Facts and Figures of Workers' Compensation Claims
Accidents are commonplace at North Carolina worksites. In fact, during Fiscal Year 2021-’22, the North Carolina Industrial Commission opened 57,616 workers’ compensation claims for monetary benefits due to workers injured while on the job.
Workers’ compensation is a state-administered insurance program designed to compensate employees for work-related injuries and families who lose a loved one in a workplace accident, regardless of fault. The program covers injured workers’ medical costs and pays a portion of lost income as they recover. It also pays stipends for specific disabling or disfiguring injuries or a worker’s death.
Unfortunately, some employers and their insurers seek to deny injured workers and their families the workers’ comp benefits they are entitled to by law. Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Hardison & Cochran advocate on behalf of injured workers and their families throughout the claims process. We seek to ensure that our clients receive the compensation they deserve.
Real-Life Examples of Workers’ Compensation Claims
Below are some results that Hardison & Cochran has obtained for clients seeking workers’ compensation benefits. But you should not form an expectation for the outcome of your case based on the cases below. Each case had its own set of unique factors that contributed to the final amount recovered. Remember, no two workers’ comp cases are the same.
Results of Workers’ Compensation Benefits From Our Clients
For a North Carolina worker who was paralyzed from the waist down after trees fell on him while on the job in Mebane, North Carolina.
For the family of a worker who was killed when the hole he was working in collapsed on him.
For a worker from Fuquay-Varina, NC, who fell from a roof while on the job and suffered paraplegia due to a spinal injury sustained during the fall.
For an Oxford, NC, man who sustained injuries to his spine and leg on the job when he was struck by a door and fell.
For an aircraft mechanic from near Charlotte, NC, whose workplace injuries required two back surgeries.
For a Creedmoor, NC, man whose right arm was amputated after a welding machine malfunctioned at his workplace.
For a client from Cary, NC, who was attacked and shot while at work.
For a man who suffered spine injuries after a handrail gave way and he fell down a flight of stairs on the job in Ruffin, NC.
These workers sought the assistance of Hardison & Cochran workers’ compensation attorneys in Raleigh, NC, when their employer and/or their employer’s insurer denied them workers’ compensation despite their injuries. We are proud that we were able to achieve a favorable result for them. We are available to discuss how we may assist you.
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Common Causes of Workplace Injuries Covered by Workers’ Compensation
To be eligible for workers’ compensation, an employee must have sustained an injury while engaged in activities within the scope of their job duties. There are many ways to become injured on the job. Some of the most common causes of workplace injuries are:
- Slipping or tripping and falling.
- Falling from heights, such as from ladders, scaffolding, and roofs.
(See: Common Injuries with Construction Workers)
- Overexertion strain, such as from lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying, or throwing objects or slipping or tripping without falling.
- Repetitive motion stress, such as from years of data entry, assembly line work, sorting, packing, sewing, or working with power tools.
(See: Repetitive Motion Injuries & Workers’ Compensation Law)
- Motor vehicle accidents, including being struck by vehicles on a job site.
(See: Common Car Accident Injuries)
- Being slammed against structures like walls, doors, machinery, or fences.
- Being trapped, entangled, or crushed by machinery.
- Workplace violence.
Injuries often suffered in workplace accidents include:
- Concussion and more serious traumatic brain injury (TBI).
(See: Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury)
- Broken bones.
(See: Broken Bone Injury Lawyer)
- Strained or torn muscles, ligaments, tendons, especially in back injuries.
- Injuries to major joints, including knees, shoulders, and hips.
- Spinal cord injuries, which may cause paralysis.
(See: Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer)
- Burns, including contact burns, chemical burns, and explosion injuries.
(See: Burn Injury Lawyer)
- Electrical shock or electrocution.
(See: Electrician Injuries at Work in North Carolina)
Reporting Workplace Injuries and Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
After you miss seven days of work because of a workplace injury in North Carolina, you become eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in most cases. To obtain benefits, you should promptly report a workplace accident or job-related injury to your supervisor or your company’s human resources department.
