Helping Injured Workers Get Their Lives Back Following an Accident
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, you may be facing issues you hoped you would never have to deal with. Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and require you to comply with specific statutory procedures in order to protect your rights.
Without guidance from an experienced attorney, you may lose valuable rights and fail to receive the compensation necessary for you and your family. The attorneys at Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through your workers’ compensation claim.
Call the Charlotte work accident attorneys at Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. today by dialing (704) 850-6322. We offer free consultations to help you better understand your options.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a state-operated system that provides benefits to workers who sustain a compensable injury by accident arising out and in the course and scope of their employment. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act defines an “injury by accident” as an unlooked-for or untoward event such as a slip, trip, fall or other unexpected events that interrupt your usual work routine.
Benefits can also be paid for certain recognized occupational diseases. An occupational disease is any disease that is caused by the specific type of work that you do, as opposed to the types of work that the average person might do. If your job involves a higher rate of a particular disease, it may be considered an occupational disease. There are specific conditions that are recognized in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, including asbestosis, silicosis, synovitis, tenosynovitis, bursitis, and chemical exposure.
What Coverage Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation covers employees injured by accident in the course of their employment, even where the employer is not at fault. In fact, work comp will pay even when the employee is negligent in causing their own injuries. However, accepting this coverage requires a mandatory waiver of the injured employee’s right to sue the employer for negligence in causing the injuries, though they can still sue a third-party responsible for the injury.
In North Carolina, the employer is responsible for:
- Medical care— Workers’ compensation provides for payment of medical expenses, including hospital and rehabilitation services, prescription medication and travel expenses. The injured worker may also be entitled reimbursement of travel expenses to treatment facilities at the rate of 50.5 Cents ($0.505) per mile, provided that travel is 20 miles or more per round trip.
- Lost wages— Lost wages are paid after the first seven days of disability and are calculated at the rate of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages. These benefits are referred to as “Temporary Total Disability” or TTD and “Temporary Partial Disability” or TPD.
- Compensation for any permanent injuries— For permanent injuries, workers are compensated based on North Carolina’s schedule of injury benefits, which lists compensation for specific injuries.
- Vocational Rehabilitation— Sometimes due to the extent of an injury, an injured employee will be unable to return to work with his or her previous employer. To assist the injured employee in returning to the workforce an employer may utilize the services of a vocational rehabilitation counselor to assist the employee in finding another job. Vocational rehabilitation is governed by §97-32.2 of the North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act. Vocational rehabilitation must be performed by a qualified or conditional rehabilitation professional approved by the North Carolina industrial commission. Failure to cooperate with vocational rehabilitation services can result in the termination of workers’ compensation.
Employees are eligible for coverage if they are injured in an accident arising “out of the course and scope of employment,” meaning that not every injury occurring at work is covered. The injury must result from an “accident”. If an injured worker sustains a permanent injury, a doctor may assign an impairment rating to the injured body part. Compensation based on this rating is set by statute and will vary depending on the body part injured and the rating assigned by the treating physician.
Steps to Take After a Workplace Accident
After you suffer a work-related injury, the way you respond and handle what comes next can make or break your workers’ compensation claim. To make certain you are taking the right steps after a workplace accident or injury, call (704) 850-6322 to connect with Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. We have 100+ years of combined legal experience you can depend on, giving you the peace of mind you deserve for the road ahead.
How to Protect Your Workers’ Compensation Claim:
- Seek medical attention as needed: First and foremost, you need to do what you can to preserve your health and wellbeing. If you suffer a serious injury while completing a work-related duty, please seek medical attention for appropriate treatment. If or when paramedics arrive, you should accept their help, even if you think you are fine. Refusing medical treatment only to suffer a worsened injury later could reduce your chances of receiving adequate workers’ compensation benefits.
- Notify your employer: You should not keep your workplace accident from your employer, boss, or supervisor. Liability is not a direct factor in workers’ compensation claims, so you should still be able to get benefits even when you know your own mistake caused your injury. There are also employment laws in place to prevent employer retaliation against you for causing or being involved in a workplace accident. On the other hand, not telling your employer as soon as possible can raise suspicions about the authenticity of your accident report, potentially causing frustrating complications or delays in your claim. North Carolina law also requires you to tell your employer no later than 30 days after your accident.
