If you get hurt at work, your employer is supposed to take care of you. Under North Carolina law, all employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance. There are a few exceptions. For example, if a company only has a couple of employees, they can get away with not carrying insurance. The same is true for certain jobs. If you work on a farm or are a nanny, you aren’t entitled to workers compensation benefits. If you don’t fall into any of these categories though, you should be eligible for workers compensation benefits.
The best way to make sure you do receive benefits is to call a Charlotte workers compensation attorney right away. They can help you file your claim and make sure it’s handled properly from the start.
Since you’re legally required to report your injury to your employer right away, it makes sense to call a lawyer right away too. If you don’t file your claim properly, it’ll be denied. Even if you do file it properly, your employer may decide to deny your claim. They can do so on a variety of grounds. Here, we’ll talk about how a personal injury lawyer in Charlotte can help you. We’ll also discuss what benefits you’re entitled to under workers compensation in North Carolina.
You Must Be Approved for Workers Comp Before You Collect Benefits
In order to receive any workers compensation benefits, your claim has to be approved. This usually happens within a week or so. If you get hurt on the job, you must tell your manager or Human Resources Department right away. Your employer has a written policy and procedure on workplace accidents. Make sure you read it so you know how long you have to report the injury.
Once you report your accident, your employer will submit your claim to their insurance company. They’ll also make a recommendation to their insurance agent as to whether your claim should be approved. If they deny it, they’ll have to give a good reason. For example, they may cite any of the following things as a basis for denying you workers compensation benefits:
- They don’t believe the accident took place on company property
- They may think you were hurt on break or when you were away from the office
- You were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury
- They think you’re exaggerating your injuries
- You refuse to be treated by a state-approved doctor
- You refuse to take a drug test immediately after your accident
- You refuse to comply with your medical treatment plan
If your claim is denied for any of these reasons, your Charlotte workers compensation attorney will help you file an appeal. If this works, your claim will be approved. If that’s the case, you’ll receive two main types of workers compensation benefits.
You’re Entitled to 2 Major Types of Workers Compensation Benefits
There are two main types of workers compensation benefits in Charlotte. The first type is related to your medical care. If you get hurt on the job, your employer must cover all of your medical expenses. This includes, but isn’t limited to the following:
- Ambulance ride
- Doctor’s co-pays
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Any tests you need to have done
- Durable medical equipment
It’s important to note – if you don’t agree to be treated by one of the approved doctors in North Carolina, your workers compensation benefits will terminate. The same is true if you start seeing a second doctor for any medical treatment related to your workplace accident. Always talk to your personal injury lawyer in Charlotte before you do anything like this.
Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Charlotte, North Carolina Will Make Sure You Receive Replacement Wages
The second type of workers compensation benefits you’re entitled to is replacement wages. If you’re seriously hurt at work, you’ll be out of work for a while. If you miss more than a week or two, you’ll be paid weekly replacement wages. These payments will continue until you return to work. However, there is a maximum length of time that your employer will be required to pay these replacement wages.
In North Carolina, you can only collect workers compensation for 500 weeks. This is close to 10 years. Most people are back to work long before then. It’s hard to imagine suffering any injury that will keep you out of work for more than 9 years. If that’s the case, you would probably go on disability. At some point, you have to resolve your claim.
The other thing about your workers compensation benefits is that they only pay 2/3 of your average weekly wages. So, if you normally make $500 per week, you’ll only receive $300 per week while out on workers compensation. As you have probably guessed, there’s a limit on how much you can receive each week.
The current limit in North Carolina for weekly replacement wages is $1,184. This is a lot higher than most states. There are some states where the weekly limit is only $675. It’s hard to imagine how anybody could pay their bills on that kind of income. However, that is the law in other states. Thankfully, North Carolina is a lot more generous than that.
You May Only Be Entitled to Partial Workers Compensation Benefits
In North Carolina, if your doctor determines that you can return to work on light duty or for part-time hours, you’ll have to do it. If you refuse, your workers compensation benefits will terminate. You’ll probably be terminated as well. If you truly don’t think you’re able to do it, let your Charlotte workers compensation attorney know. They can get a second opinion from a different workers compensation doctor. If they say you need more time, then you’ll have to file an appeal with the state.
If you do end up going back to work on light duty or a shortened schedule, you won’t be able to receive the full 2/3 payment. Instead, you’ll receive 2/3 of whatever the difference is between what you were making before the accident and what you’re making now. This could be as low as $50. It all depends on your salary and how much you’re making when you first return to work.
Get in Touch With One of Our Charlotte Workers Compensation Attorneys Right Away
Of course, your personal injury lawyer in Charlotte will do whatever they can to get you as much money as possible. They’ll also make sure you don’t go back to work before you’re fully healed. Call today and schedule your free, initial consultation. This way, our Charlotte workers compensation attorneys can get started on your case right away.