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Workers' Compensation Blogs

Am I Getting the Benefits I Deserve? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the most difficult questions when it comes to workers compensation is whether or not someone is getting the right benefits. This is also often one of the first questions that we hear in regards to a claim that has been filed through the North Carolina Industrial Commission. People want to know what benefits they should be getting, and understandably so. It can be confusing to try to navigate through the laws and regulations of workers compensation for anyone, so being certain that you are getting what you are owed isn’t an easy task. This is one of the main reasons why you should contact an attorney immediately after you get injured while on the job. Every case is different, so every set of benefits from workers compensation claims are different as well. Your benefits depend on where you are in your claim, how long you have been out of work, whether you can still work part time, your type of injury, the location of your injury, the severity of your injury, and so many other things. While the basics can be boiled down into a slightly shorter version, the fact still remains that no two cases are the same and so no two people will get the exact same set of benefits from workers compensation. As much as it would make everyone’s lives easier, this just isn’t the way the laws in North Carolina work. It can be confusing even for someone who has been doing this for years depending on the case, so for someone who is already stressed and hurt it can seem impossible. This is why you need someone to help you navigate the strange field of workers compensation. If you have been hurt on the job, call Collier Law Firm today for your free consultation. We can’t promise immediate answers, but we can promise that we will do everything in our power to make sure that you are getting the compensation and benefits that you deserve while you focus on healing and getting back to work. We also want to remind you that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. This means that you won’t be saddled with attorney fees on top of everything else if things don’t go your way during your claim. Let us know how we can help you, and let us do the rest!

The Origins of Workers Compensation - Workers' Compensation Attorney

Did you know that pirates have a special place in the world of workers compensation? It's true! This is due to the fact that pirates happen to be the first known group of people to have a set and well documented form of workers’ compensation. When people think of pirates, normally the image that immediately comes to mind is the bloodthirsty and ruthless (yet often still romanticized) swashbucklers that Hollywood has given us to watch. Rarely do you think of any laws they may have had a hand in creating other than those that have to deal with theft. However, it has been shown through historical sources that pirates may be who you need to thank for your pay when you get hurt on the job. The golden age of piracy, generally agreed to be between 1650 and 1720, saw people of all kinds on the high seas. While the image of bloodshed is not wholly incorrect, there was also an interestingly democratic and almost playful side to many pirates that we are still slowly uncovering. One of these topics that is starting to become better known is that of their workers’ compensation program. If a pirate lost their right arm and survived, they were paid 600 pieces of eight, which is another term for silver. The left arm and right leg were both worth 500 pieces of eight while the left leg was worth 100 pieces less. An eye and a finger were both worth only 100 pieces of eight, but unfortunately fingers could be lost quickly in that line of work. Some ships even offered compensation if a fake limb, such as a peg leg, was lost due to the rarity of a well carved and correctly fitted replacement. Another fun fact was that if the pirate survived the injury that made them eligible for compensation, they were guaranteed lifetime employment on the ship. They were also offered lighter duty and their disabilities were accommodated. This makes piracy one of the first known professions to have both compensation and a return-to-work policy. Thankfully, nowadays we have workers compensation lawyers and pay in money instead of pieces of eight. Here at Collier, we will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve and do everything in our power to make sure that you don’t need to worry about how you’re going to support your family if you're hurt on the job. Give us a call so we can help today!

