| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workers' Compensation

10 Most Common Workplace Injuries in North Carolina

When you show up to work each day, you don’t think that today is the day you will suffer an injury on the job. Unfortunately, accidents happen. For every 100 full-time workers in North Carolina in the year 2019, for example, 2.3 suffered work-related injuries or illnesses. While this is less than in many other states across the nation, the fact remains that tens of thousands of workers in North Carolina sustain injuries at work each year. Any type of injury can occur, but some happen more frequently than others. Here’s a look at 10 of the most common workplace injuries in North Carolina. Slip and Falls Slip and falls, or trip and falls, are common injuries both in and out of the workplace. People injure themselves by slipping on or tripping over objects on a daily basis. Health care workers, restaurant workers, and grocery store employees are especially susceptible to tripping or slipping. Overexertion Many workers have jobs that involve a lot of physical exertion, such as pushing and lifting. Move beyond your normal range of motion, and you might end up with an overexertion injury. Common examples include strains, sprains, and tears. Falling from Heights Falling from a higher elevation is a terrifying experience. It can also result in significant injuries, such as broken bones, or worse head and spinal injuries. Construction site workers are especially prone to falls from heights if they work with scaffolding or ladders or climb out on ledges. Bodily Reaction Bodily reaction injuries occur when you try to avoid a mishap, and you are injured by the action you take to avoid injury. A typical example is when you slip and try to prevent a fall, but you are injured when you catch yourself. Motor Vehicle Accidents Workers whose job duties require them to operate a car or other type of motor vehicle are much more likely to have a compensation claim involving a motor vehicle accident. Even the best drivers cannot always prevent an accident from happening. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you could have a workers’ compensation claim plus a third-party liability claim against the other driver. Hit by an Object Not all fall injuries involve a person falling. In some cases, injuries occur when an object falls. These are potentially dangerous events because the falling object often lands on the person’s head. Even a fall from only a few inches could cause a brain injury. Walking into Things Other common workers’ compensation claims involve potentially embarrassing injuries, such as walking into a wall or a door at work. Workplace injuries resulting from bumping into a hard object are some of the typical workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina, so you aren’t alone. Repetitive Stress Injuries Workers who perform the same tasks regularly, such as typing or working on a machine assembly line, are the ones who are most at risk for repetitive stress injuries. For example, someone who types on a computer all day is more likely to have carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis. Machinery Accidents Anyone who works with machinery and equipment could become entangled in the machine, resulting in potentially catastrophic injuries. Someone could have an article of clothing, or a body part or even their hair become tangled in a machine, causing injury. Workers should have proper safety equipment and receive a briefing on all safety precautions. Regardless of how the injury occurred, there is a good chance North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits will cover it. Workplace Violence Sadly, workplace violence also makes it on the top 10 list for the most common work-related injuries in North Carolina. You could have a physical altercation with another employee, or a former disgruntled employee may come back to exact their revenge. In many cases, injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal. Certain factors increase the likelihood of workplace violence, such as working where alcohol is served or where money is exchanged with members of the public. Higher-risk employees include public service workers, delivery drivers, and healthcare employees. Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer If you sustained injuries in the workplace, you need to speak with one of our Board Certified North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC. With our expertise in workers’ compensation claims, you can rest assured that we can help you navigate the confusing aspects of workers’ compensation benefits. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can assist you.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workers' Compensation

