Getting hurt on the job or suffering a job-related illness can be a scary experience. This is especially true if your injury or illness requires extensive medical treatment and keeps you from going back to work and earning the wages that you and your family need to survive.
If you find yourself in this situation, you should learn more about your right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Most employees in Goldsboro and throughout North Carolina are eligible to receive these benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits can cover your medical expenses. They can also replace most – but not all – of your lost wages. Depending on how your injury or illness arose, you may also be able to pursue a personal injury claim and recover additional compensation.
The Goldsboro workers’ compensation lawyers of Strickland Agner Pittmans are passionate about protecting the rights of injured and ill workers and their families. Our goal is to help them to overcome their challenges.
We would welcome the opportunity to review your case. Call us today or reach us online for a free consultation. We can discuss how we can help you to pursue the benefits and compensation you deserve.
What Should You Do If You Are Hurt at Work in North Carolina?
Accidents can happen in any workplace. They can occur at a construction site, factory, landscaping site or even an office. As one insurance company found, the most common accidents tend to be:
- Falls from heights
- Getting struck by objects
- Being involved in a motor vehicle accident
- Getting caught in machinery
- Overexertion while lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying an object.
Workers can suffer serious back strains, fractures, knee and head injuries, traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries in these accidents.
If you have been hurt in a work-related accident in Goldsboro or elsewhere in North Carolina, you should take these three basic steps to protect your health and your legal rights:
- Get medical treatment as soon as possible. Go to the health care provider at your job site or the provider designated by your employer. If your employer has not designated a health care provider, you can go to your family doctor or emergency room. Make sure to tell the clinic or hospital that your injury was work-related.
- Report your injury to your employer orally and in writing. Tell a manager, supervisor, foreman or human resources officer. If you cannot do it yourself, ask a co-worker, family member or friend to report it. Within 30 days, you must report the accident in writing to your employer. State the date of the accident and briefly describe the injury. If you fail to do so, you can lose your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
- File your workers’ compensation claim, or Form 18.
Your employer should help you to file this form with the N.C. Industrial Commission (NCIC). After you file this form, your employer (or its workers’ compensation insurer) files a different form (Form 19) with the NCIC. If your employer fails to help you or to file a Form 19, you can file a Form 18 on your own. You must file it with the NCIC within two years after your accident.
If you find that your employer or its insurer is refusing to help you or to take mandatory steps concerning your claim, contact an attorney from Strickland Agner Pittman right away.
What Types of Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can You Receive?
If you have suffered a work-related injury or illness, you may be eligible to receive a wide range of benefits. They can play a key role in your recovery. These benefits include:Health insurance as medical benefits given by employers.
All of your medical expenses should be covered by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. You pay no deductible. These benefits can cover your emergency care, surgery, hospitalization, medication and rehabilitation. However, you must get treatment from the health care provider approved by your employer. You can only change doctors if your employer or the NCIC permits it. You can also be reimbursed for medical-related travel.
Lost Wage Benefits
If your injury or illness keeps you from working for seven days or longer, you can receive up to 66 2/3 percent of your average weekly wage – or no more than $944 per week. When you are medically determined to be able to return to work, your right to receive these benefits ends – even if you decide to stay out of work.
Permanent Total or Partial Disability Benefits
If you have suffered total loss or partial loss of use of a body part, or if you can no longer earn what you did before your injury or illness, you can receive permanent disability benefits. A doctor will determine whether you have reached maximum medical improvement and assign an impairment rating to you. This rating will determine how much you are eligible to receive in weekly lost wage benefits.
If a worker dies within six years after suffering a work-related injury or illness, or within two years from the final determination of a disability, the worker’s surviving family members may receive death benefits. These benefits are paid for up to 400 weeks in most cases. They are the same amount the worker would have received if he or she survived.
What Can You Do If Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?
Workers compensation lawyer will help you when work injury claim is denied.
Unfortunately, some employers or their insurers may challenge a worker’s right to benefits. Disputes commonly arise concerning:
- A worker’s choice of doctor or choice of treatment
- Whether an injury or illness is work-related
- The extent of impairment a worker has suffered.
If you are worker whose claim was denied by an employer or insurer, or if you disagree with any other aspect of your claim, you have a right to file an appeal with the NCIC. An appeal typically involves:
- Mediation – Informal discussions that are aimed at reaching a settlement of your workers’ compensation claim.
- Deputy Commissioner hearing – A formal hearing that is held at a county level.
- Full Commission hearing – If you appeal the Deputy Commissioner’s ruling, you can seek a hearing before the NCIC Chair and full six-Commissioner panel.
- Appellate Courts – If needed, you can continue to appeal to the Court of Appeals and North Carolina Supreme Court.
An appeal can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years to resolve.
How Can a Lawyer Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The workers’ compensation lawyers of Strickland Agner Pittman can provide a full range of services to you after you have been hurt or become ill on the job. These services include:
- Helping you to file a Form 18 with the NCIC and all other required paperwork
- Dealing directly with your employer or its insurer to resolve your claim, whether through informal talks or mediated conferences
- Gathering medical evidence and presenting your case before the Deputy Commissioner
- Representing you in an appeal to the Full Commission or subsequent stages of appeal in the state’s appellate courts.
- Pursuing options you may have beyond workers’ compensation benefits, including filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim against a non-employer who may have caused the injury or death.
While your case is pending, we can help you to get the medical treatment that you need to keep your physical and emotional recovery on track. We will not charge fees or costs unless you recover the workers’ compensation benefits you