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Independent Contractor vs. Employee - Workers' Compensation Attorney

When we get a call about someone getting hurt at work, one of the first questions we have to ask is whether or not you are, by law, an employee. This question often confuses people, because they do work that gets them paid. Unfortunately, just because you get paid doesn’t automatically mean that you are an employee. While you may technically be “employed” by a company to produce either items or a service, you might not be an employee by the definition of the law. You may, in fact, be contracted through a company instead. An employee is, by definition, someone who only works for one company at a time. While you may have multiple jobs, you most likely have to travel to each one separately and have W-2 tax papers from each one as well. An employee will also work hours that are decided by the employer. Many employees are welcomed and even encouraged to join a union. They are also normally able to apply for things like benefits through work such as healthcare or retirement plans if the job is full time and can collect unemployment if they are released for certain reasons. An employee is also protected by federal laws which set a minimum wage and overtime protections. Alternatively, an independent contractor can work for multiple companies at a time doing specialized work. They will often work from home or a remote location of their choice, and can work any hours they choose as long as deadlines are met. There are no unions that are set up for independent contractors and you cannot receive unemployment if you are let go. There are also no employment benefits such as health insurance for an independent contractor. There is no protection that assures they receive minimum wage and there is no overtime pay. Also they will get a different tax document, known as a 1099-MISC. The difference that we are most concerned is that independent contractors are not eligible for worker’s compensation. While an employee can apply for worker’s compensation benefits if they get hurt on the job, an independent contractor does not have this ability. If they are injured, the treatment costs fall completely on them and no compensation will be provided. Are you an independent contractor or an employee? If you are unsure, check with those you work for. It can mean the difference between paying for treatment yourself and calling Collier for help!

Am I Getting the Right Benefits? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the most difficult questions to answer when it comes to workers compensation is whether or not someone is getting the right benefits. This is also often one of the first questions that we get in regards to a claim that has been filed through the North Carolina Industrial Commission. People want to know what benefits they should be getting, and it's a perfectly understandably request. It is often confusing to navigate through the laws and regulations of workers compensation for anyone, so being certain that you are getting what you are owed isn’t an easy task. This is one of the main reasons why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible after you get injured while on the job. Every case is different, so every set of benefits from workers compensation claims are going to be different as well. Your benefits depend on where you are in your claim, how long you have been out of work, whether you can still work part time, your type of injury, the severity of your injury, and any other number of factors. While the basics can be boiled down into a slightly shorter version, the fact still remains that no two cases are the same, and therefore no two people will get the exact same set of benefits from workers compensation. As much as a blanket amount may make everyone’s lives easier, this just isn’t the way the laws work in North Carolina. It can be confusing even for someone who has been doing this for years depending on different factors, so for someone who is already stressed and hurt and is also unfamiliar with the law, it can seem impossible. This is why you need someone to help you navigate the strange field of workers compensation. If you have been hurt on the job, call Collier Law Firm today for your free consultation. We can’t promise immediate answers, but we can promise that we will do everything in our power to make sure that you are getting the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injury and getting back to work. We also want to remind you that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. This means that you won’t be laden with attorney fees on top of all of your other expenses if things don’t go your way during your claim. Let us know how we can help you, and let us do the rest!

Was It My Fault? - Workers' Compensation Attorney

Getting hurt at work often makes someone feel ashamed, which is an unfortunate, albeit completely normal response to an injury. Many people blame themselves for not being more careful or at least for no longer being able to provide for their families the way they had been before the incident. This is often made worse by the societal feelings toward people who don’t work that is impressed upon us by many people we interact with. What we want you to remember is that even if you are no longer able to work due to an injury, you are not a person who deserves to be blamed and left behind. In fact, we believe the opposite to be true. Workers compensation in North Carolina has what is known as a “no-fault” clause. This means that regardless of who may be “responsible” for the injury, you are still eligible for the compensation as long as it was an accident. Accidents happen all the time and they don’t have to be the result of any one person doing something. How many times have you opened up a cabinet in your kitchen only to have something fall out at you? While it may be that someone put the item too close to the edge of the shelf, it may also simply be due to constant small movements that it worked its way forward to the point that it fell. If we don’t blame ourselves when a bottle of shampoo falls in the shower, why would it be any different when something falls at work? The way North Carolina law is worded, you can file a claim only if the incident was an accident. If it was clearly caused by negligence, that gets into a completely different group of laws. There are still options for you in this case, but for the time being let’s focus on workers compensation laws. Unless you blatantly caused the injury by being careless or by ignoring orders, you likely have a chance of getting some form of workers compensation. Regardless of who may have been at fault, you should call Collier Law Firm if you have been hurt at work. You will get a free consultation for your case and a legal team that will fight to make sure you get the compensation that you deserve. We understand that accidents happen and want to help you get back on track. Give us a call today!

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!