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Hickory Foot and Ankle Injury Lawyer

Any unexpected injury can lead to expensive medical care and various disruptions to your life. However, injuries to the feet and ankles are particularly disruptive and frustrating, and these injuries often entail greater damage than the victim may immediately recognize. Therefore, if you or a family member recently suffered a foot or ankle injury while at work in Hickory, or if another party’s misconduct or negligence resulted in a foot or ankle injury, it’s essential to know your legal options for recovering from the injury as fully as possible.

Legal Counsel for Victims of Foot and Ankle Injury Claims in Hickory

M. Reid Acree, Jr., offers compassionate and responsive legal representation to Hickory, North Carolina, clients with a particular focus on workplace injuries. If you suffered a foot or ankle injury at work, state law dictates that your employer must have workers’ compensation insurance to provide benefits and job security while you recover. However, it’s also possible to have grounds for legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim system, depending on how your injury occurred. Whether you anticipate filing a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury suit, or both after your recent foot or ankle injury, we can help you with the proceedings necessary for maximizing your recovery.

Complications Are Possible After Any Foot and Ankle Injuries

An injury to the foot or ankle can be incredibly debilitating and painful. The victim could be left unable to walk for an extended time as they recover, or they may require the use of a wheelchair or crutches until the injury heals completely. Depending on the nature of the injury, surgery may be required to fix the issue, and this could lead to an extended recovery period. For example, a severe soft tissue injury resulting in a tear will likely require surgical correction. A severe fracture of the foot or ankle bones may need steel pins or plates to ensure the broken bones heal correctly. Any type of surgery to the foot or ankle will likely be very painful and require a long recovery period.

Many people who experience severe foot and ankle injuries contend with various symptoms, from difficulty walking and chronic pain to nerve damage, loss of sensation, and more. Some of these symptoms may improve with time and appropriate therapeutic treatment, but it is also possible for a foot or ankle injury to result in some level of permanent harm.

If your foot or ankle injury happened while you were working in Hickory, you could likely file a workers’ compensation claim through your employer. If the injury happened due to the actions of a party outside of your workplace, you might have grounds for a third-party personal injury claim as well. If you suffered your injury due to the negligence or illegal misconduct of another party outside of work, you are likely able to start a personal injury claim against the party who is liable for causing the injury.

M. Reid Acree, Jr., will work with you and your medical care team to determine not only the full scope of the injury you suffered and the long-term complications it may cause but also the breadth of the economic effects the injury will have on your life. Regardless of what your individual claim entails, you can rest assured that our team will provide the compassionate legal counsel you need to recover with confidence and peace of mind.

How to File for Workers’ Compensation Payments for an Ankle or Foot Injury in Hickory

When you have been injured at work, a workers’ compensation claim is typically your first option for recovering your damages. The state’s workers’ compensation laws apply to virtually every employer, and any failure to maintain appropriate insurance coverage can lead to severe penalties for an employer. Additionally, they may also face legal penalties if they interfere with an injured employee’s claim in any way.

If you are hurt at work and suffer a foot or ankle injury, report the incident to your supervisor immediately. They are legally required to document the injury in a formal incident report that you will have to reference later. You should then seek medical care. If your injury is not life-threatening or severe, you can ask for a list of approved workers’ compensation physicians you can visit for a formal evaluation and disability determination. In an emergency, you may see any available doctor, but you should be prepared to see a workers’ compensation physician for a formal evaluation as a component of your claim process.

Filing your workers’ compensation claim will follow a similar process to filing any other type of insurance claim. First, you must complete all necessary claim forms and submit them to the insurance carrier with any supporting documentation needed to substantiate your claim. Once the insurance provider receives your claim packet, they will investigate the claim to determine its validity. If your claim is approved, the insurance carrier will then send you a benefits determination explaining how they intend to compensate you for your injury.

Your claim could be rejected for a number of reasons. For example, if you caused your own injury through simple negligence, it should not disqualify you from workers’ compensation benefits, but if you caused the injury because you were drinking on the job, it would likely count as grounds for disqualification. It’s also possible your claim could be rejected in bad faith or due to a procedural or clerical error. Working with an experienced Hickory foot and ankle injury attorney is an excellent way to avoid such issues from arising. Your attorney will work with you to ensure the workers’ compensation insurance carrier handles your claim in good faith and delivers a fair benefits determination.

Two Types of Benefits Are Available for Workplace Injury Claims in Hickory

Workers’ compensation serves two important purposes. First, it provides legal protection for employers, shielding them from civil suits from injured employees. Second, it provides benefits to injured workers, alleviating the financial impact of their injuries and providing job security until they can return to work. If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you can expect to receive two types of benefits.

