Workers’ compensation is a no fault system in Charlotte, North Carolina, in which employers of at least three full or part time employees must provide coverage for those employees if they are injured. The workers’ compensation insurance of the employer will provide medical and wage benefits to those who require medical treatment and/or time off of work to recover. In most cases, you will report your injury to your employer, and they will help you to file your workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, it is not always so simple. Your employer may not be willing to help you with this process or their insurance company may simply deny your claim. Today, we’ll go over what you can expect to happen when the workers’ compensation process doesn’t go as smoothly as you’d hope.
The First Steps You Will Take After a Work Related Injury in Charlotte, North Carolina
The first steps that you need to take after a work related injury include reporting the injury and seeking medical treatment, though not necessarily in that order. If your injury requires urgent medical attention, then you should go directly to the nearest emergency room. You don’t have to worry about the fact that your initial emergency treatment is not from an approved physician, because workers’ compensation will cover any expenses associated with necessary emergency care. However, if you don’t require emergency care, then you will need to report the incident first and choose a company approved physician, which your employer should direct you to. This is also true of any follow up treatment after any initial emergency room care you may receive.
When you report the injury, you should do so in writing. Typically, this will involve an incident report that your employer provides. If there is no incident report, then you can write one out on your own. Include the date and sign the document. Always keep a copy of the document in which you reported the injury. This way, nobody can later say that you did not report the injury or dispute the date that you did so. If you go to the emergency room for urgent care, then be sure to notify the hospital of the fact that your injury is work related, and give them the name of your employer.
Legally, you have up to 30 days to report the incident. However, the sooner you do so, the stronger your claim will be. If you wait, then you may find it difficult to prove that your injury was work related. Your incident report should include how the injury occurred and what injuries are involved. From there, you will need to file the actual claim, which your employer should help you with. If they don’t, then you can get the appropriate forms from the North Carolina Industrial Commission. You must start your workers’ compensation claim within two years of the injury, though again, the sooner you get started, the better.
What To Do If Your Charlotte, North Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Claim is Denied
When your workers’ compensation claim is denied in Charlotte, North Carolina, you should not make the mistake of assuming that this is the end of the road and there is nothing you can do. You will find out that your claim is denied and why it is denied within 14 days. It may have been denied because you did not provide adequate information about your injury, because you did not provide evidence that the injury was truly work related, or because you filed too late or with the wrong paperwork. This is the point where you can appeal the decision to deny your claim by requesting a hearing.
What to Expect from Mediation in a Charlotte, North Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Claim
Before your request for a hearing is approved and the hearing is scheduled, you will probably be ordered to attend mediation. This is a meeting between yourself and a representative of your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute without having to go to court. You will be responsible for half of the cost of mediation, but it will be less expensive than going to a hearing. This does not mean that mediation will definitely be the end of the process, though about 70% of workers’ compensation disputes are resolved in this way.
You should expect the insurance company to have an attorney present at mediation, and you would be wise to have one representing you as well. Both sides will be able to present evidence of why they think workers’ compensation benefits should or shouldn’t be provided. This can be an intimidating situation, especially when you are already overwhelmed by your injuries and lost wages. Having an attorney present can make it much less stressful and ensure that your evidence and arguments are properly presented in opposition to the well prepared arguments of the opposition. Your attorney will be sure to have gathered the appropriate evidence, including medical reports, your incident report, and anything else that is relevant to proving that you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.
If you are able to come to an agreement during mediation, then the mediator will report that. If you are not able to come to an agreement, then the mediator can recommend to the court whether or not you should be allowed to receive workers’ compensation benefits. If there is no agreement between you and the insurance company and if you do not agree with the mediator, then you can still have a hearing.
What to Expect from the Charlotte, North Carolina, Workers’ Compensation Hearing
A workers’ compensation hearing will happen in a courtroom and will be similar to a trial. The similarity to a trial is because each side gets to present evidence and question witnesses. If you did not already hire a Charlotte, North Carolina, workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and be present in mediation, then you will definitely want to make sure you have done so before the hearing. At the hearing, a deputy commissioner will hear all of the testimony and evidence to make a decision. If you do not agree with this decision, then you still have options. You can appeal by submitting an Application for Review to the North Carolina Industrial Commission within 15 days of the hearing.
Contact the Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates
Any time you encounter resistance or have a dispute in a Charlotte, North Carolina, workers’ compensation case, you will benefit from the advice, guidance, and representation of a skilled work injury attorney in Charlotte, NC. Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates to get the legal help that you need.