If you work as a nurse, then that means that you have devoted your life to treating the injured and helping the sick get better. However, despite your passion for helping others, this is one line of work that comes with its share of risks. What most people don’t know is that the healthcare industry can sometimes be dangerous for nurses as it presents a high risk for work-related illnesses and injuries.
Whether you work at a clinic, dental practice, pediatrician’s office, urgent care center, or hospital, the fact remains that you are at constant risk of sustaining injuries while moving patients, slipping on fluids, being assaulted by unruly patients, being struck by different medical equipment, or sustaining a variety of injuries.
If you work as a nurse in Charlotte, NC, and have been injured at work, you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits, which can help remunerate you for lost wages, pay for your medical bills, and ensure you receive the treatment you need. If you need help pursuing workers’ comp, our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys for nurses can assist you.
At Waple & Houk Law, we have years of experience helping nurses and other healthcare workers fight for their rights to receive benefits for injuries sustained at work. So, if you need help filing a workers’ comp claim, are worried about your benefits being cut off or suspended, wish to appeal a denied claim, our knowledgeable team of Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys can provide aggressive representation and personalized guidance.
For help pursuing a workers’ comp claim in Charlotte, call (704)954-8697 to speak to a qualified attorney.
What’s Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ comp is a type or form of insurance that provides medical care and/or cash benefits to workers who become ill or get injured while performing their duties at work.
When it comes to workers’ comp cases, no party is considered to be at fault. The payout a claimant receives isn’t decreased by their carelessness nor is it increased by their employer’s fault. However, workers may lose their rights to compensation if their injuries were a result of intoxication from alcohol or drugs, or from the intent to harm themselves or another person.
Workers’ compensation claims are generally only paid if the insurer or the employer agree that your illness or injury is work-related. If they dispute your claim, then you won’t receive any cash benefits until a workers’ comp law judge decides who’s right. Workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina are handled by the Industrial Commission.
What Is Covered by Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
Workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina typically covers:
All costs associated with your medical treatment and subsequent care are covered for on-the-job injuries and work-related illnesses. The workers’ compensation insurance company or your employer may dictate which health care providers and doctors should treat you.
In most cases, coverage for medical treatment will often include the cost of hospitalization, Emergency Room, EMT, and ambulance services. If surgery is needed, the costs for the procedure, which includes medication, anesthesia, and aftercare will, according to NC workers’ compensation laws, also be covered.
Nurses who die due to a work-related accident may have their burial costs and funeral expenses covered. Their beneficiaries or family may also be entitled to other benefits, and that includes financial compensation.
If you are no longer able to work due to a work-related injury or illness, then please note that you are eligible to claim lost wages. If you can’t work for more than seven days due to your injuries, your temporary disability benefits could extend up to 500 weeks depending on when the injury or accident took place.
What Are Some of the Most Common Injuries Nurses and Other Healthcare Workers Experience?
Nurses and other healthcare services providers work in demanding environments and face different challenging situations that put them at risk and expose them to unique dangers all the time. As a nurse, some of the most common injuries you are likely to face include:
The work nurses and other healthcare professionals do isn’t only physically demanding, but also mentally challenging. According to some studies, workers in the healthcare industry face 7x more risk for developing MSDs or Musculoskeletal injuries than those in other industries. Of all healthcare professionals, nurses and paramedics face the highest risk as their job typically involves handling patients during transfers and rescues. Strains and sprains are also quite common amongst health care workers.
Since nurses are constantly on the move, they are more disposed to slipping and falling two issues that could lead to fractures. Apart from that, they could also suffer fractures from attacks by violent and unruly patients.
The work healthcare professionals perform every day typically involves a lot of heavy lifting, quick movements, twisting, and bending, which can lead to back injuries, such as slipped discs and back pain. Transferring patients from one position or point to another requires flexions, non-neutral postures, and rotations that place loads of stress on the spinal cord and back muscles.
Cuts and Incisions
Nurses and other healthcare professionals handle sharp instruments like surgical knives and needles all the time, which means even the slightest distraction or mishandling could lead to serious incisions and cuts.
Blood Borne Diseases and Infections
Exposure to mucous, blood, bodily waste, and airborne micro-organisms is quite common in healthcare institutions. At the same time, healthcare professionals are constantly at risk of catching different blood-borne diseases and infections if they have wounds and cuts, which leaves them susceptible to contracting serious diseases such as HIV or Hepatitis.
What Should I Do If I Am Hurt While Working?
Here are the steps you should take if you’re injured while working as a nurse in Charlotte, NC.
Inform Your Employer
Assuming that your injury(s) isn’t that serious to warrant immediate medical care, the first thing you should consider doing after an accident in the workplace is to inform your employer. Workplace injuries must be reported within 30 days or else you risk losing out on benefits that you are entitled to.
Report Your Injury(s) in Writing:
Make sure that you report your injury(s) in writing and make sure you keep a copy for yourself. That way, should your employer deny that your injury(s) are work-related or fail to file the required paperwork with North Carolina’s Industrial Commission, you have the evidence needed to back your claim.