The first is medical expense coverage. Workers’ compensation typically covers any and all medical expenses an injured worker faces after a workplace injury. These expenses can include immediate health care costs like hospital bills and the long-term costs associated with rehabilitation from a crippling injury and therapeutic care to alleviate symptoms. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier should provide a complete list of treatments and therapies covered for your injury.

Second is continued disability benefits, paid to make up for the income the victim cannot earn while they recover. In the state, disability benefits paid through workers’ compensation insurance are typically awarded in four possible formats:

  1. Temporary total disability benefits apply when the claimant cannot work until they recover from their injury. This would award roughly 67% of their average weekly pay each week until they can resume their work duties. Again, an attorney could help you gather your pay records and other documentation necessary to ensure the claim yields appropriate compensation for your recovery period.
  2. Temporary partial disability benefits apply to injured workers who can still work while they recover but cannot earn as much income as they did prior to their injury. Partial benefits help compensate for this difference in income and will last until they can return to their previous work duties. If you get approved for partial disability in Hickory, you must report your earnings and your medical updates to the insurance firm to maintain eligibility for these benefits.
  3. Permanent partial disability benefits apply to debilitating injuries that diminish the claimant’s earning capacity for an extended time. “Permanent” is something of a misnomer as the benefits arrangements do typically expire but can potentially last for several years while the claimant adjusts to their new functional capacity.
  4. Permanent total disability benefits are only awarded to claimants left totally unable to go back to work due to their injuries. When it regards injuries to the feet and ankles, it is possible that a claimant may never be able to return to their previous job, but they could train for alternative work, and their benefits could continue into the future for an indeterminate period of time.

Your Hickory, NC, foot and ankle injury attorney will be invaluable not only for filing your claim efficiently but also for ensuring a fair outcome of the claim determination process. When it regards how much you receive in weekly benefits, this is typically determined by an assessment of your weekly wages during the year before your injury. Most claimants who are approved for temporary total disability benefits will receive roughly 67% of their average weekly pay in weekly benefits.

Unfortunately, there is always a risk of the insurance firm handling your claim inappropriately. Some insurance companies go so far as to intentionally handle injured workers’ claims in bad faith, hoping their desperation and lack of understanding of their rights will encourage them to accept lowball settlement offers. Some may even unfairly deny legitimate claims.

Your attorney will help resolve any issues that might arise with the insurance firm’s determination of your claim. Once your claim is approved, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will deliver a benefits determination that explains how much you will receive and for how long.

If your injury happened through the natural course of work or if you caused your own injury through simple negligence while working, your recovery efforts will end here. However, if a specific party injured you, or if the business you work for doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance as required by state law, you will likely face a difficult recovery that includes a personal injury claim. If you think you have grounds to file further legal action against the party who is liable for causing your foot or ankle injury, it is imperative that you consult a reliable Hickory foot and ankle attorney right away.

How to Go About Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Hickory

If you get hurt at work, but your injury occurred because of another party’s egregious negligence or intentional misconduct, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim. In addition, if someone outside of your work injured you, such as a customer, business partner, vendor employee, or any other third party, this can form the foundation of a third-party personal injury case. In any of these scenarios, a successful personal injury claim could yield compensation that workers’ compensation insurance can’t provide.

To succeed with any personal injury claim, the plaintiff must identify the person or party who caused the injury and prove the defendant is entirely at fault. If the plaintiff shares any liability for the incident in question, this nullifies their ability to bring a civil suit under the state’s contributory negligence law. Any shared fault on the part of the plaintiff, however slight, negates their ability to seek recompense from the defendant. It is quite normal for defendants in such claims to assert contributory negligence to avoid responsibility for the damages they inflict on others.

The personal injury plaintiff must prove the defendant’s negligence or intentional misconduct directly caused their claimed damages, and if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, it may cover all your medical expenses but only part of the income you lost. The defendant in your third-party personal injury case could face responsibility for the remainder of the income you lose, any other economic damages they inflicted that workers’ compensation does not cover, and your pain and suffering.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation for a Foot or Ankle Injury

Injuries to the feet and ankles are not only very painful but also debilitating. Any such injury can interfere with the victim’s ability to work and handle basic household tasks. Depending on the seriousness of their injury, they could face months or even years of complications from the injury, leaving them wondering how they can appropriately hold the defendant accountable for the damage they’ve done.

