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What Benefits Should I Get? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

The world of workers compensation is often confusing and strange, even to those of us who work with it every day. It is very common for people to only pay attention to things as they happen to impact them. Workers compensation doesn't normally seem to fall under this umbrella. As a result of this, however, you may not know exactly what workers compensation benefits you should be getting if you have been hurt on the job. This is one of the reasons why we suggest you hire an attorney, but you can always get a small preview of some of these benefits right here. We would like you to remember that this is not an exhaustive list, and speaking with a licensed attorney is always going to be your best option.

One of the most common questions that we hear is “Why don’t I have money yet?” While there may be multiple reasons for this depending on your specific situation, one thing that should be mentioned is that wage replacement does not occur for the first seven days that you miss work due to your injury. If you miss more than twenty one days, you will be compensated for those first seven as well. However your wage replacement will not immediately begin, either. It also may come on a different schedule than you are used to, depending on your normal pay periods. Normally these payments are made weekly, but it is always best to check with an attorney to be sure.

Your lost wage compensation will equal 66 2/3% of your average weekly pay. As of 2021, that number is set at a maximum of $1,102 regardless of how much you make. This is adjusted annually and may change in the future, so always be sure to double check your numbers with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The weekly long-term benefits will continue until you are allowed to return to your normal work or until an agreement or settlement is reached between all parties involved, including yourself.

Workers compensation benefits are difficult to navigate, but we are here to help you. No one should be left alone to figure their way across the confusing landscape of workers compensation alone. If you have been hurt and want to file a claim, call Collier Law Firm today for your free consultation and see just what benefits you may be awarded. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you get!

Electrical Work

Electrical Work

If you have ever rubbed your feet on carpet and gotten a shock, you know about static electricity. Just that small amount of voltage can be enough to give you quite a jolt, and it isn’t very powerful at all. While there are stories of people surviving all kinds of shocks, such as being hit by lightning, you always want to take precautions with electricity. For every one story, there are at least three others that tell of someone who wasn't anywhere near as lucky.

Electrocutions are considered one of the “Fatal Four” in working circles, which refers to the injuries and cause of deaths that occur most often in construction work. Considering the fact that about twenty percent of all workplace deaths occur in the construction industry, it should really put that number into perspective. The problem with electricity is that just about every place you can work has it, so every work place and building has the potential for a deadly occasion.

Every year, there are more injuries and fatalities caused by electrocution. You often hear about these unlucky folks and how they are leaving behind families and friends who relied on them. These deaths don't occur because someone was inexperienced. In fact, many of the deaths are from people who have been in the construction industry for ages, but were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. When someone is killed on the job, it feels like they were punished for simply making a living. It is important these workers understand safe precautions in the workplace.

OSHA lists the three most common causes of electrocution on the job as: contact with overhead power lines (the voltage can range anywhere from 120 volts to 750,000 volts), contact with energized sources (like bare wires), and improper use of flexible/extension cords. With the voltage range so wide, it is always best to act as if any wire is live until you have the express word that all power has been cut. Even then, you should still proceed with caution.

If you or a loved one has suffered from an electrical injury or worse while on the job, call Collier Law today for a free consultation. These situations are serious, and we will speak for you and your loved ones.

My Employer Doesn't Have Workers Comp Insurance?

A common, although horrible, tactic that we hear from employers who don’t want their workers to file for workers compensation is to tell the injured person that they don’t have or need workers compensation. This would mean that the worker is not legally covered by the company and shouldn’t file a claim either way, as it won’t result in anything. Unfortunately, this does frequently work because people aren’t aware of the workers compensation laws in North Carolina. Our advice is always to file a claim anyway, regardless of what your employer says just in case they are giving you false information whether maliciously or simply out of ignorance.

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires all businesses that employ three or more employees to have workers compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers. There are exceptions, such as some agricultural workers, workers of some railways, federal government employees, and domestic workers employed directly to a household. You may also not be covered if you are considered an independent contractor. However, you also might be incorrectly labeled as one, and the North Carolina Industrial Commission may rule in your favor despite your employment label from your company.

