Back injuries are some of the most common work-related issues injured employees deal with. Whether it was from an accident or repeated stress, you can wind up with a back injury you never expected. North Carolina requires employers to pay workers’ compensation for injuries that happen in the line of duty, including back or neck-related issues.
Some employers try to lowball or deny a workers’ compensation claim. When you’re having trouble getting the benefits you deserve, you need a Greensboro work-related back injury accident attorney. M. Reid Acree, Jr., Attorney at Law, can help with your workers’ compensation issues and make sure your employer pays the amount you deserve.
M. Reid Acree, Jr. has worked in law for over 30 years and spends over 90 percent of his time working on workers’ compensation cases. Mr. Acree fights for workers sustaining injuries on the job or suffering from diseases as a result of workplace exposure. He graduated from the Wake Forest School of Law in 1989 and has been active in law since.
During his time as an attorney, he has won several high-profile cases. He saw an employer offering $35,000 for a cervical spine injury and managed to increase the payout to $105,000. In another case, he upped an offer of $900 for a neck injury to $85,000 for an injured client. Mr. Acree considers this one of his finest cases.
An employee is eligible for workers’ compensation if they suffer an accident during the regular course of their duties at work. These injuries may occur after a fall or simply from repetitive use of your body to do a task. Workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses and any time you miss while recovering from your injury.
Back-related injuries are different in Greensboro than other workplace injuries. The North Carolina Industrial Commission, the body handling workers’ compensation in the state, has more lax rules when it comes to any injuries to your back and spine. Some incidents where an employer may be within its rights to deny you workers’ compensation don’t apply to back injuries.
While Greensboro has more broad laws for back injuries, you may find yourself struggling to get the compensation you need while recovering from an injury. Back problems are notoriously fickle and sometimes difficult for doctors to detect. You will find countless examples of people complaining to their doctor about back pain but seeing nothing on an X-ray. Some back problems won’t even show up on an MRI scan.
In these situations, your employer’s insurance company may argue there is no damage and try to deny a claim. They may just say the employee has degenerative disc disease (DDD) and try to discourage you from fighting for the claim. That’s where a Greensboro back-related injury attorney comes in handy.
Back-related injuries can happen in white and blue-collar settings, so let’s look at a few examples so you know if you qualify.
Kamille is working in a factory doing metal fabrication. The work is dangerous on a good day, and if she’s not careful, she may find herself in danger of injury. One day, she may slip on a slick part of the floor and fall on her back. This kind of back injury could lead to workers’ compensation if Kamille files for it.
White-collar workers also face the danger of back-related injuries. In this example, Setsuna works in a traditional office setting. His boss asks him to move a few boxes that are lying around. While moving them, Setsuna threw out his back as one was heavier than expected. This is another way someone could end up seeking workers’ compensation for a back-related injury.
White-collar workers may need to drive for job-related duties and be involved in an accident that wasn’t their fault. This is another time when workers’ compensation can help with the recovery from whiplash and a back injury.
Not all Greensboro work-related back injuries will lead to workers’ compensation payments. North Carolina law states workers’ compensation is only for those injured while doing their duties. If you were in an unauthorized area or were goofing off, you won’t get payment for an injury.
Some workers’ compensation cases are quick and painless for everybody involved. The employer fills out the necessary paperwork, works with its insurance company, and provides you with a fair settlement for a work-related back injury. In these cases, having a lawyer with you may not be necessary.
However, these scenarios are often few and far between. Many disputes over workers’ compensation end up with both sides embattled, trying to settle on a number they believe is fair. When the situation gets difficult, a lawyer may be your only hope of a fair settlement.
Workers’ compensation lawyers, like M. Reid Acree, Jr., have experience negotiating with insurance companies like Travelers, Chubb, or State Farm. These insurance agents may try to confuse you on what your injury is worth, but a lawyer knows how to see through the deceit.
Back injuries are debilitating but may not register on medical scans like an MRI. An attorney can help advocate for you and get you a settlement that takes care of your medical bills and pays you to recover.
The Chapter 97 Workers’ Compensation Act that North Carolina signed in 1929 is the basis for all current workers’ compensation claims. This law established the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which handles any claims for workers’ compensation. Your attorney can handle any discussions with the Industrial Commission and will know applicable laws and relevant rulings for your case.
After you sustain an injury, you must inform your employer within 30 days. The North Carolina Industrial Commission requires anyone seeking workers’ compensation to make the injury known within 30 days, or they may deny any compensation. An attorney can assist you with the process.
Your employer then must submit the report to a workers’ compensation insurance company like State Farm or Allstate to assess the payout. You’ll receive an offer from the company and you can accept it or negotiate for a better value.
The negotiation period is when a Greensboro work-related back injury attorney can give you more money. They know how to haggle with insurance companies in a way a layperson will not.
A: Greensboro law covers two payments for workers’ compensation: medical payments and disability. Your employer should cover any medical expenses you have regarding the injury, and you will receive 66 percent of your weekly salary for every week you cannot work due to the injury. The North Carolina Industrial Commission sets the weekly maximum for payments at $1,184, even if you should receive more.
Your compensation depends on the nature of the injury and the negotiation process.
A: Whiplash is the most common back injury people suffer as a result of work. These injuries often occur when an employee is driving and involved in an accident. Your cervical vertebrae whip forward faster than the rest of your body, causing back aches and strain. Whiplash is difficult to prove, as it often doesn’t show up through MRIs.
Other common back injuries are thoracic spine injuries, lumbar spine injuries, herniated discs, and spinal cord injuries.
A: After you sustain a back injury, you need to report it to your employer within 30 days to be eligible for workers’ compensation. You can speak with a Greensboro workers’ compensation lawyer at the start of the process to make sure you handle each step of the process properly. Once you report the injury, your employer must file the report with its insurance company and make an offer to you.
A: It’s hard to overstate how common back injuries are in the workplace. The Bureau of Labor Statistics did a study and found that nearly 20 percent of work-related injuries happened to the back. This accounted for more than one million workers reporting back injuries. The only circumstance that caused more missed work days was a cold. North Carolina has special laws on the book for work-related back injuries due to their frequency.
When you want to make sure you get a fair deal from the insurance company, you need a Greensboro work-related back injury attorney in your corner to advocate for you. Having an experienced attorney can be the difference between a few hundred dollars in a payout and a $50,000 settlement.
M. Reid Acree, Jr. has been practicing workers’ compensation law for over 30 years and can bring his seasoning to your case. Contact us today for a consultation and to begin the process with your workers’ compensation filing.