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Workers' Compensation Blogs

Uninsured Employers in North Carolina - Workers' Compensation Attorney

    Recently, an audit has been completed in regards to employers that are under or uninsured in regards to workers compensation. The North Carolina Industrial Commission conducted the audit to find out just how large the gap of uninsured employers is and had frightening findings. Although according to North Carolina law any employer who has three or more full or part time employees needs to purchase workers compensation insurance, unfortunately not every employer is willing to put forth the money to help protect anyone who may be hurt while on the job.
    According to the auditors, there are at least 156,000 workers that are employed by those based in North Carolina that are not covered by workers compensation insurance. This is naturally a very concerning fact and needs to be remedied as quickly as possible. This is why the North Carolina Industrial Commission has five full time employees dedicated to finding out where these lapses in coverage are. Despite the fact that these employees have not been increased, they have begun to collect more and more in fines over the past couple of years. In fact, since April of 2014, the Commission has collected more than $2.4 Million in fines. In the same span of time from 2012, they had only collected around $500,000. Due to this heavy increase in uninsured employers, the North Carolina Industrial Commission has asked for a larger staff to help crack down on those employers who are attempting to avoid insuring their workers.
    There are many concerns when it comes to not correctly insuring employees with workers compensation insurance. Not only does it harm those who are hurt on the job without the proper coverage, but it also causes problems for every tax payer in the state of North Carolina. This is because the money needs to come from somewhere and often is paid for through Medicare and Medicaid. One of the main issues found with the audit is the fact that many companies incorrectly claim that their employees are independent contractors. This means that they do not need to insure them. Identifying this employee misidentification is a large step in ensuring that everyone has the proper coverage. Always be sure that you check to make sure that your employer has the proper insurance for you.

Job Security – How it Improves Recovery Time - Charlotte Workers' Compensation Attorney

Although I know that we mention this a lot, I feel like it always bears to be repeated. Employers are not legally allowed to fire you for filing a workers compensation claim. While this is not a foolproof law due to claims of termination for other reasons, it can be argued (and often won) that these cases were based upon improper termination. This is something that is extremely important for you to know and remember if you have been hurt on the job. Time is of the essence when it comes to reporting a workers compensation claim and the most common reason for a delay is fear of retribution regarding job status.
    We often hear that half of recovery is a good attitude. While this may or may not be true of every injury, studies show that employees who were concerned about losing their jobs saw an average of four weeks longer in recovery than those who knew they had job security. WCRI, an organization in Massachusetts that studies work related injuries and workers compensation. This specific study I am citing was taken with the help of 3,200 people across the entire country.
    This study did take North Carolina workers into account and it was found that 47 percent of those in this state were concerned about losing their job after filing a claim regarding a work related injury. This was the highest amount across the entire country. While the study did not say why they were so concerned, it is believed that previous experiences or viewed patterns were to blame. This means we have a long way to go when it comes to workers compensation and the knowledge that everyone is treated in the way they are supposed to both by law and as basic humans.
    Having a lawyer can help improve your job concerns if you have filed a workers compensation claim. This is because you know that there is at least one person on your side who will fight for you and so the stress you have is reduced. Our main goal is to get you what you need to be back to yourself pre-injury. Studies show that this is more easily achieved when you are not concerned about job security and so we will fight for that as well. Call Collier today for your free consultation.

Uninsured Employers - Charlotte Workers' Compensation Lawyer

Between April of 2014 and the end of 2016, the North Carolina Industrial Commission collected more than $2.4 Million in fines from employers who were not accurately covering their employees with workers compensation insurance. Between employers claiming that their employees were independent contractors and others simply not filing the correct paperwork, there were a large number of employers who were found out. In 2015 alone, over 100 employers were charged with improper insurance coverage for their employees. So what does this mean for you?
    Even if you aren’t injured while working for someone who doesn’t have the proper insurance, you will still end up paying the price. When someone is injured at work and their employer doesn’t carry workers compensation insurance, the bill is then given to the taxpayers for medical treatment from Medicare or Medicaid. It also means that the state loses out on a good amount of tax money that should be owed to them which taxpayers generally have to make up the difference. I don’t know about you, but I think that taxes are already high enough without having to pay what larger businesses should be covering.
    Obviously the impact is much worse if you are the one who is injured. While medical insurance can help lessen the blow, depending on your injury you may still have to spend thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket. This can put extreme financial burden on you and your family. People have unfortunately lost their homes and more due to this issue. Here at Collier, this is something we hope to prevent from happening to anyone else.
    Employers that have been found to be in violation of the workers compensation insurance laws can be fined as much as $100 a day while they lack the coverage and are often held responsible for paying an injured worker’s medical bills and disability costs. Unfortunately, if they do not have the money to do so, the person who was injured is the one to suffer the most.
    If you are employed by someone who does not have the appropriate workers compensation insurance coverage, call the North Carolina Industrial Commission to let them know anonymously that your employer is not in compliance with the law. You never know, it just may be yourself you’re saving down the line.

