Workplace accidents can occur in any industry or occupation. Industries such as construction, manufacturing, mining, and transportation are more prone to work-related injuries due to on-the-job risks and hazards. Still, any employee can sustain injuries at the workplace.
If you’ve sustained an injury or become sick due to hazardous conditions at your workplace, you should contact a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer. At Waple & Houk PLLC, our lawyers are ready to help you secure maximum benefits. We can advise you if you are eligible to receive a settlement for your workplace injury.
Understanding state and federal employment and compensation laws is complicated. It’s ill-advised to represent yourself in a workers’ compensation claim. Our experienced Charlotte legal team will protect your rights throughout the claims process. You don’t have to fight an insurance company on your own. Let our legal experts handle talks with the insurance adjusters on your behalf.
Call Waple & Houk PLLC now at (704) 480-3899 to schedule your free case review.
Table of Contents
What Is Workers Compensation & What Does It Cover?
Both employers and employees have rights and responsibilities in the workplace. If you’ve sustained injuries at work, you deserve to be compensated. It’s your employer’s responsibility to pay your compensation benefits if you are hurt while on the job.
It’s important to note that every state has different workers’ compensation laws. Employees and employers in North Carolina are guided by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Understanding this act may be a challenging task. It’s not a day’s job. You require the legal counsel of a workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte to secure the best outcome for your personal injury claim.
Here are some of the benefits you may be entitled to if you are injured while performing your job in Charlotte, NC:
Your employer should pay for your medical treatment costs if you sustain injuries while on the job. This may include hospital stays. Your employer’s insurance provider typically covers these medical care expenses.
Temporary Total Disability Benefits
After a workplace accident, your doctor may advise you to take a break from work to recover. These benefits provide monetary compensation since you are unable to earn wages due to your injury or illness.
This form of treatment is helpful if you suffer repetitive stress injuries or chronic pain. It can relieve pain, correct imbalances, restore function and movement, and improve strength.
After a work-related injury in Charlotte, your employer and insurance company may be required to pay for your prescribed drugs.
Necessary Travel Expenses
An experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can help you claim travel expenses such as parking fees and the cost of gas.
If you’ve been hurt or suffered an illness at the workplace, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation. These programs help injured employees get back to work after recovering, including retraining, career counseling, on-the-job training, and help with job searching.
What Should I Do if I’m Hurt on the Job?
If you are hurt while at work, there are various steps that can help to strengthen your claim. Under North Carolina law, businesses with three or more employees must have workers’ compensation insurance. This coverage can pay for your benefits if you are hurt while on the job. Here are some crucial steps to take after a workplace injury:
Notify Your Employer About Your Injuries
It’s important to tell your employer you are hurt. This has to be done within 30 days or you risk losing your benefits. Don’t make the mistake of disregarding any slight injury. It may turn out to be worse than you initially thought.
Seek Medical Treatment Immediately
After an injury in the workplace, seek medical care from an authorized doctor as soon as possible. Your employer may specifically recommend certain medical providers if you are hurt while on the job. Remember to follow the medical professional’s advice and instructions.
Note Down What Happened
You should keep a written record of the accident details. Note down when and how it happened as well as the details of any eyewitnesses.
Take Photographs of Your Injury
Photographic evidence could help build an airtight Charlotte workers’ compensation claim. You can use your phone to take pictures and videos of any visible injuries or hazards at the scene of the accident.
File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
A knowledgeable Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can help you fill out the North Carolina claim form. Waple & Houk PLLC will work tirelessly to ensure your claim is approved. Our competent legal team can help you secure compensation for damages, including doctor bills, prescriptions, missed work, and physical therapy expenses.
Rest and Recuperate
Once we have all the details about your workplace accident, we will deal with your employer and insurance provider on your behalf. This gives you ample time to focus on your recovery.
What Are the Most Common Workplace Accident Injuries?
Anyone can get injured while at work. Workplace injuries don’t just happen to field staff. In-house employees, desk job workers, and executives can also be injured while performing their duties. Here are some of the most prevalent injuries that Charlotte employees face while at the workplace:
- Back / Neck Injuries
- Hearing Loss
- Joint Pain
- Slip and Fall
- Construction accidents
- Accidents while on business trips
- Accidents while using tools or machinery at the workplace
Our reputable Charlotte law firm will go above and beyond to ensure you receive maximum benefits for your injury. We will demand a fair and full settlement if you’ve sustained any of the above injuries at the workplace.
