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Am I Going to Get Fired? - Workers' Compensation

One of the questions that we hear the most when someone gives us a call is in regards their future employment. So many people call us concerned that if they file a workers’ compensation claim, they are going to be fired. This is completely illegal in the state of North Carolina. An employer is not allowed to fire you from your position purely because you were hurt on the job and/or you reported an injury. There are specific laws put in place to protect you from this occurring, and even though you may have heard some horror stories, we promise that we will fight tirelessly for you if your employer tries to take your job away due to a work related injury.

Now, unfortunately there are techniques that some employers try to use to “get rid” of an employee who has been hurt and can no longer work. These are often clever and sneaky, and they can happen without you even realizing what is happening until it is too late. One popular method is to make the workplace so unpleasant that you no longer want to work there. This can be achieved by being rude to you, excluding you from activities that your coworkers are allowed to, and even by pressuring your coworkers to be rude to you as well. If you believe that this is happening, we suggest keeping a journal of the times and dates of offenses so that you can use it as evidence during the case for workers’ compensation.

Although it may be hard, it is important that you do not quit while this is happening. While you don’t want to stay in a suddenly toxic work environment, quitting can seriously harm your chances of getting full compensation for your injury. It is times like these where speaking with an attorney as soon as possible is important. You should always get in contact with a lawyer when the injury occurs, but you need to give us a call before you make a large decision like quitting.

If you have been hurt on the job and were fired or are being pressured to quit, call Collier Law Firm today for your free consultation. We are experienced with cases like these and will do everything we can to fight for you. We are dedicated to getting you the compensation that you deserve so give us a call today and let us help you!

Taking Care of Yourself - Workers' Compensation Attorney

Getting hurt at work will definitely throw a proverbial wrench into your normal routine. These injuries are often severe, and may even be life changing. While your employer and their attorneys may make pressure you to get back to work quickly, this is not the most important thing to be focused on. While getting back to your job is something that is important and should be worked towards, the most important thing is for you to be healthy and try to get back to your pre-injury self again.

The biggest thing that you need to focus on after you have been hurt at work is taking care of yourself. This means that despite what anyone at work says or implies, you need to follow your doctor’s orders no matter what your employer wants. Dot every I and cross every T before you do anything at your workplace. Make sure that your boss knows about any and all work restrictions that have placed on you and get confirmation that they will be taken care of. If your doctor ordered accommodations are not met, keep a list of things that violate these orders for your attorney to call attention to. If you push yourself to go back to your job as your employer demands against your doctor’s suggestions, it may harm your case for workers compensation down the road. More importantly than that, however, is that it may cause you lasting or even permanent damage to the spot that was injured.

Regardless of whether or not you feel up to doing something after a certain period of time, be sure to get your doctor’s approval before attempting anything for the first time since the accident. Sometimes it is difficult for us to tell on our own how much we have improved. Your doctor will know what is best for you in regards to getting you back to 100%. Make sure that your employer knows that you are not allowed to do anything that has not already been cleared with your doctor. Again, you could injure yourself further or harm your chances of collecting full compensation, and that is the last thing any of us want.

Although it is often infuriating, patience is important when trying to heal. Always take things at an easy pace and don’t push yourself too hard, no matter how much you may want to. Call Collier today and let us know how we can help you with your workers compensation claim!

Coming and Going - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the most confusing laws in the world of workers’ compensation is that of the “coming and going” rule. The coming and going rule refers to the time you spend traveling to and from your place of employment and any injuries that might occur along the way. Every circumstance has a different ruling, and whether or not you are allowed to file a workers’ compensation claim is fully dependent upon how you are traveling and whether or not it technically occurred during the scope of your employment. Let’s look at a few examples.

If you drive to and from work and are injured in a car accident, then you most likely do not qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim. Although you obviously need to get into work somehow, the argument can be made that you could have left at a different time or taken a different route and therefore possibly avoided injury. Until you clock in, you are not considered to be within the scope of your employment. Therefore, most travel to and from your job is not eligible for compensation. However, as with any rule, there are some exceptions.

