You work hard every day to provide for your family and pay your bills. When an injury on the job takes you off your feet and stops your paycheck, even for a relatively short period, you may start to feel like you’re drowning.
Bills may pile up, and your bank account balance might start to dwindle. All the while, you are trying to heal from your injuries.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a work-related accident in Hickory, you are not alone. To help you through this tough time, turn to knowledgeable and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyers.
At Collier Law, our Hickory workers’ compensation lawyers will help you take the burden off you and your family during recovery.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy for employers required by law.
The workers’ compensation system pays workers who are injured or disabled on the job.
In North Carolina, employers must carry workers comp insurance to protect employees and themselves from expenses related to workplace injuries.
Often an employer has workers’ compensation through a private company. This setup can lead to a back-and-forth between the injured employee and the insurance company.
If this happens, your Hickory workers’ compensation lawyer will advise you of your options to pursue a reasonable and fair settlement.
What does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to all injured employees in Hickory, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
These benefits are tax-free, and employees’ families who have a fatal accident can also collect workers’ compensation payments.
What isn’t Covered Under Workers’ Comp in Hickory, NC?
The struggle that many injured workers face in North Carolina is that N.C. Workers’ Compensation laws don’t cover pain and suffering claims. So, employees with approved compensation claims don’t receive additional damages for pain and suffering or negligence.
If you have suffered a work-related injury, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Experienced workers’ compensation attorneys will explain your rights and obligations as an injured worker and help you get the maximum and fair compensation available to you.
How Do I Apply for Workers’ Comp in Hickory, NC?
The workers’ comp process in Hickory, NC, is relatively standard for every claimant.
However, what is standard in Hickory is different from other regions of the U.S.
Walking through these recommended steps from the North Carolina Industrial Commission is essential when filing your workers’ compensation claim.
Notify Your Employer and Seek Medical Treatment
Following immediately after a work injury, seek medical treatment.
A physician will see you immediately, offer treatment, and lessen your pain. They will also decide if you need surgery or ongoing rehabilitation treatment.
Inform Your Doctor that Your Injury is Work-Related
Take note that your employer has the right to pick where you receive treatment. Therefore, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company should provide you with a list of approved doctors for you to see.
In any case, informing your physician that the injury is work-related and giving them your employer’s name ensures that any treatment you receive can be billed as a workers’ compensation claim.
It is imperative that at your first doctor’s visit you tell them exactly what happened and how. You need to describe with particularity the nature of the injury, how and when it occurred, and every body part that you believe is injured.
Notify Human Resources
After you see a doctor, notify H.R. or the appropriate manager as soon as possible and submit your claim. If you are too injured to do this in person, you can have a family member, friend, doctor, or workers’ compensation lawyer do it for you.
Give Your Employer Written Notice
An injured employee has 3o days from the date of the accident to provide their employer with a short description of the resulting injuries.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions for Medical Treatment
If a doctor believes you cannot continue working or fulfill your job function, they will instruct you to take time off.
Failure to follow your doctor’s orders could hurt your claim and prevent you from receiving the maximum amount available to you.
This process may seem daunting, especially if you suffer from serious injuries. Contact a Hickory workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your case.
A workers comp lawyer can help you document your accident and resulting injuries, plus guide you on seeking total compensation.
Why Should I Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
Work-related injuries can be life-changing and often cause stress and turmoil in everyday life. For example, when you suffer a personal injury at the hands of a workplace accident, you may wonder how you will care for your family while you can’t work or about the cost of your medical bills.
After suffering a work-related injury, you’re tasked with defending yourself, but you shouldn’t have to. Instead, a workers’ compensation attorney can help.
Your workers’ compensation lawyer will help you navigate the system, answer all of your questions about benefits, and fight unfair denials if necessary.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance Companies
A workers’ compensation insurance company often does what they believe is best for them. That means, when injured employees file workers’ compensation claims, there’s no one looking out for them.