Why Should I Hire a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Hiring a workers’ compensation lawyer could benefit you significantly. It’s best to contact the competent legal team at Waple & Houk PLLC if you’ve been hurt in the workplace. Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers can help you with:
Case Preparation / Filing a Claim
Our attorneys are ready to gather all relevant pieces of evidence and conduct conclusive investigations into your claim. We will determine liability and the value of your claim using evidence such as medical reports, police reports, witness statements, and surveillance footage. Once we’ve found out who is to blame for your injury, we will file a workers’ compensation claim.
You should have an experienced negotiator by your side during settlement talks. At Waple & Houk PLLC, our lawyers will aggressively negotiate with your employer’s insurance provider to ensure you get the best settlement for your claim. If you decide to represent yourself, insurance adjusters may offer lowball settlements to exploit you.
Appealing Your Denied Claim
Our reputable law firm in Charlotte, NC, is ready to appeal the insurance decision. We will look into the insurer’s response and attach all supporting information to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Our lawyers will conduct an in-depth investigation to determine if the insurer acted in bad faith.
Trial Preparation / Representation
Waple & Houk PLLC is ready to take your claim to North Carolina’s courts if out-of-court negotiations don’t work. We will proceed to the appeals court if we aren’t satisfied with the Industrial Commission’s ruling. Our Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure we protect your rights.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
At Waple & Houk PLLC, our workers’ compensation attorneys in Charlotte, NC, operate on a contingency fee basis. You don’t pay any fee unless you win your case. This allows you to focus on your recovery without worrying about upfront fees or hourly rates.
According to the North Carolina State Bar, a contingency fee agreement should be in writing. Remember, you only pay once we secure compensation after your workplace accident.
What Should I Do if My Workers Compensation Claim Is Denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, you can appeal the insurance company’s decision. It’s your employer’s responsibility to pay for your benefits if you are hurt while at work. A competent Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can help you during this challenging time.
This gives you time to rest and recuperate while we deal with the insurance provider. Our legal team will develop the best legal strategy to counter the insurer’s decision, ensuring you get the compensation you deserve.
You can appeal the decision by your employer and the insurance company before the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This agency is responsible for the administration of North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. It acts as a court that deals with workers’ compensation claim disputes.
Once you receive a letter of denial from the insurance company, you should contact your lawyer to find out if there’s any legal recourse, including filing your claim with NC Industrial Commission.
What Responsibility Does the Employee Have in Filing a Workers Comp Claim?
It’s an employee’s responsibility to report a workplace accident orally and in writing to their employer. This should be done immediately after the accident or within 30 days. You also need to seek appropriate medical attention from an approved medical provider as soon as possible. Make sure you notify the health care provider that your injury or illness is work-related. Inform the provider of your employer’s name so that your medical expenses can be billed as a North Carolina worker’s compensation claim.
If you are unable to write your injury statement, have a loved one do it for you. They can send it to your employer on your behalf. Always remember to follow your doctor’s instructions to secure maximum compensation. At Waple & Houk PLLC, our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, NC, are ready to guide you through this complicated process.
What Responsibility Does the Employer Have in the Workers Compensation Process?
After a workplace injury or occupational disease, your employer must report these incidents to their workers’ comp insurance provider. An employer should also report anything they deem as allegations of injury or illness to the insurer. These incidents have to have happened while on the job.
An employer is required to file an Employer’s Report of Employee’s Injury to the Industrial Commission, commonly referred to as Form 19, if an employee’s medical bills exceed $4,000.00. An employer should also file this claim if an employee has missed more than one day of work due to an injury. This should be done within five days after finding out about an employee’s injury.
Still, an employer is required to provide a Form 19 copy to the worker. They should accompany this document with a blank Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee form. This form is also known as Form 18.
Can I be Fired for Claiming a Workers Comp Claim?
In North Carolina, it’s illegal to fire or lay off a worker who files a workers’ comp claim. Employers shouldn’t punish or discriminate against an employee who files a claim. This is against the Retaliatory Employment Discharge Act (REDA) that protects workers who engage in protected activities.
If an employer fires you after filing a claim, you can report their actions to the North Carolina Department of Labor. Our reputable law firm in Charlotte is ready to offer you sound legal counsel if your employer demotes you, fires you, or takes any other adverse action against you.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Charlotte, North Carolina?
You have two years to file a compensation claim in North Carolina. This legal deadline starts from the date of injury. This must be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. If your employer catered to your medical treatment, you have two years from the last payment to file a claim. You risk losing your compensation if you file your claim after the two-year deadline.
In the event your employer takes adverse action because you filed a claim, you have three years to file for unlawful retaliation. If you have any questions about the deadline for your claim, a knowledgeable Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can answer all your questions. Contact Waple & Houk PLLC now to find out if you can still file your claim.