Types of Workers’ Compensation Disabilities in North Carolina

If you have sustained a workplace injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Understandably, you are likely wondering what type of benefits you are eligible for. North Carolina workers’ compensation laws establish the various kinds of benefits workers can receive. There are four main categories of disability benefits, including permanent total disability workers’ compensation. To better understand what type of North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits you should be seeking, speak with a Board Certified Workers’ Compensation specialist at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC. Under workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina, the term disability refers to the inability to earn your regular wages due to a work-related injury rather than the physical injury itself. Here is a look at the four different types of workers’ disabilities in North Carolina. Temporary Total Disability Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) are what you should receive if you cannot work for more than seven days. Essentially, the first seven days are without benefits. The seven days do not necessarily have to be consecutive, but they must be days you would have otherwise worked. If you qualify for temporary total disability benefits, you will receive approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wage, not to exceed $1,102.00 (2021 maximum). If your disability lasts more than 21 days, you could be eligible to receive retroactive benefits for the first seven days of work missed. Temporary Partial Disability Temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits can provide the difference in what you made before your injury and what you can earn during your recovery. This type of workers’ compensation disability is available if you cannot perform the same amount of work or you are temporarily in a different lower-paying position while you recover. If you receive TTD benefits while unable to work, you usually can receive TPD benefits once you return if you meet the criteria. Note, the same seven-day waiting period still applies. Permanent Partial Disability Permanent partial disability (PPD) is reserved for employees who sustain permanent damage to a portion of their body or their senses. You can continue to work; however, your injury permanently reduces your capacity to work.  At some point during your recovery, your doctor will declare you have reached maximum medical improvement or MMI. This means you have recovered as much as the doctor expects you to. If you have permanent damage, the doctor will assign a permanent impairment rating. You should not sign the form and agree to their rating without a second opinion. It’s also best to speak with a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to ensure you get the highest rating you are entitled to receive. Permanent Total Disability If your injuries prevent you from working at all once you reach MMI, you could receive permanent total disability (PTD). These benefits are reserved for injuries that reduce your overall quality of life and prevent you from working at all. These types of injuries can continue to deteriorate, resulting in new conditions. There are strict requirements you must meet before receiving PTD compensation. One of the four following conditions must exist: You sustained a spinal injury that resulted in paralysis of your upper, lower, trunk, or entire body; You lost a combination of two of the following: feet, legs, hands, arms, and eyes; You sustained second- or third-degree burns to a minimum of one-third of your body; or You sustained a severe head injury or brain damage that resulted in permanent damage. The amount of compensation will depend on what part of your body is injured, along with your assigned impairment rating. There is a schedule that lists the maximum number of weeks for each body part and your senses. Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer If you suffered a workplace injury in North Carolina, you don’t have to navigate the workers’ compensation system alone. Let our board-certified workers’ compensation lawyers help. The skilled legal team at Mehta & McConnell, PLLC will be there with you every step of the process. Our priority is to ensure you receive the maximum benefits possible. To learn more about how we can assist you, contact our office today.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Workers' Compensation

What to Know About Lowes’s Workers’ Compensation

Lowes’s is one of the largest employers in the United States, with well over 200,000 full-time employees and 120,000 part-time employees. With Lowes’s corporate headquarters in North Carolina, Lowe’s employs several thousand people in the state. It is one of the more popular chain hardware stores.  There are a number of ways that Lowe’s employees can injure themselves. Given the fact that it is a hardware store and supplier of home goods, some of the work is quite physical. It is usually easy to file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina. Most work injuries heal fairly quickly and the employee returns to work. But some work injuries are serious and long-lasting. In many cases, Lowes will dispute a work injury. You have a right to legal representation for any injury suffered while working for Lowes’s. The lawyers at Mehta & McConnell have been representing injured workers in the greater Charlotte area and throughout North Carolina, and have over 30 years of experience in the area of workers’ compensation law. You do not have to go through this alone. We are here to help you seek the benefits that you deserve. What Benefits Does Lowe’s Workers’ Compensation Pay? In North Carolina, if you are injured at work, you are entitled to receive wage benefits for every week that you are off work due to the injury. For every week that you were off of work, you should receive two-thirds of your average weekly wages. You will receive these wage benefits until you return back to full-duty work. If you cannot return to work, you may be able to seek permanent wage benefits. Another benefit you receive is the payment of your work-related medical bills. No matter what it takes to repair your injury and get you back to 100%, your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance company is responsible to pay for all the medical bills. No money should come out of your pocket to pay for any medical treatment. What Should I Do After a Work Injury? There are many things that you should do immediately after you experience a work injury at Lowe’s. Report the Injury Report the injury to your supervisor and make sure your employer completes an injury report. Check that the report has the complete facts about the injury, including when and where it happened, how it happened, and what areas of the body you believe are injured. Seek Medical Treatment Many people feel that they can put off treatment with a doctor for several days to see if they get better on their own. This is a big mistake. The sooner you see a doctor after your work accident the better. By treating with a doctor immediately, you establish that a work injury occurred. You can also get a jump on beginning a treatment plan so that you can get better and get back to work. If you don’t see a doctor, Lowe’s can claim that there was no injury. This is dangerous if, in the future, your injury is much worse than you initially believed and requires significant treatment, like surgery. Contact an Attorney Speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Even if your claim has been accepted and things seem to be going well, you still should talk to a skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. You do not have to go through this alone. What Happens If Lowe’s Denies My Claim?  If Lowes denies your claim, it is very important for you to contact us so that our experienced workers’ comp lawyers can fight for your rights. We will file a claim and bring the case in front of a workers’ compensation judge. We will take care of everything so you can focus on getting better.  Contact the Lowe’s Workers’ Comp Lawyers at Mehta & McConnell and Have Us Fight for Your Benefits Just because Lowes is a huge company, it does not mean they can deny claims based on valid work injuries. Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined legal experience, and we are invested in helping injured workers just like you. If you were injured while working at Lowe’s, we are here to use our skills, knowledge, and resources to get you the wage and medical benefits that you deserve. Contact us today to set up an initial consultation.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Workers' Compensation

Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement Amount for Back Injury

Back injuries suffered while at work can be devastating. They may cause you to be out of work for a considerable amount of time, require surgery, and prevent you from returning to your prior profession at all. Understandably, many prospective clients want to know what they can get for a worker-related back injury. As every claim is different, you need to speak with an experienced North Carolina workplace injury lawyer at Mehta & McConnell to find out what your case is potentially worth. What Is the Average Workers’ Compensation Settlement for a Back Injury Claim? There is no average amount for workers’ compensation settlements involving back injuries. Each person’s injuries are different, as is their job. Various factors influence the benefit amount you can receive, such as the extent of injuries and the amount of treatment required. While we can’t give you a specific range that workers’ compensation back injury cases will settle for, we can give you some general information on presenting your back injury claim. Proving a Work-Related Back Injury The first step in a North Carolina workers’ compensation back injury claim is to prove that your injuries occurred at work. Back injuries at work include those caused by an “accident” as well as those caused only by a specific traumatic event at work. Unless your injury is a repetitive stress injury, you need to show the particular moment at work you suffered the injury. For example, maybe you were lifting boxes on a shelf at a specific time and date when you felt a pop in your back followed by the immediate onset of pain.  This would qualify as an accident caused by a specific traumatic incident under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act. Being specific is more likely to be well-received and carry more weight than if you say you think you injured your back sometime last week while possibly working in the stock room. There is a greater likelihood that the workers’ compensation adjuster will deny your claim with only vague details. The most critical element is to establish your injury happened while in the course and scope of your employment. What Types of Compensation Are You Eligible for in a Workers’ Compensation Claim? The amount of your settlement is based on numerous factors, including the type and severity of your injury. A claim involving a severe disc herniation with spinal nerve compression is worth more than a claim involving a back strain. Serious injuries may involve temporary or permanent disability. If you are unable to work temporarily, you might receive temporary total disability (TTD) benefits, which will pay up to 66% of your regular salary while you are unable to work. If you suffered permanent injuries, you might receive a permanent partial disability (PPD) rating from your doctor. For example, if you receive a rating of 25%, it means you only recovered 75% of your pre-injury condition. You are entitled to seek a second opinion, which most people do. You may find that the second doctor gives you a higher rating. If this happens, the workers’ compensation adjuster may take the average of the two ratings. Your PPD rating is important. Your rating means you’re entitled to benefits for a certain number of weeks. Your salary amount and corresponding TTD rate are also significant. Someone who earns a higher salary for their PPD rating than someone else may receive greater benefits, even if their injuries and ratings were the same. That is one reason why it’s impossible to provide an average settlement amount for back injury claims. Should You Accept a PPD Rating? If you are thinking about accepting a PPD rating, you should speak with an attorney first. If you are still unable to work, continuing with TTD benefits may provide more assistance. For example, you can ask for additional benefits allowable under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, such as retraining or reeducation. What Is a Clincher Agreement? Some people try to settle their workers’ compensation claims. This is sometimes known as a clincher agreement. This type of agreement means the insurance company essentially buys your claim. If you can reach an agreement with the workers’ compensation carrier, you can settle for what you both agree it is worth. There is no set schedule or rating as there is with TTD or PPD. Insurance companies like these agreements because they don’t have to worry about future medical treatment should you need to treat again one or two years later. Clincher agreements are typically worth significantly more than a PPD because you are giving up your rights, including future medical care payments. But you need to be careful in calculating a fair settlement because you won’t be able to go back and change it if you find you need additional treatment in the future. You need a skilled lawyer to negotiate a settlement on your behalf and draw up the agreement language. Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer If you suffered a back injury at work, you could have the right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. However, work-related back injury claims are complicated. It’s best to speak with a skilled North Carolina workplace injury lawyer who can protect your rights. The legal team at Mehta & McConnell has years of experience with protecting injured workers in North Carolina. We understand how these cases work and the typical problems you can encounter when dealing with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Don’t attempt to handle your claim alone; let us help. Contact Mehta & McConnell today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about how we can assist you.

