Uninsured Employers – Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

black and white x-ray of broken bones

I’ve Been Hurt, but My Employer Doesn’t Have Insurance. Now What?

Unfortunately, this is a question that we hear all too often. A person has been hurt on the job, has tried to file for workers compensation, and finds out that their employer does not have the necessary insurance. Often, the employer will attempt to get the worker to not file a claim and sometimes the tactics used can get pretty nasty. So what can you do if you have been hurt at work and find out your employer doesn’t have workers compensation insurance?

    The first thing you should do is still file a workers compensation claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Regardless of whether or not your employer has been following the law, you were still injured. If you end up getting threatened, told not to, or especially fired, keep records of these events as they are illegal in the state of North Carolina. You still have every right to file a claim as long as your company should have workers compensation insurance and you are meant to be covered. The main thing to remember is that your employer has been breaking the law, you certainly shouldn’t be punished for that.
    The next thing you need to do is start keeping a record of everything that happens. Even if it is an event from a coworker, keep a written log of each thing that happens that you believe may be connected to your claim. Keep all of the emails and text messages that you can along with any voicemails and the like. Some employers will attempt to use coworkers to chase someone out of a job, so keeping a record will help to back up this claim if it happens to go to court. Be sure that you have witnesses when possible as well.
    You should also call an attorney to help you find your way through this. Being hurt on the job is stressful enough, but add this into the mix and it can make you want to pull your hair out. Call Collier today for a free consultation and see what your options are, despite your employer not having insurance. You will not be punished for your employer’s negligence, so you can rest assured that we will fight to get you all of the compensation you deserve.

What Is A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?

gavel and block sits in front of wooden background

Despite shows that depict life in crime labs and courtrooms, we get this question quite often. This is because Hollywood has a great habit to romanticize many professions, and ours is no exception. Don’t get us wrong, there are certainly times that we are able to see why our job is romanticized, but there is much more to being a lawyer than sitting in a room with our client and arguing in a courtroom until a jury is stunned into believing us. There is quite a bit of hard work that goes into what we do and the payoff, although not as glamorous as it can be in movies, is actually extremely worth every minute we spend on your case.

A lawyer, by definition, is a “licensed professional who advises and represents others in legal matters”. Despite many stereotypes, lawyers can be of any age, background, race, gender, etc. In fact, according to the American Bar Association, around one-third of all lawyers in practice today are under the age of thirty-five. Also, almost half of the law students that are working toward their degrees today are women. This means that soon, the ratio of men and women will likely balance out.

Becoming a lawyer certainly isn’t all fun and games. Again, although certain movies may make it seem easy, there is actually a lot of schooling and work that goes into becoming a lawyer. You must receive your bachelor’s degree in college (or an equivalent), complete at least three years at an accredited law school, pass a state bar examination, and a national ethics and responsibility examination. Often, you must also undergo a character review by a board to investigate your character as well before you can take your oath to uphold the law along with the federal and state constitutions. All of this must be accomplished before you can receive your license to practice.

Luckily for you, all of that has already been done by those at Collier Law. In fact, Trey Collier has had experience on both sides of the worker’s compensation table, having worked on the behalf of employers for the beginning of his legal career. Quickly, though, he realized where he really wanted to be. All of this schooling and work has been to fight for your rights and fair compensation. Give us a call and schedule your free consultation today.

Man Falls While Washing Windows – Sues Scaffolding Company

view of construction scaffolding spanning multiple floors

If you have ever been to a large city, one of the first things you will always notice is the height of those incredible skyscrapers. It has always been a great concern of mine to think about those who have to wash those windows, and on December 7, 2007, the reason for my concern became the reality of Alcides Moreno and his family.

With the New York City temperature settling around freezing that morning, it seemed like a normal winter day where Mr. Moreno and his brother Edgar would soon get to work. Unfortunately, disaster struck when the two men stepped out onto the platform and the cables “slipped from their attachment point”. This resulted in the platform the men were standing on falling from its anchored point and sending them down by the force of gravity. Edgar Moreno fell 472 feet down into an alley below and landed upon a wooden fence. I’m sure I don’t need to go into any details for you to understand that this was a horrific scene for the paramedics to find when they finally got to the brothers.

Alcides Moreno stated that his brother’s side of the platform slipped first, which is what sent him to the pavement below. By the time his side released as well, the platform was in freefall. It is estimated that Edgar reached speeds of around 120 miles per hour by the time he had reached the end of his, unfortunately fatal, fall. What was possibly even more incredible, however, was the fact that when first responders arrived, they found Alcides still breathing and conscious. He was crouching and still holding onto the controls to the scaffolding. He had already attempted to stand up but was unsuccessful. This is not surprising considering when he arrived at the hospital, he was put into a medically induced coma to allow the doctors to be dealing with his multiple injuries. These included brain injuries, a spinal column injury, and fractures to his ribs, right arm, and both legs. He also had injuries to his chest and abdomen. Yet somehow, Mr. Moreno had survived.

A fall from the top of a New York City skyscraper while preparing for a day of window washing with his brother, who perished, saw Mr. Moreno receive extensive injuries and having to receive twenty-four pints of blood while he recovered. Mr. Moreno had to be placed in a medically induced coma and even have a catheter inserted in his brain due to heavy swelling. Against all odds, however, he woke up on Christmas day after plummeting 472 feet down the side of a building with nothing but the window washing platform to break his fall.

