A serious injury suffered on the job can have far-reaching consequences. You may be forced to undergo extensive and expensive medical treatment and rehabilitation, all while being unable to work and earn your regular paycheck. Fortunately, the law in North Carolina gives workers the right to receive medical and financial benefits to help offset the costs and losses associated with a job-related injury. However, these benefits are not always easy to obtain. A Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyer can help you navigate the system and pursue the full benefits you deserve.
At Kreger Brodish LLP, our attorneys have more than a decade of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers. When you turn to our firm for help with your workers’ comp claim, you can trust us to do everything possible to build a strong case for maximum benefits. This includes managing all the documentation and paperwork in your claim, representing you in mediation and hearings, and appealing denied claims if necessary.
Reach out to us today for a free initial case review with a trusted Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyer. We’ll take the time to help you understand all your options for seeking the financial resources you need to treat your injuries and get back to work.
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation refers to the system established under North Carolina law that provides workers with certain benefits when they suffer an injury or illness in the course and scope of employment. Workers’ compensation is considered a no-fault system, as an injured employee is not required to prove that their employer bears any fault for the injury in order to be entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
However, in exchange for these benefits provided under the workers’ compensation system, an injured employee gives up the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the employer, except in very limited circumstances.
The Challenges of Being an Injured Employee
Getting the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to after suffering a work injury should be a straightforward process. In reality, however, many employees face challenges and obstacles getting the benefits and financial compensation they deserve under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law.
Some examples of the difficulties you might face when pursuing workers’ compensation include:
- You have trouble finding the medical treatment or special care you need for your work-related injury or illness.
- You are dissatisfied with the medical providers your employer requires you to go to for care.
- Your employer is demanding you return to work even though you do not feel healthy enough to adequately or safely perform your job duties.
- Your employer has demanded that you work in an alternative position while you recover that you feel does not suit your experience and skill.
- Your employer is refusing to provide medical accommodations after you return to work, or is demanding you perform tasks that your treating provider has advised you not to do.
- Your doctors have told you that you will have medical needs in the future that may affect your ability to work or return to your previous profession.
- You believe your employer may have undercalculated your disability benefits.
- Your employer is attempting to reduce or terminate your workers’ compensation benefits.
- Your employer is attempting to terminate your employment.
- Your employer has denied your claim.
Do not wait to get legal advice if you are struggling after a workplace injury. The team at Kreger Brodish LLP is here to answer your questions and help you get on the right road to recovery.
How Do You File a Workers’ Comp Claim in North Carolina?
There are several steps for filing and pursuing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina. You must:
- Tell your employer immediately after suffering a work-related injury.
- Seek medical attention for your injury. Your employer has the right to choose the treating provider. Inform the provider that your injury occurred in the course and scope of your job.
- Follow your treating provider’s instructions.
- File a formal written letter reporting your injury claim to your employer within 30 days of suffering the injury.
- Complete a Form 18 claim form and file it with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
What Do Workers’ Compensation Benefits Cover?
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to claim different types of workers’ compensation benefits, including:
- Coverage for all necessary and reasonable medical and rehabilitation care you need.
- Coverage of a portion of your lost income if you are unable to work for a while due to your injuries or if you can work in some capacity but not to the same extent as before your injuries. Temporary disability benefits will generally cover two-thirds of your average weekly wage or two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury and current wages.
- Disability benefits, if you suffer from a permanent partial or permanent total disability after your physician finds that you’ve reached the maximum medical improvement of your injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation, which can teach you job skills within your physical limitations if you’re currently unable to earn at least 75 percent of your pre-injury wages.
- Death benefits, which cover up to $10,000 in funeral and burial expenses and provide surviving family members with income benefits, usually for up to 500 weeks.
Do You Have a Claim Beyond Workers’ Comp?
Injured employees normally cannot pursue a personal injury claim against their employer after a workplace accident. However, under certain circumstances, an injured worker may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against another party in addition to seeking workers’ comp benefits.
If a third party bears legal responsibility for your workplace accident, you can file a personal injury claim against that person or entity. For example, if you were hit by another motorist while driving somewhere in the course and scope of your work, or if you were hurt by a defective piece of equipment or machinery at work, you may have the right to pursue a car accident or product liability claim.
In a third-party injury claim, you can pursue benefits that are not available through workers’ compensation, such as payment for the pain and suffering you’ve endured.
Time Limit to File Workers’ Compensation Claims in NC
If you need to pursue a formal workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the statute of limitations requires you to file your claim within two years of the date of your work injury. However, you need to report your work injury in writing to your employer within 30 days of the accident.
Thoroughly investigating and preparing a workers’ compensation claim often requires a significant amount of time and work. For this reason, you should speak to a Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after being injured on the job.
How Much Does a Greensboro Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Cost?
When you turn to Kreger Brodish LLP to help you with your Greensboro workers’ compensation claim, you will not need to pay any fees upfront for our representation. Instead, we are only paid when we secure payment for you in a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party personal injury claim. In your workers’ compensation claim, the fees we can receive after successfully securing benefits for you must be approved by the Industrial Commission.
What to Do After an Injury on the Job
After you’ve been injured on the job, take the following steps to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits:
- Report your injury as soon as possible to your supervisor or employer. You should submit a letter to your employer within 30 days of the injury. If you wait too long to notify your employer, you run the risk that your employer might choose to dispute your claim.
- If possible, take photos or video of the scene of the accident and your injury to document any relevant details, such as whatever caused your injury, any safety equipment or warning signs, or weather and lighting conditions.
- Seek medical attention for your work injury as soon as possible. In North Carolina, employers have the right to direct injured workers to seek treatment from specific medical providers in order for that care to be covered by workers’ comp.
- Keep copies of any bills or invoices for injury-related expenses. Also retain copies of your pay stubs or income statements if you end up missing time from work due to your injury.
- Speak to a Greensboro workers’ compensation attorney to get the legal advice you need to aggressively pursue the full benefits you’re due.
Common Workplace Injuries in Greensboro
Examples of common workplace injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Sprains, strains, and tears
- Nerve injuries
- Herniated discs
- Repetitive stress/strain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis
- Head or facial injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Internal organ injuries or internal bleeding
- Crush injuries
- Traumatic amputations
- Severe lacerations or skin abrasions
- Electrocution injuries
Common Occupations Where Accidents Occur
Although a workplace accident can occur in any job, some occupations do have higher rates of injuries and occupational illnesses, such as:
- Agricultural workers
- Construction workers
- Utility workers
- Factory and warehouse workers
- Healthcare workers
- Police, firefighters, and EMS workers
- Bar and restaurant workers, including kitchen staff
How Our Greensboro Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Help You
When you have suffered injuries or an illness due to your job, our Greensboro workers’ compensation attorneys can help you pursue the benefits you need by:
- Independently investigating the facts and circumstances of your work injury to secure all available evidence that can be used to support your claim
- Going over your legal options for pursuing financial compensation, including whether you may be entitled to also pursue a third-party personal injury claim
- Managing all paperwork and documentation to ensure your claim is filed properly and completely.
- Representing you during formal claim hearings and advocating for your rights and interests at each stage of the process
Contact Kreger Brodish LLP today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyer. Our legal team is here to help you get back on your feet after a serious workplace injury.