You work hard, so when an on-the-job injury happens, you deserve to get the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to receive. Getting these benefits is not always easy, however. Many people quickly realize that they need the help of a lawyer. If you are in this situation, you can count on the team at Bridgman Gantt for personalized representation.
Our attorney and staff understand that this is a difficult time and that you probably have many questions. We are here to answer your questions and help you through each step of the North Carolina workers’ compensation process. Please contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case.
Workplace injuries can occur unexpectedly in various ways, and almost every workplace will pose some work-related hazards to employees. When a workplace injury happens in Charlotte, the injured worker should report the incident to their employer immediately. Even if you think your injury is minor, failure to report it in a timely fashion could result in complications with the workers’ compensation claim filing process later. When you notify your employer, they should create an incident report detailing how, where, when, and why the injury occurred.
If you encounter any problems with your employer, such as refusal to provide you with the workers’ compensation claim filing forms you need or any form of retaliation, it is essential that you speak with a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. They can advise you as to the most viable means of addressing these situations and help you understand any options for legal recourse that may be available to you.
If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance as required by law, you could proceed directly to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer in response to your work-related injury. Workers’ compensation insurance generally protects employers from civil liability for their injured workers’ damages, and failure to secure proper insurance coverage not only means they will not have this legal immunity but will also face penalties from the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC).
If your employer upholds their legal duties, they should provide you with the materials you need to file your claim. You must complete the necessary forms and undergo a medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation doctor in your area. Most workers’ compensation insurance carriers in the state require claimants to visit physicians they have approved to assess their disability. When you visit your workers’ compensation doctor, they will assign you a disability rating that reflects the overall severity of your condition. This rating will be a crucial element of the insurance company’s determination of benefits for your claim.
The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide employers with the legal protection they need to continue operating with confidence, without fear that liability for an employee’s injury could put them out of business. For injured employees, this insurance provides financial relief and a measure of job security that helps them recover with peace of mind. With the right Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney assisting you with the claim filing process, it is possible to secure more benefits than you may initially expect. Each case is unique, but in general, injured workers may receive:
In addition, if a worker dies from their injury, the family may apply for death benefits, burial expenses and funeral costs.
The medical review following your injury will be one of the most important aspects of your claim when it comes to your determination of benefits. An injured worker is assigned a disability rating, which is a numerical value between 1 and 100 that indicates the worker’s level of disability from the injury. The higher the number, the more disabled they are deemed to be and the more they can potentially receive in workers’ compensation benefits.
If you disagree with the first workers’ compensation doctor’s assessment of your condition, you have the right to seek a second opinion. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can be an invaluable source of guidance throughout all stages of the claim filing process, and they can also help resolve any issues you encounter with the medical review. Once you have completed the prerequisites and claim paperwork, you are ready to file your claim with your employer’s insurance company.
Work injuries often happen in jobs involving heavy labor, but they can occur in any occupation. We can help people in occupations and industries such as:
Workers in these fields may suffer a broad range of traumatic injuries, including back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, amputations, burns and loss of vision or hearing. They may also suffer cumulative trauma injuries which occur over time, such as joint injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome and lower back pain.
Workers’ compensation should cover traumatic and cumulative trauma injuries, but proving cumulative trauma can be more challenging. You may need a lawyer to help you gather the appropriate medical information to prove your claim.
State law requires virtually every employer in the state to have workers’ compensation insurance, and almost everyone working in the state is covered. A few types of workers who are not eligible include independent contractors, domestic care workers, and some part-time workers. Your employer is legally required to not only classify you correctly according to state law but also to fully inform you of your rights pertaining to workers’ compensation benefits.
Once you confirm your eligibility for workers’ compensation, it’s natural to wonder whether a specific injury at work qualifies for compensation. Minor cuts and scrapes typically do not qualify for consideration for workers’ compensation benefits. If an injury is severe enough to require professional medical care and/or interferes with the victim’s ability to work, it is likely eligible for workers’ compensation.
Injuries suffered while going to work or coming home from work do not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits under state law. When it comes to the timing of an injury, location does not necessarily matter as long as you were performing work-related duties when you were injured. As long as your injury directly resulted from your work, it is likely covered by your employer’s insurance policy. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can help gather any evidence you may need to firmly prove that your claimed injury directly resulted from your work and not any other cause.
Fault is not necessarily a factor in most workers’ compensation claims. It is possible to have caused your own injury and still qualify for benefits. However, if you were intoxicated while working, knowingly violated workplace safety policies, or if you injured yourself through horseplay of any kind, these factors could work against you, potentially disqualifying you from workers’ compensation benefits.
Once you submit your claim to your employer’s insurance carrier, it will begin a review process similar to what you would face after any other insurance claim filing. The insurer may reach out to you and/or your employer for more information or to ask questions. Once the decision is made, the insurance carrier will notify you that your claim has been rejected or approved.
If your claim is rejected, you have the right to appeal the decision. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can provide guidance on this aspect of your case, helping you determine the optimal approach to having your claim appropriately reconsidered. If your claim is approved, the insurance company will send you its determination of benefits, and your attorney can review your employer’s insurance policy to verify that it is fair and reasonable.
When it comes to the benefits you can expect, your medical expenses should be completely covered. A workers’ compensation claim will typically yield complete coverage of all medical treatment costs you face while recovering as fully as possible from your injury. You can receive compensation for hospital bills and other immediate healthcare costs, as well as coverage for future medical expenses. If there are any discrepancies as to whether workers’ compensation insurance will cover specific treatments, your attorney can clarify these issues.
Your disability benefits are more variable. It’s possible to receive total disability benefits when you are completely unable to work during your recovery, but you could qualify for partial disability benefits if you are able to work but cannot earn as much income as you did prior to the injury. North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance carriers take a claimant’s prior year of earnings into consideration when determining an appropriate amount of disability compensation.
