The workers' compensation or "workers' comp" lawyers at White & Stradley help injured workers and families in North Carolina deal with the painful consequences of a job-related accident or death. We represent clients everywhere in North Carolina. We will come to you!
Work-related injuries in North Carolina include:
- Amputations in factories, poultry plants and industrial settings
- Asbestos exposure and occupational diseases
- Asthma and other work related pulmonary conditions
- Back injuries, knee injuries, neck injuries, shoulder injuries and head injuries
- Burns, electrocution, and other injuries suffered in fires and explosions
- Chemical burns and toxic chemical exposure
- Construction site accidents
- Dangerous and defective tools
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Eye injuries and hearing problems
- Work-induced emotional and psychiatric problems related to physical injuries
- Work-induced heart attacks, hypertension, or work-induced strokes
To learn more about a variety of workers' compensation topics affecting North Carolina workers injured on the job, please read on or visit our main site.
Workers' Compensation: An Overview
The term "workers' compensation" refers to a system of laws outlining specific benefits to which injured employees are entitled and the procedures for obtaining such benefits. Every state has its own workers' compensation laws, which are contained in statutes and regulations and vary somewhat from state to state.
Under the law in most states, every business or employer must have some form of workers' compensation insurance to cover injured employees. Filing a workers' compensation claim is similar to filing an insurance claim; it is not a lawsuit against an employer, but rather a request for benefits. If you have been injured at work, you need our experienced attorneys with the ins and outs of workers' compensation law to get you the maximum benefits to which you are entitled.
Available benefits in a workers' compensation case include the payment of medical bills, job training, temporary total disability benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, total disability benefits, and death benefits if the employee died as a result of a work-related injury.
Nancy P. White has for over 20 years helped people injured on the job. Here are some of the most common questions she is asked by clients:
Q. What am I entitled to if I have been hurt on the job?
A. If your employer is subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Workers’ Compensation Act allows for:
- Temporary Total Disability: You are entitled to this if as a result of your injury you are not able to earn wages. You have to be out of work for seven days to qualify. After the first seven days, you will receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage. If you are unable to earn wages for more than 21 days, then you can get compensation for the first seven days as well.
- Temporary Partial Disability: This benefit applies if after your injury you return to a job where you do not earn as much as the job you held when you were hurt. Under this provision, you would receive 2/3 of the difference up to 300 weeks from the date of the injury. Any benefits received under Section A will be subtracted from the 300 weeks.
- Permanent Partial Disability: If you have been hurt on the job and you have an impairment to one of the following body parts: thumb, first or index finger, third or ring finger, fourth or little finger, great toe, other toes, hand, arm, foot, leg, eye, hearing or back, you may be entitled to a settlement based on the percentage of disability, to that body part, under a formula outlined by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
- Total and Permanent Disability: Under this provision, if you are determined be totally and permanently disabled, you are entitled to benefits during your lifetime.
It is critical to understand your options above. By choosing to be paid on one of the above provisions, it may bar your right to payment under another provision. This could result in your receiving much less than you are entitled to receive. Consult with an attorney.
Medical Compensation in Work Injury Cases
If you have been injured on the job and your employer is subject to the Worker’s Compensation Act, they must provide medical, surgical, hospital, nursing, rehabilitative services, medicines, sick travel, medical and surgical supplies, and artificial members, that are reasonable and which effect a cure, give relief, and tend to lessen the period of disability.
Q. I have been hurt on the job. What should I do?
A. Always make sure you have reported your claim to your employer. Document who you spoke with and when it was reported. This will ensure that it can not be said that you did not report the claim properly. As soon as possible, make sure you notify your employer of your injury in writing.
Q. What should I tell the doctor I go to for my injury?
A. If you have been injured on the job, make sure you tell that to your doctor that your injury resulted from work. Always be honest with your doctor. It is important that your doctor’s medical records reflect that you were injured on the job. Make sure the doctor knows all about all of the injuries you have sustained.
Q. What have you seen on video tapes?
A. In our 20 years of representing injured people, we have seen a lot of things on video tape. Some of these things did not make the client look like they were injured and were not helpful to their claims.
- Working on cars
- Carrying heavy items
- Working on their roof
- Feeding their animals
- Mowing their grass
- Doing yard work
- Grocery shopping
- Shopping in department stores
- Picking up their children
Q. I had an old injury and I was back at work and doing fine. Then I hurt my back again. Am I entitled to benefits?
A. If your old injury was exacerbated or aggravated by the new injury, then you have “proximate cause” from the new injury and your claim should be compensable.
Q. The adjuster took my statement about how the accident happened. Can I get a copy?
A. If you have given a written or recorded statement to your employer or insurance company they must give you a copy within 45 days of requesting it. It is always good to have a copy to make sure what you said is accurate.
Q. The doctor I have to see for my injury is 25 miles away roundtrip. Can I get paid for this?
A. Under the law, you are entitled to be reimbursed for medical travel if it is over 20 miles roundtrip. Presently the rate being paid is .485 per mile.
Q. What is an adjuster?
A. An adjuster is a licensed employee of the insurance carrier who investigates and processes claims.
Q. Why does the adjuster want to take a recorded statement?
A. A recorded statement historicizes circumstances and events surrounding an injury by accident and is used in determining whether a claim is paid or denied. A recorded statement allows the adjuster to ask a wide range of unrelated questions that may ultimately affect the outcome of the claim – i.e., prior work history, education, general health, etc.
Q. Will an adjuster want to come to my house?
A. Possibly, and the reason is actually two-fold – not only is the adjuster able to meet personally with you as an injured worker and get to see your surroundings, they are able to get a perspective on hobbies, finances and specifically look for unfinished projects that may require physical work outside of limitations due to your injuries.
Q. Why would an adjuster hire a private detective?
A. In most instances, an adjuster notes “red flags” and surveillance is used as an investigative tool to obtain activity reports on an injured worker by an “expert” that could testify in an administrative hearing if necessary.
Q. What will the adjuster ask a detective to do?
A. Assignments vary with injury details, but for the most part, surveillance is used to obtain video of an injured person working or performing work related tasks that they have purportedly been unable to do.