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| Read Time: 4 minutes | Workers' Compensation

10 Most Common Workplace Injuries in North Carolina

Every year in the United States, several million people sustain injuries on the job. Many of these people never fully recover from their injuries. Fortunately, our North Carolina workers’ compensation system can help workers who get injured on the job. Potential benefits include covered medical expenses, temporary and permanent disability payments, and death benefits for next of kin. While any injury can occur, some happen more often than others. Here is a look at the 10 most common workplace injuries in North Carolina. Overexertion Injuries Employees who have a job that requires regular pulling, lifting, or pushing, are at risk for overexertion injuries. This type of injury occurs when a joint moves beyond its normal range. Tears and strains are some of the most common types of overexertion injuries. Construction workers, commercial truck drivers, movers, and factory workers are a few professions that often have workers’ compensation claims for overexertion injuries. Falling to a Lower Level Falls of any kind is dangerous, especially when they involve falling from a ladder or down the stairs. Falls involving elevations are another common workplace accident in North Carolina. Maintenance workers, construction workers, window washers, and other workers who typically work from heights are the most susceptible to these types of injuries. Trip and Falls or Slip and Falls Tripping over something or slipping on a slick floor can occur to any worker. However, the most common professions include health care workers, grocery store employees, and restaurant workers. Spills or freshly mopped floors can be especially hazardous for workers. Insurance companies tend to undervalue or even deny slip and fall claims in personal injury cases. The same can happen with workers’ compensation claims. This situation is when you need a North Carolina workplace injury lawyer on your side. Being Hit by an Object Falling objects can hit workers in numerous types of professions. Perhaps you are struck by a box falling off a warehouse shelf, or cargo falls while being loaded, etc. Workers being struck by objects account for many workplace accidents. They also account for some fatal accidents. If the object is heavy and the worker is standing below, it can cause a severe head injury. Bodily Reaction The term bodily reaction refers to when an employee suddenly moves to avoid something happening. In the process, they sustain an injury such as spraining a muscle or twisting something. People who have physically demanding jobs are more prone to bodily reaction injuries, such as nurses or manual laborers. Vehicle Accidents Some workers, such as commercial truck drivers, movers, delivery drivers, sales representatives, and police officers, drive as part of their regular daily job duties. Other employees have to drive periodically for their job. Perhaps their boss asks them to pick something up or deliver something to a client. If you are in the course and scope of your employment at the time of an accident, you can file a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries. Falling Into an Object Workers can also fall into objects rather than objects falling on them. An example would be if an employee was pushed into an object when falling or landing on machinery equipment, shelving units, etc. These accidents can also occur when an employee is distracted and walks into an object, such as a door, glass window, chair, or even another person. Falling into an object injuries can range from mild sprains and contusions to more severe injuries. They also often involve the head, neck, knee, or foot. Repetitive Stress Injuries Employees who work on assembly lines, sit at a computer all day, or perform any other repetitive movements as part of their job are at risk for repetitive stress injuries. Any work that requires you to perform routine motions over and over again can result in repetitive stress injuries over time. These injuries involve damage to your nerves, tendons, muscles, and even spinal discs. Complaints include hand, arm, neck, and shoulder pain. Two examples of potential work-related repetitive stress injuries include carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis.  Machinery Accidents Workers who operate machinery and equipment in manufacturing plants and factories are most at risk for machine accident claims. Equipment can entrap an employee’s hand or foot and crush it or mutilate it. In some cases, the employee may lose a limb from the accident. Machinery accidents tend to be severe to catastrophic and involve permanent disability claims. All equipment should undergo regular safety checks, and all employees should undergo training for safety protocols. Workplace Violence You don’t necessarily equate workplace violence with workers’ compensation claims, but workplace violence can happen anywhere at any time. Sadly, workplace violence counts as one of the most common work-related injuries. Workplace violence can be something such as verbal abuse, or it can be a physical attack. Some workplace violence incidents result in one or more deaths. Some businesses may be at higher risk for violence. Examples are banks that exchange money with customers, bars where alcohol is served, or prison or mental hospital workers. Other professions such as delivery drivers and public service workers have seen workplace violence incidents as well. Contact a North Carolina Workplace Injury Lawyer If you suffered an injury during the course and scope of your employment, you need to speak with an experienced North Carolina workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible. In some instances, you may have a third-party claim against someone other than your employer. This claim is in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. Workplace injury claims can be complex. This is especially true if your employer denies workers’ compensation benefits or tries to force you back to work before you are physically able. At Mehta & McConnell, we have years of experience assisting injured workers just like you get the benefits and compensation they deserve. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you get the workers’ compensation benefits you’re entitled to receive.