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 what the person's specific employment status is. As odd as this may sound, many people are unsure about their specific title when it comes to employment. While a person may be employed by a company to produce either items or a service and get paid for it, they may not qualify as an employee by the definition of the law. They may, in all actuality, be marked down by the company they work through as an independent contractor instead. This is a very important distinction when we are talking about workers compensation. An employee is, by definition, someone who only does work for one company at a time. While they may have multiple jobs through different employers, they generally have to travel to each one and receive W-2 tax forms from each as well. An employee will also work the hours that are set by the employer as opposed to setting their own flexible schedule. Many employees are welcomed and even encouraged, to join a union. They are also generally able to apply for benefits that are available through work such as healthcare or retirement plans, and are eligible for unemployment if they are released for certain reasons. An employee is also covered by federal and state laws which set a minimum wage as well as overtime laws. On the other hand, an independent contractor can work for multiple companies at the same time doing specialized work. They often work from a remote location and can work any hours they choose as long as deadlines are met. There are no unions for independent contractors and you cannot receive unemployment if let go. There are also no employment benefits for an independent contractor. There is no legal protection that assures they receive minimum wage, and there is no overtime pay. They also get a different tax document, known as a 1099-MISC. The difference that we are most concerned about is that independent contractors are not eligible for worker’s compensation. While an employee can apply for worker’s compensation benefits if hurt on the job, an independent contractor does not have this option. If they are hurt, the treatment costs fall completely on them and no compensation is to be provided. If you are unsure whether you are an employee or an independent contractor, call Collier and see if we can help you look at the possibility of workers compensation.

Clinchers - Workers' Compensation Attorney

Something that needs to be talked about with workers compensation claims, and almost every other type of litigation for that matter, is the idea of a settlement. A settlement is simply something that allows the issue to be resolved privately between the involved parties without having to go to court. When you're talking about workers compensation, this is often referred to as a “clincher”. Often times, we don't hear from clients until a clincher has been offered and they aren't sure if they should take it or push for a better result. In a perfect world, you would have been in contact an attorney before this stage, but we understand that there are reasons why people wait. The problem tends to be that people want an immediate yes or no and without knowing the details of your case, we simply cannot give you one. Clinchers are difficult to talk about because every case is so different. Every claim is as unique as the person involved, so no two are exactly alike. This means that every compensation should be different as well. Generally, we find that if a settlement is offered it isn’t going to be the best choice, but again every case is different. Sometimes you get lucky enough to be given a fair offer. Unfortunately, we often see people realize far too late that they shouldn’t have taken a clincher and now have to pay out of pocket for things related to the injury. Even if you want to settle a claim and get the ordeal over with, you should never be too hasty. Having a lawyer on your side can help you notice all of the finer details of your case without overwhelming you. It is important to remember that you still need to recover from your injury. You don’t need the additional stress of trying to figure out whether or not you should take the first offer that is presented to you while trying to get back to work. If you have been hurt at work and offered a settlement, call Collier Law Firm today. We will work to get you the compensation that you deserve, regardless of whether that involves a clincher or not. Call us for your free consultation as soon as you can and let us focus on getting you the compensation you deserve while you focus on getting better. Trust us to help you through this tough time!

Chronic Disorders - Workers' Compensation Attorney

Every now and then, we get a case that is more complicated than a lot of our others. While these cases may be complicated for any number of reasons, one complication that we keep running into with these cases is a chronic disorder. When we use the term “chronic disorder”, we generally mean conditions that cause pain. This can refer to issues such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and even previous injuries that didn’t heal correctly. These tend to complicate workers compensation claims because insurance companies will try to use these conditions against your claim by saying that your pain is not from your workplace injury. It is cheaper for them to write something off as part of your condition regardless of whether or not it is consistent with any of your past symptoms. Due to the fact that each chronic condition is different and every person with a chronic condition experiences their disorder differently, arguing against the chronic condition claim is difficult. This doesn’t mean that you should give up hope! If you have a chronic health condition, you will probably have an extensively documented medical history, which is something a vast majority of people dealing with workers compensation don’t have. Some doctors even request that patients keep a journal. If this is the case, you should have a fairly good record of your pain and how it has changed since your injury. While this isn’t considered an objective piece of evidence, it can certainly help your case. After all, a personal journal that stretches back what may be years can help to back up your claims for what has happened recently. Suffering from a traumatic injury when you already have a chronic disorder can really throw your body off track. We often see that injuries like these can mess with someone’s mental health as well. Naturally, we want you to be healthy in all aspects of life, so be sure to keep an eye on your mental health as well as your physical health. If you have a chronic condition and have been hurt at work, call Collier today for your free consultation. We will do everything we can to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can get back to your old level of ability. We know that if anyone can fight for what they deserve it's you, so let us represent you in this new task!