- April 22, 2022
- Sumwalt Anderson
- Workers’ Comp
Workplace injuries and occupational illnesses result in diminished quality of life and lost wages year over year. Many need the help of workers’ compensation attorneys to get the full, fair compensation they deserve.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employees in private-sector companies suffered more than 2.7 million non-fatal injuries and illnesses in 2020 alone. The facts are that millions of hard-working people get hurt or sick on the job every year. A 2019 fact sheet published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates trauma typically falls into the following categories.
- Slips, trips, and falls resulted in 27 percent of employees getting sidelined from their job.
- More than a quarter-million severe workplace injuries resulted from contact with equipment.
- Workers under 25 years old rank among the most at risk of occupational injuries.
- Upwards of 2.4 million employees require emergency room treatment.
Contact with objects and equipment, overexertion and bodily reaction, as well as falls, slips, and trips, ranked as the leading causes of the need for emergency treatment and care. Despite organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration setting regulations and enforcing violations, going to work remains a risky proposition.
After putting in an honest day’s work, too many community members have their claims denied or do not receive adequate compensation. At Sumwalt Anderson, our workers’ compensation attorneys take employers and greedy insurance corporations to task. If you have been injured or contracted an ailment at work, this is what you need to know about how to increase your chances of getting workers’ comp benefits in North Carolina.
Who Can and Cannot Receive Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act mandates that employers with three or more employees must obtain insurance to compensate people who are injured or sustain a workplace illness. Regardless of whether someone forms their company as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or another legal designation, the Act usually applies. Exceptions to the Act may include the following types of employees:
- Employees of certain railroads
- Casual employees
- Domestic servants directly employed by the household
- Farm laborers when fewer than 10 full-time, non-seasonal farm laborers are regularly employed by the same employer
- Federal government employees in North Carolina
- Sellers of agricultural products for the producers on commission.
Under the Act, workers’ compensation is designed to provide financial support when someone cannot perform their duties because of a workplace illness or injury.
What are the Workers’ Comp Steps in North Carolina?
Notification is one of steps necessary to receive full workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina. The sooner company supervisors and insurance carriers know someone has been injured, the quicker the claim can be assessed and processed. Once the employer understands the situation, the following steps can strengthen your position:
- Treatment: Present yourself to any on-site healthcare professionals if provided by the employer. In the event no healthcare workers are at the job site, ask about medical professionals the company has made arrangements with. If the company has a designated physician or facility, seek them out. If no healthcare options are in place, promptly get treatment and care from an emergency room or nearby hospital.
- Billing: Inform the health care provider that the injury or illness is work-related. Give administrators the name of the company and employer. This step allows billing administrators to categorize the services as a workers’ compensation claim.
- Report Injury: Once diagnosed, report the findings to your employer. Call and follow up with an electronic message that creates a paper trail. Include doctor recommendations about treatment and recovery.
It’s crucial to file an official claim and written statement within 30 days that details the incident, nature of the injury and anticipated missed work period. The statement should be crafted as an official, hard copy notice that is hand-delivered or sent via mail. This statement may become part of the official record regarding your claim. Everyday people typically enlist an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help draft the letter and ensure it covers the necessary legal elements.
Type of Workers’ Comp Claims in North Carolina
The goal of following this process is to ensure that injured people receive quick, fair compensation while they are in recovery. Depending on what doctors require for you to make a robust recovery, the amount of lost work time, and the nature of the injury, you may be entitled to the following types of workers’ comp benefits:
- Temporary Disability Benefits: If you cannot work at all during the recovery phase, you may be able to secure temporary benefits. Injured employees may not receive a check for the first seven days unless they miss 21 days or more. This type of workers’ compensation entitles injured people to receive two-thirds of their average wages. North Carolina puts caps on the minimum and maximum payments, and they last for a limited period of time.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: If your physician determines you have made “maximum medical improvement” and cannot return to work, a temporary claim may be converted to a permanent one. The amount of compensation you receive will largely be determined by the nature of the injury and impairment rating.
When someone sustains a permanent disability, it’s not unusual for insurance companies to make an effort to minimize the effects of the injury. That’s because North Carolina statutes outline compensation standards. These awards are typically based on two-thirds of average weekly wages over a set number of weeks. Losing a finger or limb in a workplace accident can result in 20 to 240 weeks’ worth of compensation. The financial support from one end of the compensation spectrum to the other can be significant.
Tips on How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Workers’ Comp Benefits
Following the standard procedures regarding employer notification and getting and complying with a doctor’s medical advice are among the best ways to ensure that you receive workers’ compensation. But there are some nuances that injured employees may want to consider.
For example, if you feel uncomfortable with the company’s doctor, you have the right to seek medical care from another professional. Sometimes company doctors engage in questionable practices such as denying expensive tests in order to stay in the insurance company’s good graces. Don’t hesitate to discuss any perceived conflict of interest with a workers’ compensation attorney.
Another way big corporations try to evade payment is by poking holes in a worker’s story. Even though they wish to be truthful, people sometimes retell the incident differently as their memory becomes clearer or, conversely, as they forget details. It’s crucial to remain consistent in your account. Perhaps the best way to maintain this type of credibility is to write it all down and have your workers’ compensation attorney review the narrative.
Contact An Experienced Workers’ Comp Law Firm in Charlotte, NC
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, the best way to increase your chances of getting workers’ comp benefits is by enlisting the support of an experienced law firm. At the Sumwalt Anderson Law Firm, we fight to ensure injured people get the full, fair workers’ compensation they deserve. Contact our Charlotte office today at (704) 377-3770 for a no-cost consultation.