Gastonia Workers Compensation Lawyer
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Gastonia citizens go to work every day to support themselves and their families. They have mortgage payments to make, bills to pay, and mouths to feed.
When you get hurt on a job, your routine gets interrupted, and suddenly, your life changes. A personal injury knocks you off your feet and may keep you out of work, even for a relatively short time. Then, once the bills pile up and your bank account balance dwindles, you may feel like you’re drowning.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident in Gastonia, you are not alone. When you seek a personal injury attorney to discuss your case, they can help you pursue fair compensation.
What are Work-Related Injuries?
The citizens of North Carolina work in various jobs, including construction, manufacturing, shipping and receiving, distributing, health care, office work, and being employed with a county, city, or the State of North Carolina. Therefore, it is considered a work-related injury when you are injured on the job.
Workplace accidents may include:
- Overexertion from lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying
- Equipment failure
- Truck accidents that happen on the job
- Construction site accidents
- Burns or scarring that occurs at work
- Injuries caused by a co-employee
- Accidents that happen at work that result in permanent injury
- Back injuries
- Wrongful death caused by accident on the job
Although there are common types of workplace accidents, no matter the cause of your injury, seeking advice from a workers compensation attorney is in your best interest.
How Do I Know If I’m Eligible for Workers Comp?
If you are injured on the job, it is your legal right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits. Even in personal injury cases where you caused a workplace accident, you can file a workers’ compensation claim as long as you were performing an authorized activity.
Is North Carolina a “No-fault” State?
The North Carolina workers’ compensation program is a “no-fault” system, Meaning injured workers may be entitled to benefits regardless of who caused the accident.
If you are located in North Carolina and were injured or temporarily disabled on the job. You may qualify for a range of assistance after the accident.
Gastonia workers’ compensation lawyers help their clients determine how much financial compensation they are entitled to.
Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims
If you suffer a workers’ compensation injury while on the job in Gastonia or within Gaston county, you should report your injury immediately.
In the state of North Carolina, workers have 30 days to report a workers’ comp claim to their employer in writing. However, this deadline may be excused if you have a reasonable excuse for not giving written notice.
How Do I File a Workers Compensation Claim in Gastonia, NC?
- Tell your employer about the personal injury and seek medical treatment immediately.
- Inform your doctor that the injury is work-related and give them the name of your employer.
- Notify HR or the closest equivalent as soon as possible after the accident.
- Give your employee written notice within 30 days from the date of the accident and a short description of the resulting injuries.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for medical treatment.
To help aid you in this process, contact an experienced workers’ comp attorney to discuss your case. In addition, a workers comp lawyer can help you document your accident and resulting injuries, plus guide you on seeking total compensation. We will immediately file a Form 18 Notice of Accident for you to preserve your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Do Not Seek Compensation From Your Insurance Company for Medical Bills
Throughout this process, your employer may discourage you from filing a workers’ compensation claim and try to convince you to let your health insurance pay your medical expenses. A workers’ comp attorney will advise you not to follow that advice.
Do not assume that your health insurance will pay all your medical bills if you have suffered a workplace injury. It is also important to remember that private health insurance companies are not liable to replace lost wages if you’re out of work.
When Should I File for Workers Compensation?
If your employer denies your claim or does not file it, you are free to file it yourself or alert a North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney for help.
Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you are in Gastonia and worried that you would lose your job after filing your claim, contact a personal injury attorney immediately for a free consultation.
How Soon Do I Have to Return to Work after Suffering an Injury?
If you are injured on the job in North Carolina, your employer will often attempt to make you return to work before you are ready. There are certain hoops the law requires the employer to jump through, but many employers will take advantage of an unrepresented worker to get around these.
The statute that covers return to work light duty states that before an injured worker may return to work, the employer must have a light-duty job description approved by the treating physician. The proposed work must be within the employee’s work restrictions. This is very important to know, as there have been cases where an employer will make someone return to work light duty only to find a reason to terminate them at a later point.
Why are Workers Compensation Claims Denied?
There are various reasons for a workers’ compensation claim denial. Insurance companies have adjusters in place that are trained to minimize or deny your case. In addition, they will do everything they can to ensure they are not responsible for your lost wages or medical expenses.
Employers often deny workers’ compensation claims by telling them they reported it too late. In reality, the claim may only be a day or week after the injury happened.
Remember, in North Carolina, you have 30 days to report your injury to your employer in writing. By statute, you have 2 years to file a claim with the Industrial Commission but it is important that you do it as quickly as possible so the insurance carrier or your employer doesn’t deny the claim for lack of notice.
In some cases, you will have an unethical manager. For example, because some companies tie in manager or supervisor bonuses with the number of lost time accidents, many managers become motivated to get an injured worker’s claim denied for their financial gain.
In other cases, an employer isn’t aware of the law regarding reporting an injury on the job.
In any case, a Gastonia personal injury attorney will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
In many instances where an injured employee previously hurt their back or neck, an employer will deny their claim claiming their condition was “pre-existing.”
The North Carolina worker’s compensation law states that you can still receive compensation benefits if a new on-the-job injury aggravated or made your previous injury worse.
It is crucial to note what your treating physician says in these cases. Workers’ comp attorneys in Gaston county will ask detailed questions of your doctor to help you figure it out.
Injured Worker “Negligence”
Unless you tried to hurt yourself on the job intentionally or were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you got hurt, your claim cannot be denied.
Unfortunately, an employer may still try to tell you that you are the reason you got hurt and convince you that your workers’ compensation claim will be denied.
In this circumstance, your employer will encourage you to file the claim under the company’s health insurance.
When you contact your attorney for a free consultation, they will help you determine how to move forward.
Off-Site or Off the Clock Injuries
The North Carolina workers’ compensation law defines work-related injuries very broadly. So just because you get hurt in an accident off-site or after-hours doesn’t mean that you don’t have a valid workers’ compensation claim.
If your employer tries to deny your claim stating this reason, seek an attorney for a free consultation and see if your case was improperly denied.
What Happens if My Claim is Denied?
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim is complex and daunting. Your employer knows this, and insurance companies count on it.
When an employer tries to deny your injury was work-related or tried to limit your benefits or offer to pay less than a claim is worth, knowing your rights is essential.
Here are some things to keep in mind if this happens:
- If a claim is denied, your employer must give you the exact reason.
- If their reasoning is not related to the injury itself, request a hearing by filing a Form 33 Request for Hearing, with the Industrial Commission.
- If the mediation is successful, you will proceed to a formal hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
- If the commission denies your claim, you can continue to pursue your case at the Full Commission, a panel of three judges in Raleigh, and then at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim on your own is often highly challenging. However, skilled workers’ compensation attorneys will be ready to fight for you in court.
Is it Worth it to Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Pursuing a workers’ compensation claim on your own can be extremely challenging and is often long and arduous.
Gastonia workers’ compensation lawyers will take your rights as an injured worker seriously and help you navigate the legal and financial issues that lie ahead. In addition, we work on a contingency fee arrangement, which means we only get paid if you recover. Our fee is capped at 25% of any recovery, so you will never have to pay us anything out of pocket. There is no hourly rate, no consultation fee, and no retainer. Contact us today.
Get in Touch
Your first consultation with us is free and confidential.
We’ll listen to the details of your case and give you honest feedback
with no obligation on your part. Call 704.246.5749 to get started.