Workers Compensation Lawyers in Raleigh, N.C. Obtaining Benefits For Injured Employees
Workers’ compensation was developed as a means for workers to receive benefits if they have been injured on the job. Workers receive benefits meant to compensate them for lost income and medical bills incurred due to injury.
Even with the strict laws in place that are meant to protect employees, there are still instances in which a workers’ compensation insurance company may refuse to pay workers’ comp benefits to injured employees. A denial can quickly create financial hardship for injured workers and their family members due to lost wages.
Brent Adams & Associates of Raleigh, N.C., has highly skilled workers’ compensation lawyers who are not afraid to stand up to their insurance companies and fight for the benefits you rightly deserve.
Contact our law firm immediately and ask to schedule a free consultation with an experienced workers comp attorney who will evaluate your case and determine the best course of legal action for your situation.
How Do I File a Worker Compensation Claim in North Carolina
One of the first steps you must take after being injured in the workplace is to notify your employer in writing. You are legally required to notify your employer within 30 days of the accident. However, this time period may be extended to 30 days from the date you discovered the injury under certain circumstances.
The next step involves you filing a written notice to the North Carolina Industrial Commission. You must complete this step as soon as possible, as you have an extremely limited amount of time to submit this portion of the required paperwork.
You must also be sure to seek medical attention immediately for your injury. You must keep all documentation you receive from the hospital and the doctor to build and strengthen your claim.
The final step in this process is to hire a qualified workers comp lawyer who understands the complexities of filing a claim. Although no law requires you to hire a worker’s compensation lawyer to assist you with filing a claim, it is in your best interests to have solid legal representation. Our attorneys can help you file the necessary paperwork that can be potentially confusing to complete on your own. Some insurance companies may try only to accept your claim if the paperwork is filled out correctly or turned in on time. Our lawyers are dedicated to standing beside you throughout the entire claims process.
What Type of Benefits Can an Injured Worker Receive With Workers’ Compensation?
If you have been injured on the job while performing your assigned duties, you may be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages and medical benefits that cover the costs of any treatments or related expenses. The medical coverage you may be eligible to receive will depend on the type of injury that you have suffered. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Physical therapy
- Prescription drugs
- Long-term care
If your workers’ comp insurance has denied you medical treatment due to a pre-existing condition or illness, you may be able to file an appeal.
In addition to medical benefits, you may also be entitled to receive disability benefits. These are also referred to as wage replacement benefits. The total amount of benefits you may be able to collect depends on whether your disability is temporary or permanent and if they render you partially or totally disabled. These benefits are based on the employee’s average weekly wage.
Temporary disability benefits (TDB) are paid to the injured worker during their recovery and for a period of up to 500 weeks. TBD payments are calculated based on two-thirds of the worker’s average weekly wage before being injured.
If an employee is able to return to light duty after being injured but has a reduced ability to earn wages, they may be able to receive what is known as Temporary Partial Disability (TPD). TPD pays workers two-thirds of the difference in wages for a period of up to 500 weeks.
Under North Carolina workers’ compensation law, if an employee sustains permanent injuries to specific body parts, they are presumed to be disabled. However, when the injured employee reaches the end of their healing period, referred to as Maximum Medical Improvement, a physician will determine the percentage loss of function for the injured body part. The doctor may also declare that you have occupational disease in their report.
Workers comp uses a complicated formula to determine a rating benefit. If the disability is determined to be severe enough, they may be entitled to receive lifelong disability payments known as Permanent Total Disability (PTD). However, injured workers should only agree to a rating benefit once they first speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney.
Before you accept any payment or if you feel that you are entitled to additional benefits, you need to speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney who can review your case.
Brent Adams & Associates has well-experienced attorneys with extensive knowledge of North Carolina workers’ compensation laws. If you need more information about the possible benefits you may be able to receive, contact our law firm to learn more information.
What Should I Do if My Worker Compensation Claim is Denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim was denied, the first step you need to take to protect your future is to seek legal representation from a qualified attorney. There are several reasons why your claim may be denied, including the following:
- Failure to meet deadlines on filing forms
- Incomplete or missing forms
- Lack of supporting documentation
- Lack of evidence that supports the claim, such as medical records or witness testimony.
- Lack of qualifying injury
- Disputes with the employer’s insurance company
You should receive a decision letter approximately two weeks after you have filed a claim. The letter will include an appeal deadline if your claim is not approved. Once you receive your denial letter, you have 14 days to file your appeal with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
It is in your best interests to contact a highly trained workers’ compensation attorney immediately to help you with the appeals process.
Injured workers should also be aware that they cannot be denied benefits due to their immigration status or any other reason that North Carolina courts have deemed illegal. If you feel that you have been unrightfully denied workers’ compensation that is owed to you, you need to contact our law offices immediately so that we may explain your legal options and protect your rights.
What Happens After I File an Appeal?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission is the equivalent of the Workers compensation board in other states. The Industrial Commission oversees workers’ compensation appeals.
If your claim has been denied and you have filed an appeal, you will then attend a mediation conference with your workers’ compensation lawyer, after which the mediator makes a recommendation based on the evidence that has been presented.
The next step in the appeals process involves a hearing in front of a judge. Your workers’ comp attorney will present medical records and other key evidence supporting your assertion that you deserve workers’ compensation benefits. This portion of the appeal can be an overly complex legal process. You need an experienced workers comp attorney on your side to ensure you have solid legal representation.
The mediator will then forward a recommendation to the Industrial Commission. If you disagree with the recommendation, you have the option to request a hearing before an administrative judge. Both sides can present evidence and witness testimony, after which the judge will decide your case.
If the administrative judge denies your claim, you may request a hearing that is held before a panel of three administrative judges. If your claim is still denied, you may continue your appeal with the North Carolina Court of Appeals and finally to the Supreme Court if necessary.
The appeals process can be lengthy and requires a great deal of legal knowledge to navigate successfully. Therefore, you want to be sure that you have an experienced lawyer in your corner, fighting each step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected.
Why Should I Choose Your Law Firm to Help With My Workers Compensation Claim?
When you have been injured in an accident on your work site, you most likely are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, some insurance companies may decide to deny your claim. If you feel that you have been wrongly denied benefits, our law firm can assist you with filing an appeal or a lawsuit if necessary.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies look to deny claims so they may protect their financial bottom line. These insurance companies have teams of lawyers working hard on their side to look for potential loopholes in claims so they can avoid large payouts.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be entitled to additional compensation for pain and suffering as well as emotional distress. For families and dependents of individuals who have died as a result of being injured on the job, we may be able to receive death benefits to assist you with funeral and burial costs. Additionally, part-time employees may also qualify to obtain worker compensation.
Injured workers may also be able to file a claim against a third party if it can be shown that negligence on their part contributed to the employee being injured. This often applies to vendors, product designers, and manufacturers. Again, our law firm will thoroughly investigate your accident and determine if a lawsuit is appropriate.
Brent Adams & Associates of Raleigh, North Carolina, has a proven track record of successfully handling workers’ compensation claims and obtaining benefits for our clients. We will use every legal resource that we have to obtain an outcome that is in your best interests.
We understand this is an extraordinarily worrisome and trying time for you and your family. For that reason, we pledge to provide you with a high level of service and compassion as we help you in your goal to obtain your rightful benefits.
Contact our law offices by calling 919-781-7590 and asking to schedule a free case review. A qualified member of our legal team will be happy to sit down and evaluate the facts of your case and explore your legal options.