Do I Have a Claim For Workers' Compensation?
If you were injured while on the job, you probably have a claim for workers' compensation benefits. IMPORTANT FACT: You do NOT have to prove that someone else was at fault in causing your injury.
Who Will Pay For My Medical Bills and Benefits?
In almost all cases your employer's insurance company pays for your bills and your benefits. (Not your employer)
What Benefits Are Available to Me While I am Recovering?
Medical Treatment: You are entitled to receive medical treatment for your injuries. All approved medical treatment is paid by the workers' compensation insurance company. Insurance companies like to get injured workers released from treatment prematurely. This saves them money, but it hurts you. We work hard to make certain that our clients get the medical treatment that they need. We want you to get healthy BEFORE you go back to work. You don't want to reinjure yourself by returning to work too soon.
2/3 Average Weekly Wage: North Carolina law allows you to recover 2/3 of your average weekly wage while you are unable to work. This is paid by the workers' compensation insurance company. There is a specific formula for calculating average weekly wage ("AWW") and it is important to make certain that it is applied correctly in your case so that you receive all possible benefits. Sometimes there are limitations on this benefit. We can discuss the particulars of this benefit with you to determine how it will apply in your case.
Can I Settle With The Insurance Company for a Lump Sum?
Many insurance companies will send you to the doctor, send you back to work and then wave goodbye! Insurance companies will typically not tell you this, but most injured workers can settle their claim for a lump sum. This is an opportunity that we take very seriously.
Most lump sum payments are either:
1. Payment for a "Rating": If your doctor assigns a permanent disability rating to the injured part of your body, you will be eligible to receive a lump sum payment for this rating. The amount of the payment is based on three things:
A. Your average weekly wage; B. The level of disability assigned by your doctor (5%, 10%, 15%, etc.) C. The particular part of your body that was injured.
We can calculate the value of your disability rating by using this information in conjunction with certain injury tables set out in the North Carolina General Statutes. Certain benefits can remain in place following this type of payment.
2. "Clincher" Settlements: We are often able to negotiate a "clincher" settlement for our clients. A "clincher" is a complete settlement of a workers' compensation claim and it must be approved by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. In this type of settlement, we are presenting evidence of your injuries, your treatment to date, future treatment, future lost wages, any disability ratings, etc. This is more involved than getting paid for a "rating", but it allows us to present ALL of your allowable damages and often yields the bests results for clients.