| Read Time: 5 minutes | Personal Injury

What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement Amount in North Carolina?

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...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Personal Injury

Do All Workers’ Compensation Claims End in a Settlement in North Carolina?

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. 

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Category Name

Viral Mehta and Jason McConnell Interview on “The Human Lawyer” Podcast

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.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury

Can I Receive Workers Comp for a Repetitive Motion Injury?

When most people think of workplace injuries, accidents resulting in serious injury often come to mind. However, work injuries do not necessarily need to be the result of an accident. In some cases, repetitive movements can have a negative effect on the body, leading to permanent injury. You might be wondering, Can repetitive motion cause injury? The short answer is yes. If you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim, it is important to first understand workers’ compensation insurance, what repetitive motion injuries are, and how you can file a workers’ comp claim to receive your benefits. When you’re ready to file your workers’ compensation claim, Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, is ready to help you. What Is Workers’ Compensation? Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance most employers must carry for their employees. If you are an employee and suffer an injury at work, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits. In exchange for providing these benefits, your employer is protected from lawsuits. And by filing a workers’ comp claim, your employer cannot typically be sued. However, if a third party plays a role in your work injury, you may be able to sue that party. This is a complicated area of law that your lawyer can help you with if you think it applies to you. Your workers’ compensation benefits should ideally be enough to cover your expenses and disability, if any exist.  If you suffer an injury at work, filing a workers’ compensation claim can help relieve some of the financial burden.  Workers’ Compensation Benefits The workers’ comp benefits you are entitled to receive will entirely depend on the type of injuries you’ve sustained and their severity. Benefits can include: Medical expenses, Lost wages, Temporary disability benefits, and Permanent disability benefits. In the most unfortunate circumstances, workers’ compensation will also cover death benefits and funeral expenses. If you are unaware of the benefits you can expect, discuss your case with a North Carolina workers’ comp attorney. What Is a Repetitive Motion Injury? Some jobs require employees to move their bodies in such a way that can eventually lead to harmful physical wear and tear. These movements can include repeated physical movements, posture or positions held for long periods of time, or overexertions. These movements cause stress on the body, resulting in damage to soft tissue, nerves, tendons, ligaments, or muscles. Once you’ve suffered a repetitive movement injury, it can make it difficult or even impossible to perform regular job functions. Common Types of Repetitive Use Injuries Repetitive motion injuries often become noticeable with certain lingering sensations in different parts of the body. These can include: Pain,  Tingling, Numbness, Soreness, and Weakness. Repetitive use injuries can vary depending on the job performed, but some of the most common kinds of injuries include: Carpal tunnel syndrome, Tendonitis, Bursitis, Tennis elbow, and Stress fractures. If you believe you’re suffering from a repetitive motion injury, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Allowing a doctor to examine you can provide answers and allow you to file a workers’ compensation claim. Steps to Take for Your Workers Compensation Claim If you have a repetitive motion work injury, you may consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. It is important to follow certain steps to preserve your right to file your claim and receive your workers’ comp benefits.  Report Your Repetitive Use Injury Once you’ve discovered your injury, it is important to report it to your employer or immediate supervisor within 30 days. Be sure to make your report in writing, keeping a copy for your records.  Get Your Medical Records Visit your doctor to get a thorough diagnosis. Once you understand your repetitive motion injuries, you can follow your doctor’s directions and begin treatment. Your doctor will ensure everything is well recorded in your medical records for your workers’ compensation claim. Initiate Your Workers’ Compensation Claim If you wish to file your claim on your own, you can file a Form 18 with the Industrial Commission. It is important to begin your claim within two years to avoid forfeiting your right to workers’ compensation benefits. There are risks with filing a Form 18 without an attorney. The Form 18 is your first opportunity to describe why you have a compensable repetitive motion claim.  North Carolina workers’ compensation law only allows compensable repetitive motion injuries when strict legal standards are met.  If you state something incorrectly on the Form 18, you can bet it will be used as a basis to deny your claim by the insurance company. Consult with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Workers’ compensation claims can be challenging, especially when it comes to repetitive motion injuries. When you file your workers’ comp claim, it is best to do everything correctly and timely, helping ensure you get a fair chance at receiving the benefits owed to you. A North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help handle your claim to get the financial recovery you need during this trying time. Mehta & McConnell, PLLC., was founded in 2021 to help injured clients when they need it most. Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience. They spent most of that time working as defense attorneys, which taught them to fight hard for their clients while giving them a unique perspective. At our firm, you can expect care, compassion, and exceptional legal representation. Let’s discuss your case and see how we can help you. Contact us today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workers' Compensation

