What Can a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Do For You?

Did you recently suffer an on-the-job injury in North Carolina? If so, you might wonder whether you need a workers’ compensation attorney and what they can do for you. Legal support can be highly beneficial when you’re dealing with painful injuries, complex claim paperwork, and penny-pinching insurance companies. A workers’ compensation attorney can streamline the claims process, advocate for your rights, and secure the full benefits you deserve.

Understanding Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina

Workers’ compensation is a system that provides financial support to employees who get injured on the job. It provides benefits that cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages if a qualifying injury leaves an employee unable to work.

In North Carolina, most employers with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover workers who get hurt in a workplace accident or are diagnosed with an occupational disease. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning eligible employees can obtain benefits without proving that anyone is responsible for their injuries. However, injured workers must demonstrate that their injuries happened during work or as a direct result of their job duties to qualify for benefits.

If you get hurt on the job, you should immediately report the injury to your employer. North Carolina workers’ compensation law gives you up to 30 days to inform your employer about the injury to remain eligible for benefits. If your employer fails or refuses to report your injury to their insurance company, you have two years from the injury date to file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Workers’ compensation benefits include payment for all injury-related medical treatment and compensation for a portion of your lost wages if you are out of work for seven days or more. If your injury permanently affects your ability to work, you could qualify for additional disability benefits.

How Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Can Help You

If you’re coping with a work-related injury, hiring an experienced lawyer can make a significant difference throughout the complex process of claiming benefits. A North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney can:

Evaluate Your Eligibility for Workers’ Compensation

A lawyer can examine your case to determine if you qualify for workers’ comp benefits. They will thoroughly review your employment status, the circumstances of your injury, and whether these factors align with North Carolina workers’ compensation laws. This preliminary step is essential because it allows you to set realistic expectations and determine the ideal approach to your claim.

Gather Medical Evidence to Support Your Claim

A workers’ compensation attorney can gather and organize comprehensive medical evidence that demonstrates the severity of your injuries and their impact on your ability to work. This might involve coordinating with multiple healthcare providers to obtain detailed records and professional opinions. Your attorney will use this evidence to build a strong claim highlighting that your injury occurred during your employment and its specific consequences on your personal and professional life. Compelling medical evidence is often the cornerstone of a successful workers’ compensation claim because it provides the factual basis necessary to secure the benefits you are due.

Calculate the Total Benefits You Can Expect

Your attorney can perform an in-depth calculation of the potential benefits you could be entitled to receive. This involves considering factors such as your previous earnings, the nature of your workplace injury, and how they affect your earning capacity. By accurately estimating the benefits you are owed, a lawyer can help you understand what financial support you can expect so you can plan your finances accordingly.

File the Necessary Paperwork for Your Claim

Applying for workers’ comp is a document-heavy task with numerous deadlines. Your lawyer can file all paperwork accurately and on time. By taking over this responsibility, your lawyer can verify your claim documents are complete, filed correctly, and submitted by each deadline. Properly managing claim paperwork is vital. Any mistakes or missed deadlines could lead to delays in processing your claim or even an outright denial.

Negotiate with Workers’ Compensation Insurers

A lawyer can negotiate with workers’ comp insurers to pursue the full benefits you are due. They bring their negotiation skills and legal knowledge to bear in discussions with insurance adjusters, advocating for a payout reflecting the extent of your injuries and future needs. An attorney’s ability to negotiate effectively is essential for recovering appropriate benefits in workers’ compensation cases.

Represent You in All Hearings and Proceedings

Your lawyer can act as your representative in any legal hearings and proceedings that arise as part of the workers’ compensation claim process. Whether at a mediation session, a pre-trial hearing, or a full trial, your lawyer will present your case, argue on your behalf, and handle all exchanges with the judge and opposing counsel. They will work hard to ensure others hear your side of the story and to protect your interests throughout the legal process.

Address Any Retaliation by Your Employer

An attorney can respond effectively if your employer retaliates against you in any way for filing a workers’ compensation claim. They can assess the situation and take appropriate legal actions to address unfair treatment, such as wrongful termination, demotion, or other punitive measures. An attorney’s oversight can maintain your employment rights and ensure you continue your recovery without additional stress from adverse actions from your employer.

Pursue Additional Compensation from Third-Party Claims

The trade-off for a no-fault workers’ compensation system in North Carolina is that employees lose their right to sue their employers for work injuries. However, a personal injury claim could be possible if a third party (not your employer or a co-worker) caused you harm.

An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can explore potential third-party claims to maximize your compensation. Examples of third parties include equipment manufacturers, subcontractors, or other outside entities whose actions or products caused your injury. By seeking compensation from these third parties, you can significantly increase your total recovery, providing additional financial support for your rehabilitation and future.

Contact a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Now

Are you seeking legal assistance with your North Carolina workers’ compensation claim? Get help from the skilled workers’ compensation attorneys at Hardison & Cochran today. Contact us today for a free consultation.

About the Author

Managing partner Benjamin T. Cochran oversees the operation of Hardison & Cochran Attorneys at Law in addition to representing individual clients in cases involving workers’ compensation and personal injury law.

A lifelong North Carolinian, Cochran knew from his high-school days in High Point that he wanted to be an attorney. He received a B.A. degree in economics and African-American studies from the University of North Carolina in 1999 and then enrolled at the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law at Campbell University.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *