Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Serving Wilmington, North Carolina
The lawyers and staff at Hardison & Cochran fight for Wilmington area workers who have been injured on the job and deserve the full benefits promised by North Carolina workers’ compensation law.
For most people employed in North Carolina, if you have been injured while performing your job, workers’ compensation insurance should pay your medical bills and part of your lost wages while you are out of work. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why an employer or an insurance carrier might seek to deny or shortchange a valid workers’ comp claim. An injured worker who is forced to battle an injury, mounting bills and an unfamiliar bureaucratic system can suffer lasting financial harm unless he or she obtains experienced legal help.
The Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyers at Hardison & Cochran can guide you through the workers’ compensation claim or appeals process to help you recover all of the benefits available by law. Hardison & Cochran has three attorneys who are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation. Our highly qualified attorneys thoroughly understand North Carolina workers’ compensation law and how to present your strongest claim for benefits.
The initial legal consultation with Hardison & Cochran is free. Call us today toll-free at (800) 434-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We’ll respond within 24 hours.
Who Qualifies for Workers’ Comp Insurance Benefits in Wilmington, NC?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program that most North Carolina businesses employing three or more workers are required to carry to protect their employees. However, workers’ comp typically does not cover independent contractors, domestic help, or employees of small farming operations.
Worker’s comp benefits should be made available to any worker who has been injured by an accident or illness that arose in the course of their employment. Benefits begin after the injury or illness has caused an employee to miss seven days of work. There is no need to show that anyone was at fault for the accident, injury or illness.
Benefits include payment for all medical treatment and two-thirds of weekly wages. There are also specific payments available for loss of certain body parts such as a finger, arm or leg or a disfiguring injury, such as facial burns. In case of a fatal accident on the job, the deceased worker’s family may receive a death benefit through workers’ compensation.
Employers or insurers might dispute a workers’ comp claim or try to discontinue payments after a certain period of time as the continuing payments begin to add up to what the insurer or business considers an unacceptable expense.
Medical benefits are meant to cover all medical costs related to a workplace injury or occupational illness so that no payments come out of the injured worker’s pocket. This may include emergency response to a workplace accident, hospitalization, surgery, rehab, counseling, and any ongoing costs of care for a disabled worker.
Disability benefits are paid until the doctor treating the injured worker declares that the worker has recovered and is ready to return to work. For workers who are permanently disabled, disability payments may continue for 500 weeks (9½ years) or longer with an extension, which a workers’ comp lawyer may help the disabled worker obtain.
Common Work-Related Injuries in Wilmington
There are countless ways a person can be hurt on the job. The N.C. Industrial Commission reported that more than 61,700 total workers’ compensation claims were opened in Fiscal Year 2018-2019.
The types of injuries listed in workers’ comp claims include:
- Sprains, strains, tears
- Fractures (broken bones)
- Cuts, lacerations, punctures
- Bruises, contusions
- Thermal burns
- Chemical burns
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Multiple traumatic injuries
- Soreness, pain
The common causes of workplace injury include:
- Falls, slips and trips
- Slips and trips without falls
- Fall from collapsing structure or equipment
- Car and truck accidents
- Heavy equipment accidents
- Pedestrian worker stuck by vehicle
- Fires and explosions
- Exposure to electricity
- Exposure to radiation
- Exposure to high levels of noise
- Exposure to temperature extremes
- Exposure to harmful substances through skin, eyes, or other exposed tissue
- Inhalation of harmful substances
- Exposure to traumatic or stressful events
- Contact with objects and equipment (including needlesticks)
- Struck by object or equipment
- Injured by handheld object or equipment
- Struck against object or equipment
- Caught in or compressed by equipment or objects
- Struck, caught, or crushed in collapsing structure, equipment
- Overexertion and bodily reaction, including by lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, turning, holding, carrying, wielding, throwing, catching, bending, crawling, reaching, twisting, walking, running, climbing
- Repetitive motions involving microtasks, including typing, key entry, texting, or mousing
- Violence and other injuries inflicted by persons or animals
If any of the above injuries has happened to you while working and forced you out of work to recover, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me File for Workers’ Compensation?
After being injured on the job, an employee needs to report the injury to his or her employer and explain the circumstances of the injury in writing. They should also complete and submit a North Carolina Industrial Commission Form 18 after an on-the-job injury.
For a claim to be successful, the completed form and information submitted to the employer should explain that the injury occurred due to an unexpected event while on the job that interfered with your usual work routine. Your information should show that you were performing your job duties or an authorized activity approved by your supervisor at the time of the accident.
After receiving and reviewing the form, the Industrial Commission will mail you and your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier acknowledgment letters. The employer’s letter will ask your employer to contact you and inform you as to whether you will receive workers’ comp benefits.
There are multiple reasons why an employer or their workers’ comp insurance administrator may oppose a workers’ compensation claim. Most commonly, they will claim the injury or illness did not occur while on the job or that the reported injury was a pre-existing injury. They may dispute the worker’s eligibility for workers’ comp, such as by claiming the worker is an independent contractor rather than an employee. There are several common mistakes that can derail a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim and cause it to be denied or approved with a lower benefit than what the worker should receive.
A mistake or a dispute can delay the start of benefits or result in improper benefits or in a valid claim being rejected. That is why we suggest engaging an experienced Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyer to help you file for benefits so you can focus on your health and recovery. If at any point your employer questions the validity of your claim, having a workers’ comp attorney ready to fight for your rights is crucial. The insurance company will certainly deploy their attorneys to stop your claim. You should have a knowledgeable Wilmington workers’ comp attorney on your side.
What If My Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
If you have a workers’ compensation claim that has been denied, Hardison & Cochran can help appeal the decision. North Carolina’s workers’ compensation program has a multilevel appeal process, which includes mediation before opportunities to be heard in formal hearings. These hearings are run like court trials, with rules of evidence and decisions made according to workers’ compensation law.
As your attorneys, Hardison & Cochran can help to identify and gather the evidence to establish your eligibility for benefits and substantiate the extent of your injury and need for continuing medical care. To qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, you are required to see the doctor chosen by your employer or their insurer after a workplace injury. But we can arrange a second medical opinion to ensure an accurate medical diagnosis, if needed to supplement your medical file.
Our goal is to help you seek the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve and continue to receive them as long as you cannot work and as North Carolina law allows. We are dedicated to standing up for the legal rights of injured workers and helping them recover all of the workers’ comp benefits available.
Contact a Workers’ Comp Lawyer in Wilmington, NC
The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act makes valuable assistance available to employees who have been hurt on the job or developed a work-related illness. But the process of filing a workers’ comp claim is complex and it is easy to make missteps on your own. The Wilmington workers’ compensation attorneys of Hardison & Cochran are ready to help you seek all the benefits available. We’ll deal with the bureaucracy and fight employers and insurers who do not act in good faith to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Hardison & Cochran workers’ comp lawyer in Wilmington toll-free at (800) 434-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We will respond to you within 24 hours to set up your free initial legal consultation.