When it regards pain and suffering calculations in personal injury claims, there are no limits to how much a plaintiff can seek from a defendant, but the amount included in their personal injury action must adequately reflect the seriousness of the injury they suffered. Attorneys use different methods to calculate pain and suffering for their clients, including the per diem method and the multiplier method.

The per diem method is most appropriate when a complete recovery from the injury is anticipated for the plaintiff in the near term with few to no long-term or permanent issues. This would award pain and suffering compensation each day until they reach maximum medical improvement. Alternatively, the multiplier method is more appropriate for plaintiffs who suffer long-term or permanent harm. Their attorney multiplies their total financial losses by one to five or more as a reflection of the seriousness of the injury.

What to Expect From a Hickory Foot or Ankle Injury Attorney

Navigating the legal aftermath of any serious foot or ankle injury can be tremendously difficult, especially when you face both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party personal injury claim. The average person in this situation would be vulnerable to making procedural mistakes that jeopardize their ability to recover their losses. For example, they could make filing errors with the court or mistakes on claim paperwork that delay their claims for benefits and legal proceedings against the parties responsible for causing their injuries.

Whatever your case entails, you can expect close personal attention to your recovery efforts from M. Reid Acree, Jr. We take the time necessary to learn as much as we can about each client we represent, helping them understand the unique legal considerations they must address in their recovery efforts. So instead of having to manage all your legal affairs on your own while struggling with a painful and debilitating foot or ankle injury, you will have responsive legal advocates ready to address your concerns and answer your questions as they arise.

As far as your workers’ compensation claim is concerned, M. Reid Acree, Jr., has significant experience helping clients with the workers’ compensation claim process. We know the challenges that the biggest insurance carriers in the state might present in their handling of injured workers’ claims and how to navigate these complex cases effectively. If you must file a personal injury claim against the party who caused your foot or ankle injury, you can rely on our firm to provide ongoing support through each phase of the case. Our goal is to help settle your matter swiftly if possible, but we can represent you at trial if necessary.

North Carolina Ankle Injuries Attorney FAQs

Q: What Are Some Tips for Hiring a Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Case?

A: Experience, availability, and responsiveness are the key criteria you must evaluate when looking for a personal injury attorney. Your attorney should have a strong record of successful cases similar to yours, a moderate caseload to ensure you receive the personal attention you deserve, and ready availability to answer questions and address concerns as they arise throughout your case proceedings.

Q: What if You Can’t Afford a Lawyer for Your Personal Injury Case?

A: M. Reid Acree, Jr., eliminates this concern with contingency fee billing. When our team handles your foot or ankle injury claim or any other personal injury claim in Hickory, you will not owe any upfront or ongoing fees for our representation. Additionally, you will only be required to pay a legal fee to our firm once we win your case, and we will only take a portion of the total amount we recovered for you. If, for any reason, we cannot secure compensation for your damages, you pay nothing, so there are no risks in hiring us to represent you in your personal injury case.

Q: What Is My Personal Injury Claim Worth?

A: If you have grounds for a personal injury suit due to your injury, you could potentially secure far more compensation than you may initially expect. You have the right to hold the defendant who injured you accountable for the full range of economic losses you incurred and the pain and suffering you experienced. You could potentially recover compensation for property damage, medical expenses, long-term medical treatment costs, lost wages, and lost future earning potential. When it regards pain and suffering compensation, the amount you claim must reflect the seriousness of your injuries.

Q: Do I Really Need to Hire a Hickory Foot and Ankle Injury Attorney if My Injury Happened at Work?

A: You might think that the workers’ compensation claim filing process is straightforward enough to handle on your own, but it is always worth investing in legal counsel you can trust if you want to reach the right outcome for your case. Your attorney can streamline the workers’ compensation claim process significantly and address any disputes that might arise with your claim. In addition, if you have grounds for further legal recourse, you can rely on your legal representative in these proceedings as well.

Q: How Long Do Personal Injury Cases Take to Settle?

A: The majority of the personal injury claims filed in Hickory each year are resolved through private settlement negotiations. The settlement process allows the parties involved with a claim to avoid the stress and expense of litigation, ultimately reaching more agreeable results than a judge would have likely delivered in court. In addition, if you have the right attorney handling your case, settling is possible within a few weeks, whereas litigation can take several months to conclude.

The right attorney can mean the difference between a subpar recovery and maximizing your compensation for a foot and ankle injury. Whether you were hurt while working or as the result of another party’s misconduct or negligence in the Hickory area, our team can empower your recovery efforts. Contact M. Reid Acree, Jr., today to plan a free meeting with our firm and learn about our professional legal services.