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. Fortunately, you do not have to fight for a fair settlement alone. Asheville workers’ compensation lawyer Lakota Denton and his legal team know how to get you the benefits that you’re owed if you’ve been injured while working.
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.
Help is available from our experienced Asheville workers’ comp 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, our workers’ compensation attorney can 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.
“I’m leaving a 5-star review for Lakota Denton and his excellent team because of their utmost care and compassion. I came to them drowning in the turbid waters of despondent lawyers and sketchy doctors, and they put me on a plan to physical recovery, while they recovered my case. Lakota is a lawyer with keen awareness, dignity, and most importantly, heart. Thank you, Lakota.” – Ganesh Braymiller
“Excellent in every way. Lakota is easily the best lawyer I have ever worked with. Effective, efficient, honest, compassionate, friendly and fair. Hiring a lawyer can be stressful, but Lakota transforms that stress into confidence. And that confidence is then justified by the results he gets. Thanks for your help Lakota!” – Stephen Barnard
“I couldn’t be happier with the job Lakota Denton and his awesome staff did for me after I had my accident. They all really cared about my outcome and stayed in touch every step of the way. I can’t recommend him enough!! 5 stars all the way. Thank you!” – Peter Estrada
“In an accident? Need Help? This is your turn-key, set-it-and-forget-it solution! Lakota and Jenny are two of the best friends you will meet in Asheville! If anything can go sideways, be atypical or oddball… it seems like it will happen to me. True to form, several legal obstacles cropped up, even though I was not at fault in the accident.” – Christopher McGrath
“Lakota provided me with a free consultation and gave me crucial information on how to handle my accident case with an 18 wheeler. His guidance set me on the right path to maximizing my settlement while feeling confident I understood the process. I cannot recommend his services enough, he was an incredible help to me.” – Amy Fisher
“Lakota Denton is a champion for the people. He worked with me on a car accident case and won the maximum settlement. He has a strong reputation as an experienced trial lawyer so insurance companies know he doesn’t mess around.” – Chalkley Matlack
“Attorney Lakota Denton was super effective at isolating the issue, building a strong case, and achieving immediate results on behalf of clients in a matter that is so key to our constitutional rights. If looking for an attorney, look no further. You need him in your court!” – Zachery Adam
“Incredibly helpful folks- whether you end up utilizing their services or not. They provided me with peace of mind on a terrible day when I had no idea what steps to take. You won’t find a friendlier or better informed personal injury lawyer in Asheville! Even if you’re just not sure of your rights or the steps to take, it’s definitely worth making the call!” – Chessa Budai
How Our Workers’ Comp 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’ comp lawyer will anticipate these tactics and knows how to fight them.
What Our Asheville Workers’ Comp Lawyer Will Do for You
Having an Asheville workers’ comp lawyer 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 workers’ compensation attorney 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 not hurt 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 about 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 from 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 a 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 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.
Our Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Asheville Know When Your Compensation Can Extend Beyond Workers’ Comp
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 damages for pain and suffering and for mental and emotional anguish.
While it is not necessary to prove fault in a workers’ comp case, to win a personal injury case, our workers’ comp lawyers in Asheville 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.
Workers who have experienced debilitating injuries might work with a brain injury lawyer, spinal cord injury attorney, or burn injury lawyer if their injuries involved chemical, electrical, or other types of burns.
Can Workers’ Comp Lawyers in Asheville Help Me with a Denied Claim?
Workers’ compensation claims can be denied for several reasons. In many cases, the claim failed to meet state deadlines for filing or the forms were not completed correctly. In other instances, forms or documentation are missing. The review might find a lack of credible evidence (for example, medical records or witness testimony) or raise a dispute with the employer or insurance company. The injury might also not be deemed severe enough to qualify for benefits.
After claims are filed, decision letters are typically sent back approximately two weeks later. If you receive a letter indicating a denied claim from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, contact a workers’ comp lawyer right away.
An Asheville workers’ comp lawyer can help you with a denied claim. Note the appeal deadline, as workers must typically notify the Commission of their intent to appeal within 14 days of the denial. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the appeals process and prepare for a hearing with a workers’ comp judge. Presenting detailed medical records and strong evidence during the appeals process can really help your case.
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 workers’ compensation 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 will:
- 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.
”One of very best in Western North Carolina. Very professional and caring attorney and staff. I was injured in a auto accident and I am so fortunate to have found them. Thank you” – Beth (Google Review)
Workers’ Comp FAQs
Common Questions for Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Asheville
WHO CHOOSES MY DOCTOR IN A WORKERS’ COMP CASE?
In North Carolina, your employer will have the first chance to choose a doctor who treats you. You can see your own doctor or a different doctor for a second opinion, but doing so might not be covered by workers’ compensation. If the situation is an emergency, get help at the nearest emergency room or medical facility. You may be able to request a change in doctors from the North Carolina Industrial Commission if you can demonstrate that a change is necessary to treat your condition and help you return to work.
CAN WORKERS’ COMP BENEFITS COVER MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS?
Certain mental health conditions may be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. If a mental health condition set in as a direct result of your work, workers’ compensation attorneys in Asheville may be able to assist with your claim. A condition, such as anxiety or depression, must be tied to a specific workplace accident; general stress experienced in a job would not be eligible. Still, workers’ compensation is relatively restrictive for mental health conditions, so consulting an Asheville workers’ comp lawyer is recommended.
HOW COULD A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION AFFECT MY CASE?
If you had a prior ailment or injury involving the same body part or type of injury listed in a workers’ compensation claim, insurance companies may deny your claim. Companies will make the argument that your injury resulted from your previous medical condition, not from work-related activities. Further, injuries and damage that occur over time can be more easily blamed on an existing condition versus an accident or stress injury. Workers’ comp lawyers in Asheville can help make sure your injuries and your case are evaluated fairly.
WHEN SHOULD I CONSULT A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY?
After suffering an injury while performing your work-related tasks, speaking with a workers’ compensation attorney as you begin the workers’ comp process is recommended. A workers’ comp lawyer can help ensure that your filing process goes smoothly and can give your case the strongest chances at compensation. However, it’s especially important to speak with a qualified Asheville workers’ comp lawyer if your claim was denied, if a settlement doesn’t offer enough coverage, if your employer retaliates against you, if you experienced grossly unsafe working conditions, and for many other reasons.
WHY SHOULD I FILE MY WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM RIGHT AWAY?
You have two years from your injury date to file a workers’ comp claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. You have as long as three years from your injury date to file a personal injury claim against a third party. However, it’s recommended that you begin the workers’ comp and claim process as soon as you’re able. Waiting might only make the insurance company more likely to dispute or deny your claim. Further, if details of your accident must be recalled by witnesses and other supporting parties, it’s best not to wait and let memories fade. Workers’ comp cases can take time to sort out, so speak with an Asheville workers’ compensation lawyer right away about your case.
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:
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.
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.
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 Dependentwithin two years of the date of your accident.
Do what the doctor orders. If you fail to follow your doctor’s orders, your claim may be challenged.
Cooperate with requests from the workers’ compensation insurance provider.
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 an Asheville workers’ compensation lawyer 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.