Any injury at work has the potential to be a life-changing experience. While some work injuries are disruptive and prevent victims from working for a few weeks, others are more damaging and may cause permanent harm. Back injuries are some of the most difficult injuries to treat and have a high chance of causing various long-term adverse effects.
If you are struggling or someone in your family is struggling with a back injury sustained from work, a Charlotte work injury attorney can help you through the workers’ compensation claim filing process. A successful workers’ compensation claim can yield compensation for your medical expenses and your lost income while you recover, but navigating the claim filing process is often more difficult than injured workers expect. The right attorney can provide comprehensive legal support through all stages of your claim filing process and ensure that your employer and their insurance carrier meet all their legal obligations to you throughout your case proceedings.
M. Reid Acree, Jr., has successfully helped many injured workers in the Charlotte area navigate the workers’ compensation claim filing process with confidence. We know the issues you might face as you seek the benefits you are legally owed, and we know how to maximize your recovery as fully as North Carolina law allows. The quicker you get in touch with our firm, the sooner we can begin guiding you toward the benefits you legally deserve.
Back injuries happen in numerous ways. Some injuries are acute and immediately obvious, while others develop over time from the employee’s work conditions. If a back injury occurs from performing work-related duties, it is covered by workers’ compensation insurance under state law. A few of the most common work-related back injuries reported in the Charlotte area that can lead to claims for workers’ compensation are:
No matter how your back injury occurred, you could claim workers’ compensation insurance if the injury resulted from your work-related duties. Once any type of work injury happens, you should take time to consult a Charlotte work injury attorney as soon as possible to determine the next steps to take toward securing the benefits you legally deserve.
It is possible to file a workers’ compensation claim on your own. State law does not require you to hire legal counsel for the claim filing process, but it’s important to know what a good attorney can do for you in this situation. Even if you think you have a firm grasp of how the claim filing process works and the level of compensation you can expect, legal counsel you can trust is an invaluable asset for all the recovery efforts ahead of you.
Your Charlotte work injury attorney can streamline the workers’ compensation claim filing process significantly. They can ensure that both your employer and their insurance carrier fulfill their legal obligations under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. If you encounter any illegal pushback from your employer, you will be prepared to address it. Similarly, if the insurance carrier fights your claim unfairly, your attorney will know how to resolve this problem as well.
You could also have more ways to recover from your back injury than you may expect at first. The state’s workers’ compensation laws typically keep workers with injuries from suing their employers for their workplace injuries, but exceptions do exist, or you may be able to start a third-party personal injury case that could enhance your recovery. Ultimately, hiring an experienced Charlotte work injury attorney not only makes filing your workers’ compensation claim much easier and more likely to generate the results you hope to see, but you will also more likely maximize the results of any additional options for recourse that may be available to you.
It’s vital to report any injury at work to your supervisor immediately. Any delay in reporting your injury and filing a claim for benefits under workers’ compensation law will cast doubt on the validity of your claim. For example, an insurance carrier may claim that because you did not report your injury and file your claim for benefits immediately that this is an indication that your injury is not as severe as you have claimed. Filing your workers’ compensation claim as promptly as possible significantly improves your chances of maximizing your total compensation.
Once you report an injury to the proper department, your employer is legally required to create an incident report that outlines how the injury occurred, its apparent effects, and the employer’s actions taken to address the injury. You can seek medical care from any available physician in an emergency situation, but you should expect to undergo a medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation physician as part of your claim filing process.
After you send your workers’ compensation claim to your employer’s insurance carrier, it will investigate the claim and deliver a determination of benefits if you are approved. Generally, an injured worker in Charlotte can receive two types of benefits from a successful workers’ compensation claim: medical expense coverage and income replacement benefits.
When it comes to medical expense coverage, workers’ compensation insurance will usually pay for all medical treatments the claimant needs to reach maximum medical recovery from the injury. For back injuries, these treatments may include surgical procedures, hospital care, prescription medications, and ongoing rehabilitation and chiropractic care. Your attorney can help ensure that you receive full coverage for all the medical care you need.
Disability benefits for income replacement are more variable. One of the main functions of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide economic security to injured workers, helping them account for the income they are unable to earn due to their injuries. Most injured workers in the Charlotte area will qualify for either partial disability benefits or total disability benefits, depending on the severity of their injury.
Partial disability benefits are awarded to injured claimants who are still able to work after their injury but can only handle light duty or lower-paying work. If the injury does not prevent you from working but does diminish your earning capacity, you will likely receive partial disability benefits until you regain your lost capacity to work at your full earning power. You will need to report your income to your employer’s insurance carrier to maintain eligibility for these benefits. If you fail to meet your reporting requirements or attempt to continue collecting disability benefits after you have fully healed, this could lead to disqualification from workers’ compensation benefits or even prosecution for workers’ compensation fraud.
If a back injury from work prevents you from working entirely, you can expect to receive total disability benefits each week until you are able to return to work or up to 500 weeks. Total disability benefits will amount to roughly two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the year prior to the injury. For example, if you usually earn about $1,500 per week, you can expect about $1,000 in weekly disability benefits.
Your Charlotte work injury attorney can be invaluable for ensuring that you receive an appropriate determination of benefits that accurately reflects the severity of your injury. They can help resolve any disputes that arise with the claim filing process. For example, if you disagree with a workers’ compensation physician’s assessment of your condition and your disability rating, your attorney can help obtain a second opinion from a different doctor. If your employer interferes with your claim or retaliates against you in any way, your attorney can explain your most viable options for addressing such matters. If you believe the insurance company has handled your claim in bad faith, your attorney can be essential for resolving this problem as well.
The workers’ compensation laws usually stop workers with injuries from suing their employers for their workplace injuries. However, this only applies so long as the employer has appropriate insurance coverage as required by state law. If they do not, they are fully liable for their injured worker’s damages. However, if a party unrelated to your work is the cause of your injury, you could file a workers’ compensation claim because the injury occurred at work, but you would also have the right to file a third-party claim against the party responsible for your injury.
If you can start a third-party claim for your work-related back injury, this can potentially yield recompense for the damages that workers’ compensation insurance will not cover. For example, you may only receive two-thirds of your missing income in weekly disability benefits, and a third-party claim could enable you to recover the remainder. Additionally, you could also sue the defendant for the pain and suffering you experienced, which workers’ compensation insurance does not cover.
The right attorney can be an incredible asset as you seek recompense for the work-related back injury you suffered. When you choose M. Reid Acree, Jr., to represent your back injury case, we will immediately get to work helping you obtain the evidence needed to firmly prove that your injury is covered by your employer’s insurance. If any disputes arise with the insurance claim filing process, your attorney can help resolve these quickly and effectively.
An experienced attorney is an invaluable asset for ensuring that you get a fair decision about benefits from your employer’s insurance carrier. If you can file for additional legal action, such as a civil suit against your employer or a third party, you will need legal representation you can trust for this case as well. Ultimately, you are not only more likely to succeed with all your recovery efforts following a back injury related to your work and to increase the total recompense you obtain.
M. Reid Acree, Jr., provides compassionate, responsive, and client-focused legal counsel in each case our team accepts. Attorney Acree will work closely with you through all stages of your case, from the initial filing of your workers’ compensation claim to resolving any disputes that arise in the claim determination process to helping you with any additional legal recourse you are able to explore. Time is a critical factor when it comes to maximizing your recovery from a back injury at work, so contact us today and set up a free consult with a Charlotte work injury attorney to start working toward your recovery as soon as possible.