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| 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: 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: 5 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.” Our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina will explain. For assistance with your NC workers’ comp claim, please don’t hesitate to send us an online message or call (980) 326-2270 today. [Video] How To Document Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Documenting evidence for your workers’ compensation claim is very important. To ensure you have the information you need to succeed in your claim: Gather witness statements from people who were nearby when the injury-causing accident happened; Obtain medical records that describe the injury and treatment you received; and Secure records of your employment and request to file a claim. Once you have gathered this documentation, you are ready to file your workers’ compensation claim. If you are having trouble documenting your workers’ compensation claim, then you may want to consider consulting with an attorney to help navigate you through the process. The lawyers of Mehta and McConnell have experience dealing with these types of claims, and we are here to help. 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 workers’ compensation 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. The Average Knee Injury Settlement If you are off of work due to a work-related knee injury, you will receive approximately two-thirds of your average weekly wages for every week that you are off work. Under the North Carolina workers’ compensation law, injured workers can collect weekly wage benefits for a maximum of 500 weeks (approximately 9.6 years) from the date of their disability. However, after 425 weeks, the injured employee can request that the wage benefits be extended. These employees usually have permanent disabilities like spinal cord injuries, significant head trauma, or work-related COPD. Whether you will be capped at 500 weeks or receive extended benefits as outlined in the statute, you can decide to settle your workers’ compensation claim for a lump sum instead of receiving weekly benefits. A lump-sum settlement of a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim is called a “clincher” agreement. A clincher agreement is a full and final settlement and resolves all the issues in a workers’ compensation case, including all medical treatment benefits and wage benefits. You aren’t required to settle your case, though. It is something that the parties have to agree upon. The decision to settle your case depends upon many factors, especially whether you will require ongoing medical treatment. In most cases, it is best to wait until the injured worker has reached maximum medical improvement with no more treatment before beginning settlement discussions. There are other issues that can affect whether a clincher agreement is right for you. We have to consider Social Security Disability payments, Medicare, Medicaid, private long-term disability policies, and disability rating payments. The bottom line is that it’s a complicated process that needs skilled and knowledgeable North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers to review. 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 workers’ comp 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...

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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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