Thousands of people work in the Winston-Salem area in industries that put tremendous physical strain on the body. It’s common for workers to perform the same manual tasks every day and gradually develop repetitive stress injuries over time. Acute traumatic accidents could result in work-related injuries. Back injuries are particularly troublesome, painful, and debilitating. If you recently suffered any work-related back injury, it is vital to know your rights in terms of the benefits that could be available to you through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy.
Virtually every employer in the state is legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance serves two important purposes: to prevent employers from facing civil liability for all work-related injuries to their employees and to provide financial relief to injured workers. Workers’ compensation insurance allows employers in high-risk industries to continue operations without the risk of facing liability for every employee’s injury. At the same time, injured workers can count on their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance to cover their lost income and medical expenses after they sustain injuries at work.
M. Reid Acree, Jr., is an experienced Winston-Salem work injury attorney you can trust with your case if you need to file a claim with a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. While your case might appear straightforward at first, the reality is that any workers’ compensation claim can meet with unexpected legal complications with an employer, their insurance carrier, or both. An injured worker could have grounds for further recovery outside of the workers’ compensation system. Ultimately, if you want the greatest chance of securing as many benefits as possible for your work-related back injury, it’s vital to consult an experienced attorney as quickly as possible after any injury at work.
Back injuries are especially difficult work-related injuries for many reasons. First and foremost, they can be incredibly painful and debilitating, restricting the victim’s range of motion, flexibility, and ability to lift and carry heavy objects. Back injuries can also be very difficult to treat, and some victims of these injuries can face protracted recovery processes that entail various long-term treatments.
A back injury might occur from a slip and fall accident, repetitive stress from lifting and carrying heavy objects, a vehicle accident, or a number of other possible causes. As long as the injury happened while the victim was performing their job duties, it is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, if the employee was working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if they intentionally violated workplace safety rules, these factors could disqualify them from receiving benefits.
If you suffer any injury at work, it is crucial that you report it to your supervisor immediately, even if you think it is a minor injury. Your employer is required to create an incident report detailing the injury, and failure to report the injury right away could reflect negatively on a future workers’ compensation claim. The insurance company may believe that because you did not report the injury immediately, it could not have been as serious as you claim.
You should also seek medical care immediately. You can see any doctor in an emergency, but if you intend to file a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to undergo a formal evaluation from a doctor your employer’s insurance company approves. They will assess your condition and assign a disability rating from 1 to 100, which indicates the severity of your condition and your level of disability. This rating will factor heavily into your determination of benefits from the insurance carrier.
Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits follows a similar process to how one would file any other insurance claim. They must complete the necessary claim forms and gather all required supporting documentation, and then they submit the claim to the insurance carrier for consideration. The insurance carrier reviews the claim, requests additional information if necessary, and then either rejects or accepts the claim. If your workers’ compensation claim for a work-related back injury is rejected for any reason, a Winston-Salem work injury attorney can help appeal the insurance company’s decision and refile the claim if necessary.
If your claim is approved, the insurance company will deliver a determination of benefits. Generally, most injured workers can expect two types of compensation with an approved workers’ compensation claim:
Your Winston-Salem work injury attorney can help ensure that your employer’s insurance carrier handles your claim in good faith and delivers a fair determination of benefits. If you disagree with the insurance company’s assessment of your disability or if you believe the insurance company has not handled your claim appropriately, your attorney will know how to resolve these problems on your behalf.
Workers’ compensation insurance usually prohibits an injured worker from filing a civil suit against their employer for a work-related injury. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. First, if the business you work for does not have appropriate insurance coverage, they face full liability for the victim’s damages. Second, if your employer caused the injury through any intentional act, they would also face liability. This may involve direct harmful action or forcing the employee to perform a task with virtual certainty to cause harm.
A work-related back injury could happen because of the actions of some person outside the claimant’s workplace. For example, if you are driving a vehicle as part of your work duties and are hit by a drunk driver, they would face liability for your damages. You could still file a workers’ compensation claim because the injury occurred while you were performing your job duties, but you could also file a third-party claim naming the driver who hit you.
Under North Carolina law, the plaintiff in a personal injury case must prove the defendant is solely at fault for causing the claimed damages. This means the plaintiff cannot have contributed to causing the injury in any way. Any measure of contributory negligence, no matter how slight, will negate the plaintiff’s ability to claim compensation with a personal injury claim. It’s possible for a worker to cause their own injury at work and still qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, but their fault in any measure will preclude them from filing a personal injury claim.
Ultimately, recovering from a work-related back injury in Winston-Salem could be a more challenging and multifaceted process than you initially expected. Having legal counsel that you trust to guide you through this process can make it much easier to bear. Additionally, you would be more likely to see the results you hope for. M. Reid Acree, Jr., has years of professional experience handling all types of work injury claims in Winston-Salem, and our team knows how painful, complex, and debilitating a back injury can be.
Our firm can work closely with you to help file your workers’ compensation claim, resolving any issues that arise with the insurance company as efficiently as possible. We’ll review their determination of benefits to ensure they have handled the claim in good faith and delivered a reasonable offer based on the seriousness of the injury you suffered and your employer’s insurance policy.
If you have concerns about the cost of legal counsel, there is no need to be concerned about this when you hire M. Reid Acree, Jr., to represent you. Our firm accepts work injury cases on a contingency fee basis, only collecting fees from our clients after we win their cases. Additionally, we only collect our fee as a portion of your case award after we win your case, and we take nothing if we are unable to secure compensation for you. Our billing policy, experience, and professional resources will allow you to approach your recovery efforts with greater confidence, and the sooner you reach out to our team, the more time we will have to work on your case. Get in touch with us today to set up a free consultation with a Winston-Salem work injury attorney to learn how we can help you recover from your work-related back injury.