When You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Nobody wants to be injured at work. The pain and stress of the injury are made worse by red tape and problems with medical treatment. When you are hurt at work and your injury is serious, you need a workers’ comp attorney who knows the law. Whether you need a workers’ comp injury attorney or an occupational disease lawyer, your workers’ compensation case can’t wait: you need medical treatment and compensation. You need a workers’ compensation lawyer who has the experience and knowledge to help you with North Carolina workers’ compensation law.
Understanding Worker’s Comp in NC
An injury in North Carolina may not be covered under workers’ comp even there is no doubt that the injury happened at work. Why? Because most injuries have to have happened “by accident” to be paid for by the employer or the employer’s insurance. An accident may be a slip, trip, or fall, but it also may be any unusual event that causes the injury.
When an employee has an accident at work and reports it, the supervisor will ask what happened. A formal injury report may be filled out. An adjuster may call to request a recorded statement. And the injured employee probably will be asked “was it unusual?” Many people believe that if something went wrong at work, then the injury would not be covered, when it is the opposite that is true. It is important to be both truthful and detailed in describing the unusual nature of the accident.
What about Back Injuries?
Back injuries without a clear accidental cause, many specific occupational diseases, and other work-related conditions can also be covered under workers’ compensation. Each of these conditions has special rules that determine whether the employer or insurance company will have to pay for medical treatment, time out of work, and permanent injury.
Back injuries happen all too often. When an employee engages in heavy lifting as a regular part of his or her job and has an injury, there may not have been an unusual event that caused the injury. Fortunately injured workers only have to show “a specific traumatic injury” to the neck and back to prove that the injury was work-related. In other words, there has to be a trauma at a point in time that caused the injury, but no unusual event.
Meet Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
We have two board-certified NC workers’ compensation attorneys – Valerie Johnson and Jennifer Segnere – who know the law. And Valerie Johnson’s book on NC workers’ compensation law is the one lawyers turn to. Your questions about your case are questions that we have answered before. We can push for medical treatment and help you get your weekly benefits. We can tell you when your workers’ comp settlement is reasonable, and when it isn’t. Our experience in court means that we will go to bat for you – and if it takes going to a hearing to do that, we won’t hesitate.
North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Cases We’ve Handled
Not all workers’ compensation cases involve injuries. Some claims are for occupational diseases, conditions that were caused by work. You need an experienced occupational disease lawyer – we often fight for compensation for clients whose conditions were caused by their jobs. We know what to prove and how to prove it.
Not everyone with a workers’ comp injury needs a workers’ comp lawyer. We have a free book to answer your questions and help you get back what you lost. Call us if you need to know whether a workers’ compensation attorney can help you with your claim.We handle NC workers’ compensation cases like:
- A police officer whose serious hand injury at an NC State football game was denied by his employer, leaving him with more than $100,000 in medical bills
- A man who lost his hand in a food processing machine when it turned on while he was cleaning it
- Workers who developed lung diseases after exposure to chemicals in their work
- A man whose burn injuries resulted in months in a burn unit and who needed home care and many surgeries, one of which was denied by the insurance company
- A state employee injured at a training camp who was paralyzed, requiring attendant care from his wife
- A woman who fell from an escalator after a company dinner, resulting in head and arm fractures
- A Duke employee that needed an ankle replacement after a fall at work when her employer denied treatment
Consultations in workers’ compensation cases are free
If you need a workers’ compensation lawyer: Charlotte NC or Durham NC – a burn injury lawyer, a construction injury lawyer, or any other kind of work injury lawyer Call The Board-certified Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Johnson & Groninger PLLC. We’ll fight for your rights.
Common Worker’s Compensation Questions
What Is Workers’ Compensation?
The Workers’ Compensation Act allows workers who are injured in the course of their employment to be compensated for their lost wages and injuries and to receive medical treatment. Employees do not have to prove that their employer negligently caused their injuries.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Covered Under the Workers’ Compensation Act?
Almost any physical injury sustained at work and many conditions caused by work may be covered by workers’ compensation. A preexisting injury or condition will not qualify, unless it was materially aggravated by the job duties.