When Should You Report a Workplace Injury?
Report an injury verbally as soon as possible and in writing within 30 days. In your written report, be sure to provide the date and time, details of the incident, your specific diagnosis, what happened, and the names of any witnesses. If your company has specific guidelines or forms, use them as instructed.
Keep copies of all written material connected to a workplace injury and a workers’ compensation claim.
Your employer should file for workers’ compensation benefits for you. If they do not, you may file for benefits yourself by submitting a Form 18 Notice of Accident with the N.C. Industrial Commission. Send a copy to your employer.
Within a few weeks of filing a claim, your employer or its insurance carrier should notify you and begin paying benefits. If they deny the claim, you should receive a written notification giving the reason.
If you are unable to return to work after suffering a workplace injury and are denied workers’ compensation benefits, you need to speak to a workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible. There are very few legitimate reasons to deny an employee’s workers’ compensation claim. You have the right to appeal the denial of your workers’ comp claim. A lawyer at Hardison & Cochran can help you appeal a denied claim and seek the full benefits you are due.
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A knowledgeable lawyer also can help you avoid common mistakes that can damage a workers’ compensation claim or result in a reduced benefit.
The Role of Healthcare Providers in the Workers’ Compensation Process
You will need to see a healthcare provider to treat your injury and document it for your workers’ compensation claim. Some companies have a medical provider on site. You should see this person for an exam if instructed to do so.
Your company may assign you to a doctor who will oversee your treatment throughout your workers’ comp claim. On your initial visit, be sure to explain how you were hurt and what job-related tasks you were performing when you were injured. Be sure to go to your appointments and follow the doctor’s treatment plan.
The objective of the workers’ compensation program is to support injured workers so they get well and are able to return to work. If you fail to attend doctor appointments or don’t attend rehabilitation therapy, the insurer may discontinue your benefits.
You are allowed to see your own doctor about an injury covered by workers’ compensation. If there is a significant disagreement about your treatment plan, it is possible to petition the Industrial Commission to agree to a different approach to your medical care.
For example, a doctor under pressure from an insurance company may release you to return to work. If your regular physician disagrees, you will need a lawyer to help you present your case for continued treatment and benefits.
Common Misconceptions About Workers’ Compensation
Most workers go an entire career without being injured or needing to access workers’ compensation benefits. It’s not unusual for an injured worker to misunderstand this complex program. We often debunk misconceptions, including:
- Myth: Workers’ comp is insurance that only pays if the worker is at-fault for their injury.
In fact, workers’ comp is no-fault insurance. An injured worker is eligible for benefits regardless of who or what caused their injury. However, claims may be denied if the employee was intoxicated or engaging in horseplay when hurt.
- Myth: Workers’ compensation requires you to file a lawsuit against your employer.
In fact, the opposite is true. Because your employer must provide workers’ compensation insurance, an employee may not sue their employer for a workplace injury, even if the employer’s negligence led to the accident and injury. However, there is nothing that prohibits third-party legal claims against parties responsible for your injury, such as a negligent contractor on a job site.
- Myth: An employer can get out of paying workers’ compensation by firing the injured employee.
Any retaliation against an employee for seeking workers’ compensation benefits is illegal. In North Carolina, the Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) prohibits discrimination or retaliation against an employee who, in good faith, engages in any of several protected activities under state law, specifically including claims allowed under Chapter 97 of the N.C. General Statutes, the Workers’ Compensation Act. An illegally fired employee may be allowed to sue their employer and possibly recover three times the amount of their lost wages, lost benefits, and other economic losses.
Get the Benefits of Workers’ Compensation You Are Due
The workers’ compensation attorneys of Hardison & Cochran can make sure you receive the full benefits available by law through North Carolina’s workers’ comp program. We seek to hold accountable employers and insurers who do not act in good faith when hardworking employees are injured on the job.
Contact a Hardison & Cochran workers’ comp lawyer 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.