What Is the Average Workers’ Comp Knee Injury Settlement?

The average cost to workers’ compensation insurance for a knee injury is $33,153. This includes $17,757 in medical expenses and $15,396 in other forms of compensation, according to the National Safety Council. “Other forms of compensation” include lost wages, typically two-thirds of average weekly wages for a certain period of time. It does not include pain and suffering damages that are unavailable under workers’ compensation. $33,153 represents an approximate value for an average workers’ comp knee injury settlement. It is not likely to be very meaningful, however, because knee injury settlements from workers’ compensation vary widely in value. Accordingly, you should rely on the facts of your case rather than a general average. The purpose of quoting an average is simply to “put you in the right ballpark.” Workers’ Compensation Settlements: Why Settle? If you dispute the amount that workers’ compensation proposes to pay you for your injury—and in many cases, you should—you have two options. The first option is to proceed to a hearing and fight it out in administrative court. The second is to negotiate your claim with your workers’ compensation insurer. The following are some of the pros and cons of negotiating your claim with the help of your lawyer, of course. In court, the possibility exists that a judge might actually lower your award below the amount of the insurance company’s first offer. Hearings are troublesome, complex, stressful, and time-consuming. In a settlement, you can receive a lump sum amount to close your case rather than weekly payments. In a settlement, you can demand partial payment for expenses that may or may not arise. If your doctor says there is a 30% chance you’ll need further surgery, for example, you can negotiate to pocket 30% of the cost of surgery now, and keep the money even if surgery is never necessary. If you negotiate a lump sum and then proceed to spend all the money, you won’t be able to come back and ask for more money later. Lump-sum settlements don’t often work out well for people who cannot control their spending. A settlement can reduce or eliminate your eligibility for other types of benefits in the future, unless you carefully structure it.  Of course, there are other pros and cons we haven’t mentioned here. But it all boils down to the necessity of having your lawyer with you as you attempt to resolve your case. They know all the ins and outs and can guide you with experienced hands through the maze of workers’ compensation regulations. Types of Knee Injuries Certain types of knee injuries are far more common than others. Here are descriptions of the most common types. Torn Meniscus The menisci (singular: meniscus) are pieces of cartilage that cushion your bones and absorb pressure on your knee joint. Symptoms of a tear include a popping sensation, pain, stiffness, locking up, swelling, and limited mobility. You don’t always need surgery. When surgery is required, however, the most popular types are arthroscopic surgery, meniscectomy (meniscus removal), and meniscus repair.  The average settlement for a torn meniscus is difficult to determine. Arthroscopic surgery, for example, costs from $5,700 to $23,650. A settlement based on this remedy would cover other medical expenses as well as lost wages. Nevertheless, lifelong complications can frequently be traced to complications arising from a meniscus tear.  Torn Ligaments Ligaments are connective tissues that control the movement of your knees. The most commonly injured of these are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Tearing any of these can result in pain, swelling, buckling of your knee, limited mobility, and popping sounds coming from your knee. Most ligament injuries require surgery to correct, and surgery is not cheap. In the U.S., ACL repair surgery costs around $20,000 to $50,000. This price does not even consider lost wages. You may need as long as six months to recover.  Broken Kneecap (Patellar Fracture) Fortunately, many kneecap fractures don’t require surgery. A cast or a splint is often sufficient, resulting in average medical costs that total well below $5,000. Severe fractures, however, will require surgery if you ever want to walk normally again. Osteoarthritis Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that develops at the site of an old knee injury. It is often possible to claim workers’ compensation benefits for osteoarthritis. In severe cases, you might need knee replacement surgery. Knee replacement surgery will set you back $30,000 to $50,000 on average, and it sometimes costs much more than this. A partial knee replacement might cost marginally less. Other common knee injuries include bursitis, tendonitis, dislocations, and leg amputations (in accidents). The Early Involvement of an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney Is Critical to Winning Your Claim   Yes. Workers’ compensation knee injury settlements are difficult to negotiate, but fear not. At Mehta & McConnell, our workers’ compensation attorneys are board-certified, streetwise, and relentless. We enjoy decades of combined experience successfully handling workers’ compensation cases, and there isn’t much that can happen that we haven’t seen before. If you have suffered an occupational knee injury, call Mehta & McConnell at (980) 291-4558 or contact us online for a free case review. 

