There are a lot of wonderful tradeoffs for your hard work: money, skills, relationships, etc. But sometimes a work accident can damage your health. Fortunately, many employees who suffer a work injury are eligible to receive workers’ (or workman’s) compensation benefits to compensate them for lost earnings and for required medical treatment. Sometimes it is best to receive your benefits through a workers’ compensation claim, while in others it may be in your best interest to settle your workers’ compensation claim. If you are an injured worker interested in settlement, you should understand what determines worker’s compensation settlement amounts in North Carolina, and how the attorneys of Mehta & McConnell may be able to assist you. Workers’ Compensation Benefit Statistics According to the National Security Council, the average cost of a workers’ compensation claim for 2017 and 2018 combined was $41,003. This average does not mean you will receive that amount in a settlement, but rather gives you an idea of a claim’s potential value. There is no real average workers’ compensation settlement amount because your settlement depends on the nature and severity of your injury, the body part(s) injured, and the amount of money you earned prior to your injury. Finally, the extent of your recovery will also determine, in part, the overall value of your claim. What Kinds of Benefits Can I Receive in a Workers’ Compensation Claim? Many injured workers in North Carolina choose to resolve their workers’ compensation claims via a Compromise Settlement Agreement. Workers’ compensation settlement amounts in North Carolina normally represent a portion of the total benefits you would have received in a claim if you had remained in the workers’ compensation system. Although in some cases you may settle a portion of your claim while leaving other benefits open, the purpose of a Compromise Settlement Agreement is usually to resolve the entire claim. The two main areas of compensation afforded to injured workers in North Carolina are medical compensation, and wage loss compensation. Another term for wage loss compensation, or compensation for the time you miss from work, is called indemnity compensation. Medical Benefits In an accepted workers’ compensation claim, your employer has the right to direct your medical care to the doctors they choose. In return, they are required to pay for all reasonably necessary medical care, so long as it is intended to offer relief, shorten the period of disability, or cure the disease or condition caused by the accident. While this system can give workers access to care they might not otherwise have, it is not always the best. You might decide to settle your claim so you can change doctors as you please and direct your own medical care. When is a good time to settle your workers’ compensation medical claim? Only when you are relatively certain as to the full extent of your injury, and have a good idea of what kind of future medical care you will require, and for how long you will need it. Pay close attention to your doctor’s treatment recommendations and their prognosis for your condition. Although there is no magical workers’ compensation injury settlement calculator that applies to everyone, you can use your doctor’s recommendations and the North Carolina Industrial Commission Medical Fee Schedule to figure out how much your employer may spend on your medical treatment. Indemnity Benefits In many cases, a work injury not only creates a need for medical care, but also causes financial loss in the form of time out of work and lost wages. Workers’ compensation covers your financial losses by replacing the wages you could not earn during your recovery, and compensating you for any permanent impairment caused by your accident. Your average weekly wage (AWW) is a large part of determining the amount of indemnity benefits you are entitled to. Calculating your correct average weekly wage is not always straightforward, and can be difficult. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help make sure your AWW is calculated fairly so that you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. Temporary Total Disability Compensation If your work injury takes you completely out of work for more than seven days, you may be eligible to receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits to replace part of your lost wages. The compensation rate for your TTD benefits is calculated to be two-thirds of your average weekly wage. These benefits have a statutory minimum and a statutory maximum. Temporary Partial Disability Compensation Your temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits cover your wage loss when you can work but your injury requires that you work less than usual. Your TPD rate is two-thirds of the difference between your pre-injury AWW and the amount you are able to earn after your injury. Permanent Partial Disability Compensation Unfortunately, not every injured worker makes a complete medical recovery after a work-related accident. Furthermore, even if you do make a good recovery and are able to return to work once you have reached maximum medical improvement, you may still be entitled to receive an award for permanent partial impairment (PPD). The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides compensation for permanent impairment based on the location of and severity of your injury and your TTD rate. Depending on your injury, you could receive these benefits for up to 300 weeks. Vocational Rehabilitation If you are unable, due to injury, to return to your prior occupation, or if your work injury causes you to earn less than 75% of your pre-injury average weekly wage after returning to work, you may be entitled to receive vocational rehabilitation services. These services can cover the cost of job training, re-education, vocational counseling, or job placement services to assist you in finding gainful suitable to any permanent work restrictions you may have. Permanent Total Disability Compensation We hope this does not happen to you, but sometimes a work injury is so severely disabling that you are entitled to receive payments at your TTD rate and medical care for the rest...Keep Reading
Mehta & McConnell Injury Lawyers Extraordinary Legal Help for Workers In Need
We understand that hiring an attorney is the last thing you want to think about. That’s why you should hire a firm that has the knowledge, dedication, and experience to deliver you the results that you deserve.
