Greenville Workers' Compensation Lawyer
Were you injured in a workplace accident in Greenville, NC? If so, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. However, the process of claiming the benefits you deserve can be complicated and overwhelming.
If you’re having trouble getting the full benefits you need or your employer is making it difficult to obtain benefits, a Greenville workers’ comp attorney can help. At Hardison & Cochran, our Greenville workers’ comp lawyers are exclusively devoted to representing injured people in North Carolina, including those who are injured on the job. We can support you every step of the way as you pursue the benefits you need.
When you work with our Greenville work-related injury lawyers, we take the time to get to know you and develop customized strategies for your unique situation. To learn more about how we can help you claim the benefits you are owed, call us today at (252) 333-3333 or contact us online for your free initial consultation.
Workers’ Compensation in Greenville, NC
According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), most employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees or qualify as self-insured. However, you are not automatically entitled to workers’ comp benefits in all situations simply because your employer has workers’ compensation insurance.
When Am I Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ comp policies cover most injuries and disabilities caused by workplace accidents. Also, if you develop a disability due to an occupational disease, such as asbestosis or silicosis, you can be covered by workers’ comp. Additionally, North Carolina courts have previously ruled that you are entitled to workers’ comp benefits for mental injuries, as long as you can prove your job was a contributing factor to your mental injury.
In general, if you sustain an injury or illness while engaged in work-related activities, your injury or illness may be covered by workers’ compensation insurance. This includes both injuries you sustain in the workplace and at non-workplace locations, provided you are performing work-related activities when the injuries occur.
When Am I Not Covered by Workers’ Comp?
Workplace injuries and disabilities may not be covered in certain circumstances. For instance, if you sustained injuries at work because you were intoxicated, engaging in horseplay, or breaking company policies, you might not be entitled to benefits. You also may not receive workers’ comp if you were injured while traveling to or from work.
Other North Carolina Workers’ Comp Laws
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation system is no-fault. In a no-fault system, you do not need to prove that anyone was at fault for your condition to obtain benefits. In some situations, you can claim workers’ comp benefits even if you were at fault for your injuries or illness.
Workers’ comp benefits are considered an “exclusive remedy” in North Carolina. This means you typically do not have the right to sue your employer if they provide workers’ comp coverage, even if your employer’s negligence directly contributed to your injuries.
North Carolina law also allows your employer to choose who you can see for medical treatment if they pay for workers’ comp coverage. If you prefer to see another medical provider, you may only do so if you file a petition with the North Carolina Industrial Commission and provide a good reason.
North Carolina workers’ comp benefits may be used to cover chiropractic treatment, but typically only for up to 20 visits to the chiropractor. If you wish to have additional chiropractic visits covered, you must receive authorization from your employer.
When Do I Return to Work After an Occupational Injury?
If your doctor recommends staying home from work to recover from a workplace injury or illness, you may be wondering when you can go back to work. The answer depends on when you reach “maximum medical improvement” (MMI), which means you have recovered as much as possible and your condition is unlikely to improve with additional treatment.
When your doctor declares you have reached MMI, you may be cleared to return to work. However, if you have reached MMI but have not fully recovered from your injury or illness, you may need to accept “light-duty” work, which does not always pay the same amount as the work you did before.
If your work injury or illness left you with a permanent disability even after reaching MMI, you will receive a permanent impairment rating. Your rating is expressed as a percentage, which is used to calculate how long you can receive ongoing partial disability benefits. Partial disability benefits help make up for the difference in your pay if you are forced to accept light-duty jobs.
Types of Greenville Workers Comp Benefits
If you become injured or ill on the job in Greenville, you may be entitled to the following types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Medical benefits – Medical benefits pay for any costs associated with the reasonable and necessary medical care you receive for a workplace injury or illness. If you travel 20 miles or more, round trip, to obtain medical treatment, you may also be entitled to compensation for your travel expenses.
- Temporary partial disability benefits (TPD) – If you can return to work before you reach MMI but can only do light-duty jobs while you recover, you may be entitled to weekly TPD wage replacement benefits until you reach MMI. These benefits can be up to two-thirds of the difference between your average pre-injury weekly wages and the weekly wages you earn doing light-duty work, with a statewide weekly maximum of $1,184.00, as of 2022.
- Temporary total disability benefits (TTD) – If you are unable to return to work while you recover, you may be entitled to TTD benefits until you reach MMI. The maximum amount you can receive in TTD benefits is two-thirds of your average pre-injury weekly wages, up to the weekly maximum of $1,184.00.
- Permanent partial disability benefits (PPD) – If you are permanently disabled after reaching MMI but can still do light-duty work, you may be entitled to PPD benefits. The maximum amount you can receive in PPD benefits is two-thirds of the difference between your average pre-injury weekly wages and the weekly wages you earn doing light-duty work, up to the weekly maximum of $1,184.00. The length of time you can receive PPD benefits depends on which of your body parts was injured and the extent of your loss of function.
- Permanent total disability benefits (PTD) – If you are permanently disabled and unable to perform any type of work, even with accommodations, you may be entitled to lifetime PTD benefits. The maximum amount you can receive in PTD benefits is two-thirds of your average pre-injury weekly wages, up to the weekly maximum of $1,184.00.
- Vocational rehabilitation benefits – If a permanent disability prevents you from returning to your previous job, you may be entitled to vocational rehabilitation benefits. These benefits cover the costs of services like education, training, and counseling intended to help you find new, suitable employment.
- Death benefits – If you suffer a fatal work-related injury or illness, your surviving dependents may be entitled to death benefits. These benefits include wage replacement benefits equal to two-thirds of your average pre-injury weekly wages, which are typically available for up to 500 weeks. Eligible recipients are also entitled to up to $10,000 in burial expenses.
Who Is Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?
If your employer has three or more regular employees, North Carolina requires them to provide workers’ comp coverage. Both full-time and part-time employees are considered regular employees. If you do work involving the presence of radiation, your employer is required to provide coverage regardless of how many employees they have.
However, there are some exceptions to these requirements.
Employers are not required to provide coverage for:
- Certain railroad employees, who are typically covered by federal policies
- Casual employees
- Domestic employees working directly for a household
- Farm laborers, if they work for an employer with fewer than ten full-time, non-seasonal employees
- Federal government employees working in North Carolina
- Employees who work for commission-based sellers of agricultural goods
- Independent contractors, sole proprietors, partners, and members of LLCs
- Corporate officers, though officers still count toward the three-employee minimum
Greenville Common Workplace Injuries
Even Greenville employees who do not regularly engage in “dangerous” work are susceptible to workplace injuries. Here are some of the most common types of on-the-job injuries in North Carolina:
- Overexertion injuries
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falls from heights
- Soft tissue injuries
- Struck by object injuries
- Caught in-between injuries
- Transportation accident injuries
- Machinery accident injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Toxic exposure injuries or illnesses
- Inhalation injuries
- Burns from fires and explosions
- Electrical shock injuries
- Workplace violence injuries
Call Our Trusted Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
For more than 30 years, the trusted team at Hardison & Cochran has worked relentlessly to ensure injured Greenville workers get the benefits they deserve. Our Greenville personal injury lawyers have extensive experience with workers’ compensation claims and securing maximize workers’ compensation settlements. Call us today at (252) 333-3333 or fill out our online contact form for a free initial case review and to learn more about how we can help you.