Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Charlotte, NC
If you got sick or hurt at the job, you would need medical treatments and time off from work to recover. This could mean mounting medical bills with no income coming in. A workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte, NC, can help you recuperate medical treatment costs and replace part of the lost income until you are fit to work again.
If you need assistance with accessing your workers’ compensation benefits, you can contact Anastopoulo Law Firm’s team of Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers for a free consultation. We are ready to review your legal options with you.
North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act Explained
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of no-fault insurance. This means the insurance company covers all injuries that occur within the scope of your employment. The compensation covers your injury-related medical expenses and lost wages. It does not cover pain and suffering. In exchange for the benefits, you waive your right to sue the employee for the accident (unless your employer intentionally caused the injury).
Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act (NCWCA), most businesses with three or more part-time or full-time workers must either:
- Obtain workers’ compensation insurance, or
- Qualify as a self-insured employer where the employer pays the cost of each workers’ compensation (WC) claim out of pocket
Suppose your employer does not carry the necessary coverage. In that case, it could face financial penalties, a misdemeanor or felony charge, and jail time.
Meet the Key Players of a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Your workers’ compensation claim will interact with multiple players within North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act. Three main ones you should know about are:
- North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC). The NCIC is the state-level entity that administers North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act and functions as a court system that hears claims. Its administrative law judges are called deputy commissioners.
- The workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This is the insurance company your employer hires to manage its workers’ compensation claims.
- Workers’ compensation adjuster. This individual is the insurance company’s representative who manages critical decisions about your medical injuries, treatment, and claim.
- Workers’ compensation doctors and nurses. These are healthcare providers within the workers’ compensation carrier’s network. The insurance may direct you to these providers to receive your medical treatment.
How to Report a Work-Related Injury
Step 1: Inform your employer. If you suffered a work-related injury, immediately notify your employer about the accident in writing. You have 30 days from the accident date to do so, per N.C. § 97-22 you mustn’t miss this deadline because an employer’s insurance company can deny a claim without written notice.
If you cannot personally deliver a written notice to your employer because of your medical condition, have a family member or friend notify your employer on your behalf. The notice can include when the accident occurred, note its cause, and briefly describe the injury. Keep a copy of the notice with you just in case you need to prove you notified your employer. Once your employer receives the notice, it should typically file Form 19 with the NCIC and give you a copy of that and a blank Form 18.
Step 2: File a workers’ compensation claim: In North Carolina, the employer is not responsible for filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you suffered a workplace injury or illness, you need to fill out and file Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission and give your employer and/or their insurance carrier a copy of the claim. Once you fill out the form, email it to email@example.com. A workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte, NC, from our firm can review the form for mistakes before submitting it.
Also, note that you must submit the claim within two years from the date of the accident.
Wait for Your Employer’s Response
The employer must give you an answer within 30 days of receiving the written notice unless NCIC extends their response time. Expect to receive one of the following responses:
- Form 60: means your employer has agreed to compensate you for your illness or injury.
- Form 63: means your employer does not accept liability for your injury but will be providing benefits while still investigating your claim. The provided benefits may be revoked later.
- Form 61: means your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, and the form will mention the reason why.
If you receive Form 63 or Form 61, we urge you to speak with our North Carolina worker’s compensation lawyer immediately.
Step 3: Request a Hearing: You can ask the NCIC to make a formal decision about whether your employer or their insurance is responsible for compensating you if the WC insurance carrier denies your claim. Fill out Form 33 to request a hearing with an NCIC deputy commissioner.
A workers’ compensation attorney from our team is ready to listen to your case and guide you through the entire claim submission process. We can speak with you more during you more during your free consultation.
For a free legal consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer serving Charlotte, call 803-222-2222
Benefits the North Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Act Covers
You may be eligible for the following benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation program:
The insurance carrier will direct you to a medical provider within their network. If it cannot locate one, you may seek treatment from a provider of your choice. In this case, remember to tell the insurer that you sustained the injury at work. Give it the name of your company and employer. The provider will use the information to bill your treatment as a workers’ compensation treatment claim.
Note that the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act gives you the opportunity to obtain a second opinion from a physician of your choice regarding a surgery or treatment course. To do so, you need to file a written request to your employer. Who then has 14 days to approve the request.
If your employer denies the request, then you can submit a petition to the NCIC, but you must show sufficient evidence that a change of provider is necessary to cure, provide relief, or lessen your period of disability. If approved, your employer will have to pay the expense for the second opinion, per N.C. § 97-25.
Some medical expenses that WC carrier covers may include:
- Doctor’s visits
- Medications and medical devices
- Psychological counseling
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractor services
- Rehabilitation sessions
- Mileage coverage is available if you traveled 20 miles or more round trip to seek medical treatment.
Wage replacement benefits
Wage loss benefits start when you miss more than seven workdays due to a work-related injury. Note that you will not receive a payment for the first seven days unless you are out of work for more than 21 days. Therefore, insurance carrier-affiliated doctors may make you go back to work before seven days, so they do not have to pay wage replacement benefits.
The program pays 66.66 percent of your gross pre-injury average weekly wage, but it is capped at a certain amount. The insurance provides payment till you return to work. Additional disability compensation will be made if you have a temporary or permanent disability.
Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
If you cannot return to the job you were doing before you were injured, you may be eligible to receive vocational rehab benefits. This covers:
- Training for a new job
- Job search assistance
- Tuition reimbursement
- Occupational counseling
Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Near Me 803-222-2222
When Should You Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Charlotte, NC?
You may want to consult with an attorney on your workers’ compensation claim in Charlotte if:
- Your employer will not cooperate. If your employer threatens to fire or demote you or engages in any discriminatory behavior because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, you can call an attorney immediately to protect your rights.
- Your employer denied the claim. Workers’ compensation insurance carriers can refuse a claim because they know most workers will not file an appeal. If your claim is denied, do not lose hope call an attorney right away for guidance. They can build a strong evidence-backed case to obtain a favorable settlement for your losses.
- The settlement does not cover all medical expenses and lost income. If you feel the settlement is not enough to cover medical and wage loss damages, you can seek counsel from a lawyer or a law firm and ask them to review the offer before you accept. They could even negotiate on your behalf until you have received all the benefits to which you are entitled.
- Medical treatment is not improving your condition. If the treatment from the workers’ compensation carrier’s medical provider is not helping or up to standard, and they deny your request to see another doctor, contact a lawyer.
- You have been permanently injured. If you have suffered partial or permanent disability, you may be eligible for weekly or lump-sum wage replacement benefits. This is expensive for insurance companies, which is why they might find ways to avoid paying you what you deserve. Consult with a lawyer if your claim involves permanent total or permanent partial disabilities.
Anastopoulo Law Firm Will Work to Help You
With our workers’ compensation lawyer by your side in Charlotte, NC, you can focus on recovering from your injuries rather than struggle under the weight of legal proceedings. Our attorney will file all the relevant forms within deadlines, assimilate evidence to strengthen your claim, negotiate with the workers’ compensation insurer on your behalf, and represent you in court if a favorable settlement is not possible otherwise.
Hire Our Workers Compensation’ Attorney in Charlotte, NC, to File Your Claim
Anastopoulo Law Firm represents injured workers throughout Charlotte and surrounding areas who are fighting for favorable settlements after filing their workers’ compensation claims. We understand that representation may not always be necessary for every claim, but if you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits, our guidance can help you understand the process and your next steps.
If you are searching for “workers comp lawyer near me,” we urge you to call us at (800) 313-2546 for a free case evaluation with our team. We will review your case and answer any questions you have about your claim.