When you hire Mehta & McConnell, you will be working directly with North Carolina State Bar board-certified workers’ compensation attorneys. Our team of attorneys has over 30 years of combined legal experience handling complex and simple cases.
We were both defense attorneys so we know how insurance companies think and evaluate claims. Knowing how our opponent plays the game gives us a level playing field and helps us achieve the results our clients need and deserve.
If you are dealing with a workplace injury, lost wages, or any other work related legal and financial problem, schedule a free, non-commitment consultation with an attorney that specializes in workers’ compensation.
- Always here for his client“Mr. Mehta was very professional He helped my mom from step one all the way to the finish line He had interpreters to help translate when I wasn’t able to help. He was kind and gets the job done He is here for his clients one hundred percent until the end”- Luz via Avvo
- Really went to bat for me..."Viral did a great job handling my case and really went to bat for me. If I ever need an attorney again I won't hesitate to contact him.”- Sebastian McShane via Google
- He Will fight for you...“He Will fight for you like a mama bear defending her cubs!”- Stefan James via Google
$100,000 settlementRight hip injury to restaurant employee
$95,000 settlementRight shoulder injury to warehouse forklift driver
$90,000 settlementLeft knee injury to construction worker
How Can We Help You?
If you were injured at work, we can help you with all aspects of your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim. We will fight so you receive all of the medical treatment and lost wages you are entitled to under the law
If you are out of work due to your work injury, you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your lost wages. Our attorneys can help you prove your claim for disability compensation.
Workers’ Compensation for Undocumented Workers
Undocumented workers have the same rights to North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits as any other injured worker. Undocumented workers have full rights to receive benefits for lost wages and medical treatment.
Warehouse and Factory Accidents
Workers in warehouses and factories have to operate heavy machinery and work in crowded environments, increasing their risk of injury. We have represented workers you have been involved in a wide variety of warehouse and factory accidents. Let us help you in your claim!
Meet The Attorneys
Over 30 years of combined experience. Focusing on Workers’ Compensation litigation in North Carolina.
- How should I respond when the insurance company wants to take my recorded statement? The insurance company is probably thinking about denying your case if they have asked to take your recorded statement. The insurance adjuster will try to get you to make statements that weaken your claim. You should always contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney before giving a recorded statement.
- How much should I receive in weekly lost wages? If you are out of work due to your work injury, you should receive tax-free benefits in the amount of ⅔ of your pre-injury average weekly wage. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act contains a weekly maximum and minimum of disability benefits. If you are back at work but making less than you did prior to your injury, then you are entitled to receive ⅔ of the difference in wages.
- What should I do if my case was denied? You should immediately contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Our North Carolina board-certified workers’ compensation attorneys can help you fight the denial of your case. We will try to resolve the dispute with the insurance company, but we are also prepared to take your case to a hearing if necessary.
- When should I consider hiring an attorney? Hiring an attorney early in your claim will likely maximize your recovery. Even if the insurance company is paying for your treatment and lost wages, disputes may arise later in your case. At that point, it may be too late for an attorney to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits.
- How are workers’ compensation attorneys paid? Workers’ compensation attorneys are paid on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid unless you do. North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney fees are generally 25% of the amount your attorney recovers for an injured worker.
