Whenever someone suffers an injury at work in Lexington, it’s natural for them to wonder whether they are entitled to any type of compensation. North Carolina has some very vigorous workers’ compensation laws in the United States; almost every employer must have workers’ compensation insurance. When a workplace injury happens, this insurance provides important benefits to both employers and their injured employees.
Workers’ compensation can cover any injury or illness as long as the claimant acquired it through performing their job duties. Some of the most troubling work-related injuries that Lexington workers might suffer are back injuries. Not only are most back injuries painful and debilitating, but they are also often very difficult to treat, and individuals who sustain these injuries often face long and challenging roads to recovery. Some, unfortunately, develop symptoms that never truly fade, and some experience effects that grow worse over time, interfering with their ability to work and live independently.
If you are struggling with a work-related back injury, a Lexington work injury attorney can provide the support and legal guidance you will need to navigate the process to file a workers’ compensation claim successfully. You could also have additional avenues of recovery available to you that a good attorney can help you explore. M. Reid Acree, Jr. offers years of professional experience with work injury cases to Lexington clients, and our team is ready to leverage this on your behalf in your case.
Eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits is a relatively straightforward issue in Lexington or elsewhere in the state. A claimant qualifies as long as their illness or injury manifested from performing their job duties. If you suffered a back injury while you were working, you likely qualify for workers’ compensation benefits through your employer’s insurance. Almost every employer in Lexington is legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance; they are also required to facilitate their injured employees’ claims.
After suffering any injury at work, you should seek medical care immediately and report the incident to your supervisor. Employers are required to document workers’ injuries in formal incident reports. You will likely need to reference the incident report for your back injury in the near future. Your attorney can help you meet all the filing requirements, and if you encounter any problems with your employer, they can provide guidance for addressing these issues as well.
Employers may not interfere with their injured employees’ claims in any way. While an employer may fear their insurance premium rising after an injured worker’s claim, any retaliation against an injured worker’s request to file a claim can lead to severe legal penalties. Once you report your injury to your supervisor, they should give you the materials you need to file your claim. This will proceed much like most other types of insurance claims. After the insurance company receives your claim, they will review it and then deliver a determination of benefits.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects employers from facing liability for injured workers’ damages. For employees who suffer work-related injuries, this insurance provides economic relief that can help them manage their medical expenses and offset their diminished earning power if their injury prevents them from working. As part of your workers’ compensation claim in Lexington, you will need to undergo a medical examination from a doctor that the insurance company approves. This medical review will entail a disability rating, which is a number indicating your level of disability from your injury.
Back injuries are complex injuries that may require extensive recovery time. It can also be difficult to accurately assess the severity of a back injury, even with the most advanced imaging techniques. When you undergo your medical evaluation for your workers’ compensation claim, the doctor assessing you will assign a disability rating of 1 to 100, and it is possible that they may issue a rating that you believe is unfair or unreasonable. You can see another doctor for a second opinion, and you can count on a Lexington work injury attorney to provide guidance should you encounter any such issues with the medical review process.
If your claim for workers’ compensation benefits is approved, you can expect two forms of compensation from the insurance carrier. First, they will pay for all the medical care you need to achieve maximum medical improvement from your injury. This includes the costs for any immediate treatment you need following the injury you sustained and future medical care that you may require. Second, you will receive disability benefits based on your level of disability and whether you will be able to continue working.
In North Carolina, it is possible for disability benefits to be awarded on a partial or total basis, depending on the claimant’s level of impairment. If your back injury will require recovery time but does not completely prevent you from working, you may receive partial disability benefits if the injury has only diminished your earning power, not prevented you from working entirely. The amount you receive each week will depend on how much you can earn on your own. You must report any of your income to your employer’s insurance carrier to remain eligible for these benefits.
If a back injury is severe enough to prevent the claimant from working at all, they will get total disability benefits. The state allows these payments to continue for up to 500 weeks or until the claimant can go back to their job duties. The claimant receives about two-thirds of their average weekly wages with each weekly benefits payment. Their prior year’s average earnings will dictate their benefit rate.
Your Lexington work injury attorney can help ensure that you receive an appropriate benefits determination from the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Should any disputes arise, your attorney can explain how to manage these issues. Depending on how your injury happened, it is possible for you to have some grounds for legal action outside of the workers’ compensation claim system.
Workers’ compensation insurance typically shields employers from liability for injured workers’ damages. However, they only have this immunity if they maintain the correct insurance coverage and do not interfere with claims filed in good faith. If your employer has no insurance or they intentionally injured you somehow, these issues will negate their immunity. It’s more likely for an injured worker to have some grounds for legal recourse if someone outside of their work caused their injury.
If your back injury happened while you were working, you likely have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim, but you would only have grounds for a civil suit against your employer under very specific conditions. However, if a third party caused the injury, you could file your workers’ compensation claim and then proceed with a personal injury claim against that third party, claiming compensation for the damages that workers’ compensation insurance cannot provide.
A successful workers’ compensation claim can yield medical expense coverage and compensation for a portion of your lost income. However, a third-party personal injury claim enables you to seek compensation for the remainder of your missing income and your pain and suffering compensation. This could substantially improve your overall recovery, but you will need an attorney’s help to succeed with the claim. Also, it is important to remember that while fault does not always factor into a workers’ compensation claim, it is a pivotal aspect of any personal injury claim. If a plaintiff is found to bear partial liability for causing their claimed injury, they cannot seek compensation from the defendant.
The right legal representative can make a tremendous positive impact on the outcome of the recovery efforts you pursue in response to a work-related back injury. When you hire M. Reid Acree, Jr., to represent you, we will immediately get to work helping you with your claim and resolving any disputes that might arise until you receive the compensation you legally deserve. If you have grounds to file a personal injury claim against a third party, we can assist with this as well. You trust our firm to do everything in our power to streamline your proceedings and secure as much compensation as possible for your damages.
Time is a critical concern in every work injury case filed in Lexington. You have a very limited time in which to submit your workers’ compensation claim for a back injury, and any delay will reflect poorly on your claim and may create other problems further along in your recovery efforts. If you are ready to find out what a Lexington work injury attorney can do for you to help you recover from your work-related back injury, contact M. Reid Acree, Jr., today and schedule your consultation with us.