Normally, when you get hurt in an accident, your personal injury lawyer can sue for damages. They’ll demand that you be compensated for any out-of-pocket medical bills. They’ll also ask that the defendant be ordered to pay you damages for pain and suffering. When it comes to workers compensation, however, this isn’t the case.
In North Carolina, as in other states, if you get hurt at work, your only recourse is to file a workers compensation claim. Workers comp only offers two major benefits. First, it covers any medical care you need. This includes anything from hospital bills to physical therapy. Second, workers compensation provides you with replacement wages for the time that you’re out of work. These wages are meant to help you pay your bills while you’re at home recovering.
Here, we’ll discuss what the purpose of workers compensation really is. We’ll also explain why you aren’t able to collect pain and suffering through workers comp. If you have any questions about your case, give us a call and speak with one of our Charlotte workers comp lawyers.
What is the Purpose of Workers Compensation in North Carolina?
The reason the legislature implemented the workers compensation program in North Carolina was to protect both workers and employers. Employers could never afford to defend dozens of personal injury lawsuits per year. And employees deserve to be taken care of if they get hurt on the job. It seemed fair to put a program into place that didn’t break the backs of businesses but also didn’t shortchange workers.
The workers compensation system was put in place in North Carolina back in 1929. Not surprisingly this was right around the time of the Depression. People were desperate for jobs and would often hide any injuries from their employer.
Companies were in no position to pay for medical treatment for their workers. It made sense to come up with a program that benefitted both parties. Now, nearly a hundred years later, the program is still going strong.
Your Charlotte Workers Compensation Lawyer Will Fight to Get You Benefits
The whole point of filing a worker’s comp claim is to receive the benefits the program offers. Your Charlotte workers compensation lawyer understands that. If your claim has been denied, that means you’ve been out of work without any income. It also means you’ve either gone without medical care or you paid for it out of your own pocket.
If your injuries were work related, you deserve to be protected. Your attorney will appeal your claim and demand that you receive the benefits to which you’re entitled. Depending on the reason why your claim was denied, they may be able to negotiate payment through the insurance company. Of course, if you truly didn’t qualify for benefits, there won’t be much we can do. It all depends on the facts of your case.
If the insurance company still refuses to pay your claim, your Charlotte personal injury lawyer can file suit on your behalf. Just remember – this won’t be an ordinary personal injury lawsuit. It’ll be a suit filed under workers comp.
Why Isn’t Your Employer Required to Pay Your Damages for Pain and Suffering?
Many of our clients understand that they can’t sue their employer directly in a personal injury lawsuit. What they don’t understand is why their employer can get away without having to pay them damages for pain and suffering. In almost any other type of case, the defendant is liable for your pain and suffering. Why are employers treated so differently?
The truth of the matter is that the legislature didn’t feel that businesses could afford to be subject to this kind of liability and pay pain and suffering damages. As long as a company makes a reasonable effort to keep their workplace clean and safe, the government doesn’t feel they should be penalized for workplace accidents.
If they did have to pay out pain and suffering on every worker’s compensation case, they would go bankrupt in no time. Even if their insurance company didn’t drop them, they wouldn’t be able to afford the astronomical premiums they would be charged.
While this may not seem fair, if you think about it, this does make sense. If your injury was the result of a true accident, nobody should be punished and the employer should not have to pay pain and suffering damages. As long as you are made whole, it seems fair. Now, there are times when you can sue your employer directly. However, these situations are few and far between.
When Can Your Charlotte Workers Compensation Lawyer Sue Your Employer?
There are rare circumstances under which you can file a personal injury suit against your employer to seek pain and suffering compensation. This is only possible when you can prove that your employer acted recklessly or with willful misconduct. You must also prove that this behavior is what caused your injuries.
An example of this would be when your employer purposely made their staff use unsafe equipment despite the fact that they had been cited for it by OSHA. Another example would be when a manager forced their employees to work with dangerous chemicals and refused to provide the workers with safety equipment. In cases like this, you could sue for damages.
These damages would include pain and suffering. However, this is done sparingly. The burden on the plaintiff is high. Since you have recourse under workers comp, the court will expect evidence above and beyond what you would see in an ordinary negligence case.
Contact a Seasoned Charlotte Workers Compensation Lawyer Today
If you’re frustrated that you can’t collect damages for pain and suffering from your employer, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, in North Carolina, the only recourse you have against your employer is through workers compensation.
These cases are a lot different than traditional personal injury cases. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit back and accept whatever the insurance company gives you. Your Charlotte personal injury lawyers can always push to get you the maximum benefits possible.
We suggest that you call our office today and set up your free, initial consultation. This will give you the chance to sit down with a legal professional who knows workers comp law and understand your chances of qualifying for pain and suffering damages. It also gives our associates a chance to review your case and see if it’s something they want to handle. Either way, the initial consultation is free so you don’t have to worry about paying anything upfront.