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.
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,
- 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 experience in workers’ compensation law.
Our firm strives to put the client first, showing compassion while fighting aggressively for just compensation. We offer free case evaluations.
Contact us today.