Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
Helping North Carolina employees who have been injured on the job
Employees who are injured on the job should be able to rely on the North Carolina workers’ compensation system for help. NC Workers’ Compensation Insurance is meant to provide medical care, cover medical bills, replace a percentage of lost wages, and help with certain other needs related to injuries or illnesses that workers suffer. Unfortunately, seeking workers’ compensation benefits can be a complex, stressful process, especially when you are dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters.
A skilled Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney from Warren & Kallianos can make sure you receive the medical care you need, prepare your paperwork, document your injuries, and negotiate with the insurance company to make sure your rights are protected, and your benefits are maximized. In the event your claim or certain benefits are wrongfully denied by the insurance company or its lawyers, your lawyers at Warren & Kallianos will take the matter to hearing to protect your rights. Your work injury lawyer can also search out other potential sources of additional compensation, such as a third-party claim against someone other than your employer and co-workers whose carelessness contributed to your accident.
I highly recommend Warren and Kallianos to anyone! The office staff, Tiffany, Lindsay and Janet are great to work with. They are attentive to your needs and very helpful during that whole process! They are the kind of people you want on your side when you are suffering because of other people’s neglect. They are straight forward with you and at the same time they look out for your interest and not theirs.
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What North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Covers
Workers’ compensation pays a number of costs related to having your workplace injury or illness treated. Most injured workers can expect workers’ compensation coverage for:
- Medical Costs. Office visits, testing, medications, and other items related to treating your on-the-job injury or illness are typically covered by workers’ compensation. Often, this includes the costs of emergency care and treatments, as well as follow-up visits prescribed by your doctor.
- Sick Travel Reimbursement. If you must travel 20 miles or more round-trip for medical care, workers’ compensation should compensate you for mileage.
- Lost-Time Weekly Benefits. If you are out of work for more than seven days, you should receive weekly compensation at two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to a maximum amount ($992 per week as of 2018). If you are out of work for more than 21 days, you may receive benefits for the first seven days in addition to the other days you are out of work. You are eligible for these benefits until you are able to return to work.
- Permanent Partial or Total Disability Benefits. These benefits are paid if you are partly or totally disabled even after your doctors have determined you have reached “maximum medical improvement,” which means your condition is not expected to improve any further.
Your workers’ comp lawyer can help you understand how other types of workers’ compensation benefits, such as death benefits if a family member dies in an on-the-job accident, may apply to your situation.
Nearly all construction workers will have at least one work-related injury in their lifetime, and they also have a greater risk of premature death
Dangerous Industries in North Carolina
The dangers of the construction industry cannot be overstated; workers die every single year, and many others sustain life-altering injuries. However, there are other jobs and other industries that also put their workers at risk. Warren & Kallianos is proud to represent injured employees who work in these industries:
- Biotech and pharmaceuticals
- Defense and aerospace
- Food processing
- White Collar
- Tourism and entertainment
We also represent white collar workers throughout the state. If you are a contractor, or are otherwise ineligible for workers’ comp benefits, we can help you make a third-party personal injury claim, and assist you in your quest for additional benefits, as well.
If you have already applied for benefits and been denied, we can assist there, too. We represent injured workers in hearings and appeals.
Can I File a Lawsuit Over My Job-Related Injuries?
Generally speaking, you may not sue your employer if you are injured on the job – even if the injury or illness was your employer’s fault. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide certain benefits in a timely manner for your injuries without having to take your employer to court to argue about whether the company – or you – was responsible for or the cause of the accident.
However, if you are injured on the job due to the negligence of someone who is not your employer or a co-worker, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. These claims are typically called “third-party” claims because they involve a person or company that is not you or your employer.
Common types of third-party claims an injured worker might have in addition to a workers’ compensation claim include:
- Motor Vehicle Accident. If you are in a car accident while traveling for your job or working on or near a roadway, you may be able to file a claim against a negligent driver who caused the crash. However, car accidents during your commute from home to work usually are not covered by workers’ comp.
- Product Liability. If you are injured by a defective tool, equipment, or another item you use on the job, you may have a claim against the manufacturer, designer, or distributor of the defective product.
- Premises Liability. If you visit other properties as part of your job and you are injured by a dangerous condition on the premises like broken pavement, dangerous stairs, or water on the floor, for example, you may have a claim against the property owner.
What If I’m Injured on the Job, But Not at My Workplace?
The label “workplace injuries” can be misleading. It sounds as if these injuries only “count” as work injuries if they take place at your employer’s place of business.
In fact, any injury you suffer while doing your regular job tasks may be covered by workers’ compensation, even if it does not take place at your employer’s address. For example, if you are injured in a wreck while making a delivery in your job as a delivery driver, your medical bills and many other expenses should be covered by workers’ compensation. Construction workers who work for subcontractors may be covered by their own employer’s workers’ compensation insurance or by insurance held by the general contractor.
What if Someone Other than an Employer or Co-Worker is Responsible for My Injuries?
