Workers’ compensation exists to provide an economic lifeline to an injured worker while shielding their employer from civil liability for the associated damages. North Carolina law requires virtually every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance, and most workers are covered, with a few exceptions. If you work in Catawba County and sustain any type of injury while performing your job duties, it can form the basis of a workers’ compensation claim.
While a workers’ compensation claim may be similar to most other types of insurance claims filed, the claimant faces an additional layer of complexity in their claim filing process due to the fact that their employer is involved in the process. While most Conover employers are helpful to their injured workers and facilitate their claims for workers’ compensation benefits, others, unfortunately, are not. It’s also difficult to face an insurance carrier that has no incentive to pay out maximum benefits for your claim.
The team at Helton, Cody & Associates can provide comprehensive, compassionate, and detail-oriented legal representation for your workers’ compensation claim in Conover, NC. Throughout the years of our firm’s operations, we have successfully handled many work injury claims and helped many clients navigate the complex workers’ compensation claim filing process. Whatever your situation entails, you can trust our firm to provide ongoing support through all stages of your recovery efforts after your work-related injury.
If you are hurt while working, it is natural to wonder whether the injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits. First, you must verify that you are a non-exempt employee. Most workers qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, with the exception of independent contractors, domestic care workers, and some temporary employees. Second, the injury must have occurred while you were performing work-related duties.
When you suffer any type of injury while working, it is vital that you report the injury to your supervisor immediately. They are legally required to create an incident report for the injury and provide you with the forms needed to file your workers’ compensation claim. If your employer refuses to facilitate your claim or retaliates against you in any way, it is crucial that you speak with a Conover workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
If your employer upholds their responsibilities, they should provide you with the materials you will need to file your claim. As part of the claim filing process, you will likely be required to undergo a medical examination from a physician approved by your employer’s insurance carrier. This workers’ compensation doctor will review your injuries and assign you a disability rating that indicates your level of impairment from the injury. This rating will determine the level of benefits you will be eligible to receive if your claim is approved.
You can see any doctor if you require emergency treatment, but you will likely be required to undergo an examination from a workers’ compensation doctor before you can file your claim. If you believe the first doctor you see has judged your condition unfairly, you have the right to seek a second opinion. Once you have completed the medical review process and have your disability rating, you are ready to submit your claim packet to your employer’s insurance carrier.
The goal of a workers’ compensation claim is to secure the benefits you need to recover from your injury and offset the financial impact of your inability to work during recovery. The average claimant will receive full coverage of all medical expenses related to their injury. This means your employer’s insurance company will pay for immediate and future medical treatment costs until you reach maximum medical improvement.
While most workers’ compensation claimants in the state will receive full medical expense coverage, income replacement benefits are more variable. It’s possible to receive partial disability benefits if you retain some ability to continue working after your injury, and the amount you receive each week will depend on how much you are able to earn. You will need to report your weekly income to the insurance carrier to maintain eligibility for partial disability benefits, and these benefits payments can continue until you fully regain your capacity to work.
If you cannot work at all due to your injury, you may receive temporary total disability benefits that may continue for up to 500 weeks. If you qualify for this level of benefits, the amount you receive each week will be about two-thirds of the average weekly income you earned during the year prior to your injury. Once you are able to return to your job, these benefits will end. However, if your injury was severe enough to cause a permanent disability, you may qualify for permanent disability benefits.
If your workers’ compensation claim does not yield complete compensation for the losses you suffered, and a specific party is liable for causing your injury, it could form the basis of a separate civil claim. State law generally prevents an injured worker from suing their employer for a work-related injury, but there are exceptions to this rule. It is also possible to have grounds for legal recourse against a third party outside your work.
Helton, Cody & Associates can guide you through each step of the claim filing process, helping you to secure as much compensation as possible through your employer’s insurance policy. Once you complete the claim filing process and receive your determination of benefits, we can also help resolve any discrepancies regarding the amount you receive in benefits and assist you in exploring any alternative avenues of recovery that might be available to you. Our goal for every injured worker we represent is to help them recover the maximum amount of benefits allowed under state law.
A: If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, the insurance company has 24 days from the approval in which to issue your settlement check. However, if any disputes are raised against your claim, it can take much longer for you to receive your benefits. Some workers’ compensation cases will take up to 18 months to conclude. Your Conover workers’ compensation attorney is the most important asset you have for streamlining your recovery process.
A: The benefits you receive from a workers’ compensation settlement do not qualify as income; therefore, they are not taxed at the federal or state levels. This would also apply to a compromise and release settlement. If you have tax-related questions about a workers’ compensation case or any other civil claim in Catawba County, your attorney may refer you to a local tax professional.
A: Most injured workers who qualify for workers’ compensation in Catawba County will receive two types of compensation from a successful claim. The insurance carrier will pay for all their medical care and provide ongoing disability benefits until they are able to return to work. The total amount of benefits you receive largely depends on the severity of your injury, the level of income you earned prior to your injury, and how long it will take for you to recover and return to work.
A: You can only file a civil suit against your employer for a workplace injury if they do not have workers’ compensation insurance, if you were harmed intentionally, or if your supervisor compelled you to perform a task outside of your typical job duties that had virtual certainty of resulting in harm. It’s more likely that you would have grounds for a civil claim against a third party. If anyone outside of your work caused your injury, you could file a workers’ compensation claim as well as a third-party claim against this at-fault party, which may help recover compensation for the damages that your workers’ compensation claim won’t cover.
A: Technically, yes, you can be fired while on workers’ compensation, but your employer may not fire you for a discriminatory or illegal reason. This means that your injury cannot be the sole reason for your termination. If it is, your employer has violated North Carolina’s Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA), and you likely have grounds for legal recourse. Additionally, you will continue receiving benefits as long as you are under doctor’s orders to recover and are unable to work.
The attorneys at Helton, Cody & Associates have successfully helped many past clients in Burke, Catawba, and Caldwell counties with complex workers’ compensation cases. We know the challenges you are likely to encounter as you seek compensation for the losses you suffered, and we want to help you recover as fully as possible. If you are ready to speak with a seasoned Conover workers’ compensation attorney about your case, contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.