If you are granted partial disability benefits, these are paid weekly to make up the difference in your earnings due to your injury. You will need to report all your income to the insurance carrier or risk losing your benefits. It’s also possible to be charged with workers’ compensation fraud if you attempt to continue collecting your benefits after you have become ineligible. If you are awarded a partial disability benefits determination, your attorney can advise you as to how you can maintain eligibility.
While workers’ compensation insurance typically protects covered employers from civil liability for their employees’ workplace injuries, it is possible for an injured worker to be able to file a claim for recourse naming a third party that is responsible for their injury. If anyone outside of your work caused your workplace injury, you could file a workers’ compensation claim and then proceed with filing a personal injury claim against the third party who caused the accident. Therefore, if you were driving for work and another driver caused an accident with you, you would have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim because you were performing work-related duties when the accident occurred, but you would also have grounds for a civil claim against the at-fault driver.
A third-party personal injury claim works like any other personal injury suit. The issue of fault is critical in this claim, unlike the workers’ compensation claim filing process. North Carolina enforces the contributory negligence rule, so if a plaintiff shares any measure of fault for causing their claimed damages, they lose the right to claim compensation from the defendant. If you bear any level of liability for the incident, you will be unable to pursue your third-party claim.
If you can prove that the third party is entirely at fault for your accident, a successful third-party personal injury suit can yield compensation for the damages that worker’s compensation insurance won’t cover. While your workers’ compensation claim can yield full coverage of your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income, a third-party personal injury claim can potentially help recover the rest of your lost earnings along with compensation for your pain and suffering.
There is no limit on pain and suffering compensation in personal injury cases, so if you suffered a catastrophic injury due to the third party’s actions, you could potentially recover a sizeable case award from your personal injury claim. If you are unsure whether you have grounds to file a third-party claim after your work-related injury, it is vital to consult a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
The team at Bridgman Gantt has successfully assisted many past clients with their workers’ compensation claims in Charlotte, and we are ready to leverage our experience for you. While it is technically possible for an injured worker to file their claim on their own, working with a seasoned attorney can make every step of the claim filing process easier to manage, and the claimant will be more likely to reach the most positive possible outcome to their case.
Instead of attempting to meet strict claim filing requirements, manage medical appointments, and address your medical needs all at once on your own, your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can handle your legal affairs so you can focus on your recovery and personal obligations. This will make filing your claim easier and faster while additionally reducing the chances of clerical errors or omissions interfering with the claim determination process.
The average person attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim on their own could encounter a host of unexpected issues in dealing with their employer and/or the insurance carrier in the claim filing process. Some employers attempt to discourage injured workers from filing claims out of fear of increased insurance premiums, and some go as far as directly interfering with employees’ claims or retaliating against them.
It is also possible to encounter issues with the insurance carrier. Insurance companies will generally try to get away with paying out as little as possible, sometimes engaging in unethical actions to do this. When an insurance company sees that an injured claimant is represented by legal counsel, it is more inclined to refrain from any bad faith tactics and to process the claim efficiently.
To help you have grounds to file a third-party personal injury claim, your attorney can be especially crucial to your success in the case. They can help gather the evidence you need to firmly establish liability for the incident and hold the defendant accountable for the damages that workers’ compensation can’t cover. When you choose Bridgman Gantt to represent your case, we can carefully review the details of your situation to help you determine the full range of benefits that could be available to you. For example, if workers’ compensation can’t fully cover your lost earning capacity and you are completely disabled, we can help you apply for Social Security Disability.
A: Workers’ compensation insurance is typically your first source of compensation for any work-related injury. It’s possible to recover full coverage of your medical expenses and income replacement benefits while you are disabled and unable to work and earn income. Other recovery options that might be available to you include a third-party personal injury claim or a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.
A: There is a two-year statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims in the state, and this time limit begins on the date a workplace injury happens. However, while this may sound like a generous timeframe, it is always preferable to file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible after any workplace injury. Any delay could cause the insurance company to doubt the truth of your claim, or they may assume that because you did not file the claim right away, your injury could not be as severe as you present it to be.
A: Hiring legal counsel you can trust can make every step of the workers’ compensation claim filing process easier to manage and more likely to generate the results you hope to see. Your attorney can help handle all the procedural aspects of your case and identify any avenues of compensation that you may have overlooked on your own. You are more likely to maximize a workers’ compensation claim settlement in an efficient manner with an attorney representing you.
A: It’s understandable for anyone to be worried about the potential cost of legal representation when they are facing medical bills and lost income following a work-related injury. However, this is no cause for concern if you choose Bridgman Gantt to represent you. We take work injury claims on a contingency fee basis. This means there are no upfront legal fees, and you will only pay a fee to our firm after we win your case. Your contingency fee will be a percentage of the total compensation we recover for you, so you do not need to worry about your legal representation costing you more than you win in compensation for your injury.
You have a limited time in which to file a workers’ compensation claim after an injury at work, and delays work against you throughout the claim filing process. It’s vital to file your claim as soon as possible but to have the greatest chance of success, you need an attorney you can trust to help you. When you are struggling with the immediate effects of an injury at work, it can be very difficult to address the procedural aspects of your workers’ compensation claim. When you choose Bridgman Gantt to represent you, we can immediately begin guiding you through the claim filing process and can help you fully understand all the recovery options available to you.
It is important to report your injury to your employer right away and to seek immediate medical care. You can contact us at any point in the process, but doing so earlier is generally the best idea. We work with people throughout the state. Please call our Charlotte office at 704-815-6055 or complete a brief online form to schedule a free consultation.
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