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accident

What Happens If You Get Into a Car Accident with No Insurance?

Car accidents happen every single day. However, if you are involved in a car accident with no insurance, it can complicate the situation. Many clients come to us asking, I was involved in a car accident with no insurance—what now? It is common to experience confusion and overall stress if this happens to you. But the North Carolina car accident lawyers at Mehta and McConnell, PLLC, are ready to help get you on the right track. Contact us online or call (980) 326-2270 today for a free consultation. North Carolina Car Insurance Requirements In North Carolina, drivers are legally required to have car insurance. The minimum amounts of liability car insurance include: $30,000 bodily injury coverage per person per accident; $60,000 total bodily injury coverage for multiple individuals injured in one accident; and $25,000 property damage coverage per accident. These minimum amounts can be used to compensate individuals for injuries and property damage resulting from a car accident. Additionally, North Carolina requires car insurers to include uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance helps protect drivers if they are involved in an accident with an individual that is totally uninsured, and underinsured motorist coverage kicks in when the at-fault party has insufficient coverage. Are There Penalties for Driving Without Insurance? North Carolina has a unique system for assessing penalties for driving without car insurance. The penalty will depend on prior convictions. Penalties usually include: First Offense: $50 civil penalty, $50 reinstatement fee, and possible probation for 1-45 days. Additionally, your registration can be suspended for 30 days. Second Offense: $100 civil penalty, $50 reinstatement fee, jail time or probation for 1-45 days. Registration could be suspended for 30 days. Third and Subsequent Offenses: $150 civil penalty, $50 reinstatement fee, jail time or probation for 1-45 days. Registration could also be suspended for 30 days. Having the minimum insurance required by law is the best way to avoid any repercussions.  North Carolina Is an At-Fault State When it comes to car accidents, some states are fault states while others are no-fault states. In an at-fault state, the person responsible for the accident is liable for the damages resulting from the accident. Therefore, determining who was responsible for causing the accident can greatly affect the outcome. What Happens If You Were at Fault for the Accident? Every accident is different, but if you are driving without insurance and cause a car accident in NC, you are liable. Because you do not have insurance to protect you, you will generally be financially responsible for the other driver’s expenses, including medical bills and property damage. Dealing with car accident claims and lawsuits can be challenging, but a car accident attorney will be your best ally. What Happens If You Were Not at Fault for the Accident? If you were driving without insurance but were not at fault for the accident, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver. You are able to file a claim with their insurance company to receive compensation for your injuries and property damage. You are also able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you plan to file a lawsuit against the other driver, it is important to keep in mind that there is a three-year statute of limitations to do so. Contributory Negligence Determining who is truly at fault for a North Carolina accident is not always an easy task. In some instances, both parties share some of the responsibility for the accident. North Carolina operates under a doctrine of contributory negligence. This doctrine essentially states that an injured party is not allowed to recover for their losses if they were partially at fault for the accident. Therefore, if the other party is even minimally responsible for the accident, they are barred from recovering.  If you are involved in a car accident without insurance, the doctrine of contributory negligence can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Do not hesitate to consult with a qualified North Carolina car accident lawyer. Discuss Your Case with a North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, is a brand new firm run by two knowledgeable and highly skilled attorneys. Our lawyers have a background in defense work, giving them the unique perspective they need to successfully represent injured clients. We are dedicated to every client and strive to provide top-quality legal representation. Contact us or call (980) 326-2270 today to schedule your free consultation.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Wrongful Death

