Don’t give up on a good workers comp claim based on bad information.
Many injured workers simply give up when they don’t know what else to do with a workers’ comp claim, especially one that is as hard as an occupational disease. Pursuing a workers’ comp claim is not easy. But the surest way to make a good claim into a failure is to not follow through with it.
LESLIE’S WORKERS COMPENSATION CLAIM
Leslie worked in a retail distribution facility. Much of her day was spent filling orders that went to stores in the Southeast. The merchandise was kept in bins on shelves that stretched above her head and all the way down to the floor. She pulled the bins out and pushed them back in hundreds of times a day. After a year on the job she noticed that the soreness in her right shoulder wasn’t going away after she went home. In fact, it was getting worse.
Leslie had never had problems with her arm before. After a few hours at work the pain would get worse, but Leslie just tried to work through it. She went to the nurse at work and got medication regularly, but her pain quickly got to the point where she was having trouble doing her job. The nurse asked her if she had hurt her arm and Leslie truthfully answered that she hadn’t had an accident. She went to the company’s doctor who said she probably did have some chronic problems. After months of pain, he finally ordered an MRI, but Leslie was told that the company wouldn’t pay for more treatment.
Leslie started missing work because she just couldn’t physically do the job. Her sick leave time was soon gone and the company put her on short term disability. She went to a doctor who recommended surgery, but she didn’t go back for treatment because she couldn’t afford it. The $300 disability payments were taxable, so she only received $275 a week and couldn’t pay the co-pays for the doctor. Now Leslie is nearing the last of her short term payments. Since it has been over five months since she could work, Leslie fears she is in danger of getting evicted from her apartment.
Leslie has not done much to keep her claim going. She hasn’t gotten the continuing treatment she needs and she hasn’t filed a claim to get compensation from the North Carolina Industrial Commission. But all is not lost. Her doctor
has not told her that her condition comes from work but Leslie can ask him now or she can ask another doctor.
When a doctor tells Leslie that the condition is work-related, then Leslie will have a maximum of 30 days to tell the employer in writing that the condition is work related. Leslie should not miss this deadline!
Though injured workers have two years to file a claim with the Industrial Commission, Leslie should report the occupational disease in writing right away (using a Form 18). Leslie’s claim can still be made – even though it has been months she has been out of work.
READ MORE ABOUT LESLIE’S WORKERS COMP CLAIM, AND GET OUR TOP 10 TIPS FOR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIMS IN NORTH CAROLINA BY DOWNLOADING A FREE COPY OF WORKERS COMP 101 HERE.