A workplace injury can quickly bring your world to a halt. Many things you and your family may have taken for granted must stop while you recover, including going to work. This may mean that in addition to your pain and suffering, you may be worried about how you will pay your medical expenses, much less the normal bills that keep on coming in.
Here is where workers’ compensation comes in. If you have never filed a claim for workers’ compensation, you probably have many questions about how it works and whether you are even eligible for its benefits. You also may not realize how complicated your claim can become, which is why it is wise to seek sound legal guidance as early in the claims process as possible.
Who can apply for benefits?
Workers’ compensation provides benefits for employees who suffer injuries or illnesses related to their work. These benefits cover medical expenses, lost wages and other financial matters. They also provide funeral expenses and survivor benefits for the families of those who die in workplace accidents.
Qualifying for workers’ compensation may seem straightforward, but it actually has many complex elements. You may think that as a worker, you are eligible for compensation. However, the kind of employee you are makes a difference. For example, if you fall into any of the following categories, you may be ineligible for benefits:
- Independent contractors
- Freelance workers
- Agricultural employees
- Certain domestic workers
- Seasonal employees
- Employees of companies that do not carry insurance
Additionally, workers’ compensation will not cover injuries resulting from certain activities, such as driving to and from work, participating in horseplay on the job, or intentionally violating safety protocol. However, the circumstances of your injury may qualify you for compensation from other sources, so it is a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Dealing with the insurance company
It is not unusual for an injured worker to file a valid claim only to have the employer’s insurance provider deny the claim. Workers’ compensation providers are looking to minimize payouts to save money, just like other insurers.
If you are struggling to recover from your work-related injury or illness, you do not want to have to tussle with an insurance company. A skilled attorney will understand North Carolina workers’ compensation laws, have experience dealing with insurance companies, and fight to protect your rights and help you meet your goals.