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Coming and Going - Workers' Compensation Attorney

One of the most confusing laws in the world of workers’ compensation is that of the “coming and going” rule. The coming and going rule refers to the time you spend traveling to and from your place of employment and any injuries that might occur along the way. Every circumstance has a different ruling, and whether or not you are allowed to file a workers’ compensation claim is fully dependent upon how you are traveling and whether or not it technically occurred during the scope of your employment. Let’s look at a few examples.

If you drive to and from work and are injured in a car accident, then you most likely do not qualify to file a workers’ compensation claim. Although you obviously need to get into work somehow, the argument can be made that you could have left at a different time or taken a different route and therefore possibly avoided injury. Until you clock in, you are not considered to be within the scope of your employment. Therefore, most travel to and from your job is not eligible for compensation. However, as with any rule, there are some exceptions.

If you are asked to stop by the bakery in the morning and pick up bagels for your big work meeting at 9:00 am, you're going to do it if you can. Not only does this mean that you have an excuse if you're a little late, but you can make sure that you get the flavor of bagel and spreads that you like. Due to the fact that you were asked, this is technically considered part of your job. Even if you also decide to pick up a fruit parfait because you want to skip the carbs, you're still acting on behalf of your company. If, however, you were not asked and you only went to the shop to pick up bagels for yourself and crashed, you would not be eligible to file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

With the laws regarding the coming and going rule being as specific as they are, you definitely want to contact an attorney as soon as you can if you are hurt. Give Collier Law Firm a call today and get a free consultation to see if you have a case for workers’ compensation, even if it happened when you were traveling for work. You never know until you call, so let us help you today!

Electrical Injuries - Workers' Compensation Attorney

If you have ever touched something metal after walking in socks along your carpet or petting your animal and gotten a shock, you probably realize that static electricity is not something that you want to mess around with. Just that low amount of voltage can be enough to give you a start, and it isn’t very powerful at all. While there are stories of people surviving all kinds of bizarre situations, such as being hit by lightning, you always want to take precautions when there is electricity, because for every one of those stories there are at least three others that tell of someone who didn’t walk away at all.

Electrocutions are considered part of the “Fatal Four” which refers to the injuries and causes of death that occur most often in construction work. Considering the fact that about twenty percent of all workplace deaths occur in the construction industry, that percentage is thrown into sharp relief and shows the danger you face every day. The problem with electricity is that just about every place you can work has it, and therefore every building has the potential for a deadly interaction.

We often hear about workplace deaths and how those killed are leaving behind families and friends who relied on and loved them. These deaths are always sad and can happen to anyone. In fact, many of the deaths that occur are people who worked in the construction industry for years, but were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every time someone is killed on the job, another family is left devastated. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these deaths likely could have been avoided.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the three most common causes of electrocution on the job as contact with overhead power lines (the voltage can range anywhere from 120 volts to 750,000 volts), contact with energized sources (such as bare wires), and improper use of flexible/extension cords. With a voltage range that wide, you need to always act with caution. The last thing you want is to end up another statistic for next year's report.

If you or a loved one has suffered from an electrical injury while on the job, call Collier today for a free consultation. Injuries that are sustained while working with electricity are no joke , and we will do everything in our power to make sure that you get the compensation you deserve for your pain.

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!