Can I Be Fired For Submitting A Claim? - Charlotte Workers Compensation Attorney

One question that we hear a lot from those who are debating submitting a workers compensation claim is whether or not they can be fired for doing so. We understand how concerning it can be to be injured on the job, however we want you to know your rights so that you can feel good about whatever decision you make. While we always suggest filing a workers compensation claim if you have been hurt on the job, we also understand that your situation is not always so clear cut. For this reason, we want to explain the laws that protect you in North Carolina in regards to filing a claim.

In North Carolina, you cannot legally be fired for filing a workers compensation claim. You also cannot legally be demoted, suspended, or relocated for the same reason. In fact, the law protects you from being fired for many different reasons in this state. These reasons include work related injuries, wages, salary, work hours, workplace health and safety, pesticide exposure, juvenile justice system, domestic abuse restraining orders, national guard, genetic testing, hemoglobin, and more. This is all part of the North Carolina Retaliatory Discharge Act, or REDA.

Unfortunately, this isn’t as cut and dry as it may seem. North Carolina does allow employers to fire their employees for almost any reason or no reason at all. This is especially true if they cannot continue to do the work. If, however, you believe that you have been punished due to filing a workers compensation claim, you should file a claim to the North Carolina Department of Labor within 180 days of the event. The claim will be investigated and may be able to allow you to proceed to court. In court, you may be able to win lost wages, benefits, and other things such as attorney fees at your former employer’s expense.

If you believe that you have been treated unfairly, demoted, or even fired for submitting a workers compensation claim, then do not hesitate in calling Collier for your free consultation. Our goal is to help you get any monetary compensation that you deserve despite whatever roadblocks may be placed in your path. We are dedicated to helping you get healthy again and back to work, so give us a call and see what we can do for you!

Construction Workers and Workers Compensation - Charlotte Workers Comp Lawyer

It is not difficult to argue the fact that construction work is the most dangerous in regards to frequency of injuries as well as the severity of them. In fact, many of us have in some way been connected to construction injuries. For example, both my middle school and my college saw injuries to construction workers while I was a student in both buildings. Witnessing these accidents are terrifying, but that fear does not compare at all to those who are involved directly with the incident.
    Take for example the collapse of the pedestrian bridge in 2014 on the Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh. After the accident, tons of called came into the 911 center and the witnesses were mostly stressed, frantic, and afraid for the workers that had been hurt in the collapse. There was video taken which showed those who had seen the collapse run over and try to help those who were trapped. Even when the emergency responders arrived, it reportedly took a while for them to get to those stuck due to the debris. This, however, was probably nothing like the panic felt by those actually trapped.
    Four workers were harmed in the collapse, with one suffering back and neck injuries, one who broke his leg, and another who was being treated for pain. Three of the four that had been injured had to go through surgery after the collapse. Unfortunately, one man also lost his life when the 200 foot area of the bridge fell forty feet to the ground.
    It was eventually discovered that the contractor for the project had previously had safety violations from the Department of Labor which included bad safety gear and a lack of training for the employees. They had received at least some of these while working on another college construction project in 2005.
    Construction is hands down one of the most dangerous things that you can do for work, so always be sure that your employer has workers compensation insurance. Also, if you see something unsafe, call OSHA immediately. You will be protected under whistleblower laws and OSHA generally does not investigate a company unless there is a complaint filed.
    If you have been hurt while doing construction work, call Collier Law Firm today for a free consultation. It will be one of the best things you can do for yourself in regards to your workers compensation claim.