- Ask coworkers for testimonies: The people working around you may have had the best view of what happened and why. Do not forget to ask them for testimonies about your accident, as they could be instrumental in case an insurance company tries to deny your claim.
- Call an attorney: You should get a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney from our law firm on your side as soon as you have an opportunity to dial (704) 850-6322. The sooner we are helping you with your claim, the more likely it will be that we secure your needed medical benefits. If you are out of work for more than seven days due to your injury, you will be able to rely on us for help securing temporary and/or permanent disability benefits as well.
- Keep up with medical care: Do not forget to stay on top of your prescribed medical care. Failing to go to checkups, take medicines, or undergo procedures as per your doctor’s instructions could worsen your injury, and it will give the insurance company some room to try to deny medical benefits.
Take care of your workers’ compensation claim with the steadfast and honest advocacy of our Charlotte workers’ comp attorneys. We are ready to assist people from all industries and careers, from nurses and office workers to firefighters and construction crews.
How Do I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The most important thing to do is to make a report of your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Document exactly how the injury took place, taking note of any co-workers or supervisors who were present at the time of the accident. Then you must file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission by completing a Form 18 within two years of the date of injury. The North Carolina Retaliatory Discrimination Act makes it illegal for your employer to fire you or otherwise retaliate against you for requesting benefits under.
The following are important North Carolina workers’ compensation laws you need to know about if you want to file a claim in North Carolina:
- Injured workers have 30 days to give notice of their injury to their employer.
- Injured workers have 2 years to file a claim.
- The majority of employers in North Carolina are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, certain domestic workers, farm laborers, and federal employees are exempt from this requirement.
- If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can file Form 33, Request for Hearing, to ask for your case to be heard before the Industrial Commission.
Once you file your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, your employer can either admit compensable injury or dispute the claim. If your employer is unsure as to whether or not compensation is owed, but still wants to direct your medical care, they can file a Form 63 “Notice To Employee of Payment Without Prejudice”.
Causes of Workplace Injuries in North Carolina
Each workers’ compensation case is unique and comes with its own set of details and circumstances. With that said, there are a host of common, broad-stroke causes for workplace accidents that can cause serious injury.
Common causes of workplace injuries include:
- Lifting heavy objects
- Poor lighting
- Hazardous materials
- Workplace violence
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falls from heights
- Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks
- Struck against object or equipment
In all cases, getting the benefits you deserve is easier with the help of an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. The economic interests of employers and their insurance providers will not always have your best interests in mind, and they may be reluctant to pay you a fair amount for your lost wages and medical bills. The attorneys at Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. are paid on a contingency fee basis, meaning we collect no fee until we have helped you reach a settlement.
We Fight for Our Clients
Since 1979 our firm has aggressively represented thousands of individuals with their workers’ compensation concerns, building a track record of million-dollar and multi-million-dollar awards. All too frequently, employers fail to handle job site injury cases correctly, sometimes even refusing to do what is right for their employees.
Some common mistakes made in workers’ compensation cases are:
- Employers asking employees to return to work before their doctor says they are ready
- Workers failing to receive full compensation for an injury, such as payment for visible, permanent scars or to be reimbursed for medical travel expenses
- Employers failing to provide weekly payments and coverage for doctor visits
In work-related accidents, an injured worker may have more than one source of financial recovery. Not only could they qualify for workers’ compensation, but depending on how the injury occurred, they may also be able to bring a personal injury claim against another party.
Client Testimonial“I have had the BEST experience with this law firm with both of my accidents. They work so quickly and so fast! They get you what you deserve and more. Everyone is so polite and happy. THE BEST IN TOWN!” – Marcus White
Our lawyers have handled many kinds of cases, including more complex ones involving wrongful termination or an issue involved with returning to the workplace. From construction accidents to other workplace injuries, we know how to get results.
Contact the Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers at Price Petho & Associates P.L.L.C. today by dialing (704) 850-6322.
- Is Your Injury Covered by Workers’ Compensation? – Not all injuries are covered by workers’ compensation. Continue reading to learn what situations might not be covered by workers’ comp in North Carolina.
- Is Occupational Diseases Covered by Workers’ Compensation? – Occupational diseases and illnesses caused by environmental conditions at work can be covered by workers’ compensation. Continue reading to learn more about this relevant topic.