How Do I File a Claim for an Injury or Work-Related Condition?
Injuries should be reported immediately or as soon as possible to the employer. Claims may be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission by completing and sending in a Form 18 to the Industrial Commission along with copies to the employer or insurer. The Form 18 should be given to the employee by the employer once the injury is reported but can also be found at the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s website.
I Was Driving From Home to Work and Had a Car Accident Before I Arrived. Would I Have a Workers’ Compensation Claim for My Injuries?
Not likely. The Workers’ Compensation Act applies only when an injury arises out of and in the course of employment. Unless certain special circumstances apply, going to and from work would normally not be covered.
I Was Injured on the Job, but the Injury Was Caused by Someone With No Connection to My Employer. What Are My Rights?
You still have the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits. In addition, you may be able to bring a separate lawsuit against the party who caused your injuries.
My Spouse Was Killed on the Job. Would I Be Able to Receive Workers’ Compensation Benefits or Would I Have a Wrongful Death Case?
In most instances you would have a workers’ compensation claim so long as your spouse’s death arose from his or her job duties. As in any workers’ compensation case, if the injury was caused by a third person, you will likely also have a claim against that person.
My Employer and I Disagree About My Workers’ Compensation Benefits. What Can I Do?
The Workers’ Compensation Act provides an opportunity for a hearing if you and your employer, or your employer’s insurer, cannot resolve a dispute. While it is not required, it is a good idea to have legal representation at the hearing. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer at Johnson Groninger today to discuss your claim.
If an Employee Is Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits, but Returns to Work, Is the Employee Still Entitled to Receive Benefits?
Benefits will be stopped when the injured employee returns to work, but the employee may be entitled to partial benefits if he or she is only able to earn reduced wages. The employee also may be entitled to a trial return to work period. If the injured employee cannot continue to work due to the work-related injury or condition during that period, he or she may have the benefits reinstated.
Under a No-Fault System, Can an Employee Recover Workers’ Compensation Benefits, No Matter What He or She Did to Cause the Injury?
Not necessarily. Although most injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, that does not mean that employees have free reign to injure themselves, or act in any manner in which they choose, and then collect benefits. However, unlike traditional negligence cases in North Carolina, the employee’s negligence will not prevent recovery of benefits.
What Are My Employer’s Responsibilities Under the Workers’ Compensation Act?
You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice concerning your work-related injury. Your attorney will assist you in seeing that your benefits are properly protected. If your claim is contested, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will represent your employer; you should have an experienced attorney representing you. Please contact an attorney at Johnson Groninger to discuss your claim.
Can I expect to get medical treatment from workers’ compensation for my injury?
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act is clear: the employer or insurer must provide medical treatment. However, that requirement only goes so far. The employer does not have to provide any treatment when the claim is not accepted as a workers’ compensation claim. So if a worker is injured at work, but the employer says that it is not responsible, they may not pay for the medical treatment, even if they initially told you to get it. They may not keep paying for medical treatment even if they begin to pay for some treatment. And they may fight to keep that claim from ever being won.
But if they pay for the treatment I need, doesn’t it mean that my claim is accepted?
The answer is no. The law does not say that the employer accepts a claim just by paying for the employee’s medical expenses. In part the rule remains this way because it may encourage some employers to pay for medical treatment while they investigate whether the injured workers’ claim should be paid for under workers’ compensation.
Can I go to my own doctor?
Well, it depends. The employer or carrier gets to direct medical treatment. But you can always request that a change in your treatment, so long as they approve. If they don’t, you should ask in writing and then request that the Industrial Commission order the appointment if the employer refuses or does not answer. Beware going to another doctor without prior approval, because the doctor’s opinion can be given less weight than if you had followed procedure.
If you have been injured at work, the board-certified specialists at Johnson and Groninger PLLC can help you sort out all the issues in your claim. We are here to help.
Get NC Workers’ Compensation LawValerie Johnson is the co-author of North Carolina Worker’s Compensation Law: A Practical Guide to Success at Every Stage of a Claim. This book serves as an attorney’s go-to guide for workers’ compensation cases.
Order this book online