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Workers' Compensation Blogs

Ways To Protect Yourself and Your Workers Compensation Claim

Creating a workers compensation claim is a long and complicated process. There are many different steps that you should take in regards to these claims and not all of them are obvious. Here are a few things that you can do to protect yourself in the event of any kind of workers compensation claim.

The first thing you should always do in the event of an injury on the job is to create a claim. This is true of any type of injury, small or large. Many different medical issues begin as something small with the more severe symptoms developing with time. You should report any injury within thirty days to your employer, and always make sure there is a paper trail to follow. If you simply tell someone that you hurt yourself, they may forget or even deny it if you attempt to make a claim at a later date. If you file for workers compensation, you must submit a File 18 to the North Carolina Industrial Commission within two years of the injury date. You should make at least two copies of this and send one to your employer while keeping one for yourself.

Always seek medical treatment for any injury you have sustained. Ask your doctor for copies of any paperwork for your own files. The more documentation, the better. Be sure to explain exactly what happened in the same way you described it in your initial claim. Again, ask for copies so that your claim will be backed up by consistency. If your doctor suggests anything or prescribes any medication at all, be sure to follow their advice to the letter. Not only will it generally make you feel better, but it will also help your workers compensation case if you have done all you can to recover in the quickest amount of time.

Although sometimes employers make it difficult for someone after they have submitted a workers compensation claim, do not quit your job. Keep records of anything they do or other employees do which make you uncomfortable in regards to your injury. Present all of these documents to your attorney. If you call Trey Collier today, you will receive a free consultation and all of the help we can offer. Let us know how we can help you!

Help Me, I’ve Fallen At Work And Now I’m Hurt!

Although we normally think of falling during the winter due to ice and snow, anyone can slip and fall or trip over something at any time of the year. In fact, this accounted for around twenty seven percent of all workplace injuries in 2014, resulting in over 316,000 days missed from work. With falls being so incredibly common in North Carolina works areas, it is always good to know when these cases are covered under workers compensation laws and when they are not.

The general rule of North Carolina workers compensation is whether or not the injury was sustained during the “course and scope” of employment. Well, if you are currently asking yourself what the course and scope of your employment is, you certainly are not the only one. Often, this is what will make or break a claim. Some people submit workers compensation forms for an injury that they believe took place while on the job only to find out that it didn’t. For example, driving to or from work, or walking to and from work, does not count as part of the course and scope of employment. Any dangers that you are exposed to during travel back and forth is considered a public concern and therefore not the fault of your employer.

Naturally, there are exceptions to even this rule. If your employer either provides transportation for you such as a company car or gives you a vehicle with which you commute, then you may be covered by workers compensation. This is also true if you are reimbursed for gas or mileage traveling to and from work. Also, if you were running an errand for your employer outside of your normal job description, such as picking up their favorite bagel upon their request, you may be covered. This is true even if you benefited from the trip as well, such as grabbing yourself a cherry Danish while at the bakery.

As with any other workers compensation claim that you are unsure about, you should call Collier if you have fallen or tripped and been injured at work. Let us help you get what you deserve with the help of your free consultation. No one likes to fall without any help getting back up.

Mediation in North Carolina Workers Compensation Claims

Much like you may have had during school, lawyers can also use mediators in North Carolina for workers compensation claims. This often occurs when neither party wants a case to go to court regarding a disagreement. A mediation gives both the plaintiff and the defendant a place to informally speak their grievances and attempt to settle the case without having to pay the court costs which are almost always extremely high and inconvenient. This is not to say that a mediation is free, of course. Generally, both parties will share the cost of a mediation equally unless otherwise agreed upon. If the case is not settled at mediation, the defendant will pay the share that the injured party would otherwise be responsible for which gives them incentive for settling fairly.
    A mediator is generally a lawyer which is either agreed upon by both parties or is appointed by the Industrial Commission. If the mediator is not a lawyer, they still have special training in helping others to settle their differences. It is imperative that the mediator is an independent party to the other two and has no personal interest in the outcome of the meeting. Their only role is to schedule and control the mediation, they are not to pass a ruling or make any other decisions in the case. If the mediation does not work and the case continues onto court, it should also be known that statements that are made during the mediation are not to be used during the court trial. A mediation may be ordered if a disputed issue is filed through the Industrial Commission or if both parties request it, regardless of whether or not a hearing is scheduled or expected in regards to a claim.
    Due to the fact that most mediations end in a “clincher”, it is always a good idea to have a lawyer of your own there to advise you. Call Collier today for your free consultation and let us be at your side in the event of a mediation. We will always make sure that you get the best outcome possible, so if you have to go up against another lawyer, be sure to call us in to help protect your rights.