You may hear a lot about settlements when it comes to Workers’ Compensation claims. You may also be asking yourself “Do all workers’ compensation cases end in a settlement?” No, not all North Carolina Workers’ Compensation cases end in settlement, but some should. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that more than half of private workplace injuries in North Carolina were severe enough to require time off from work, job transfers, or work restrictions. Severe workplace injuries can redefine the way you support your household, and you should have financial options in those cases. If you have been injured in a work incident and are unsure if you should let your claim run its course or settle, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you decide. What Can a Workers’ Compensation Settlement Cover? You have up to 30 days after you get hurt at work to notify your employer of your accident. If your employer accepts your work injury claim, you could be entitled to a number of benefits, including: Partial replacement of lost wages due to injury; Compensation for permanent impairment; Compensation for disfigurement; Vocational rehabilitation services; and Injury-related medical care. A settlement should cover all or some of the benefits mentioned above. Are There Different Kinds of Settlements? Yes, there are different kinds of workers’ compensation settlements in North Carolina. Depending on the facts of your claim, you may want to enter into a full or partial settlement. Full and Final Settlement of Your Claim: The Compromise Settlement Perhaps the scariest, but sometimes the most useful, settlement you can enter is a compromise settlement. This kind of settlement has the nickname “the clincher” because you give up your rights to receive workers’ compensation benefits after the settlement is approved. A compromise settlement can be risky if you are not certain that your injury will not require additional medical treatment in the future. It is also never certain that you will not have additional injury-related wage loss in the future. However, this kind of settlement can help you avoid the uncertainty and burdensome restrictions of the workers’ compensation system. Hiring an experienced attorney greatly reduces the risk in a compromise settlement. An attorney knows how to negotiate for maximum recovery and they have the expertise to steer you away from settlements that are not worth the risk. Settlement of Only Your Permanent Impairment Benefits: The Form 26A Settlement If you think that all workers’ compensation claims end with healthcare providers completely curing injured workers, you are mistaken. In many cases, the medical benefits only bring an injured worker to “maximum medical improvement.” This means that the injured worker’s condition has become stable after treatment. If you reach maximum medical improvement without making a full medical recovery, you receive a disability rating. Your employer’s insurance pays you based on that rating. However, there is a chance your medical provider will not give you a fair rating. Once you receive a rating from your authorized treating physician, you also have a right to receive a second opinion on that rating from a physician of your own choosing, paid for by your employer. Once you have received a rating, you may wish to resolve only the indemnity portion of your claim via a Form 26A settlement that pays for and closes the permanent disability portion of your claim. After entering a Form 26A settlement, you still have the right to receive medical care. If your condition changes, you have two years from your last compensation payment to request additional medical care. Settlement of Only Your Temporary Disability Benefits: The Form 21 Settlement One of the hardest parts of dealing with a work injury is not being able to do what you did before. This change in abilities can include your ability to work. If your work injury requires that you work fewer hours, or no hours, during treatment, you can receive temporary disability benefits. A Form 21 settlement allows you and your employer to settle on the amount of wage-loss compensation you receive. Once again, if you need additional medical compensation, you need to apply for it within two years of your last compensation payment. Why Settle a Workers’ Compensation Case? While helpful for many, the workers’ compensation system can be unpredictable and restrictive. In an accepted workers’ compensation claim, your employer and their insurance carrier chooses the doctors who will treat you for your injury, and their decisions can affect what kind of disability payments you receive. If your employer denies your claim, or if you do not agree with the decisions of your authorized treating physician, a hearing may be required to make any changes. A hearing can be time-consuming and stressful and the Industrial Commission might rule against you. With a settlement, you have more freedom to decide the course of your healthcare. A settlement can also protect you from the risk of an unfavorable ruling at a hearing. How Can a Lawyer Help Me with Settlement? An important factor in receiving a fair settlement is understanding the full value of your claim and the right timing for entering into a settlement. You should not settle your claim until you know what your future medical and financial needs will likely be. Experienced attorneys know when the time is right to settle, and how to obtain the maximum value for your claim. Reach Out to an Attorney for Help Do all workers’ compensation cases end in a settlement? No, but you should contact an experienced attorney if you’re thinking about settling your case. At Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience. We are knowledgeable and dedicated to the plight of the injured worker. Contact us online today, or call us at 980-222-0135 for a free consultation.Keep Reading
Do you want to learn more about the people behind Mehta & McConnell? Join partners Viral Mehta and Jason McConnell on “The Human Lawyer,” a podcast dedicated to showing the human side of attorneys. In the podcast episode, “The Human Lawyer Podcast: Jason McConnell & Viral Mehta,” Jason and Viral detail their career journey. They share how they: Left their prior jobs at a large defense firm in Charlotte; Started Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, a personal injury and workers’ compensation firm; Navigated the challenges of launching a business in the midst of a pandemic; and Found their firm’s physical home in Charlotte’s historic South End. Beyond their legal triumphs, Jason and Viral dig into their personal passions. Both are zealous sports fans, and their loyalties quickly become obvious when listening to their interview. Sharing beyond their legal expertise, “The Human Lawyer Podcast” demonstrates that our attorneys are compassionate and dedicated to their community: The office is located off the light rail in the South End for clients’ convenience; Both attorneys passionately cheer for the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers; and They are committed to continue serving the people of Charlotte. To hear for yourself the human side of these attorneys, listen to the podcast here.Keep Reading