If you get hurt on the job, you should be able to count on your employer to take care of you. It’s bad enough that you’re limited to the benefits offered under workers compensation. When your claim is denied, it must be frustrating. Our Wilmington workers comp lawyers know how you feel. They meet with new clients every week who have been mistreated by their employer. Now, not only do they want workers comp benefits, but they also want to demand other damages.
Nobody likes to be the bearer of bad news. However, our workers compensation attorneys in Wilmington think it’s only fair to be upfront and honest with our clients. Rather than mislead you and let you think you can receive damages for pain and suffering through workers compensation, we make it clear from the start. These benefits are not available and there is no way you’re going to receive them. You can only file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer if they acted grossly negligent or recklessly. Since this is very difficult (if not impossible) to prove in most cases, your best bet is to focus on getting better and accept the benefits offered to you through workers compensation.
If you still have questions about your own workplace injuries, give us a call. We can easily schedule your free, initial consultation over the phone. Or you can do the same thing through our website.
Your Workers Compensation Claim Must Be Approved First
Before you can even think about what benefits you’ll receive, your workers compensation claim must first be approved. To do this, your Wilmington workers comp lawyer must demonstrate that you meet certain criteria. In North Carolina, as in most other states, you need to prove the following:
- Your injuries occurred on company time and on company property
- The accident took place while the employee was acting within the scope of their normal employment
- You reported your injuries to Human Resources or your manager immediately
- You were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your accident
- You agree to be treated by a state-approved workers comp doctor
- You participate in your treatment
For the most part, many of the clients we represent do qualify for workers compensation. Their claim could’ve been denied for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps they didn’t notify their employer within a reasonable time. Or they may not have given a detailed account of what happened in their incident report.
There Are Only 3 Types of Benefits Available Under Workers Compensation
If your workers comp claim is approved, you’ll be entitled to three types of benefits. Obviously, you’ll be entitled to medical care for your work-related injuries. This includes all medical treatment as well as physical therapy, doctors’ co-pays, and prescription medications.
The second type of benefit you’ll be awarded are weekly replacement wages. These are equal to about 2/3 of your average weekly wages. You’ll receive these benefits until you are ready to return to work.
Finally, the last kind of benefits you can avail yourself of are occupational rehabilitation or career training. While many of our clients don’t need this help, it is there if you so choose.
You’ll notice – nowhere in this section did we mention damages for pain and suffering. This is because you aren’t entitled to these damages under workers compensation in North Carolina.
You Cannot Demand Pain and Suffering Under Workers Compensation
As unfair as it may seem, you will only receive the benefits highlighted above in your workers compensation case. You can’t demand compensation for lost future income or property damage. Nor can you demand damages for pain and suffering. Even if you suffered a great deal, the workers compensation system isn’t set up the same way as personal injury cases are. As much as your Wilmington workers comp lawyers wants to get you the compensation you deserve, they can only do so within the letter of the law.
If Your Workers Compensation Attorney in Wilmington Thinks It’s Warranted, they Can File a Lawsuit on Your Behalf
In very unique circumstances, your workers compensation attorney in Wilmington can file a personal injury suit against your employer. However, these cases are few and far between. In order to sue your employer civilly for damages sustained in a workplace accident, you have a big burden to overcome. Your attorney will need to prove that your employer acted recklessly or was grossly negligent. This is very difficult to prove. Not only will you have to show that your employer was aware of a dangerous condition at work, but you’ll also have to demonstrate that they chose to ignore it.
For example, imagine that you work with heavy construction equipment. You have been complaining to your site manager that a certain piece of machinery isn’t working properly and you’re afraid you’ll get hurt. You even put your complaints into writing. Your manager tells you to stop complaining unless you want to get fired. As long as you have documentation of this, your workers compensation attorney in Wilmington may have a chance of collecting damages on your behalf.
It’s a Good Idea to Reach Out to an Experienced Wilmington Workers Comp Lawyer Today
If you were hurt on the job and have been denied benefits, it’s important that you contact our office. While nobody is guaranteed workers compensation benefits, as long as you meet the criteria outlined above your claim should be approved. Our Wilmington workers comp lawyers meet with clients every week who thought their claim would be approved only to learn it was denied. We also meet with clients whose claim was approved, but who don’t feel they have been fairly compensated.
While it can be hard to explain how workers compensation is different from personal injury law, it’s an important distinction to make. Under workers compensation, you’re only entitled to the benefits outlined here. If you expect to receive other types of damages, you may be disappointed.
We suggest you contact our office today so you can schedule your free, initial consultation. If you were hurt at work, there’s a good chance you do deserve workers comp benefits. However, this doesn’t mean you can demand damages for pain and suffering.
Since your initial meeting is free, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.