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The workers’ compensation system is a crucial lifeline for many people who suffer injuries at work in Lexington, NC. When an employee sustains an injury while working, they have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. While the claims process might seem straightforward at first, the reality is that many injured workers discover that securing workers’ compensation is more challenging than they initially expected. Even when a claim is successful, there is no guarantee that an injured worker will receive the full amount of compensation they deserve for their injury.
Working with an experienced Lexington workers’ compensation attorney is the best way for any injured worker to maximize their recovery after a workplace accident. Whether you suffered an acute traumatic injury like a broken bone or head injury or developed an illness due to exposure to harmful substances at work, your attorney can assist you in navigating the complex workers’ compensation claim system.
M. Reid Acree, Jr. has years of experience guiding clients in Lexington, NC, through difficult workers’ compensation claims. If you are unsure of the best steps to take after a workplace injury, our firm can help. It’s vital that you understand your rights in this situation and that you do not agree to a settlement until you consult an attorney. Unfortunately, it is common for injured workers to settle for much less than they legally deserve because they are not aware of their rights.
If you have been injured at work and must take time off to recover, you are likely struggling with the cost of medical treatment along with the economic burden caused by your lost wages. This pressure can make many injured workers feel desperate. They may be uncertain regarding how they will feed their families and pay their bills. As a result, uncertainty causes many people in this situation to settle as quickly as possible for less than they rightfully deserve.
Hiring a Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer not only increases your likelihood of success with your claim but makes it more likely you will maximize the benefits you receive. Additionally, you can rely on your legal team to identify any other channels of compensation that may be available to you. The workers’ compensation laws of North Carolina prevent injured employees from filing personal injury claims against their employers, but there may be cause for you to file a third-party claim if someone outside your workplace caused your injury.
Every workers’ compensation case is unique. That’s why you need legal representation you can trust to navigate this challenging situation effectively. An experienced Lexington workers’ compensation attorney can help you approach your claim with confidence and peace of mind.
It’s vital for everyone working in Lexington, NC to understand the risks they face every day at work. While industries like construction and manufacturing are more dangerous than others, it’s possible for anyone to sustain an unexpected injury at work. Some of the most reported injuries that lead to workers’ compensation claims include:
These are just a few examples of workplace injuries that may generate workers’ compensation claims. If you were injured at work in any way, it’s essential to report the injury to your supervisor immediately. Then, request the appropriate forms and materials you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Since every workers’ compensation case is unique, it is nearly impossible to determine your settlement in advance. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the state agency responsible for administering the Workers’ Compensation Act for North Carolina workers. When you are injured at work, you must file a claim with the NCIC that outlines the full extent of your injury, an explanation of how it happened, and the projected effects of the accident. However, obtaining appropriate compensation from the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is more challenging than many claimants expect.
Generally, workers’ compensation benefits in North Carolina extend to coverage of the claimant’s medical treatment costs and temporary disability benefits while they recover from their injuries. In some cases, injured workers may qualify for coverage for ongoing medical treatments they require, and they could also potentially qualify for permanent disability benefits. Additionally, some claimants may have grounds for legal action beyond their workers’ compensation claims.
It is important to note that North Carolina law is restrictive when it comes to injured employees’ right to sue their employers. In most cases, an injured employee cannot sue their employer for a workplace injury when the employer has workers’ compensation insurance. However, if a third party caused your workplace injury, you likely have grounds for a personal injury claim against them. Even when a lawsuit is not possible after a workplace injury, hiring an experienced Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer is the best way to ensure a full recovery from your damages.
North Carolina prohibits injured workers from suing their employers for workplace injuries if their employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, if an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, an injured employee has the right to file a civil claim if the accident resulted from the employer’s negligence. The injured employee would also have the right to file a claim against their employer if the injury resulted from the employer’s intentional misconduct or the creation of a hostile work environment. As a rule, if workers’ compensation is an option after a workplace injury, the injured worker cannot file a civil claim against their employer.
