Our Asheville Workers’ Comp Lawyers Can Help You Get Benefits if You Have Been Injured on the Job
If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may be entitled to benefits under the North Carolina workers’ compensation system. Workers’ comp is an insurance program intended to provide medical, rehabilitation and income benefits for workplace-related injuries.
Unfortunately, employers and their insurance companies try to avoid paying out benefits and may dispute or deny your legitimate claim. In addition, the rules and procedures for getting workers’ comp are complicated, and making mistakes in filing your claim or saying or doing the wrong thing can result in your claim being rejected.
Fortunately, you do not have to fight for a fair settlement alone.
Help is available from our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at the Lakota R. Denton Law Firm. Let our legal team handle your case to make sure everything is done correctly and in accordance with North Carolina law from the start. If you already had initial benefit denials, misunderstandings, or mistakes, we’ll fight for you.
Call Us Today for Your Free Case Evaluation
You can count on honest and hardworking representation when you trust Lakota Denton with your case. We offer a free consultation to discuss your individual injury situation, so call our Asheville workers’ comp lawyer today to get started working for the benefits you deserve. Don’t delay, call 828-333-5996 now.
How Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help You Get Benefits?
Getting benefits can be tricky, but our lawyer knows how to navigate the system.
North Carolina workers’ comp is regulated by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. All employers who regularly employ three or more employees are required under the law to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees who are injured while working at their job. There are some exceptions to this legal requirement: employees of certain railroads, casual employees, domestic servants, federal government employees, certain farm laborers, and certain sellers of agricultural products are not covered under workers’ compensation.
Why Employers and Insurers Don’t Want to Pay Claims
Workers’ comp is insurance, with premiums paid by employers, and since premiums go up when benefits are paid out, employers often try to avoid paying claims. Workers’ compensation insurance companies are concerned with their bottom line and want to pay out as little as possible, and they have high-powered lawyers on their side, working to deny or dispute benefits. Often benefits are unfairly slashed, reduced or terminated after an insurance-approved doctor says a worker has reached maximum medical improvement. With the deck stacked against you, you don’t want to take on this system alone. Our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will anticipate these tactics and knows how to fight them.
Find Out What Our Workers’ Comp Lawyer Will Do for You
Having an attorney working for you who knows the system helps level the playing field. Insurance companies are more likely to take your claim seriously and handle it fairly when you have a skilled lawyer by your side. You also get assistance navigating the workers’ compensation system in North Carolina. To help you get benefits, our Asheville workers’ comp lawyer can…
- Estimate what your case is worth based on the circumstances and help you come up with a reasonable estimate of your future medical expenses, so that the settlement agreement can take that into account.
- Make sure you know what to say and do after you are injured so that you will meet workers’ comp requirements and to prevent you from hurting your case.
- Make sure all forms are filled out correctly in a timely manner in accordance with North Carolina requirements.
- Investigate how the accident at work happened, which includes interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence to help prove your claim.
- Obtain all relevant work and medical records.
- Arrange treatments with physicians. Get a medical opinion through an independent medical examination if necessary. Conduct depositions of medical experts to testify on your behalf.
- Negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement. We’ll protect you from tricks and tactics used by insurance companies, such as making low-ball offers and bogus “final offers.”
- Represent you at all hearings before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
- Prepare your case and argue on your behalf if a claim goes to trial.
- Ensure that your settlement agreement is properly written to avoid negative consequences down the road.
- Handle any denials and appeals.
- Advise you if you have any third-party or other claims that would warrant a personal injury case.
What Benefits Can an Asheville Workers’ Comp Lawyer Get for Me?
If you were injured on the job, you need help. You may be suffering from pain and a disabling injury. If you can’t work, you may face medical expenses and bills that are starting to accumulate. North Carolina workers’ compensation is designed to provide you help in the form of: 1) medical coverage benefits, 2) retraining and vocational rehabilitation if your injuries prevent you from returning to the same field of work, and 3) compensation for a portion of your lost wages. Medical benefits are available to all workers who are injured on the job and who require medical care.
Medical and Disability Benefits Available Through Workers’ Compensation Claims
There are other North Carolina workers’ comp benefits which are available on a case-by-case basis, as follows:
- Medical benefits – Covers 100 percent of your necessary and reasonable medical expenses related to your covered workplace injury or occupational illness.
- Temporary disability benefits – If you miss more than seven days of work, you are entitled to temporary disability benefits. Temporary disability benefits will be two-thirds of your average weekly wage prior to the incident, up to the maximum benefit amount. If you miss more than 21 days of work, the first seven days of missed work will be compensated, too.
- Permanent disability benefits – If your injuries are permanent and prevent you from doing the work you did prior to the injury or working again in the future, you may continue to receive weekly payments at the rate of two-thirds of your prior wages for 500 weeks, with certain exceptions.
- Permanent partial disability benefits — If you are permanently partially disabled, you may receive the benefits for a set amount of time, depending on the type of injury involved. You can find a schedule of injuries and the rate and period of compensation at Article 1 of the Workers’ Compensation Act.