North Carolina Wrongful Death Settlements Overview

The immense pain of losing a loved one is amplified when their death is caused by the actions of another. While monetary compensation cannot bring a loved one back, it can help ease the financial burdens experienced with their passing. If your loved one has died at the hands of another, Mehta and McConnell, PLLC., is ready to help get you the financial recovery you need and deserve. What Is a Wrongful Death Claim? The North Carolina wrongful death statute states a wrongful death is “when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another…” Wrongful death typically arises when a loved one’s death is caused by another individual or entity’s act, omission, or neglect.  After someone’s death, the personal representative of that person’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for the death. If there is a will, the personal representative is often named in the will. If the victim died intestate, or without a will, the court can appoint a personal representative to handle the victim’s estate. Who Can Receive Compensation for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? Not just anyone can recover financially for the death of another. Typically, only the victim’s heirs can recover from a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim’s personal representative is the only individual allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and they do so on behalf of the victim’s family. The compensation received from a wrongful death lawsuit will go to the victim’s estate. The personal representative can use some of the funds to pay for expenses of bringing the wrongful death action and any outstanding burial or medical expenses. A court distributes the remainder of the money among the victim’s heirs. Heirs are those who would stand to inherit if the victim died without a will, usually meaning spouses, children, parents, or siblings, depending on the circumstances. Damages Available for Wrongful Death Claims in North Carolina After a loved one’s death, certain relatives can seek damages to cover expenses and suffering related to the decedent’s untimely passing. Wrongful death damages can include: Medical expenses; Lost income and benefits; Funeral expenses; The victim’s pain and suffering; Loss of consortium; and Loss of companionship. In some cases, you may also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are a special type of damages the law uses to punish and deter defendants. If the defendant’s malicious or willful conduct caused the death, punitive damages may be granted. In many instances, damages can be challenging to calculate. A wrongful death attorney will thoroughly review the details of the case to determine what damages are owed.  How Are Settlements for Wrongful Death Determined? Putting a dollar amount on a person’s life is extremely difficult to do. However, in wrongful death claims, a calculation must be made to determine how much recovery is reasonable. To calculate fair wrongful death compensation, courts give a lot of weight to the following criteria: The age of the victim; The victim’s health at the time of death; The victim’s income at the time of their passing; The victim’s earning capacity; Overall value of lost benefits; Medical bills incurred; Funeral and burial expenses; and Ages and needs of the victim’s surviving dependents.  Your wrongful death attorney will review these very specific details to help determine a just wrongful death lawsuit settlement amount. They will also use evidence and documentation to support their conclusion. North Carolina Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations While financial recovery can slightly ease the pain of losing a loved one, you may lose the right to receive any compensation if a wrongful death claim is not filed in time. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years from the date of the victim’s death. If you fail to file your lawsuit within the two-year period, you will more than likely lose your right to recover any sort of compensation. Secure your right to recovery after a loved one’s death. Seek the help of a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Consult with a North Carolina Wrongful Death Attorney Mehta and McConnell, PLLC., is a newly formed partnership with a combined thirty years of experience. Our firm aims to provide top-quality legal representation for clients in need. We understand the frustrations that come with a loved one’s death, and we are standing by and ready to help. We offer free consultations. Contact us today, and let’s begin working on your case.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workers' Compensation

