Usually, when we meet with a new client who’s having trouble with their workers compensation claim, it’s because their claim has already been denied. But then there are also clients who come in claiming that their claim was approved, but that their employer did not use the right income (weekly wages plus commissions and bonuses) to determine their weekly benefits. Our Charlotte workers comp attorneys are familiar with workers compensation law in North Carolina and know that all types of income are supposed to be included when determining your average weekly wages. If you have a feeling that this wasn’t done properly in your case, you should contact our office right away.
Here, we’re going to briefly discuss what’s required of you to qualify for workers compensation benefits. We will also describe the types of benefits you should receive while you are under workers compensation as well. Finally, we will explain, in detail, how your average weekly wages are calculated for purposes of workers comp.
If you still have questions about your own workers comp case, feel free to contact us directly. One of our workers compensation lawyers in Charlotte will review your case and let you know how best to proceed. Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose by sitting down with a seasoned Charlotte workers comp attorney.
Am I Going to Receive Workers Compensation Benefits At All?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether your workers compensation claim will be approved. There are very specific criteria you must meet in order to qualify for workers compensation benefits. These requirements are the same whether you live in North Carolina or California. At a minimum, you must meet the following requirements if you expect to receive workers compensation benefits:
- Your Charlotte workers comp attorney must show that your accident took place on company property and on company premises
- If you work remotely or on the road, then you will have to show that you were injured while acting within the normal scope of your employment
- You must submit to a drug test as required by your employer to prove that you were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury
- You must report your accident to your manager or human resources immediately
- You must agree to be treated by state- approved workers compensation physician
- You cannot actively work a second job while collecting workers compensation benefits without letting your employer know
- You must cooperate with whatever treatment plan your doctor puts in place
If you’re confident that you meet these requirements and your workers compensation claim was still denied, you may need to file an appeal. The same is true if you learn that your workers compensation weekly benefits are lower than they should be under the law.
What Benefits Do I Receive While Out on Workers Compensation?
Typically, anybody whose workers compensation claim is approved in North Carolina will be entitled to three main types of benefits. First, and perhaps the most important benefit, is that any medical care related to your workplace accident will be covered by insurance. You should not have to pay out of pocket for any medical care related to your job-related injuries.
Second, you should receive weekly replacement wages while you are out collecting workers compensation. These wages are equal to 2/3 of whatever your average weekly wages were before you got hurt. This is where some of our clients run into trouble. They tell our Charlotte workers comp attorney that their employer only counted their base salary for purposes of workers comp benefits.
The law, however, states that you’re entitled to include your commissions, bonuses, and other financial benefits as part of your average weekly income. If your employer has failed to do this, let your workers compensation lawyer in Charlotte know so that they can file a partial appeal on your behalf.
How Are Your Average Weekly Wages Calculated for Worker Benefits?
It may seem like common sense, but a lot of our clients aren’t exactly sure how their employer calculates average weekly wages for purposes of workers compensation. If you have worked for the same company for more than one year, your employer will take your average wages for the last 52 weeks and use that number for your weekly benefits.
For example, if you earn $1,000 per week for 52 weeks, then your average weekly wage would be $1,000. Therefore, since you only receive 2/3 of your average weekly wages while out on workers compensation, your weekly benefits should be approximately $666.
This becomes a problem when you learn that your employer did not include any of your wages, benefits or other commissions that you earned throughout the year. For example, if you received monthly or quarterly bonuses, these monies must be calculated into your average weekly wages. If your employer failed to do this, then one of our workers compensation lawyers in Charlotte will take them to task on this. Ideally, once this issue is rectified, you will receive a retroactive payment for any monies you have been shortchanged throughout the time you’ve been on workers comp.
Reach Out to a Skilled Workers Compensation Lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina
Whether you’re dealing with an issue with how much your benefits are or your claim has been denied outright, you do have rights. What we suggest is that you contact one of our Charlotte workers comp attorneys as soon as possible after you file your workers compensation claim. If possible, you can even reach out to us before your claim is filed. Our goal is to make sure you get the benefits you’re entitled to. If you feel that this isn’t happening, then you owe it to yourself to at least sit down with one of our attorneys and find out what your options are. Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, you have nothing to lose.