North Carolina has a detailed rating system that provides formulas for different types of injuries to calculate the level of disability and at what point you reach the best level of medical improvement you can – maximum medical improvement (MMI). At Lakota Denton, we strive to make sure you get the maximum benefits you are entitled to. The workers’ compensation rules in North Carolina are complex, and you may be eligible to receive more benefits than you think. Call us today at 828-333-5996 to learn about your legal options.
How Long Will It Take for an Asheville Workers’ Comp Attorney to Help Me Get Benefits?
At minimum, there is a seven-day waiting period before you can collect benefits. The sooner you contact us, the better your chances of getting optimum compensation as quickly as possible. However, there are several factors that can affect the amount of time for you to receive benefits. These include:
- Whether you filed for workers’ comp benefits in a timely manner under North Carolina law. There are the deadlines and statutes of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party liability claim, including:
- You must provide notice to your employer of your injury within 30 days from the date of injury.
- You have two years from the date of injury to file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
- You have three years from the date of injury to bring a personal injury claim against a third party.
- When you seek medical care. TIP: The sooner you get treatment, the better.
- The severity of your injuries, whether you have suffered a temporary or permanent disability, and how long it takes for you to reach maximum medical improvement.
- Whether your claim or your settlement is disputed and must be appealed.
- Whether you are able to go beyond workers’ comp and seek personal injury compensation.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Asheville Know When You Can Go Beyond Workers’ Compensation
While you are not allowed to sue your employer, there are times when a personal injury case is warranted.
Employers are immune from liability in the workers’ compensation system, which means that typically you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer for your workplace injury or illness. However, there are situations when a lawsuit is possible. In some cases, our attorneys can bring a lawsuit against a third party whose negligence or fault led to the accident that caused your injuries; this would be in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. Examples of a third party who may be liable are:
- A contractor who ran you over with a vehicle
- The manufacturer of a faulty tool that exploded and caused your injury
- The owner of the property where the accident took place, who failed to fix unsafe conditions that led to the accident.
A successful personal injury lawsuit can bring compensation for not only your medical expenses, but also:
- 100 percent of lost wages and future lost wages
- Compensation for non-economic losses that do not have a specific dollar value, such as pain and suffering and mental and emotional anguish.
While it is not necessary to prove fault in a workers’ comp case, to win a personal injury case, our attorneys would have to prove that a defendant in the case was negligent, by showing the following elements:
- Duty: The defendant in the case owed you a duty of care not to cause harm.
- Breach: The defendant breached that duty by their actions or by failing to act in a responsible manner.
- Cause: The breach was the proximate cause of your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered damages as a result.
Amounts of Damage Awards for a Personal Injury Case Related to Your Work Injury
The amounts of damages awarded for personal injury can vary greatly, from thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the circumstances. Factors that will influence amounts include:
- the circumstances of the accident and the degree of fault of the defendant
- the amount of property damage and the costs you incur
- the severity and permanence of your injuries
- your earning ability and whether you will be able to work again
- the availability of insurance and assets of the defendants
- the availability of evidence and witnesses
- how well your attorney can negotiate a settlement with insurance or litigate your case in court
- the individual jurisdiction, judge and jury involved.
Because there is so much at stake with your case and because we want to ensure that you receive all the compensation you deserve, our Asheville workers’ comp lawyer will take several steps. To increase your chances of a good settlement our legal team would:
- Investigate the accident scene and gather evidence, such as from surveillance videos, and interview eyewitnesses.
- Get expert testimony about your job’s physical requirements and why your injuries prevent you from working.
- Get statements from friends and family members about your how injuries affect your daily activities, your ability to care for yourself, and your social life.
In cases where a family member has died from a work-related injury or illness, we may be able to file a case for wrongful death. This is like a personal injury case brought on behalf of the deceased, who can no longer do so. The beneficiaries in a wrongful death lawsuit vary, but typically they are immediate family members.
Tips from a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
After you have been injured it’s important to act quickly and in accordance with the law.
To make the process of getting benefits easier, after you are injured on the job, you should:
1. Seek medical care. Emergency medical care does not require prior approval from your employer, so get emergency help right away if necessary. If you need non-emergency care, you should get it from an approved provider — otherwise, workers’ comp will not pay. Tell the provider that your injury is work-related so it will be billed as a workers’ compensation claim.
2. Tell your employer of the injury. You must give written notice to your employer within 30 days from the date of the accident or you may be barred from recovery.
3. Make sure a claim is filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. After being notified of the injury, your employer is obligated to file a First Report of Injury form with the NC Industrial Commission. If the employer doesn’t do so, you must file a Form 18 Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee, Representative, or Dependent within two years of the date of your accident.
4. Do what the doctor orders. If you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, your claim may be challenged.
5. Cooperate with requests from the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
6. Get legal assistance.
Get the Help You Need Now. Call Our Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Asheville.
If you have been injured on the job or have lost a loved one in a workplace accident in North Carolina, you do not have to deal with the hurdles of getting compensation alone. Lakota Denton can help you obtain the workers’ comp benefits that you need and deserve. Our team will determine whether you can go beyond workers’ compensation with a personal injury lawsuit or possibly make a wrongful death claim if a family member has died. Let us take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles while you focus on your recovery and rebuilding your life.
Call us today at 828-333-5996 to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation about your case.