Common Types of Heavy Equipment Accidents

Workplace injuries can happen anywhere. Even in an office, injuries can occur. With that said, some workplaces are more dangerous than others. Working around heavy machinery is particularly dangerous.  Heavy equipment accidents can cause severe injuries, more so than other types of accidents. This page will discuss a few of the most common causes of heavy machinery accidents, along with some best practice tips for workplace safety around heavy equipment. If you have any questions about common types of heavy equipment accidents or are in need of a workers’ compensation lawyer, our experienced team is ready to fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to get started. Common Causes of Heavy Machinery Accidents The most common causes of heavy equipment accidents at work correspond with the most common causes of all workplace accidents. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the three most common causes of workplace injury in the United States are: Overexertion and bodily reaction; Falls, slips, and trips; and Contact with objects or equipment. According to the NSC’s research, these three accident causes account for 84% of all nonfatal injuries in the workplace each year that cause employees to miss at least one day of work.  Overexertion and Bodily Reaction Overexerting yourself while working with heavy equipment can easily cause an injury. Working with heavy equipment may include lifting parts of that machinery. If you overexert yourself in such a situation and drop a piece of machinery, you can easily injure yourself in many ways. Overexertion can also cause fatigue, which presents a clear danger when working with heavy machinery. If you are tired or drowsy while operating a piece of heavy machinery, it is easy to make a mistake. Operating heavy equipment improperly can easily cause malfunctions that can injure you. The same applies if you aren’t working directly with the machinery itself. For example, if you are a spotter for a crane, a fatigued crane operator could easily strike you with the object they are carrying.  Slips, Trips, and Falls A slip and a fall around heavy equipment is just as dangerous as overexertion. You might slip on the ground while someone is operating heavy machinery close by. In such an event, you could fall into or under the equipment. If the equipment is in motion and you fall while it is coming in your direction, you could easily end up crushed. Even though it sounds relatively innocent in many situations, a slip and a fall while working around heavy equipment could easily cause a fatal injury. Contact with Objects and Equipment Contact with objects and equipment is likely the most common cause of heavy machinery injuries. For example, when working with heavy equipment that does any sort of sawing or cutting, physical contact with the wrong part of the machinery can cause serious injury instantly. These types of injuries can easily cause enough damage to make you miss work for a significant period of time. Best Practices for Avoiding Heavy Equipment Injury in the Workplace The best way to avoid any heavy equipment injury is a multifaceted approach.  Be sure to observe your workplace’s safety policies at all times; Always use personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure that your PPE is in proper working condition; Only operate or work around heavy equipment that you are properly trained to work with; and Maintain awareness of yourself and your surroundings at all times.  If you are fatigued and unable to safely operate machinery, or your PPE isn’t working properly, tell your supervisor. Saying “I’m fine” when you aren’t is a potentially fatal mistake when you work with heavy machinery. What to Do If You Are in an Accident with Heavy Machinery Even if you follow all relevant safety protocols, there is always the risk of accidents. Heavy machinery is dangerous; there is no way around this fact. If you suffer an injury during an accident with heavy machinery, Contact Mehta & McConnell today. At Mehta & McConnell, our board-certified workers’ compensation attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience helping injured workers. Whether your case is relatively simple or very complex, we have the experience necessary to help you recover. If you suffer a workplace injury, you deserve compensation. Contact us online today for a free case review, or call us at  980-446-3301.

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| Read Time: 5 minutes | Workers' Compensation

