North Carolina law protects workers who are injured in the course and scope of their employment. Injured workers are often entitled to benefits covering medical treatment and a portion of their lost income. Unfortunately, employees often face unexpected and unfair challenges getting the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. That’s why you need a skilled Cary workers’ compensation lawyer on your side.
If you’ve been injured on the job, call Kreger Brodish LLP today for a free initial case review. For more than a decade, we have been representing workplace injury victims throughout North Carolina. An experienced Cary workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm will discuss your specific situation and answer all your questions. And there is no charge for our services unless we recover compensation for you.
Who Is Entitled to Workers’ Compensation?
Under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation statute, any employee who suffers an injury or illness in the course and scope of their work may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This includes part-time employees, seasonal employees, or employees under the age of 18. However, certain occupations of workers, including federal employees, railroad workers, and seamen, fall outside the scope of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system.
Workers’ compensation benefits are paid by the employer or the employer’s insurance company. State law requires any employer in North Carolina with at least three employees to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.
The Challenges of Being an Injured Employee
If you were hurt on the job, you may face challenges with obtaining the workers’ comp benefits you need and are entitled to under state law. You may face obstacles such as:
- Finding a medical specialist who can treat your injuries
- Being satisfied with the medical providers your employer has directed you to treat with
- Paying for medical treatment while you are missing time from work
- Being asked to return to work even though you are still experiencing problems from your injuries, or being asked to perform tasks outside your medical restrictions
- Being assigned to an alternate position while you recover from your injuries that doesn’t fit your skills or experience
- Not having your medical restrictions accommodated by your employer
- Getting coverage for future medical needs
- Having your workers’ comp benefits terminated by your employer
- Having your workers’ comp claim denied
If any of these issues apply to you, a Cary workers’ compensation lawyer from Kreger Brodish LLP can help. Contact us now for a free and confidential case review.
Steps for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in North Carolina
The process of filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina involves:
- Immediately notify your supervisor or employer that you have suffered a work injury.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible and inform your treating provider that you suffered your injuries on the job.
- Within 30 days of the date of your injury, provide your employer with written notice of your injury.
- Complete and file a Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission once your employer files its Form 19. This must be done within two years of the date you suffered your work-related injury.
What Do Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover?
If you have been injured on the job, you may be entitled to claim benefits from workers’ compensation, such as:
- Coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses
- Partial wage replacement if you miss time from work due to your injuries or if you earn less income because of part-time work
- Disability benefits, if you sustain a permanent partial or total disability after reaching maximum medical improvement of your injuries
- Vocational rehabilitation, which can retrain you to do other jobs within your experience/education and physical limitations, if you cannot earn at least 75 percent of your pre-injury income in your current job
- Death benefits, which provide partial wage replacement to surviving family members along with contributions toward funeral and burial expenses in the event a worker dies due to a work-related injury or illness
Time Limit for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim in NC
Under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system, you are generally expected to provide your employer with notice of your work injury within 30 days of the date you were injured. You and your employer are also expected to file claim forms with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
However, if your employer does not file their form, you must file your form no later than two years after the date of your work injury. If you file your formal claim after this two-year period has passed, you may lose your right to workers’ comp benefits.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Cary Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
If you have suffered an injury on the job that has left you out of work, you may not want to take on the additional expense of hiring an attorney to help you with your workers’ compensation claim. With Kreger Brodish LLP, you will never owe any upfront fees to hire one of our Cary workers’ compensation lawyers. Instead, we are only paid when we win benefits or other compensation for you. In addition, the fees we earn for your worker’s comp claim must be approved by the Industrial Commission.
Compensation Options Beyond Workers’ Comp
An injured worker’s legal options for recovering compensation from an employer are usually limited to filing a workers’ comp claim. However, an injured worker may have the option to recover additional compensation not available from workers’ comp when a third party is at fault for causing the employee’s injury.
For example, if a negligent driver hits an employee who is driving as part of job duties, or if a worker is injured by defective equipment or machinery, the employee may have the option of pursuing a third-party injury claim in addition to filing for workers’ comp benefits.
Talk to a Cary workers’ compensation attorney about the details of your accident to find out whether a third-party personal injury claim represents another possible legal option for you.
What to Do After an Injury on the Job
If you were injured in an accident at work, you should take steps to protect your rights, including:
- Provide your employer with oral and written notice that you have suffered a work injury and will be seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
- If possible, take photos or video of the scene of your injury, including relevant details such as whatever caused your injury, the presence of any safety equipment or caution/warning signs, or lighting and weather conditions.
- Write down the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed your accident.
- See a doctor as soon as possible to have your injuries diagnosed. Your employer has the right to choose the medical provider you initially treat with. If you decide to see another provider, those costs may not be covered by workers’ comp.
- Keep copies of any bills or invoices you receive for medical treatment. Also make sure to have copies of your pay stubs or income statements on hand if you miss time from work.
- Avoid discussing your claim on social media or posting photos or video while you are missing time from work and treating your injuries. Insurance companies often try to use injured workers’ social media posts to undermine the claim for compensation.
- Do not wait to seek legal advice. Talk to a Cary workers’ comp lawyer to discuss next steps for your case.
Common Workplace Injuries in Cary
Examples of injuries commonly suffered on the job include:
- Head and facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Herniated spinal discs
- Broken bones
- Sprains and strains
- Soft-tissue tears
- Nerve damage
- Electrocution injuries
- Crush injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
- Traumatic amputation
- Severe lacerations or abrasions
- Toxic exposure
Common Occupations Where Accidents Occur
Certain occupations unfortunately face higher rates of workplace accidents. Examples of occupations where workers more frequently suffer on-the-job injuries include:
- Construction workers
- Utility workers
- Agricultural workers and fishermen
- First responders (police/fire/EMS)
- Healthcare workers
- Factory workers
- Warehouse workers
- Food service workers
How Our Cary Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Help You
If you are having trouble getting the benefits you deserve after being hurt on the job, our Cary workers’ compensation attorneys can help by:
- Investigating the underlying circumstances of the accident and your work injuries
- Determining all possible sources of compensation, including a third-party personal injury claim, if applicable
- Collecting documentation to show the full extent of the injuries you suffered and how they are affecting your ability to work
- Managing all communication with the insurance company and filing all paperwork on your behalf
- Advocating aggressively for you during mediation sessions and formal claims hearings
Don’t put off pursuing the workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to if you have suffered a job-related injury or illness. Contact Kreger Brodish LLP today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Cary workers’ compensation attorney.