It’s important to note that most of the situations that would provide legal grounds for an injured worker to sue their employer or coworker for intentional misconduct would lead to criminal cases. Assault, sexual battery, and even attempted murder in the workplace can all generate civil and criminal cases. If you believe your workplace injury was no accident and any party at your workplace is directly responsible, you need to consult a Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation is not the same thing as filing a civil lawsuit against the NCIC. If you believe the NCIC has mishandled your workers’ compensation claim, it’s best to consult an attorney to determine your best options for legal recourse. You may need to provide additional documentation or file an appeal regarding your claim to reach a satisfactory result. However, if your workplace injury involves emotional distress, there are a few options for securing compensation for these non-economic damages.
As mentioned, North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws state that employees may not file lawsuits against their employers for negligent injury. However, if a third-party bears liability for your workplace injury, you can hold them accountable for the pain and suffering their actions caused.
When you have grounds to file a third-party personal injury claim outside of the workers’ compensation system, you have the right to seek compensation for the damages typically available in most North Carolina personal injury claims. While your workers’ compensation benefits may cover your medical treatment costs, if there are any outstanding medical expenses that workers’ comp doesn’t cover, you can add these damages to your third-party claim. Additionally, while workers’ compensation will provide temporary disability benefits, these benefits may only amount to a percentage of your average weekly wages. You can seek the remainder of your lost income through your personal injury claim.
A successful personal injury claim against a third party can also yield compensation for lost earning capacity and pain and suffering. While you may qualify for permanent disability benefits through workers’ comp, these benefits may not equal the full amount of income you would have reasonably expected to earn in the future had your injury not occurred. Your Lexington workers’ compensation attorney can potentially help you hold the at-fault third party accountable for your remaining lost earning capacity. They will also help you calculate a reasonable amount of pain and suffering compensation to add to your claim based on the severity of your injury.
It’s important to remember that time is a critical factor in every workers’ compensation claim. There are strict time limits in which an injured worker must file a claim, and it’s vital to consistently monitor the status of your claim. Do not assume that if your employer filed an employee injury report, your claim is on file with the NCIC. It’s best to consult an experienced Lexington workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible to verify that all elements of your claim have been filed appropriately within the applicable time limits.
If you intend to file any personal injury action against the party responsible for your workplace injury, there is a statute of limitations of three years. While this sounds like more than enough time to build your case, personal injury cases are complex. It is always best to start working with an attorney as soon as possible to minimize the chance of encountering delays or other interruptions to your case.
Having the right attorney on your side as you begin the workers’ compensation claim process provides critical reassurance during a challenging time. Your attorney can assist you in completing your initial claim form and verify that you have submitted all the appropriate forms required for your claims. You will likely need to undergo an examination by a rehabilitation nurse or physician approved by your employers’ workers’ compensation insurance carrier to receive a disability rating for your injury. This rating determines the scope of the benefits you will receive and how long you can continue receiving them. In North Carolina, you also have the right to arrange a private medical examination from a doctor of your choosing with the NCIC’s approval.
Your Lexington workers’ compensation lawyer will help you understand the full scope of your legal rights in this challenging situation. Many injured workers settle for less than they should simply because they do not have legal representation on their side. However, when you have sustained a serious workplace injury, the incident is likely to affect your life in many ways for years to come. Do not risk your recovery by neglecting to hire legal counsel when you need it most.
Attorney M. Reid Acree, Jr. can offer the legal support and guidance you need to approach your workers’ compensation claim with confidence. Our team has years of experience guiding clients through the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. We can apply this experience to your case to secure the best possible outcome.
We know how the NCIC handles most workers’ compensation claims, as well as the challenges and opportunities you are likely to encounter as you work toward your recovery. Securing representation from M. Reid Acree, Jr. is your first step to ensuring a streamlined, positive workers’ compensation claim. If you are ready to file your workers’ compensation claim with the help of an experienced and reliable Lexington workers’ compensation attorney, contact M. Reid Acree, Jr. today to schedule your consultation.