Guide to Workers’ Compensation Claims in North Carolina

Workplace accidents happen every single day. Fortunately, North Carolina has workers’ compensation to help to struggle injured workers. Nonetheless, injured employees may not receive all the benefits they deserve, or workers’ comp may deny claims altogether in certain instances. If you suffer a workplace injury, a workers’ compensation attorney in North Carolina can help you.  What Is Workers’ Comp in North Carolina? Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that most employers are required to have for their employees. This insurance helps ease the financial burdens employees may experience after a workplace accident.  While it may seem simple, sometimes claims are denied, and the road to receiving benefits is a complicated one. A North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can help you seek the benefits you deserve. North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws Chapter 97, Article 1 of the General Statutes includes the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Among other details, this act requires employers with three or more employees to carry workers’ compensation insurance. There are certain exceptions to this rule, including: Employees of certain railroads; Casual employees; Domestic servants; Farm laborers, when the same employer employs fewer than ten full-time farm laborers; Federal government employees; and Sellers of agricultural products. Employers that fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance may face penalties, felony or misdemeanor charges, or even imprisonment. If you are unsure whether you are an employee covered by workers’ compensation insurance, do not hesitate to contact a North Carolina workers’ comp attorney. What Kinds of Injuries Does Workers’ Compensation Cover? Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, a workplace injury must: Be the result of an accident; Occur due to your job function; and Happen during the course of your employment. Physical injuries that meet these requirements are likely to be compensable under workers’ compensation. Other types of workplace injuries, like illnesses and diseases, may also be covered. § 96-53 of the Workers’ Compensation Act covers all diseases and conditions that may be approved for workers’ comp coverage. What to Do Following a Work Injury What you do after a workplace accident can greatly affect your health and chances of recovering benefits under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. You should take the following steps to put your health first and preserve your right to workers’ compensation coverage. Seek Medical Attention Your health and safety should always come first. If your injuries are severe, be sure to call 911 right away. If your injuries are less serious, visit your primary care physician or an emergency room as soon as possible. Be sure to let your doctor know you are visiting as a result of a workplace accident.  Gather Evidence If possible, collect any evidence you can. This may include photos and video and witness information. As time goes on, more information will become available, like medical records. Report the Accident Report the accident to your immediate manager or supervisor as soon as you are able to. By law, you have 30 days to report your accident, but the sooner, the better. Your employer will then have to fill out the appropriate paperwork and notify their insurance company. Consult with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Contact a workers’ comp attorney following a work accident. Your attorney will help ensure you are getting the appropriate benefits. If there are any bumps along the road, they will be there to help you correct any issues and get what you deserve.  Causes of Workplace Accidents Workplace accidents can occur for many different reasons, depending on the industry you work in. Some of the typical causes of work accidents include: Slip and falls, Falls from heights, Falling equipment, and Equipment malfunction or failure. No matter the type of accident, if it occurred while you were acting within the scope of your employment, workers’ compensation will usually provide benefits. If you have any doubts, discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation attorney. Common Work Accident Injuries Injuries can vary depending on the type of accident. Some common workplace accident injuries include: Neck injuries, Back injuries, Head or brain injuries, Spinal cord injuries or paralysis, Burns, Broken bones, Loss of hearing or vision, or Loss of limb. Depending on the injury, you may need to take extended time off work or lose your ability to work altogether. Talk to a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to understand the benefits owed to you. Benefits Available Under Workers’ Compensation Depending on the severity of your injuries, there are certain benefits you may be entitled to under workers’ compensation. Generally, workers’ comp benefits include medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. The amount of your wage benefits and how long they continue will depend on whether you have a Temporary partial disability (TPD); Temporary total disability (TTD); Permanent partial disability (PPD); or Permanent and total disability. If an employee’s accident results in a death, workers’ compensation will provide death benefits for the family. Can You Sue Your Employer After a Workplace Accident? In short, no, you cannot sue your employer. By providing employees with workers’ compensation insurance, employers are protecting themselves from lawsuits. Therefore, by getting workers’ comp benefits, you are forfeiting your right to sue your employer. While you are not allowed to sue your employer, you may be able to sue a third party. If a third party played a part in your work accident, you might have a claim against that party. If you believe you may have a right to file a lawsuit after your workplace accident, discuss your case with a workers’ compensation attorney. Consult with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today In the best of cases, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits and receive every benefit owed to you. Still, your claim may be denied or you may not receive all benefits you’re entitled to. In any case, a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can be your best ally. Mehta & McConnell, PLLC, is a newly established firm run by two attorneys with over 30 years of combined...

