One of the first questions our new clients ask us is how long it will take for their workers’ comp benefits to kick in. For most people living today, it’s impossible to go without a paycheck for a week or two. Since most people are already living paycheck to paycheck, not having an income for two weeks can be devastating. Unfortunately, when it comes to the workers compensation system in North Carolina, things do not happen automatically. First, your Wilmington workers compensation lawyer will have to make sure that your claim is approved.
Once your claim is approved, it will still be another two weeks before you start receiving benefits. There are several reasons for this, and they will be discussed here. For now, if you have any questions or concerns about your own workers comp case, contact our office directly. We offer new clients a free, initial consultation. This gives you a chance to sit down with one of our expert workers comp lawyers in Wilmington and ask any questions you may have. It’s also nice to know that your attorney will be by your side throughout the entire workers compensation process.
You Won’t Receive Any Benefits if Your Workers Compensation Claim is Denied
It’s important to remember that if your claim is not approved, you will not receive any benefits at all. Your medical treatment will not even be covered if that’s the case. While some workers choose to wait until they find out that their claim was denied to hire a Wilmington workers compensation lawyer, it may be better to talk to one right away. Having an attorney means that your claim will more than likely be handled properly the first time around. It also means the insurance company and your employer will take your claim seriously.
Your Wilmington Workers Compensation Lawyer Can Help File an Appeal
If, for some reason, your workers compensation claim is denied, your workers comp lawyers in Wilmington can help you file an appeal. Whether or not your appeal is successful will depend on two things. First, why was your claim denied in the first place? Second, can your Wilmington workers compensation lawyer prove that you are entitled to benefits?
If your claim was denied because the insurance carrier believes you were high at the time of your accident, your appeal probably won’t be successful. If, on the other hand, your claim was denied because the insurance carrier believes you had a pre-existing condition, your Wilmington workers compensation lawyer can step in and help. If need be, they can speak to your previous doctors and confirm that the injuries you sustained at work have nothing to do with your pre-existing conditions. Or they may be able to prove that your employer hired you knowing you had a pre-existing condition and chose to take you on anyway. If that’s the case, it will be a lot harder for your employer to convince the North Carolina industrial Commission that you are not entitled to benefits.
It Will Be Weeks Until You Start to Receive Replacement Wages
Once your workers’ comp claim is approved, it will still be about 10 to 14 days before you start to receive your benefits. It takes some time for your employer and their insurance carrier to determine whether they’re going to approve your claim. They then must notify the North Carolina industrial Commission to let them know that you have an open claim. A state-approved workers compensation doctor will have to be assigned to your case. You will then need to be evaluated so they can determine the nature and extent of your injuries. All this time, you will not be receiving any income. Therefore, we always suggest that our clients use any personal or sick time that’s available to them while they’re waiting for their benefits to kick in.
If it seems that your benefits are taking an extraordinarily long time to start, make sure you let your Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyer know. They will reach out to your employer and find out what the problem is. They will also remind them that you are entitled to back pay for the first seven days you were out of work. If they give your attorney a hard time, your lawyer will have no problem filing suit or reaching out to the workers compensation industrial commission.
In the Meantime, You Should Meet with a Skilled Workers Comp Lawyer in Wilmington
If you are injured at work and you’re still waiting for your worker’s compensation benefits to kick in, you should contact our office. Whether your claim is approved or denied, you have no idea how it’s going to turn out down the road. By retaining an experienced Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyer, you have the peace of mind in knowing that your claim will be handled properly. Once your employer and their insurance carrier are notified that you have retained counsel, they may be more likely to approve your claim. If they still deny your claim, your Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyer will step in and file an appeal. If this works and your claim is approved, you still won’t receive your benefits for about two weeks. This doesn’t mean that your medical care won’t be covered. Your medical treatment will be covered from day one if your claim happens to be approved.
We always suggest that injured workers contact one of our workers comp lawyers in Wilmington, North Carolina. If you have an attorney representing you, you don’t have to worry about your employer taking advantage of you. Nor do you have to worry about being forced to go back to work before you’re fully recovered. Since we offer all new clients a free, initial consultation, it’s in your best interest to contact our office directly. You can schedule your first consultation by phone or through our website. When push comes to shove, you can bet that your employer will have a team of attorneys working for them and you should too.