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Workers' Compensation Blogs

Workers Compensation Claims for Farm Laborers

Farm laborers are vastly underappreciated and underrepresented in many states of our country. This was proven to be true prior to a ruling in New Mexico in June of 2015. The New Mexico Court of Appeals heard a case dealing with workers compensation for those who cultivated crops from farm land versus those who processed the crops for distribution. Those who processed the crops were covered under the New Mexico workers compensation laws while those who were actually cultivating and harvesting the crops were not. This was the case despite the fact that often these workers are standing side by side on the same farms or ranches.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals found that this situation was unconstitutional. Their statement was that the distinction came down to nothing but their job title and was “seemingly without purpose or reason”. This is especially true when one considers how much physical labor goes into each of these jobs and the chances for one getting hurt in one way or another on a farm or ranch. The Court found that there was little to no difference between the two job categories when it came to whether or not they should be covered by workers compensation laws and so the different treatments were eliminated. We are glad that New Mexico saw that those working on a farm, despite what their specific job titles may be, should be eligible for compensation in the event of being hurt while on the job.

In North Carolina, most businesses with three or more permanent employees, regardless of full or part time, need to provide workers compensation to those who work for them. Agricultural operations, however, are held under slightly different laws than the rest of the employers. This means that those who work on farms are not held under the same requirements and do not always receive compensation in the same way as others. In North Carolina, agricultural employers need to have ten or more full time non-seasonal workers in order to be held to workers compensation laws in the state.

Here at Collier, we always want to help you get what you deserve. Much like this recent ruling in New Mexico, we are always happy to hear about any victory for workers in regards to their compensation being fair and equal.

Disability Benefits for Worker’s Compensation - Part 2

In a previous article, we explained to you how your compensation may be taken care of in regards to a temporary disability. While we all naturally hope that you will be able to return to work at some point, this isn’t always a possibility depending upon the severity and location of the injury. Permanent disabilities are, of course, the worst kind that we see, but we believe that these are also the most important to take care of. Here is a brief overview of permanent disability laws for the state of North Carolina.

Permanent partial disability is paid out when the injured person reaches the end of their healing period but still continues to have some form of impairment in the affected body part or parts. If a body part has been injured and is covered under a schedule, it is given a certain amount of time in which to heal under worker’s compensation laws. For example, a hand is given 200 weeks to return to full mobility before permanent partial disability is considered. Once this time is up, a medical professional will evaluate the area and determine the percentage of disability. Under these laws, the injured is allowed a second opinion by someone of their choice at the employer’s expense. Any additional payout that is received from permanent partial disability is calculated by use of a formula which takes into account the body part, disability rating, and temporary disability payments. This can cover not only limb injuries, but hearing and vision loss as well.

Permanent total disability is, understandably, the most severe claim that can be put forth. This occurs when an employee suffers the loss of both hands, both feet, both arms, both legs, both eyes, or a combination of these. It can also be claimed in the case of spinal injury which leaves severe paralysis of both legs, arms, or back or if there were second to third degree burns over 33 percent or more of the body. It may also be claimed with certain brain or closed head injuries. These payments will continue for life.

Under any case, but especially one regarding permanent disability, an attorney should always be contacted. Agreeing to certain claims can mean you receive less than you are eligible for. Call Trey Collier today to receive your free consultation regarding your worker’s compensation case.

Disability Benefits for Worker’s Compensation - Part 1

Getting hurt at work means a great many things. Sometimes you are able to quickly get the issue resolved and be back within a few hours. Other times, you are not quite so lucky. Being hurt on the job can have severe, life altering effects. Unfortunately, sometimes this means that you will have some form of disability, either temporary or permanent. When disabilities occur due to a work related injury, the law has specific guidelines regarding what you are entitled to. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect if you have been disabled due to an injury you have sustained at work.

Temporary total disability is what is paid out to you if you cannot return to work for an extended period of time. Before you are able to receive temporary total disability, there is a seven day waiting period that must be observed in which you cannot work. While these days do not have to be consecutive, it should be noted that any amount of a day that is missed counts towards this seven day time frame. You will not receive compensation for these first seven days unless your disability lasts for at least twenty one days. If this occurs, then you will be paid for the first week as well.