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Workers' Compensation

North Carolina Statute of Limitations on Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workplace injuries or illness often result in lost wages, mounting medical bills, and anxiety for you and your family.  In North Carolina, suffering an injury on the job may entitle you to benefits and a portion of your wages through a workers’ compensation claim. However, North Carolina workers’ compensation law requires you to file your workers’ compensation claim to receive benefits. More importantly, you must understand the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in NC to avoid the dismissal of your claim. Consult with a qualified North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to represent you through every step of your claim and ensure you receive the just compensation you deserve.  Give us a call at (980) 326-2270 or send an online message to set up a free consultation today. What Is Workers’ Compensation?  Workers’ compensation insurance helps protect employees from financial loss when they are hurt on the job or get sick due to a work-related issue. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act provides that all businesses employing over three employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to workers injured on the job and includes the following types of benefits: A portion of lost wages,  Medical treatment, and  Death benefits.  An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Learn more about when you should hire a workers’ comp lawyer. It’s important to note that North Carolina law provides special exemptions of coverage under the Act. These include the following types of employees: Employees not in the course of the trade, business, or profession of the employer,  Employees of certain railroad companies,  Household employees,  Farm laborers working for someone with less than ten full-time laborers, and Federal employees. Employees are not responsible for paying workers’ compensation benefits. Additionally, employers may not escape the requirement of workers’ compensation by merely referring to workers as independent contractors. It’s essential to file any claims for workers’ compensation within the statute of limitations to avoid your claim’s dismissal. What Is the Statute of Limitations on My Workers’ Compensation Claim? In North Carolina, the statute of limitations on workers’ compensation claims is two years. This means that you must pursue a claim for workers’ compensation within two years of your injury. However, North Carolina law also requires that you first provide notice of your injuries or illness to your employees within 30 days of the injury. You must file your workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.  Many employees fail to file their claim within the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation or make other mistakes in pursuing their claim, such as:  Failing to report the injury in writing first to their employer; Waiting to see a doctor and not getting a medical evaluation of their injury or illness; or  Failing to adequately document the injury or illness. Many injured workers hesitate to file their claims if they plan to work for the same employer. However, your employer may not terminate your employment or take adverse action against you based on your filing a workers’ compensation claim. The Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) protects individuals who engage in protected activities under the Act, such as filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, an employer may terminate you if your injury renders you unable to work. Despite your termination, as long as you file your claim within the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation, you will continue to receive workers’ compensation until you can work.  A workers’ compensation attorney can assist injured workers in filing their claims.  Your attorney should possess an understanding of workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina. Studies have shown that individuals often experience greater success when they retain an attorney to assist in claims against insurance companies. When it comes to catastrophic costs due to lost wages and ongoing medical injuries, a workers’ compensation attorney works to pursue every type of benefit owed to you under your workers’ compensation claim. What Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation?  Not all workers’ compensation injuries involve physical injury. Workers’ compensation coverage may also include mental illness and occupational diseases.  Workers’ compensation coverage may provide benefits for the following: Injuries suffered due to an accident while on the job; Illness caused by exposure to toxic substances at work; Repetitive stress injuries that get worse over time due to your work; and Death resulting from such an illness or injury. Once you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you may not seek recovery from your employer through a separate personal injury lawsuit.  In situations where your workers’ compensation coverage fails to adequately pay for all the expenses you incur due to your injury, there may be situations where you may pursue a lawsuit against a third party. A possible third party may include manufacturers of equipment directly related to your injury or another business associated with your employment. Consult with a qualified attorney to determine what options are available to you in pursuing additional compensation for your injuries. Who Can File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?  When a North Carolina employee is injured on the job or develops an occupational illness, they are generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. The two-year statute of limitations for workers’ comp claims begins from the initial date of accident or, in the case of occupational diseases, when a qualified medical expert diagnoses the employee and relates the disease or condition to their occupation.  How to File a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim The first step in the workers’ compensation claim process is to notify your employer of the injury. It is important to do this within 30 days of the injury. Notification should be provided via written notice, but can be verbal if giving written notice is not feasible.  As an employee, you should then file a Form 18 Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which serves as an official claim filing. As noted above, an injured employee has two years to submit this form.  Contact...

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