One major obstacle for Mr. Moreno in regards to compensation was the fact that he and his brother were not wearing their safety harnesses or lifelines. These were found on the roof of the building that they were going to begin cleaning along with a bucket of soap and water next to the rest of the rigging for the platform. Eventually, lawyers and accident investigators concluded that because neither Alcides nor his brother Edgar had retrieved the rest of their window washing equipment, this was not a reason to believe that they were negligent and refusing to use them. It was also found that the scaffolding had not been properly maintained and that the new motorized cables had not been anchored properly, which contributed to the platform coming loose and seriously injuring Alcides and killing his brother.

These findings allowed Mr. Moreno to not only collect worker’s compensation but also to sue the scaffolding company. It is reported that Edgar’s family received $2.5 million in damages and Alcides received more. He and his now four children, along with his wife, moved to Arizona.

While this story is incredible, it also is not over. The families of both Alcides and Edgar, after going through such a traumatic experience, had to deal with a large amount of litigation and find a way to successfully navigate the New York worker’s compensation laws. This is something that shows a big difference in the rules and regulations from state to state when it comes to worker’s comp.

While unfortunately, Edgar Moreno was fatally harmed, his brother Alcides miraculously survived by holding onto the control panel and riding the platform down. After being released from the hospital and beginning rehabilitation, Alcides began the process of suing the scaffolding company who was found to be liable for both his injuries and the death of his brother.

Very often when someone is injured on the job, they are told that the only claim they can put forth is one of worker’s compensation. This is generally the rule. However, in some cases, you are able to sue a third party. This is the case if a product was defective or if the injury was brought about by a toxic substance. Generally, this is not something that is pursued however in a case such as Mr. Moreno’s it made sense. Worker’s compensation does not cover for things such as pain and suffering, which the Moreno family clearly experienced. Even today, Alcides states that he feels only around eighty percent of his old self and cannot work now.

In many states, suing a third-party company for damages like Mr. Moreno did bring about their own complications. In the event of a win for the case, most states will require the plaintiff to use the money they have won to reimburse the worker’s compensation payments made on their behalf. If the injured party has received more than was paid for them, they may keep the difference. This is understood to be compensated for pain and suffering along with any other disabilities that may continue due to the accident. New York and North Carolina both have this law.

Since Mr. Moreno’s accident, he has welcomed another child into the world and also now walks for charity. A couple of years ago, he finished a three-mile walk in less than an hour. It truly is remarkable that he was able to survive and those of us at Collier wish him all the best in his continued recovery.

What’s the Difference Between Worker’s Compensation and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

scales of justice and gavel and block sit against white background

Based upon previous articles that have been posted recently, you may be left wondering what the difference is between a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury claim. While there are many differences between the two, it may blur together when you try to sort through each online in an attempt to do your own research. For this reason, we have done our best to sort through the trouble for you so you can know which claim you will be submitting.

If you have been hurt on the job, you will almost always be submitting a worker’s compensation claim. This ensures that you will have any treatment and rehabilitation monetarily covered for you through your employer. This is a claim that is not dependent upon fault and is only valid if you were hurt either at your place of work or while in the course of performing duties that were asked of you for your job. This ensures that you cannot sue your employer or co-workers unless under very strict exceptions. You will receive weekly compensation and possibly permanent impairment or disability benefits. Worker’s compensation, although different from state to state, can seem limited although it does cover all the necessary bases.

A personal injury lawsuit, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. While it can provide much larger payouts than worker’s compensation claims, this is only true if they are won. You see, personal injury lawsuits are guilt-based. This is the exact opposite of worker’s compensation and so they are more difficult to receive a positive result from. There must be proof of gross negligence from a third party in order for a ruling to be passed in your favor. However, because personal injury lawsuits are not bound by the same laws as worker’s compensation, it is fully possible to receive more money, such as for things like pain and suffering.

In many states, North Carolina included, if a personal injury lawsuit against a third party is won, the money paid out for your worker’s compensation claim must be reimbursed if enough was collected. Both courses require an attorney, as the laws are notoriously difficult to navigate. If you have a worker’s comp claim, call Collier for a free consultation today!

Aerial Lifts and the Dangers They Pose – The Workers’ Blog

man stands in yellow and orange construction scissor lift

It is fairly common sense that if you are meant to operate large machinery, you should have proper training. It is also universally acknowledged that one of the most dangerous things about construction sites is heights. If you put these two things together, then you know that there is a great deal of concern about machinery up in the air. Things such as aerial lifts are some of the most dangerous machines that can be operated on a construction site and unfortunately, their use has been quite deadly over the past few years.

Aerial lifts are machines that allow workers to get up to different levels in order to effectively reach certain areas that are higher up. While these are safer than ladders or rope harnesses, they are still extremely dangerous objects to use. This is especially true if you do not have the proper training for them. This fact was proven once again earlier this year right in Rock Hill, North Carolina. A young man, unfortunately, lost his life after an incident occurred while he was operating a boom lift as he was working on repairs to the outside of the high school.

Although it has not been reported whether or not this man lost his life due to a fall, we do know from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that falls are the most common cause of death for workers on job sites. They also stress that aerial lifts are some of the most dangerous equipment and that training is essential for anyone operating these machines. Within three years, there were 1,380 people who were injured due to aerial lifts and over 350 of those were due to a fall. During those same three years, almost 90 workers were killed using aerial lifts and over half of those deaths were the result of a fall. Statistics show that around 26 workers die each year due to aerial lifts, with electricians at the highest risk. Laborers, painters, and carpenters were also at risk of injury or death due to this equipment.

If you or someone you know has been injured, or a loved one has passed due to an aerial lift, call Collier today for your free consultation. We want to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve for the injury that was sustained.