The compensation for this disability in the state of North Carolina is two thirds of the employee’s average weekly salary. Unless stated otherwise, this will be paid out in weekly increments and will continue until the injured person is able to return to work without restrictions or until the employer is able to prove that the employee is no longer disabled. This can continue for up to 500 weeks with the possibility of extension under certain circumstances.

Temporary partial disability is also a possibility in a worker’s compensation case. This occurs when someone returns to work, but at reduced pay. There is also a seven day waiting period for this, and it may continue for up to 500 weeks. Any payment made will be two thirds of the difference between the current weekly salary and the salary earned prior to the incident.

These are not the only possible categories your worker’s compensation claim may fall under. Soon, we will cover total disability for your benefit. Call Collier today with any questions regarding your worker’s compensation claim.

Caring for Yourself After a Work Related Injury

Getting hurt at work can certainly throw a wrench into your daily workings. Often, these injuries are severe and may be life changing permanently. While your employer and their attorneys may make it seem like the most important thing after the injury is getting you back to work, this isn’t the case. While getting back to your job is naturally something that will be important and something you should work towards, the most important thing is for you to get healthy and back to your old self again.

The biggest thing for you to focus on once you have been hurt at work is to take care of yourself. This means that despite what anyone at work says, you need to follow your doctor’s orders to the last letter. Make sure that your employer knows about any work restrictions that your physician has placed you under and ensure that they will be taken care of. If you are not accommodated, keep a list of things that you have been told to do, or do without, for your attorney to help you with. If you push yourself to continue your job as your employer demands against your doctor’s suggestions, it may not only harm your case for workers compensation, but it may mean that you do lasting or permanent damage to the injured body part.

Even if you feel up to doing something after a certain amount of time, be sure to get your doctor’s clearance before attempting it. Sometimes our bodies, or pain medication, can fool us into thinking that we have healed better than we really have. Your doctor will always know best how to get you back to your pre-injury form. Make sure that before attempting anything new, you speak to your doctor first. Again, you may injure yourself further or harm your chances of collecting full compensation due to pushing yourself to get better quicker.

Although it can be infuriating, patience is the most important thing when trying to heal from a work related injury. Always take things at the pace agreed upon by you and your doctor. Call Collier today and receive a free consultation about your workers compensation claim. Remember, your health is what matters the most to all of us.

I Was Hurt At Work – Should I Quit? - Workers' Comp

Unfortunately, this is a question that many of us hear when talking about worker’s compensation. Even some people in my family have had this reaction after being harmed at work. The cause for this thought is normally the reluctance of an employer to accommodate any injuries which have been sustained. This may be something like a period of mandated rest, a lightened work load, or even something simple like a stool or chair for an employee that needs to stand often, such as a cashier. While we do not want to give the impression that every employer will be cruel or unmoving in regards to injuries, it happens enough that the situation does merit being mentioned.

In a case of worker’s compensation, it may seem as if your employer is doing all they can to tear you down. This may include things like giving you tasks which are generally outside your work description that may be seen as demeaning or embarrassing. Perhaps they will consistently mention how you are no longer “pulling your own weight” with the company. In severe cases, they may even bring your co-workers into the situation either in words or by allowing snide remarks and reactions and overlooking any abuse which may be inflicted.

As upsetting as these actions may be, you should never quit your job if you have been harmed at work. Always be sure to document these negative occurrences in as much detail as possible and bring them up to your attorney. In most states, North Carolina included, an employer cannot fire someone because they have been injured on the job. By creating these unsavory work conditions, some employers may be attempting to gloat you into quitting which will then harm your chances of a full worker’s compensation pay out.

Although it may be truly upsetting or mentally harmful, you should always remember to make notes of these actions. Just as your action of quitting may harm your chances of getting a full compensation claim, the revelation of your employer’s transgressions may bring justice upon them. Perhaps there will even be ways to help prevent this from happening to another injured worker under the same person. Call Collier today for a free consultation regarding your claim, and be sure to let us know how your employer is handling your health.