Can I Sue My Employer?
For most workers’ compensation claims in Charlotte, you cannot sue your employer. The compensation offered by the employer’s insurance provider usually covers the benefits for your injuries. However, there are certain circumstances when you may qualify to sue your employer.
For instance, you may sue your employer if their egregious or intentional actions or inactions caused your injuries. You’ll require the help of a competent Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer to prove your employer breached their duty of care, causing damages.
Can an Independent Contractor File a Workers Comp Claim?
In North Carolina, independent contractors don’t qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. They can’t file these claims to receive any compensation. However, many employers try to avoid paying insurance premiums and compensation by labeling their workers as independent contractors.
Various factors have to be considered when determining one’s employment status. The employer’s control of an employee’s work is the primary determinant here. Various questions need to be asked when determining one’s employment status, including:
- Does the worker set their own working time?
- Is one free to hire assistants?
- Is the worker being paid per hour or at a fixed rate?
These questions help determine whether you are an employee or an independent contractor. If your employer tells you when and where to report for work, you are considered an employee. If your employer tells you what to wear, including uniforms, and pays you by the hour, you are an employee. Many North Carolina workers are employees.
If your employer has or is trying to classify you as an independent contractor, contact our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys immediately. We will advise you accordingly and offer you the best legal recourse for your case.
What is My Charlotte Workers Compensation Claim Worth?
After sustaining a workplace injury, it’s normal to wonder if you’ll get any compensation. Workplace accident victims often ask themselves how much they’ll get from their claim. This is one of the FAQs most Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers face.
At Waple & Houk PLLC, we understand how compensation for your workplace injury can go a long way to meet your financial obligations after an accident. Our legal team will build a watertight case to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries. Here’s what your workers’ compensation claim in Charlotte, NC, may cover:
Your Medical Expenses
Your compensation benefits may cover costs such as your hospital visits, mileage reimbursement for medical appointments, and surgery costs. These costs need to be from an approved medical facility or physician.
After a workplace injury, you may require rehabilitation. Your compensation may cover costs such as physical therapy and occupational therapy after your accident.
The benefits you receive for your Charlotte workers’ compensation claim can also pay for your medication and any assistive devices.
Your injury claim for your workplace accident may also cover training to find new employment, placement costs, and career counseling expenses.
Temporary Disability Benefits
If you are out of work for more than a week due to a workplace injury, you may be eligible to receive temporary disability benefits. These benefits make up two-thirds of your average weekly income. This weekly maximum changes every year. In 2021, the maximum rate that one can receive per week for temporary disability benefits is $1,102.00.
If you cannot resume the same job or earn the same salary due to your injury, you may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits (TPD). These benefits make up two-thirds of the difference between your post-injury income and pre-injury income. You may receive these benefits for up to 500 weeks.
Permanent Disability Benefits
You’ll continue to receive temporary benefits until you are able to get back to work. If you reach your maximum medical improvement (MMI), you may qualify for permanent total disability benefits. Here, you are regarded as permanently impaired.
You can qualify for these benefits if you can’t return to work due to your workplace injury. If you sustained severe burns, severe traumatic brain injury, loss of limbs, or paralysis, you might qualify for permanent total disability benefits (PTD) in North Carolina. In this event, you’ll receive weekly benefits for your entire lifetime. These benefits are calculated using your temporary disability rate.
You may also be entitled to permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) after your workplace injury. When a PPD happens, you remain stuck with reduced physical functioning. Suppose you lose your ears, eyes, feet, back, or arms in a Charlotte workplace accident. In that case, you may receive workers’ compensation benefits for two-thirds of your approximate weekly income for a certain period. The state of North Carolina determines the number of weeks you’ll receive these benefits.
You can opt to receive benefits for PPD at the temporary partial disability rate if your permanent impairment affects your wages. These benefits will be two-thirds of what’s left between your current income and pre-injury income.
If your loved one has died after a workplace injury, you may be entitled to receive benefits. The death benefits for funeral and burial expenses in NC are up to $10,000. The decedent’s spouse and minors may receive two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly income as death benefits. The compensation runs up to 500 weeks after they start receiving the benefits.
Contact Our Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
If you’ve been injured in a Charlotte workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation. As an employee, you have rights. Your employer also has rights, responsibilities, and obligations. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can represent your rights and interests in your personal injury case.
At Waple & Houk PLLC, our legal team can help you secure the benefits you deserve. We will conduct a thorough investigation into your case to build a strong claim. We can help you recover damages for your medical prescriptions, lost income, surgery costs, physical therapy costs, and lost earning capacity.