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All You Need to Know About Workers' Compensation Benefits - Workers' Compensation Attorney

The rules and laws of workers compensation can quickly get confusing, even to those of us who work with them each and every day. It isn't always common that you pay that much attention to laws in general unless it directly impacts you, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. There are so many things that we have to worry about from day to day, it often seems almost silly to put effort into learning the intricacies of something that may never be needed. Due to this, however, you may not know exactly what workers compensation benefits you should be getting if you were hurt. While we do suggest you hire an attorney, you can get a small overview of some of the benefits you may be entitled to right here. Just remember that this is not a comprehensive list and speaking with a licensed attorney is always going to be your best option. One of the most common questions that we are asked is “Why don’t I have my money yet”. While there are any number of reasons for this depending on your claim and injury, it should be noted that wage replacement does not occur for the first seven days of missing work as a result of your injury. If you miss more than twenty one days, then you will be compensated for those first seven that were missed as well. It may also come on a different schedule than you were expecting depending on your normal pay periods. Normally they are made weekly, but it is always best to talk to your attorney to be sure. Your lost wage compensation will come at 66 2/3% of your average weekly pay. As of 2017, that number is capped at $978 regardless of how much you make. This is meant to be adjusted annually and may change soon in the future, so always be sure to double check just in case you hit that pay bracket. The weekly long-term benefits will continue until you are allowed to return to your normal work or until an agreement or settlement is reached between all parties involved, including yourself. Workers compensation benefits are difficult to figure out, but we are here to help. If you have been hurt and want to file a claim, call Collier Law Firm today for your free consultation and see what benefits we can help you get!

What Is the Coming and Going Rule? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the laws in workers’ compensation that comes up time and again is what is known as the coming and going rule. The coming and going rule covers the period of time that it takes for you to travel to and from your place of employment. This includes any injuries that may occur along the way. It is important to remember that every case and situation is different. Whether or not you are eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim is based entirely off of how you are traveling and whether or not it was for your job. If you commute to and from work on your own and are injured in an accident along the way, you generally cannot file a workers’ compensation claim. Although you need to get into work somehow, until you have “clocked in” you are not, by law, at work. This means that your trip in is not considered to be within the scope of your employment, and so most injuries sustained during travel you take on a daily basis is not eligible for compensation. However, as with any rule, there are some exceptions. Here's an example. If you are asked to go to the store and grab bagels for the morning meeting, you may feel lucky. You get out of the office for a little and might even get to pick up something for yourself since you forgot your lunch at home this morning. However, if you are in an accident on your way to the store, are you still considered to be at work? According to the coming and going rule, you may be covered by workers’ compensation because you were doing something you had been asked to do by your superior. Even if you planned on doing some personal shopping while there, you didn't request time off to do it. However, if you were just stopping by the store for yourself, you wouldn't be eligible for compensation because it was just a personal errand. With the laws regarding the coming and going rule being as specific as they are, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can if you are injured. Give Collier Law Firm a call today and get a free consultation to see if you have a claim for workers’ compensation, even if the injury happened while you weren't in the office. We can help you figure it out, so give us a call today!

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.