Most people who live and work in the Lenoir, NC, area are familiar with the workers’ compensation system and know that it can provide valuable benefits after a workplace injury. However, many are not fully aware of their rights under the state’s workers’ compensation laws or what they should expect from their attorneys. If you or a loved one recently suffered any type of injury at work, the team at Helton, Cody & Associates can provide the legal counsel you need to recover your losses.
Though not strictly required, hiring legal counsel you can trust is a wise decision when you are faced with the complex workers’ compensation claim process. Filing a claim for any insurance coverage can be very difficult, and dealing with insurance company representatives can be extremely stressful for any claimant. When you have an experienced Lenoir workers’ compensation attorney representing you, you are far more likely to reach a positive conclusion than you would be on your own.
North Carolina law requires almost every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance. While some industries are inherently more dangerous than others, it’s possible for life-changing injuries to occur in almost every workplace. As long as the injury you suffered occurred while you were working, you are likely covered by your employer’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, not all employers meet their legal obligations set forth by the state’s workers’ compensation laws, and some even go as far as directly interfering with their employees’ recovery efforts.
When an employer is made aware of a workplace injury, they are required to document the injury in an incident report and provide the injured worker with the claim forms needed to file their workers’ compensation claim. Failing this, the employer could face severe legal penalties aside from liability for the victim’s damages.
As long as your employer fulfills its obligations, the claim filing process should be relatively straightforward. The injured worker must submit a claim form to the workers’ compensation insurance carrier, and they must also provide any supporting documentation requested by the insurance carrier. After the insurance company investigates the claim, they will deliver a determination of benefits to the injured worker.
Most workers’ compensation insurance policies provide two types of benefits. First, the injured worker can expect the insurance carrier to provide full compensation for all the medical care they require to reach maximum medical improvement. This includes immediate health care costs and any costs for necessary ongoing treatments. Second, the insurance company is likely to pay ongoing disability benefits for the time the claimant is unable to work because of their injury.
In the state, these ongoing disability benefits can be paid in four possible ways:
Ultimately, the scope of benefits you could potentially receive depends on the severity of your condition following the incident in question. When you have an experienced Lenoir workers’ compensation attorney assisting your recovery, you are far more likely to maximize the terms of your benefits determination from the insurance company. However, you could also have grounds for further legal recourse depending on the exact cause of your injury.
While the state’s workers’ compensation laws are likely to prevent you from filing a civil suit directly against your employer in response to a workplace injury, you could still have grounds for a personal injury claim if a third party is liable for the injury in question. A third-party personal injury claim for a workplace injury is like any other personal injury case. Your attorney can assist you in obtaining compensation for the damages that workers’ compensation insurance does not provide.
Under North Carolina law, the plaintiff in a workplace injury case has the right to seek full repayment of all the economic losses they suffered if a party outside of their work caused the injury in question. Your Lenoir workers’ compensation attorney can help determine whether you have grounds for this type of claim. If so, you could potentially secure repayment of all the losses your workers’ compensation claim can’t cover.
State law allows the plaintiff in a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. When it comes to medical expenses, the victim can likely expect their employer’s insurance carrier to provide full coverage for all the medical care they require to reach full recovery. However, in the event the plaintiff needs any care not covered by the workers’ compensation insurance policy, they can include these medical expenses as economic damages in their third-party personal injury case.
Lost income is also likely to result from a workplace injury, but workers’ compensation can only provide up to two-thirds of the claimant’s average weekly wages each week. Additionally, while it may be possible to qualify for permanent disability benefits in some measure, the amount the claimant receives is likely to be far less than they could claim in a personal injury action.
A: It’s possible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits without an attorney, but you are far more likely to reach a swift and satisfying outcome to your recovery efforts if you have experienced legal counsel on your side. You should seek medical care immediately after a workplace injury and ensure your supervisor is aware of the incident, and once your condition is stable, it’s best to reach out to legal counsel as quickly as possible.
A: The workers’ compensation laws usually prevent an injured worker from filing a personal injury case against their employer, but there are exceptions to this rule. First, if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, they face penalties from the state along with civil liability for your damages. Second, if they caused your injury intentionally or failed to uphold applicable safety regulations, you could also have grounds for a claim. Finally, if any party outside of your work caused your injury, you could file a third-party personal injury claim in tandem with your workers’ compensation claim.
A: If you have an experienced attorney assisting you with your workers’ compensation claim, it should not take very long to receive the benefits you need. Most claimants will receive their first settlement checks within two to three weeks of filing their claims. However, if an employer interferes with or disputes a claim or the insurance company does not handle the claim in good faith, these factors can significantly extend the time it will take the victim to receive their benefits.
A: If you caused your workplace injury, this does not necessarily disqualify you from filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, you could be disqualified if it is discovered that you knowingly violated workplace safety procedures or if you caused your injury because you were working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Therefore, if you have any concerns about bearing fault for a recent injury at work, it’s vital to discuss these issues with an experienced Lenoir workers’ compensation attorney as quickly as possible.
A: State law limits the amount an attorney can charge their client in a workers’ compensation case. The right attorney can significantly increase the total compensation their client obtains, so even after you account for the cost of hiring your attorney, they can still make an incredible difference in the outcome of your recovery efforts. It’s essential to carefully review a potential attorney’s billing policy before signing a contract for their representation.
Helton, Cody & Associates offers client-focused and responsive legal counsel to injured workers in the Lenoir area. We have years of experience guiding our clients through complex workers’ compensation cases, and we can assist them in identifying additional options for legal recourse. If you are unsure how to recover your losses from a recent workplace injury, contact us today to schedule your consultation with a reliable Lenoir workers’ compensation attorney.