A workers’ compensation attorney can pursue a claim on your behalf by preparing and filing all necessary paperwork with your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company.
While you focus on recovering from your injuries, your Hickory workers’ compensation lawyer will submit all of the proper documentation to the insurance company correctly and on time to help you receive all the benefits you deserve.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
Workers are injured every day in various ways. Sometimes these workplace accidents are preventable, such as when safety protocols are ignored.
Work-related injuries also occur when employees are not adequately trained by managers or are forced to work through fatigue. Poorly maintained work sites also cause workplace accidents, including slip and falls.
If any of these have happened to you, you likely will have the right to workers’ compensation.
Injured workers that do not qualify for North Carolina’s workers’ compensation benefits include:
- Casual employees
- Domestic servants
- North Carolina federal government employees
- Sellers of Agricultural Products
- Employees of employers with fewer than three employees
What Happens if My Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied?
Some employers and insurance companies will deny workers’ compensation claims to protect themselves financially. It is essential to know your rights about pursuing workers’ compensation claims. If your claim is rejected, follow these steps:
Find Out Why Your Claim was Denied
When a claim is denied, your employer must give you the exact reason for the denial. It’s possible that the reason for the rejection is not related to the injury itself—for example, improper filing of paperwork.
Request Mediation with the Industrial Commission
If your claim has been denied, you should contact us immediately. If you do nothing, nothing will happen. However, we will file a Form 33, Request for Hearing with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This lets the Industrial Commission (the judicial body that oversees workers’ compensation) know there is a dispute between the parties. At that point, the Industrial Commission will order the claim to mediation prior to going to court. During mediation, each side has an opportunity to argue about the case and specifically address the reason for the claim denial.
A Formal Hearing Before a Deputy Commissioner
Filing a workers’ compensation claim on your own can be highly challenging. However, a skilled N.C. workers’ compensation attorney will be ready to fight for you and help you avoid denied workers’ compensation benefits.
If your claim is denied, they will fight the insurance company’s adjusters and lawyers. This may include gathering additional medical records and expert medical opinions or undergoing a medical exam with an independent medical expert.
Can I Be Fired for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
If you suspect you were fired because of your workers’ compensation leave status, contact a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as you can.
An attorney will review the facts and determine if your employee fired you illegally to ensure you receive benefits.
Light Duty Return To Work
If you are injured 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 covering 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.
How Much Does a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Cost in Hickory, NC?
Hickory workers’ compensation lawyers usually work on a contingency. Contingency means your attorney will only get paid upon successful settlement of a case.
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney fees are more regulated than other personal injury cases and are capped at 25%.
Other expenses, including attorney fees, investigation costs, court costs, and expert witness fees, get taken out of the settlement amount.
Costs associated with law firms include obtaining medical evidence proving the extent of the injury and that it occurred at work.
The North Carolina law firm handling the case processes the settlement check and ensures all parties receive their payments.
Workers’ Comp Claims We Work With
Our lawyers see numerous Hickory workers’ compensation cases. We help protect workers from various industries and companies. These include:
Manufacturing and Retail
- Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company
- Century Furniture
- Sherrill Furniture Thomasville Industries
- McCreary Modern
- Ethan Allen
- Progressive Furniture
- Vanguard Furniture
- Heritage Home Group
- MDI/Alex Lee
- Frye Regional Medical Center
- Catawba Valley Medical Center
- Case Farms
- Wal Mart
- Hanes/Leggett & Platt
- …and many more
- Frye Regional Medical Center
- Catawba County EMS
- Levine Children’s Hospital
- Trinity Ridge
- Brookdale Nursing Homes
- Kingston Residences of Hickory
- The Springs of Catawba
- Hickory PD
- Catawba County EMS
- Mountain View Fire Station
Contact a Hickory, NC Workers Compensation Lawyer For a Free Consultation
Workers’ compensation companies try to rush injured workers through the claims process, which leads to smaller payouts. When you hire a skilled workers’ compensation attorney, you’ll have someone fight for your case.