In many work injury cases, your employer or a co-worker was clearly careless in a way that led to your harm. In other cases, though, the careless person who caused the harm isn’t someone with whom you work. For instance, you may be hurt in a car accident caused by another driver while you are running work-related errands as part of your work as an office manager. Or you may be injured when a defective piece of equipment, made and designed by an outside company, malfunctions.
In cases like these, you can still seek workers’ compensation coverage for your injuries. Workers’ compensation covers injuries by accidents suffered by employees on the job, generally no matter what caused the harm. In addition to a workers’ comp claim, you may also have a claim against the person or company that actually caused your injuries. These are known as third-party claims because they involve someone who is not your employer.
If you suspect you may have a third-party claim, talk to attorneys who have a broad range of knowledge about personal injury matters, including cases involving car accidents, premises liability, and products liability. At Warren & Kallianos, our lawyers understand how third-party claims interact with workers’ compensation claims, and we will fight to pursue all the compensation to which you are entitled.
Common Causes of Workplace Accidents
Any workplace accident can cause injuries, but some workplace accidents are more common than others. Here are some of the major causes of accidents in the workplace:
- Falls. Falling from a height such as scaffolding or a ladder can cause severe injury or death. A slip-and-fall on a floor covered with water, oil, grease, clutter, or other substances can also cause severe harm. Both types of falls are among the most common kinds of workplace accidents. Severe traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other harm can result.
- Falling Objects. Any item falling from a height or tipping over can hurt someone. This includes not only loads at construction sites, but items like boxes or equipment falling off shelves, filing cabinets tipping over, and similar injury risks. Even workers in seemingly safe workplaces like offices and stores are vulnerable.
- Equipment-Related Injuries. Defective equipment can cause serious harm to any worker who uses it. Often, a defect in a tool or piece of equipment is hidden — so no one knows it is present until after a serious injury occurs. When defective tools or equipment, including safety equipment, cause harm, workers may be able to bring a claim against the item’s manufacturer or designer, in addition to seeking benefits from workers’ compensation.
- Repetitive Stress and Other Overuse/Overwork Injuries. Not all workplace injuries are caused by a single identifiable “accident.” Instead, performing the same activities over and over can cause joint, nerve, and tissue damage to build up over time. For instance, repeated heavy lifting may cause back injuries, while days spent typing at a keyboard might result in carpal tunnel syndrome. These on-the-job injuries are also covered by workers’ compensation in many work injury cases, even though they are not caused by any single “accident.”
- Toxic exposure. When you work with deadly chemicals, airborne pathogens, or other types of toxins, you are at-risk of being exposed to them, either through contact or inhalation. Toxic exposure may take a few days to affect you, or it could build up slowly, over years.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina
Here, we describe how to file a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina. We also talk about the role that a lawyer can play in your case. Keep in mind: the process is rarely smooth and glitch-free. Unfortunately, many employers and insurers make it hard for injured workers to get the medical and disability benefits they deserve. It helps to work with an attorney who knows how to overcome obstacles.
Steps When Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in North Carolina
The workers’ compensation system in North Carolina can cover all of your work injury-related medical expenses and some – but not all – of the wages you lose due to your inability to work or to work like you did before. So, you should certainly learn more about your right to these benefits. You also should know the following steps that go into filing a workers’ compensation claim in our state:
- Give notice to your employer. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation if you were injured on the job or developed an occupational disease due to your job environment. The first thing you must do to preserve your rights is to notify your employer. You should do this as fast as possible. Unless your employer has actual knowledge of your work-related accident and injury, the law generally requires you to notify your employer in writing within 30 days of your work injury. If you claim an occupational disease, you must generally notify your employer within 30 days of your initial diagnosis.
- Get immediate medical attention. When you are injured on the job, your employer’s work comp insurance carrier will have the right to ask that you receive medical care from its in-network providers. Emergency medical care will be billed to the insurance carrier rather than your health insurance. In most cases, the insurance carrier must authorize any follow-up care ordered by your treating physician. However, disputes often arise when an insurer refuses to approve a medical provider or type of treatment. An experienced attorney from our firm can help in this area.
- Follow your doctor’s orders. In the majority of cases, you should follow doctor’s orders as closely as possible. For instance, if you have been instructed not to lift more than 20 pounds, don’t do it. Failing to follow a doctor’s orders can hurt you and your case. The employer’s doctors determine when you can return to work. Often, disputes arise over whether your old job or the job you are offered is suitable based on your injuries. You should also be aware of your rights to a second opinion.
- Write down everything. Each time you speak to someone about your case, keep notes. You may even wish to keep a log of your injuries and how they affect your daily life.
- Keep copies of everything. Workers’ compensation cases can take a long time to resolve. Still, throughout your case, you should keep everything, including medical bills and records, accident or incident reports, employer documents, disability statements, photographs, notes from conversations with healthcare providers and witness names.
- File your workers’ compensation claim. You have two years from the date of your injury or initial diagnosis with an occupational disease in order to bring your claim before the Industrial Commission. This statute of limitations is strict and cannot be waived by agreement or due to a mistake. The best option for both notifying your employer and preserving your rights is to file a Form 18 “Notice of Accident”within 30 days. Your attorney can assist with this process.
