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Workers' Compensation Blogs

Occupational Diseases - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the biggest problems that face workers today is occupational diseases. This is a relatively new concept to hear about, and we can thank technology that it is already such a widespread phenomenon now with as much information available as there is. While most people think of illnesses as something that comes and goes, especially around this time of year with the flu kicking up again, an occupational disease is something different. An occupational disease is something that generally has a slow onset and is caused by exposure to something while working. Things like mold or asbestos can cause occupational illnesses, and these diseases are often fatal if left untreated. This is why it is so important to get the proper care for them. On Memorial Day of 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 in 2012. This publication starts out by remarking that the official numbers are likely often much lower than the real numbers for many reasons. One of the reasons is simply the lack of information gathered on occupational disease deaths. The report even states that “no database collects their names”, referring to people who pass away from occupational illness. They explain that the vast majority of people who pass because of this phenomenon are never known, but they estimate that for every worker who dies from an acute injury on the job, ten more pass from an occupational disease. That is a terrifying and sobering number no matter how few have been killed by a sudden incident in the workplace. While the number may not be truly accurate, every single one of those people deserve to be remembered and their families should be given the correct compensation for what they have gone through. Here at Collier Law Firm, we believe that every workers compensation claim should be honored, including those that deal with occupational illness. These go overlooked far too often and are pushed aside, and we don’t think that's acceptable. We believe that your claim is just as valid as anyone else’s and would love for you to call us for your free consultation. We will fight for you just like you are fighting the illness you developed from working in unsafe conditions: as hard as we can until the very end.

Should I Settle My Claim? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the legal moves that you often hear about in workers compensation claims, and many other types of litigation, is a settlement. This is what occurs when the issue is resolved internally and/or privately between the two involved parties without going to court. In the workers compensation field, this is commonly called a “clincher”. Unfortunately, we often don't hear from clients until they are being offered one and don’t know if they should take it or not. Under ideal circumstances, you would contact an attorney before this stage, but we understand why so many people don’t. The issue is that people want an immediate answer and without knowing your specific case, we simply cannot give one. Clinchers are difficult to deal with for the simple fact that each one is so different. A case is as unique as the person involved, so no two are exactly alike. This means that every injury is different and therefore every compensation deal should be as well. Generally we find that if a settlement is offered, it isn’t going to benefit the client in the best way, but again, each case is different. Sometimes you get lucky and receive a fair offer. However, we see people far too often realize too late that they shouldn’t have taken the clincher they were offered and now are on the hook for extra medical bills that they didn’t anticipate. Even if you want to settle a claim and get the whole situation over with, you need to be able to get the results that benefit you the best. The laws of workers compensation are always changing and can get extremely complicated once you get into the details of them. While we are certain that you are intelligent enough to figure them out, we do this every day of our lives and you already have enough to focus on. It is important to remember that you still need to recover from the injury that put you in this position in the first place. You don’t need the added stress of trying to figure out exactly how to make the legal system work for you. 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, settlement or not. You are in good hands, so call for your free consultation and let us focus on getting you compensated while you focus on healing. You deserve it!

Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers Compensation Claim? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the biggest concerns that people have when they are hurt at work is about the future of their job. The news and the internet are filled with horror stories about employers who turn a blind eye to their worker's safety, and then fire them once someone gets hurt. This leaves the employee out in the proverbial cold with mounting medical bills and no visible way out. We often field calls from people who are worried to the point of tears about their family and how they will continue to care for them without their jobs if they file a claim. We know it’s hard, but if this sounds like you, it's important to breathe and remember one main thing: It is not legal for an employer to fire you simply because you file a workers compensation claim. This is often difficult to remember at the time of the injury, but it is something that you should know. Keep repeating this fact to yourself. You cannot legally be fired for your work injury. If you believe that your employer is preparing to fire you, let your attorney know. Keep a detailed journal that explains why you think this may be happening and anything else odd that happens to you at work. See if you can get a coworker to back up your claims if possible. If there is nothing else that would normally result in your being fired, then you should definitely bring it to your attorney's attention. Remember, we are here to help you get what you deserve. If your employer has told you not to file a workers compensation claim despite the fact that you were hurt on the job, you should immediately contact an attorney. This is especially true if an employer threatened you in order to try and keep you from filing. It is unlawful for your boss to do that, and if it has happened to you it most likely has already happened to someone else or will the next time someone gets hurt. Letting someone know that this happened can help prevent someone else from going through the same struggle that you are. If something like this happens to you, you should call Collier Law Firm for a free consultation. We will do everything we can to get you the help and compensation that you deserve. Let us help you today!

My Employer Says We Don’t Have Workers Comp Insurance, What Do I Do? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

A common tactic that we have noticed when employers don’t want their workers to file for workers compensation is for them to tell the injured person that they don’t have, or need to provide, workers compensation insurance. This would mean that the worker is not covered and shouldn’t file a claim either way, as it wouldn’t do anything. Unfortunately, this does often 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 the employer says just in case they are trying to keep you quiet. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires that all businesses that employ three or more employees have workers compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers. The exceptions include 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 might rule in your favor despite your official title from your employer. 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 operating illegally. If this is the case, they need to be reported to the North Carolina Industrial Commission and dealt with through the courts. An employer being 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 something that is actively being cracked down on. By reporting this type of activity, you are not only helping the state, but also protecting someone else 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 love for it to be us. Give us a call today and see what we can do to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Do I Need an Attorney? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

With workers compensation, we often hear people ask if they really need a lawyer. After all, you just need to go into the courtroom, explain what happened, and get compensated for it, right? Well, nothing is ever quite that simple, and filing a workers compensation claim takes a bit more work than you may expect. You need to remember that workers compensation is a type of insurance and just like any other form of insurance, the insurance company doesn’t want to pay you money if they don’t have to. This is why you need an accomplished attorney on your side. While some workers compensation cases are open and shut, most have a lot of factors that mean that things can go in a different direction than you think. After all, you may think that if you were up on a ladder moving boxes and fell at work, you deserve workers compensation. However, there are questions that will be asked such as “Were you following proper safety procedures while on the ladder?” or “Had someone told you not to use the ladder until you could have assistance?”. You never know exactly what a company will argue, so it is always safer to have someone on your side than to go in alone and become overwhelmed with all the questions. It is also important to hire an attorney so that you know you aren’t being swindled. Workers compensation law is very detailed, so you may be led to believe one thing, and even shown “proof” to back it up, while in reality what you were shown means something entirely different. It is always possible that your employer or their workers compensation insurance company is trying to make sure that you don’t get as much money as you deserve through your claim. These are the things we are here for, to prevent them from happening to you. If you have been hurt on the job and believe you have a workers compensation case, call Collier today for your free consultation. We will fight in your corner until you get what you deserve after your injury and won’t let anyone bully you into something less. Remember that we don’t get paid until you do, so you won’t be saddled with excessive fees on top of medical expenses if you don’t win your case. Call us today and let us guide you through the workers compensation process!