Over the past few decades representing injured persons across North Carolina, our workers' compensation attorneys in Raleigh have witnessed a number of mistakes made by workers. Employees with injuries that qualify for workers' comp might experience delays or ineligibility depending on the mistakes they make. Attorney Brent Adams wrote the book How to Get Top Dollar for Your Workers' Comp Claim which explores more mistakes than the ones we include below. Any individual in North Carolina who has suffered a work-related injury or illness can receive a copy of the book for free.
The following mistakes are easily prevented if workers understand how our state's statutes and Industrial Commission operate. Please share the post with family and friends:
- Failing to notify employer. An employee might feel embarrassed or maybe that they would be a burden if they report an injury to their employer. Perhaps the injury was the employee's fault. (Learn more about workers' compensation claims involving injuries caused by the worker.) No matter the circumstances, the worker must notify their employer in writing within 30 days of the incident. The letter does not have to be particularly formal, just a simple note identifying the day, time, and circumstances of the incident. Our workers' comp attorneys provide a sample workplace accident notification letter here.
- Failing to notify Industrial Commission. An injured worker has 2 years from the date of a work injury to file a Form 18 with the Industrial Commission. If the worker fails to do this, they are ineligible for workers' compensation for that particular injury. Ideally, the worker will file this document within 30 days of the incident.
- Not seeking or following up on medical treatment. Similar to the first point above, a worker might feel embarrassed, like a burden, or simply 'feel fine' immediately following a work accident. Some injuries, especially brain injuries, take time to become symptomatic. No matter how minor the injury might initially feel, the worker should be assessed by a medical doctor. At this appointment the worker should notify the doctor that the injuries were the result of an accident at work. This information should be noted in the medical records. If the doctor requests a follow-up and the worker cancels the appointment because they feel as if they have improved, but then later experience more symptoms - this might reflect negatively on the worker's claim. Medical records are important in workers' comp claims. The worker should make every effort to maintain regular visits as requested by the physician.
Did you know that if a worker avoids the mistakes above by filing documents on time and maintaining consistent check-ups with their doctor that they have started the workers' comp process? If you are researching workers' comp mistakes because your claim has been denied, let us know. We have a legal department that exclusively handles work injury claims. Our attorneys help file Form 18s as described above, but we also help employees file an appeal if their workers' comp claim was denied, or even if they were approved but their employer refuses to pay benefits.