No one ever plans on being injured on the job, yet workplace injuries are an unfortunate fact of life. Private industry employers reported 64,900 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in North Carolina in 2020. While this is a relatively small segment of the overall workforce, it becomes a matter of great importance when you are the one hurt.
Many injured workers face unexpected medical bills, uncertainty about the future of their jobs, frustration with the workers’ compensation claims process, and stress surrounding their ability to support their families.
If you or your loved one has been the victim of an on-the-job accident in High Point, NC, you need a knowledgeable and skilled workers’ compensation attorney in your corner. At Collier Law, we specialize in helping injured workers navigate the confusing claims process and obtain the financial compensation they deserve, so they can focus on healing with the assurance that their family will be taken care of. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The Workers Compensation System
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act is the law outlining the government program administered by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Its purpose is to protect injured workers and their employers by providing the injured worker benefits regardless of who was at fault for the accident that caused their injuries, while protecting the employer against lawsuits. All employers in North Carolina with three or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Benefits injured workers can claim include compensation for medical expenses and wage replacement. The workers’ compensation system is a practical approach to handling workplace injuries that results in a compromise between the worker and employer. It can operate well when all parties involved in a workers’ compensation claim are forthright and cooperative. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
When Employers and Insurance Companies Don’t Cooperate
If you experience a work-related injury, it is your responsibility to immediately report the incident to your employer. This is the first step to get the ball rolling on your workers’ compensation claim. The employer’s responsibility is then to promptly file a claim with its workers’ compensation insurer. Sometimes, however, employers are uncooperative and will try to stall or avoid injured workers’ claims.
Even if your employer does fulfill their duty in a timely manner, you may find that the insurance company will try to limit the benefits you deserve, or deny your claim altogether. An insurance company’s primary objective is to pay you as little as they can get away with, and this is much easier for them to do when you don’t have legal representation. As a result, they may try to persuade you that you don’t need a lawyer. Don’t listen.
Negotiating with insurance companies solo puts you at a disadvantage, and that’s exactly what they want. However, an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure you don’t get taken advantage of.
How A High Point Workers Compensation Lawyer Can Help You
A workplace injury can be a minor nuisance that resolves within a matter of weeks, or it can be a long-term injury that has devastating effects on your life and future. Whether you’re out of work for only a short time or much longer, a workers’ compensation claim is not something you want to take lightly. A few unplanned weeks without a paycheck can still be a significant financial burden on your family.
Workers’ compensation cases are complex and highly technical. However, experienced workers’ compensation attorneys are well-versed in North Carolina law regarding workplace injuries, and know how to ensure you recover the full compensation you deserve.
Skilled workers’ comp lawyers will make sure you are fully aware of your rights, prepare and file your claim, handle all paperwork and deadlines, and negotiate on your behalf.
If your claim is denied, they will assist you in the appeals process and challenge unlawful grounds for rejection. If a satisfactory settlement cannot be reached, proficient workers’ compensation lawyers will not hesitate to take your case to trial and fight for your rights.
Furthermore, a skillful High Point workers’ compensation lawyer will also do a thorough investigation as to whether a third party is partially responsible for your injuries. If so, you may qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit. Their job is to make sure you recover all the compensation you’re entitled to.
Benefits You Can Claim
North Carolina law provides for the following types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical Benefits
- Wage Loss Benefits
- Disability Benefits
- Disfigurement & Scarring Benefits
- Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
Do I Have a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
So long as you meet the following criteria, you are entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina:
- Your injury occurred while you were working
- Your injury occurred because of the work you were performing
- Your injury was caused by an accident or specific incident
- Your employer has three or more employees
Keep in mind that workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You are still entitled to file a claim even if you were partially at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. Furthermore, you need not be on your employer’s physical property at the time of the accident, as long as you were performing work for them when it happened.
Dangerous Jobs in High Point, NC
Certain lines of work are inherently more dangerous than others. Despite rigorous safety protocols and preventative measures, for example, it probably comes as no surprise that construction workers have a much higher rate of workplace injury than office workers.
With High Point being the “Furniture Capital of the World,” there is plenty of construction going on here, albeit not necessarily with concrete and rebar. Still, furniture construction or any manual labor that involves tools, sharp edges, heavy objects, and lifting will naturally predispose workers to certain types of injuries.
Common workplace accidents in the furniture-making industry may involve harmful contact with equipment, being struck by objects, falls, and repetitive stress and overexertion. If you’ve suffered a workplace injury as an employee of Ashley Furniture, Lifestyle Furnishings International, Select, Braxton-Culler, Uwharrie Chair Company, TCI Supply, or any other furniture manufacturers in Guilford County, contact Collier Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.
What to Do If You’re Injured On the Job
There are several important steps you must take if you’re injured at work. Workers’ compensation claims are very technical and there are deadlines you must be aware of. Missing these deadlines could make you ineligible to receive benefits for your injuries.
- Report the injury to your employer right away. You must do this both verbally and in writing within 30 days.
- Seek medical attention immediately. Clearly do this first if your injuries require emergency care. Otherwise, seek treatment from your on-site health provider or the doctor your employer refers you to after reporting the incident. Inform the doctor that the injury is work-related.
- Follow your doctor’s treatment instructions and keep detailed medical records. Do not miss appointments, therapy sessions, or fail to take prescribed medications, as this could jeopardize your claim.
- File a workers’ compensation claim with the North Carolina industrial commission. You have only two years from the date of injury to do this, which is not as much time as it seems. Contact Collier Law for a free case evaluation. We can file your claim for you, relieve the stress of navigating the claims process alone, and ensure you receive all the benefits you’re entitled to.
Be mindful that the employer or their insurance company may pressure you to sign paperwork or accept a settlement before you have had the opportunity to seek counsel. They cannot require you to do this. Do not sign anything until you have consulted a qualified workers’ compensation attorney regarding your rights!
Light Duty / Return-to-Work Programs
If you’re injured on the job in North Carolina, your employer may attempt to make you return to “Light Duty” work in a temporary, limited, or lighter capacity than your usual job, even if you’re not yet ready. It’s important to be aware of your rights regarding Light Duty work.
North Carolina law states that before you can return to work, your employer must have a light-duty job description approved by your treating physician first, and the proposed work must not exceed your work restrictions.
Workers Compensation Lawyers You Can Count On
At Collier Law, we treat all our clients with compassion and respect, the way we would want our family to be treated. We pride ourselves on the solid relationships we build with those we represent and provide them with personal, first-rate legal counsel.
We are a small, tight-knit legal team with vast experience in North Carolina workers’ compensation law, and we are passionate about getting justice and peace of mind for injured workers and their families. That’s why we’re “The Workers’ Lawyer.”
If you’re an injured worker in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, or High Point, NC, contact us today for a free consultation.