If you have you been injured while on the job in Winston-Salem, you may be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits. To qualify, the injury sustained must have occurred while you were carrying out activities for the benefit of your employer—and must be an accident or the result of a specific traumatic incident.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover?
Employees are typically eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation for total disability equal to two-thirds of their average weekly gross pay—provided they suffer an injury that “arises out of and in the course and scope of their employment”.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Help Injured Workers in a Wide Range of Trades
Our clients who have been injured on the job come from a variety of occupations, including:
- Truck Drivers
- Construction Workers
- Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
- Factory Workers
- Skilled Laborers
- Clerical Employees
- Office Workers
- Warehouse Employees
- State and City Employees
- Home Health Aides
- Physical Therapists
Whether a client has injured their back while lifting, was in a work-related car accident, or suffered serious joint injuries; our Workers’ Compensation lawyers fight to get them the benefits and medical treatment they deserve. We also represent injured workers in serious brain injury cases requiring attendant nursing care.
Because every Workers’ Compensation claim—just like every injury and every employee—is different, we can help you determine if a lump sum settlement may be in your best interests.
How to Apply for Workers’ Compensation
Applying for Workers’ Compensation as a result of work-related injuries can be a complicated and frustrating process involving many complex laws and regulations. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Daggett Shuler work closely to guide you through each step of your case to pursue your benefits. Obtaining qualified legal counsel early in the process can help ensure your claim is handled appropriately. We have a Board-Certified Specialist in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law to help manage your claim.
Proving a Disability is Work Related
An injury at work can be sudden—such as a strain while lifting a heavy object, a blow to the head, a fall from a ladder, or a site accident. There is often little doubt such injuries should be covered by Workers’ Compensation. However, insurance companies commonly deny valid claims—blaming an injury or disability on other activities or pre-existing conditions. They also deny claims they argue do not fit the legal definition of an accident under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act.
Be careful when talking with rehabilitation nurses, case managers, or vocational experts about your case, your feelings about your case, your job, or your return to work. It is unwise to speak with anyone except your lawyer, doctors, or other medical-care provider regarding your claim. To be safe:
- Do not sign anything about your claim unless you speak with an attorney.
- Do not sign anything regarding a settlement or a permanent partial disability rating unless you have consulted with an attorney regarding your rights.
- Do not sign any documentation about your Workers’ Compensation claim unless you speak with an experienced attorney first.
If you have been injured at work, contact a Board-Certified Specialist in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law at Daggett Shuler as soon as possible after your injury.
Depending on the extent of your injuries—and the facts of your case—you may also be eligible to receive short-term or long-term disability insurance benefits. We can advise you on how such disability benefits—as well as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare benefits—can affect your Workers’ Compensation case.
Workers’ Compensation Disability Compensation
Workers’ Compensation is designed to compensate injured employees for the loss of their wage-earning ability and the medical expenses arising from the injury. This can include total disability benefits if the injured employee is completely unable to work—or partial disability benefits if the injured employee is unable to earn wages equal to before the injury.
Specifically, pain and suffering damages are not compensated under the Workers’ Compensation system. At the conclusion of their medical treatment, an injured employee may be entitled to additional compensation for a permanent, partial impairment rating.
The amount of disability compensation owed in Workers’ Compensation cases depends on the injured employee’s average weekly wage before the injury. This figure is supposed to include gross earnings—including bonuses. Determining the average weekly wage under law is complicated—and an injured employee should talk to an experienced attorney to understand their rights.
How We Work
The Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Daggett Shuler fight to recover the maximum benefits for you. Our Workers’ Compensation attorneys include a Board-Certified Specialist in North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law. We know how to investigate your claim, negotiate with insurance companies, and present the strongest possible case at a hearing. We are committed to protecting your rights as a hard-working employee who was injured on the job.
Our attorneys can also guide you through your medical treatment. We can request second-opinion examinations and approval for specific treatments through the Industrial Commission, if needed.
Representation Throughout the Claim Process
The Workers’ Compensation claims process is complicated. The Winston-Salem Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Daggett Shuler provide our clients with personal service throughout the course of their claim. Our attorneys stand up for your rights by:
- Filing your claim (Form 18)
- Guiding you through medical treatment
- Working toward a possible lump sum settlement
- Fighting any denial of benefits or treatment
- Presenting your case at hearings and appeals
If you are unable to return to your pre-injury job, we can also help you through the vocational rehabilitation process. Our goal is to make sure you receive all your Workers’ Compensation benefits in as timely a manner as possible.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When do I need to file a workers’ compensation claim?
When you suffer an injury at work in North Carolina, you will likely be able to file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission for workers’ compensation benefits. This covers costs resulting from work-related injuries, such as medical bills and lost wages, and must be filed promptly after your accident.
Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer must either approve or deny your claim within two weeks of the written or actual notice of the injury. It is crucial that you hire a workers’ compensation attorney to guide you through the complex claims process to win your benefits as soon as possible.
What if my workers’ compensation claim is denied?
Unfortunately, insurance companies notoriously deny valid workers’ compensation claims to make a more significant profit. In this case, you must appeal the denial by filing a Request for Hearing (Form 33) with the assistance of a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer.
After your claim is denied and you file a Request for a Hearing, you and your attorney will proceed with the following:
- Mandatory Mediation. Before a hearing date is scheduled, all cases are referred to mediation. This is an informal meeting between the opposing parties, with a neutral third party attempting to settle. Each party must provide evidence supporting their claim.
- Hearing. Both parties will present evidence that the initial denial was incorrect, including witness testimony, medical records, and medical or vocational expert testimony by post-hearing depositions. Once all the post-hearing evidence is received, and the hearing is over, the judge will issue a written decision called an Opinion and Award. If the initial judge denies the claim, the injured employee can appeal to the Full Commission for a new decision.
- Appeal. The Full Commission does not accept new evidence but reviews the existing evidence and the initial judge’s decision. From there, they make a new Opinion and Award. Any party has the right to appeal the decision of the Full Commission to the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
What is a third-party claim, and do I need to file one?
If you were injured at work due to the negligence of a third party that’s not your employer, you might be entitled to file a separate, third-party claim. These claims often occur in work-related automobile accidents.
Usually, workers’ compensation benefits cover only a portion of the damages sustained after a workplace accident. However, a third-party legal action may allow you to obtain additional money to cover damages.
Even though your injuries and damages were due to a work-related accident, the workers’ compensation system does not protect the third party involved. All parties responsible for your injuries need to be held accountable.
How does workers’ compensation cover my medical expenses?
When you sustain injuries in a work-related accident, you may begin to accumulate medical bills for your treatment. This can be overwhelming, especially with diminished income due to time off work.
Fortunately, under North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law, your employer or its insurance carrier is supposed to provide your medical treatment at no cost to you. However, your employer in North Carolina can generally direct your medical care and select your treating providers in exchange for the coverage.
You may have the right to request a second opinion with a new doctor or medical care provider under the law. You may even request a transfer of your medical treatment to a different provider. To learn more about your options when filing a workers’ compensation claim, speak with a trustworthy North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer at Daggett Shuler today.
Let Us Help You Get the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Deserve
If you or a loved one has been injured at work, call Daggett Shuler today at 336-724-1234 for a free, confidential consultation. You can also submit a Free Case Evaluation Form below. We will gladly speak with you for free—and you only pay if we help you receive benefits or a settlement and the Industrial Commission approves the attorney fee.