Before they had anything like workers compensation in Wilmington, North Carolina, employers would have to defend themselves in court every time a worker got hurt on the job and get the help of Wilmington workers comp lawyers to pursue their case.
Knowing this could lead to economic disaster, the legislature decided to implement the workers comp system. Under this system, injured workers can apply for benefits if they get hurt while at work. These benefits include free medical care as well as replacement wages. These benefits are meant to last only until you’re ready to go back to work.
And, while the system does offer protection for workers, it can be quite difficult to navigate if you aren’t familiar with it. That’s why it’s a good idea to rely on Wilmington workers comp lawyers if you happen to get injured at work.
The goal of hiring a North Carolina personal injury lawyer is to ensure that you get the benefits to which you’re entitled. Here, we’ll talk about how the claim process works. We’ll also highlight the reasons why it’s a good idea to have a legal professional assist you throughout the process.
Not All Employees Are Eligible for Workers Compensation in North Carolina
While the workers compensation system protects most employees, there are certain categories of workers who aren’t entitled to workers comp benefits. If you happen to work in an excluded industry, you’ll have to rely on something other than workers comp in North Carolina. These excluded professions include the following:
- Railroad workers
- Federal employees
- Domestic servants
- Agricultural workers (employers with less than 10 regular, non-seasonal workers)
- Seasonal and casual workers
- Independent contractors
If you don’t fall in any of these groups, you should be eligible for benefits. If you hire one of our Wilmington workers compensation lawyers, you shouldn’t have any problem applying for benefits.
You Must Meet Certain Criteria to Be Approved for Workers Compensation
Before you can start collecting workers comp benefits, you need to file a claim and have it approved. This means you must meet the minimum requirements set forth by the State of North Carolina’s Industrial Commission. This is the agency that oversees workers compensation.
They also handle any issues with denied claims or disputed cases. They also designed the eligibility criteria for workers compensation benefits.
These criteria include the following:
Work-Related Injury While on the Job
You must be injured on the job. If you were hurt on personal time and your injuries were aggravated at work, your benefits will likely be denied.
You must be acting within the scope of your employment at the time of your injury – If you were doing something not included in your job description, you may have a hard time proving that you deserve benefits.
For example, if you’re a lawyer and you decide to help carry in office supplies and hurt your back, the insurance company may deny your claim. Your Wilmington workers compensation lawyer would have to prove that this was part of your normal routine and that your employer was aware of this fact.
Report the Injury Right Away
You must report the injury right away – You must report your injury to your manager or Human Resources right away. If you wait too long to report it, your claim could be denied. Rather than risk missing the reporting deadline, just let them know immediately following your accident. If you are too hurt to do this, make sure you let them know as soon as possible after you’re out of immediate danger.
Can’t Be Intoxicated
Your claim will be denied if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your workplace accident – Almost all employers in Wilmington, North Carolina demand that their employees take a drug test before they begin treatment for their work-related injuries. If your test comes back positive, your claim will be denied. The same is true if you refuse to take the test.
Get Treatment From an Approved Doctor
You must be treated by a state-approved doctor – You cannot receive treatment by your private physician. You must comply with your treatment plan – If you miss doctor’s appointments or refuse to take part in physical therapy, the insurance company will terminate your benefits.
Important: You cannot work another job while out on workers compensation.
If you meet all these criteria, there’s a good chance your North Carolina personal injury lawyer will be able to get you the benefits you deserve.
Can Your Wilmington Workers Compensation Lawyers Help if Your Claim is Denied?
If your workers comp claim was denied, you can always file an appeal. Your appeal will be reviewed by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. If they feel you deserve benefits, your claim will be approved, and you’ll receive retroactive benefits. Your medical care will also be covered.
If your claim is still denied, then your Wilmington workers compensation lawyer can always file a lawsuit against your employer. If this happens, there’s still a good chance your claim will be settled. If your injuries are serious and you’re left permanently disabled, then you may be eligible for a lump sum settlement.
If it’s simply a matter of being covered while you’re out waiting to return to work, then your North Carolina personal injury lawyer will fight to get you medical coverage and replacement wages for the time you’ve missed.
Contact a Skilled Wilmington Workers Compensation Lawyer Right Away
If you get hurt at work, there’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to workers comp benefits. Since every case is different, there’s no way to know for sure until we have a chance to review your case. Therefore, we suggest injured employees contact our office right away and schedule their free, initial consultation. Take advantage of the chance to have a skilled Wilmington workers compensation lawyer review your case and offer their expert opinion.
During your consultation, you’ll have a chance to sit down with someone who knows the laws in North Carolina. They can look at your employment situation to make sure you don’t fall into one of the excluded professions. At the same time, they’ll look to see if your injuries appear to be work-related.
You can bet your employer and their insurance company have a team of North Carolina personal injury lawyers working for them. You should as well. You don’t want to be at a disadvantage when dealing with your employer throughout the workers compensation process.
Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation. Pick a date and time that works for you. Since the consultation is free, you don’t have to pay anything upfront.