If you experience an injury in your Forest City, North Carolina, workplace, workers’ compensation benefits are likely available to cover wage replacement and medical expenses. Injured workers in North Carolina rely heavily on the workers’ compensation benefits program for support when they miss work because of their injuries.
It does not matter if you experienced injuries from a workplace incident, suffered from an occupational disease, or were involved in another type of on-the-job accident. You should qualify for workers’ compensation under most circumstances. However, if you have a problem, a Forest City workers’ compensation lawyer from Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, can help you navigate the complexities of your claim.
About the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act
The North Carolina General Statutes include the Workers’ Compensation Act under Chapter 97. This law offers medical compensation, wage loss coverage, and other benefits that help cover injured workers’ needs. This prevents companies from facing lawsuits every time an employee is hurt and helps workers get compensation without going to court.
Because workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” system, there is no requirement to prove anyone was at fault. Instead, the injured party must prove:
- They were participating in the scope of their employment.
- They suffered injuries in an accident or contracted an occupational disease.
- They did not meet any exceptions to these policies, such as being intoxicated.
The law does require workers to see a doctor named by their employer or the workers’ compensation insurer to get their medical care covered. The insurer will tell you who you can see even before approving the claim. For this reason, you will need to go to the facility, office, or physician listed in your employee handbook, posted at your workplace, or named by your human resources representative.
Understanding the Waiting Period for Wage Loss Benefits
While these benefits cover the employee’s medical care from the first visit, there is a waiting period before the wage replacement benefits begin. If the individual cannot work due to their injury or illness, they will receive two-thirds of their average weekly pay after the waiting period.
The waiting period is the initial seven days following the injury or diagnosis. According to GS § 97-28, a claimant can also get paid for the first seven days if they miss 21 days or more of work because of their workplace injury or illness.
In other circumstances, if the individual can work but at a reduced capacity for less pay, they will receive two-thirds of the difference in pay. The Act also stipulates payments for permanent partial disabilities and other types of long-term impairments. Workers who are living with lasting injuries may also qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Our attorneys can help with these claims, as well.
Let Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Forest City Help with Your Claim
If you run into problems filing your workers’ compensation claim and getting benefits in Rutherford County, NC, you can call us. Our team is available to help immediately. Our goal is to alleviate your worries by taking every concern to heart and addressing every issue that comes along regarding your claim, culminating in securing benefits for you.
What Our Team can Do for You
The Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, team will work diligently to assist with your claim. Your attorney will understand the difficulties and challenges claimants experience when dealing with a workplace injury, including the strain individuals face when attempting to recover physically, emotionally, and financially.
You can expect our team to assist you by:
- Reviewing your case for free during your initial consultation
- Examining medical records and incident reports outlining the workplace incident and resulting injury
- Collecting any additional documentation and photographic evidence related to the accident
- Identifying and interviewing any witnesses to the incident
- Completing all the required workers’ compensation documents and submitting them on time
- Handling this process on a contingency-fee basis
- Exploring options for other benefits, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for long-term impairments
It can be exhausting dealing with the many obstacles that can arise when filing a workers’ compensation claim and recovering benefits. At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, our team is dedicated to providing claimants with thorough and professional representation. Our team will pursue all benefits injured workers are entitled to receive.
How Does the Workers’ Compensation Claims Process Work in North Carolina?
It is important to understand how the workers’ compensation claims process works. When you begin this process, you are likely just learning about your injuries or illness and do not yet know your long-term prognosis, whether you will return to work, or what the future holds.
This can be a scary and stressful time, and you do not want to add difficulties with getting workers’ compensation benefits to your list of things to worry about. If you run into any obstacles, our team serving Rutherford County, North Carolina, can help.
Types of North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Injuries
There are dozens of scenarios that could cause an employee to experience a workplace injury. Some examples of diseases or injuries that often support a workers’ compensation claim include:
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Crush injuries
- Arm and shoulder injuries
- Falling objects that cause head injuries
- Other repetitive motion injuries
- Occupational exposures to toxic substances or chemicals
- Occupational illnesses known in your industry
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Forest City
Workers’ compensation claims are complex and feature several deadlines you must meet. Working with our team will ensure you follow all the necessary guidelines and meet any applicable deadlines. This will give you the best chance of getting approved for benefits.
Injured workers generally only have 30 days from the date of the incident to file an official report with their employer. That report should be in the form of a written notice that outlines the details of the incident and the resulting injury. Then, within two years of the accident, injured parties must submit Form 18 (Notice of Accident to Employer) to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
At Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, we can prepare these documents for you. If you already notified your employer and filed your claim but received a denial or a request for more information, we can help. You do not want to risk missing out on these crucial benefits because of a deadline or paperwork issue.
Possible Obstacles with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
While some workers report their injuries, file their claims, and receive compensation without any issues, this is not how it goes for all injured individuals. There are often obstacles they must overcome and actions they must take to fight for their benefits. Some obstacles you may run into when seeking workers’ compensation benefits include:
One of the biggest mistakes injured parties make is not meeting the claim deadline. This does not usually happen because the worker just fails to submit paperwork, though. Instead, it happens because of the way they handle their injury or illness – they may try to work through it or ignore it.
Sometimes, those experiencing a significant workplace injury continue to work for days or weeks before seeing a doctor or formally reporting to their employer. By the time the injured party makes a report, it could be past the deadline to recover benefits.
Alternatively, this may make it more difficult to convince the employer that the injuries are serious enough to keep you from work and to link them to a work-related accident or exposure.
Not Reporting All Injuries
There are circumstances when injured workers do not report their complete injuries to their doctor. For example, they might tell the doctor that their elbow hurts, but they fail to talk about the back pain they are experiencing. If they do not mention the back pain during a doctor’s visit and try to include it in a claim later, this could trigger a denial.
You must mention any and all symptoms you are experiencing. In many cases, your doctor may agree that your back injury is also related to your accident or to a chronic use injury that occurred because of your job. Either way, workers’ compensation should pay for treatment of that injury, as well.
Receiving a Denial
In some cases, the employer will deny that the incident occurred at work, that an illness is work-related, or that the worker is hurt at all. In other examples, the workers’ compensation insurance company will deny a claim. This can add great stress at a time when you need to fully focus on your treatment and recovery so you can get the best outcome possible for your health.
Issues with Wage Loss Benefits
Alternatively, the insurer will dramatically undervalue the injured worker’s wage losses. In some cases, they do not use the proper numbers to calculate the claimant’s previous income or simply fail to include some of it. Wage loss checks should equal about two-thirds of the worker’s usual pay up to the limit listed in the policy.
In any of these situations, you can appeal the decision or take other steps to get the benefits you seek. Our team can offer advice and handle this process for you. We believe injured workers should be able to worry about their health and well-being during this time, not how to get medical care coverage and wage loss benefits.
Speak with Our Team About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Today
If you suffered an illness or injury at work, our team can help you with your Forest City workers’ compensation claim. We offer complimentary case evaluations and work based on contingency fees. Your family will not need to pay anything upfront for our help.
Reach out to Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, for your free consultation today: (828) 286-3866.