I’ve Been Offered to Settle My Workers' Compensation Case – Should I?

In almost every worker’s compensation case, the injured party will be asked if they want to settle, sometimes also called a “clincher”. While it may be extremely tempting to agree to a settlement, there are many different factors which should be brought into consideration while this offer is on the table. Here at Collier, we want to make sure that you receive everything you deserve out of your worker’s compensation case. Here are some things to think about if you are offered to clincher your case.

One of the first considerations that should be made in regards to accepting a settlement on your worker’s compensation claim is where in the claim you are. For example, if you have just been injured it is almost never advisable to agree to settle. Injuries may take much longer to heal than expected and some never heal correctly at all. By accepting a settlement, you may very well give up any right to receive further payments if another symptom appears, as the case has already been legally closed. As worker’s compensation attorneys, we always suggest waiting until the end of your temporary disability payments to see where the injury is and if there is any permanent damage.

Another consideration to make is whether or not a settlement will disrupt other payments you are already receiving. This can mean Medicare payments, social security payments, or other private disability payments through another medical plan. In the state of North Carolina, a settlement on a worker’s compensation claim may very well affect these things and should always be taken into consideration.

Remember that almost every settlement for a compensation claim will be proposed by either an insurance company or an attorney for your employer. It is within their best interests to pay you as little money as possible, regardless of where in your healing you are or what you deserve. Unfortunately, not everyone will have your health and recovery in mind, especially when it comes to money. We always suggest that you take your time regarding disability payouts and seeing how well your injury heals. Sometimes things like this will start to look up before getting worse again. Always contact your own attorney, especially if a settlement has been proposed. Call Collier today for your free consultation and see what you should do with your payouts.

Things That May Be Affecting Your Workers' Comp Claim

Any time you get hurt while on the job, there are a thousand questions which will spring to mind. Naturally, many of these will be similar to questions like “How long will it take to get back to work” and “Will I ever fully recover”. However, there are a few other questions you should be asking yourself and those around you in regards to your workers compensation claim. These are a few of the questions you should ask that pertain to what may be affecting your claim.

The first thing you need to ask is if the incident was an accident. While we are certain that no one meant to get you hurt, not every injury that occurs on the job is covered by workers compensation. An accident is generally covered under these laws, however not every incident that takes place while you were going about your normal work day is considered an accident. Back injuries are an exception to this law and as such are more complicated to argue.

Another thing that can affect your claim is a previous injury or history of damage to the same body part. Although a previous claim or medical history of treatment to the same area does not automatically disqualify you from workers compensation, it may negatively impact your treatment and the provided payment for any medical expenses. Insurance companies do not want to pay out more money than they absolutely have to and have become experts in arguing that the severity of your injury is due to a previous injury or illness. While having hurt the area before is not your fault, it can cause issues with getting you the full compensation for your claim.

Another thing that can impact your workers compensation claim is whether or not your employer can accommodate your injury at work. The entire point of paying workers compensation is to get you back to work, even with restrictions. If your employer is able to help you to work around your injury and return you to work, this will impact your claim.

If you have any questions about your workers compensation claim in North Carolina, don’t hesitate to call Trey Collier for your free consultation. We want to help you get back to where you were pre-injury, so let us know what we can do for you!