If you are asked to stop by the bakery in the morning and pick up bagels for your big work meeting at 9:00 am, you're going to do it if you can. Not only does this mean that you have an excuse if you're a little late, but you can make sure that you get the flavor of bagel and spreads that you like. Due to the fact that you were asked, this is technically considered part of your job. Even if you also decide to pick up a fruit parfait because you want to skip the carbs, you're still acting on behalf of your company. If, however, you were not asked and you only went to the shop to pick up bagels for yourself and crashed, you would not be eligible to file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

With the laws regarding the coming and going rule being as specific as they are, you definitely want to contact an attorney as soon as you can if you are hurt. Give Collier Law Firm a call today and get a free consultation to see if you have a case for workers’ compensation, even if it happened when you were traveling for work. You never know until you call, so let us help you today!

Electrical Injuries - Workers' Compensation Attorney

If you have ever touched something metal after walking in socks along your carpet or petting your animal and gotten a shock, you probably realize that static electricity is not something that you want to mess around with. Just that low amount of voltage can be enough to give you a start, and it isn’t very powerful at all. While there are stories of people surviving all kinds of bizarre situations, such as being hit by lightning, you always want to take precautions when there is electricity, because for every one of those stories there are at least three others that tell of someone who didn’t walk away at all.

Electrocutions are considered part of the “Fatal Four” which refers to the injuries and causes of death that occur most often in construction work. Considering the fact that about twenty percent of all workplace deaths occur in the construction industry, that percentage is thrown into sharp relief and shows the danger you face every day. The problem with electricity is that just about every place you can work has it, and therefore every building has the potential for a deadly interaction.

We often hear about workplace deaths and how those killed are leaving behind families and friends who relied on and loved them. These deaths are always sad and can happen to anyone. In fact, many of the deaths that occur are people who worked in the construction industry for years, but were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every time someone is killed on the job, another family is left devastated. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these deaths likely could have been avoided.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (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 (such as bare wires), and improper use of flexible/extension cords. With a voltage range that wide, you need to always act with caution. The last thing you want is to end up another statistic for next year's report.

If you or a loved one has suffered from an electrical injury while on the job, call Collier today for a free consultation. Injuries that are sustained while working with electricity are no joke , and we will do everything in our power to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve for your pain.

Independent Contractor vs. Employee - Workers' Compensation Attorney

When we get a call about someone getting hurt at work, one of the first questions we have to ask is whether or not you are, by law, an employee. This question often confuses people, because they do work that gets them paid. Unfortunately, just because you get paid doesn’t automatically mean that you are an employee. While you may technically be “employed” by a company to produce either items or a service, you might not be an employee by the definition of the law. You may, in fact, be contracted through a company instead. An employee is, by definition, someone who only works for one company at a time. While you may have multiple jobs, you most likely have to travel to each one separately and have W-2 tax papers from each one as well. An employee will also work hours that are decided by the employer. Many employees are welcomed and even encouraged to join a union. They are also normally able to apply for things like benefits through work such as healthcare or retirement plans if the job is full time and can collect unemployment if they are released for certain reasons. An employee is also protected by federal laws which set a minimum wage and overtime protections. Alternatively, an independent contractor can work for multiple companies at a time doing specialized work. They will often work from home or a remote location of their choice, and can work any hours they choose as long as deadlines are met. There are no unions that are set up for independent contractors and you cannot receive unemployment if you are let go. There are also no employment benefits such as health insurance for an independent contractor. There is no protection that assures they receive minimum wage and there is no overtime pay. Also they will get a different tax document, known as a 1099-MISC. The difference that we are most concerned is that independent contractors are not eligible for worker’s compensation. While an employee can apply for worker’s compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job, an independent contractor does not have this ability. If they are injured, the treatment costs fall completely on them and no compensation will be provided. Are you an independent contractor or an employee? If you are unsure, check with those you work for. It can mean the difference between paying for treatment yourself and calling Collier for help!