Seek Medical Care
Once you’ve reported your injury or illness to your employer, the next thing you need to do is seek medical care as soon as you can. Your employer will provide a list of company-approved physicians to see. After you’ve received treatment make sure you follow all of your doctor’s instructions.
Keep a Record of All Documents Related to Your Accident
Make sure you collect all the documents related to your injuries and follow-up care, and that includes records of treatment and other medical records. If you know people who witnessed the accident, it can help to gather their account of what took place.
Seek Professional Legal Help
The process of filing for workers’ compensation benefits can sometimes be a bit complicated and it’s not uncommon for employers to deny the initial claim. Our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys have experience handling such claims and can help guide you through North Carolina’s workers’ comp claims process.
Call (704)954-8697 now to schedule a free case review with our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys for nurses.
What Are the Steps for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina?
Filing a claim in North Carolina is fairly straightforward. However, it’s worth noting that there are complications that could arise along the way, which is why you are advised to have an attorney help you with the process. Here’s an overview of the standard procedure:
- Report the incident to your supervisor or employer as soon as possible.
- Visit a workplace healthcare provider or ER for treatment.
- Submit a written report to your boss detailing when the injuries occurred and under what circumstances.
- Start the workers’ comp filing process with the Industrial Commission in North Carolina. The first piece of document you’ll need to file is Form 18, which you can acquire in paper form or digitally.
- Get in touch with a workers’ comp lawyer.
You don’t have to wait until you’ve started filing to contact a workers’ comp lawyer regarding your case. In serious cases, it’s always best that you hire the services of an attorney right from the start.
What Are My Rights as a Nurse After an On-the-Job Injury?
Healthcare workers who’re injured while performing their duties in North Carolina are normally entitled to workers’ comp benefits. As an injured nurse, you could be entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits until your doctor declares that your injuries have healed enough for you to return to work.
You also may reserve the right to receive workers’ comp benefits if you develop occupational injuries over time like repetitive trauma injuries which are caused by repetitive motions or lifting.
If your workers’ compensation claim is denied or if the insurance company disputes your claim, you still reserve the right to appeal the decision. You also reserve the right to request a hearing before North Carolina’s Industrial Commission. Hearings are generally requested when victims want to appeal a decision to deny a claim for benefits.
As a healthcare worker, you also have a right to perform your duties without intimidation or fear. According to North Carolina law, anyone who assaults a healthcare professional on hospital property can be charged with committing a felony.
While holding the aggressor criminally responsible might seem appropriate, criminal convictions generally don’t provide the compensation you need to help you recover lost wages or from your injuries. As an injured nurse, you have the right to file a separate civil lawsuit against your aggressor and seek compensation for the injuries you sustained.
What Can I Do If My Claim for Compensation Is Denied?
If your employer or his insurer has denied your claim, then it’s worth noting that you reserve the right to request a hearing before the Industrial Commission and appeal the decision. To schedule a hearing before the state’s Industrial Commission, all you need to do is file Form 33 – Request for Hearing within two years of your claim being denied.
At the hearing, you’ll be required to prove why you believe the decision was improper. To stand a better chance of having the denial overruled, hire our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys for nurses and have them help you come up with strong and factual arguments for why you should be compensated.
How Can a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorney Help Me?
The workers’ comp process is generally very technical, especially if your case involves any complex or unique issues, including:
- Serious injuries
- A denied claim
- An employer that does not carry workers’ comp insurance
- Disputes about whether your injury(s) are work-related or not
An experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer from Waple & Houk Law can arm you with the counsel and knowledge you need to handle the case while serving as your legal representative.
Our lawyers have the experience and knowledge needed to help you understand NC workers’ compensation laws, which forms you need to fill and file for your claim, when and where you should seek treatment, the steps you need to take throughout the claims process, how to negotiate a claim, how to appeal denied claims, and how to prepare for a hearing amongst other things.
How Much Does a Qualified Workers’ Comp Attorney Cost?
A majority of workers’ comp attorneys in America generally work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they are paid a percentage of the amount awarded as settlement, which is the same principle we use. What that means is when you are awarded a settlement or damages, we only take a percentage of the money you recover as payment for services rendered.
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation lawyer fees are regulated by the state and must be approved by NC’s Industrial Commission. The Industrial Commission will not approve a contingency fee that is more than 25 percent of the settlement awarded.
Professional Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorneys for Nurses
At Waple & Houk Law, we understand that some workers’ comp administrators and employers fight injured healthcare workers’ claims for workers’ comp benefits are and are here to help you seek and get the compensation you deserve. To learn more about your rights as an injured nurse in Charlotte, consider getting in touch with us to speak with a qualified Charlotte workers’ comp lawyer for legal counsel and guidance.
Our attorneys can help you determine if you have a valid case on your hands and what to do should you decide to pursue a compensation claim. Call (704)954-8697 today to schedule a no-obligation consultation for a chance to have your case reviewed for free.