Although many jobs are far safer today than they were even a few decades ago, nearly every job still has some risk of injury. Some jobs are fa[...]
North Carolina workers’ comp insurance is intended to provide medical, rehabilitation and income benefits for workplace-related injuries, but benefit awards are often disputed or denied by employers and their insurance companies. Since premiums and costs go up when benefits are paid out, employers often do everything possible to avoid, deny or underpay claims. In addition, the rules and procedures for getting workers’ comp in North Carolina are complicated, and making mistakes in filing your claim or saying or doing the wrong thing can result in your claim being denied.
Fortunately, if you were injured on the job, the Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers at the Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm can help you get the benefits you deserve. We make sure your claim is filed correctly, in a timely manner, and in accordance with the law from the beginning. We can often reverse initial benefit denials and clear up mistakes and misunderstandings.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys offer a free consultation to discuss the circumstances of your case and determine the best way to proceed, so call us today at (704) 377-3770 to get started.
North Carolina law generally requires businesses with three or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance, with some exceptions for casual, domestic, and farm workers, as well as trucking companies and employees of the federal government or railroads. North Carolina law also requires workers’ compensation coverage to cover certain trucking owner/operators, even if the operator is an independent contractor. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the state agency that handles workers’ comp claims based on North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act (Chapter 97 of the North Carolina General Laws).
Benefits you may be entitled to under workers’ comp include:
Unfortunately, North Carolinas law can make it difficult for injured workers to get benefits. Employers and their insurers don’t have to pay for on-the-job injuries unless a worker was hurt as the result of an “accident,” such as a slip, trip or fall. Many injured workers are denied benefits on grounds that they were hurt while doing their normal jobs, and not from an accident.
Don’t try to fight this system on your own. To help you get all benefits you are entitled to, our Sumwalt Anderson workers’ comp lawyers can:
Depending on your injuries, our attorneys can help you with the following benefits:
Temporary Total Disability Benefits (TTD)
These are available if you aren’t able to work at all while you’re recovering from your work-related injury or illness. TTD benefits aren’t paid for the first seven days of disability, unless you end up being away from work more than 21 days.
TTD benefits are for two-thirds of your average weekly wages at the time of your injury, up to the legal maximum for the year when you were hurt or became disabled. The minimum benefit is $30 per week, and the maximum weekly rates may be found at the website of the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Temporary Partial Disability Benefits (TPD)
These benefits are available if you’re able to return to work in some capacity, but not at the same level as before. Benefits are equal to two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury wages and what you are able to earn now.
Generally, there’s a 500-week limit on how long you can receive total and/or partial temporary disability benefits. You may apply for an extension of TTD benefits, if you can prove that you are still completely unable to work. If you qualify for full Social Security retirement or disability benefits, your TTD benefits may be reduced by the amount of these Social Security payments.
If you are found to have reached “maximum medical improvement” and are not expected to get any better, you will be evaluated to see if you qualify for permanent disability benefits. Benefit amounts will depend on the part of your body affected and your rated percentage of impairment, as determined by your doctor.
You may be eligible to receive permanent total disability benefits for the rest of your life for one or more of the following serious injuries:
You may receive permanent partial disability benefits for permanent loss of vision, hearing, or the use of certain body parts. Benefits are based on a schedule under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-31 that lists the maximum number of weeks for each of these body parts or senses. Awards are two-thirds of your average weekly wages multiplied by the appropriate number of weeks based on your impairment rating.
You may choose to receive these permanent disability benefits in a lump sum rather than in weekly payments. You may also receive lump-sum awards for some other types of partial disability that are unscheduled. Your workers’ comp attorney can help you determine whether a lump-sum settlement is a good idea for you.
Our Charlotte Workers’ Comp Attorneys Handle a Wide Range of Workers’ Comp Cases
Common injuries we handle include:
The following are answers to some questions our clients often ask:
How much will I get paid for loss of my wages?
What is a rating, and how is it determined?
My injury has affected my marriage or relationship. Can I do anything about that?
What is attendant care?
No matter what the cause of your work-related injury or illness, the workers’ comp lawyers at the Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm are here to help with the many issues that come up in a workers’ comp case that require legal assistance to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
For example, workers are often asked to settle or sign a “clincher” in their case. Doing so can have serious long-term effects on the amount of compensation you ultimately receive. In addition, your workers’ compensation claim is generally your exclusive remedy against your employer in North Carolina so you cannot bring a lawsuit, but there may be exceptions to this rule.
SOME WORKERS’ COMP CLAIMS ARE VERY COMPLEX
You may have a claim against a third party other than your employer. Examples of this type of claim include when you’re injured by another driver in an automobile accident that happened on the job. Another example is if the manufacturer of a machine that you use at work carries some responsibility for your injuries, which entitles you to a larger settlement, including benefits for pain and suffering.
These types of workers’ comp cases are complex, and most injured workers don’t understand their options or their rights. When you have representation by our workers’ compensation attorneys, you can be sure we will not only pursue all the benefits and responsible parties, but we’ll keep you fully informed throughout the process. If it happens that you are wrongfully terminated from your job as a result of your workers’ comp claim, we will aggressively fight for your rights.
Whether you need help collecting benefits for being out of work, for a permanent injury, or for medical treatment, the skilled attorneys at Sumwalt Anderson have the knowledge and experience to guide you through your worker’s compensation claim. We have helped injured workers navigate the workers’ compensation system for four decades.
Let us take care of all the paperwork, deadlines, documentation, legal requirements and appeals, so you can focus on your recovery. Call Sumwalt Anderson today at (704) 377-3770.