Workers’ Compensation Hearings and Appeals in North Carolina
Experienced work injury lawyers in Charlotte
Workplace injuries can occur in any kind of workplace setting whether you are a construction worker or a business analyst. North Carolina law mandates that businesses with three or more employees have workers’ compensation insurance to cover medical expenses, the partial wage disability benefit and other benefits depending on the extent and severity of the injuries. Sometimes, valid workplace injury claims will be denied. Your employer or their insurance company may dispute your claim for any number of reasons. A denied claim will keep you from getting your medical bills paid receiving wage disability benefits you may be entitled to.
At Warren & Kallianos, PLLC, we understand how stressful it can be to have been hurt at work, unable to work because of an injury and then denied workers’ compensation benefits. We are here to represent injured workers who are facing disputes over benefits. We offer a free initial consultation, and you never pay attorney fees until we recover compensation for you.
The Workers’ Compensation Hearings and Appeals Process
If you have submitted a workers’ compensation claim that was denied, here is a brief overview of the hearings and appeals process in North Carolina:
- After you file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, you will be notified by the insurance carrier or employer whether your claim has been accepted, denied, or accepted with the employer/carrier reserving the right to deny the claim at a later date.
- If you claim is denied, you will have the right to file for a full evidentiary hearing before a Deputy Commissioner of the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), who will serve as a judge in determining whether you are entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The Deputy Commissioner will receive testimony from witnesses and treating physicians in reaching a decision. The employer/insurance carrier will be represented by an attorney; so should you.
- Before your hearing, the NCIC will schedule a mediation conference with a mediator and the attorney for the employer/insurance carrier to determine whether your case can be settled. You should have an attorney present who knows the law, the facts of your case and how the law applies to those facts to make sure your rights are protected and any settlement that is reached is fair to you. If nothing is resolved in mediation, the next phase is the formal hearing before the Deputy Commissioner.
- Once the hearing is completed, you will receive a formal written Opinion and Award from the Deputy Commissioner setting forth the decision as to whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits or the denial of benefits was proper. Both you and employer/insurance carrier have the right to appeal the decision of the Deputy Commissioner to Full Commission of the NCIC. If your claim was denied by the Deputy Commissioner, you must submit an Application for Review within 15 days of the Deputy Commissioner’s ruling.
- When a deputy commissioner’s ruling is appealed, the case will be heard by a panel of three full commissioners who will review the evidence presented at the hearing and listen to the oral arguments of your attorney and the attorney for the employer/insurance carrier as to why the Deputy Commissioner made the right or wrong decision.
As your experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys, we will prepare a compelling case as to why you should receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Why Was My Workers’ Compensation Claim Denied?
There are many reasons you claim might have been denied. The following are a few common examples of why some workers’ compensation claims are denied:
- Your injury did not happen while you were working. Workers’ compensation benefits are for injuries that occur during your regular work activities. If the injury did not happen at work, while you were working, your claim will likely be denied.
- Your injury was not the result of an “accident.” You must be “injured by accident” to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This can be a complicated legal issue depending on the facts of how you were hurt and the nature of your injury. You should never accept this as the basis for the denial of your workers’ compensation without consultation with an experienced attorney.
- Your employer’s insurer is trying to manage costs. As with any kind of insurance policy, the more you file claims, the higher your premiums will be. Sometimes, a workers’ compensation insurer will routinely deny a valid claim, and the employee takes that denial as the final word. You can always appeal a workers’ compensation denial.
- You delayed filing a workers’ compensation claim. In North Carolina, there generally is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim. For an occupational illness, a worker generally has two years from the date it was discovered that the condition was related to the work or workplace.
- Your complaint is from a preexisting condition. You cannot get workers’ compensation benefits for an old injury. However, you may collect workers’ compensation if your job aggravates/exacerbates an old injury, or created a new problem for you.
Why You Need Warren & Kallianos for Your Workers’ Compensation Appeal
At Warren & Kallianos, our knowledgeable lawyers have represented employees facing workers’ compensation disputes for decades. You can trust our skilled legal team to:
- Investigate your claim
- Represent you at every level of your claim through hearing and appeal if necessary
- Stay on top of all the paperwork and deadlines
- Make sure you receive the medical care ordered by your treating physicians
- Communicate with you to ensure you are satisfied with how the case is progressing
Are you concerned that you will not be able to afford this level of representation? At Warren & Kallianos, our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means we do not charge legal fees upfront. You pay attorney fees only after we have won compensation for you. Our workers’ compensation lawyers work directly with clients to provide the personalized attention they deserve.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Handle My Workers’ Compensation Case?
Any workers’ compensation claim can involve complex legal issues that are overwhelming to an injured worker. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney allows you to relax instead of worrying about dealing with insurance adjusters, the legal system, and whether you are receiving what you are entitled to under the law. If your claim has been denied, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will make sure that all relevant evidence and information is gathered and presented to substantiate your claim at any hearing. And, in the event any settlement offers are made, your attorney can advise you if the amounts offered are fair and reasonable under the law.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Competent Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
The North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys of Warren & Kallianos are committed to building a strong case for our clients when their workers’ compensation claims have been denied. You may schedule a free case evaluation by calling 704-275-5593 or you can contact our Charlotte office today to discuss your workers’ compensation appeals case.