it appears that there’s a pattern of dangerous behavior within their company. However, it’s also possible that your employer could engage in unethical and even illegal behaviors to prevent you from receiving fair compensation. If you find yourself in such a situation, securing legal counsel is in your best interest.
For instance, your boss might ask you to conceal your injury and not file for benefits. They may even promise to cover your medical costs and other losses. However, going this route means that your injury may never be properly documented. If the boss suddenly decides to not cover your expenses or terminates you, it’s very possible that you may be ineligible to receive further benefits. Additionally, these actions can make it more difficult to receive maximum compensation in a personal injury claim if you’re eligible to file one. No matter what happens, you should always report your injury and file for benefits.
There are also instances where unethical employers retaliate against injured workers for going through the claims process. Such retaliation could include being demoted, terminated, or other punitive measures. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to file a retaliation claim. Under North Carolina law, you have three years in which to do this. If you’re seeking assistance through the NC Employee Discrimination Bureau, though, you’ll only have about six months to submit a complaint. Whether you need temporary assistance, help with permanent impairment, or assistance paying burial expenses, an employer cannot legally retaliate against you.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Charlotte Today
If you’ve suffered an on-the-job injury in North Carolina, filing a workers’ compensation claim is likely the right move. Any injury can result in extensive medical bills at a time when you’re also dealing with lost wages. This can cause undue difficulties in your life — making your ability to complete tasks as seemingly simple as paying utility bills uncertain. Our state entitles injured workers to compensation, but in some instances, it’s possible to also recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit. This will be a tough hill to climb, however, and it’s more likely that you’ll simply receive workers’ comp. However, speaking with an attorney is typically in your best interest.
At Harman Law, we’ve spent years helping injured workers recover compensation after on-the-job injuries. Our legal team understands how detrimental it can be to find yourself in such a situation. That’s why we offer a free consultation for injured parties who may have a valid workers’ compensation case. A workplace accident is likely to be followed by medical expenses, lost time at work, therapeutic costs, and other losses. With the help of our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, though, it’s possible to seek financial recovery to help with such difficulties. Contact us today by calling to schedule your free case evaluation. We’re ready to advocate on your behalf.