You Can Request a Hearing if Your Claim for Compensation Is Denied
Many workers’ compensation claims are denied initially by employers and their insurers. As soon as you are notified of the denial, you may submit your request for a hearing, or Form 33, to the Industrial Commission.
The sooner you call an attorney, the better. Often, a lawyer can take procedural and strategic steps early in your case which can improve your chances of a swift and successful claim. At Warren & Kallianos, our consultations are always free. So, you have nothing to lose by simply giving us a call.
As a Contractor, Can I Collect Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
No, you cannot. Contractors are not entitled to workers’ comp. Instead you would need to file a third-party personal injury lawsuit against your employer or the person who is accountable for your injuries. If you were hurt because of a defective product, like a faulty press or a malfunctioning forklift, then you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer.
What Other Benefits Am I Entitled to Receive?
If you are injured on a worksite or in the course of your duties, you may be entitled to additional benefits. They include:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans’ Benefits (VA)
You should know that in some cases, accepting additional benefits may cause your workers’ compensation to be canceled. For example, you cannot collect Disability and Comp at the same time. However, if you are awarded compensation for disfigurement, your award will not be reduced nor reclaimed if you apply for Disability.
The Charlotte Workers’ Comp Lawyers at Warren & Kallianos Can Help You
The workplace injury attorneys at Warren & Kallianos are dedicated to helping clients navigate the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina and protecting their rights under the law. Our goal is to pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys have secured millions of dollars in workers’ comp settlements and other help for injured employees over the years whether by hearing or mediation, including:
- $400,000 for a client who underwent multiple back surgeries after slipping and falling at work.
- $350,000 for a client who suffered severe burn injuries when a piece of equipment exploded at a work station
- $300,000 for a client who suffered a severe infection while being treated for a work-related injury.
- $275,000 for a client who suffered injuries when he was electrocuted during his work as an electrician.
- $250,000 for a client who suffered neck and back injuries in a car accident while he was traveling for his job as a salesperson.
- $225,000 for a client who suffered brain and orthopedic injuries in a construction site fall
If you have been injured on the job, let us get started on your workers’ comp claim today. We can determine whether you may be able to bring a separate claim against another person or company that is not covered by the workers’ compensation system.
Why You Need Warren & Kallianos for Your Workers’ Comp Claim
The workers’ compensation system in North Carolina is designed to protect workers who have been injured on the job, but many times, our attorneys have found that the insurance companies are just looking to protect their bottom lines.
When you choose to work with Warren & Kallianos, attorneys Jeff Warren and Chris Kallianos will be handling your workers’ compensation case personally. Unlike with the insurance companies, which see you as a claim number, we treat every client with the respect and personal attention you deserve. We will start by giving you a free case consultation to cover all aspects of your workers’ compensation claim.
Some of the ways in which we typically help clients who need workers’ compensation benefits are:
- Making sure you get proper medical treatment. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you need emergency care for a serious injury or symptoms of an occupational illness. See a medical professional as soon as you can. Tell the staff who treat you that this is a work-related injury or illness. Often times, the insurance company will deny medical care ordered by your treating physician. Our worker’s compensation attorneys will aggressively fight for all the medical care you need to recover from your injuries, going to a hearing before the N.C. Industrial Commission if necessary.
- Reporting your injury or illness to your employer. If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, tell your employer as soon as possible. If you require emergency care, you may ask a family member or a co-worker to tell your supervisor as soon as possible. Our attorneys will prepare the required written notice you need to file with your employer and the Industrial Commission. It will include the date of the accident or the onset of symptoms and a brief description of what happened and how you were injured.
- Filling out the state’s forms. Our workers’ comp lawyers make sure all the necessary forms are filled out and turned in to the North Carolina Industrial Commission to start the process of getting your bills paid and making sure you receive the other benefits you are entitled to under the law.
- Making sure your claim is solid. It is essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Fill medications and take them on schedule, attend all follow-up appointments, and go to any specialists or testing your doctor recommends. If you do not follow your doctor’s instructions, your health may be at risk and your claim for workers’ compensation may be challenged.
- Providing assistance if your claim has been denied or you need to request a hearing. Our Charlotte workers’ comp lawyers will provide skilled representation through the entire claims process, including fighting for your rights to compensation in hearings before the Industrial Commission. We make sure the work you return to is suitable, fits within any physical restrictions set by your treating physician, and is not make work designed to cut off your benefits under the law. If you are unable to return to work, we make sure you continue to recover the full benefits and protection of the law.
Choose a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Who Knows the Ropes
Dealing with a work-related injury is frustrating; choosing the right lawyer for your needs shouldn’t be. Warren & Kallianos offers straightforward, practical advice designed to obtain the maximum compensation allowed by law for injured workers in North Carolina. When you need a workers’ compensation lawyer who won’t back down, call 704-377-7777 or fill out our contact form, and schedule your free consultation at our office in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County.
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