If your employer says that they do not have workers compensation but do not fall under one of those exemptions, they may very well be breaking the law. If this is the case, they should be reported to the North Carolina Industrial Commission and dealt with through the courts. An employer found to have no workers compensation insurance when they are legally required to can result in everything from fines to prison time. It is dangerous for employers to not have workers compensation insurance for their workers, and this kind of fraud is part of an active crack down. By reporting this type of activity, you are not only helping the state, but also protecting someone else in the future from being in the same position that you are now.

If your employer tells you that they don’t have or need workers compensation insurance, give us a call at Collier Law Firm. You will receive a free consultation, and we can help you figure out whether or not this is true and legal. You deserve to have someone in your corner, and we would be honored to be those people. Give us a call today, and see what we can do to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Occupational Illness - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the most serious yet lesser known problems that face workers today is occupational illnesses. This is a relatively new concept to hear about, but with the technology we have today, the information is far more accessible than it ever has been before. While there are well known occupational illnesses, such as mesothelioma, there are a large number of other illnesses and cancers that have been seen over the past few years that are gaining attention. The main thing that we can use to combat occupational illness after the fact is the fight for proper compensation. While we obviously wish the illness never occurred in the first place, you should have someone on your side who can help you get what you deserve once you are diagnosed.

Back in 2013, the National Council on Occupational Health and Safety published a report that gives an overview of some of the deaths that occurred at work sites in North Carolina from the previous year. Although this publication is nearly a decade old, it is still worth mentioning because it states that the official numbers are often considerably lower than the real numbers for multiple reasons, one of which is the lack of information available on occupational disease deaths. The report states that “no database collects their names”, referring to the ones that pass from occupational illness. They explain that the vast majority of people who die from this are never recognized, but they estimate that for every worker who dies from an acute injury on the job, around ten more pass from an occupational disease. While the number may not be completely accurate, every single person who dies due to their work situation deserves to be remembered, and a workplace death warrants compensation for the family of the deceased.

Here at Collier Law Firms, we believe every workers compensation claim should be honored, including those that involve an occupational illness. These go overlooked far too often, but we will fight to make sure it isn't. We believe that your claim is just as valid as anyone's. You should focus on getting yourself or your family member healthy, let us handle the technicalities, and work for you. Call us for your free consultation!

Agricultural Workers - Workers' Compensation Attorney

Now that we are moving into summer, we want to talk about a specific type of worker and how workers compensation is different for them. This time of the year is often within the big growing season and although modern technology has made it so that nearly anything can be harvested at just about any point on the calendar, the idea of springtime as a busy time for farmers still remains. That is why I want to talk about the specific laws surrounding agricultural workers with compensation. It is one of the few professions that is legally different from the rest.

In North Carolina, the law states that any company that has three or more regularly employed persons needs to have workers compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers. This is the rule that most cases will fall under in this state. However, there are a few exceptions, and one of them is agricultural employers. In this case, the employer only needs to have workers compensation insurance if they have 10 or more full-time, non-seasonal agricultural workers. This means that unless they keep at least 10 people on their books in the “off-season”, they are not legally required to cover any of the injuries their workers may sustain in the course of their jobs. Naturally, this means that all of the extra help that gets hired during the busy season can be left high and dry if they are hurt.

Working in agriculture can take quite a toll on the body. While many people think of it as just planting things and pulling things out of the ground, but it is so much more than that. Even if it did just entail putting some seeds in the ground, if you have to do all of that by hand it will very quickly end up damaging your back. Add to the mix how many things you have to lift, carry, and any equipment you need to operate, and it’s suddenly clear why it is important to know whether or not your employer has workers compensation insurance.

If you work in agriculture and were hurt on the job, call Collier Law. You may just find that your employer should have workers compensation insurance and you may have a case even if you were only a seasonal worker. Let us help you get the benefits that you deserve while you work on getting better. You deserve to be compensated for your injury today!