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North Carolina Workers' Compensation Attorneys

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act was developed to help people who were injured at work. Workers’ compensation helps injured workers and families who might otherwise struggle to cover the costs of daily living and medical expenses, while trying to recover from an injury.

Unfortunately, sometimes legitimate claims are denied. There are a number of reasons a workers’ compensation claim could be denied, but all workers are entitled to an appeal should he or she feel the decision is wrong.

If you’ve been injured at or through your work, you may be entitled to wage-loss benefits and medical expenses for the work-related injury. Contact our NC Workers’ compensation law firm to learn more.

At the DeMayo Law Offices, our greatest reward is helping injured people and their families. We would be proud to represent you and your workers’ compensation claim.

Call us toll-free at (877) 333-1000 to schedule a free case consultation or tell us about the accident online to get started now.

What’s Covered by Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation reimburses medical expenses (past, present, and future) as well as any related lost wages. It doesn’t cover non-economic damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, etc.

When injured workers collect workers’ compensation, they are no longer entitled to seek compensation from their employer through a personal injury claim.

However, it’s possible that an injured worker or surviving family member may be able to sue a third party whose negligence contributed directly to the injury or death. A third party, for example, is not the immediate employer but could be an equipment manufacturer or other business associated with the employment.

You may find that the workers’ compensation you receive for your injury or illness is much less than you were expecting or doesn’t cover your expenses. It’s important to contact an experienced injury law firm should this circumstance arise. A workers’ compensation attorney will work with the employer and their insurance company to ensure benefits for the worker.

Have you been injured on the job? Call (877) 333-1000 to schedule a free consultation or tell us about the accident online.

Occupational Diseases Covered by Workers’ Compensation

Certain medical conditions are specifically identified as workplace exposure diseases, and are listed in North Carolina General Statute 97-53. These include:

  • Asbestosis
  • Anthrax
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Radium poisoning due to radiation exposure
  • Hearing loss caused by workplace noise
  • Bursitis
  • Miner’s nystagmus
  • Sulfuric, Hydrochloric, or Hydrofluoric acid poisoning
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Certain cases of lead poisoning
  • Manganese poisoning
  • Zinc poisoning
  • Brass poisoning
  • Phosphorus poisoning
  • Blisters caused by pressure or use of tools during employment
  • Synovitis and tenosynovitis
  • Bone felon caused by pressure
  • Silicosis
  • Psittacosis
  • Smallpox infection from vaccinations
  • Diseases caused by exposure to chemicals
  • Undulant fever
  • Compressed air illness
  • Epitheliomatous cancer
  • Benzol poisoning

If an employee has developed one of these conditions, it is presumed that the workplace increased their risk of developing the disease.

What to Do after Being Injured at Work

There are several steps you must take to report your injury in order to apply for workers’ compensation benefits.

Step 1: Notify Your Employer Right Away

The very first thing you need to do after being hurt at work is to notify your employer — preferably in writing. Type or email a letter explaining what happened and be sure that you keep a copy for yourself.

If you’ve already reported the injury orally, make a note of the date, the time, the name of the person you talked to, their position in the company, and their exact response. Then, follow up with a written letter to the employer, confirming the oral report. The sooner you have something in writing, the better.

This step is crucial, as claims are often denied because the injured worker waited too long to report the injury. Insurance companies are frequently unwilling to issue payment for accidents that weren’t reported right away.

However, if some time has passed since the injury and you haven’t made a report, please don’t assume that it’s too late. Go ahead and notify your employer anyway — right now. Time matters!

Step 2: File Necessary Paperwork

In North Carolina, Workers’ Compensation is handled by the N.C. Industrial Commission. Employees have a responsibility to file a claim with the Commission soon after being hurt at work. Failure to do so in a timely manner can cause you to permanently lose your rights to compensation under the system.

The workers’ compensation claims process can be very confusing and frustrating. There are important time limits that govern your ability to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you need help with filing a claim after being hurt at work or would like to speak to someone about the process of making a workers’ compensation claim please contact our office by calling our toll free number (877) 333-1000.

Step 3: Seek Medical Attention as Soon as Possible

If your workplace accident caused severe or life-threatening injuries, you may have already been rushed to an Emergency Room for urgent medical care. Otherwise, you’ll need to arrange for medical attention on your own.

Remember: you are not a doctor. Do not assume that you can diagnose the extent of your injuries on your own. Often, pain and complications may not occur until after an accident has happened; a doctor will be able to determine the true nature of your workplace injuries and the treatment(s) necessary for your recovery.

Documented doctor’s visits are very important to your workers’ compensation claim as they are evidence of your injuries. By visiting a doctor and getting treatment for your workplace injury, you are able to take the necessary steps to get yourself better while creating an accurate record of your work place injuries.

Step 4: Contact a North Carolina Workplace Injury Attorney

Workplace injury victims often misunderstand their rights under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation system. Claims are often unfairly reduced or denied because injured parties may not have realized what they are entitled to under the laws of North Carolina workers’ compensation system.

Working with a workers’ comp attorney will ensure that you understand your case and your legal rights. Your lawyers can handle all of the complications for you, taking the headache and hassle out of your workers’ compensation case. Your employer and their insurance company have lawyers working for them. Having an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can help you make sure that your rights are protected.

In summary, there are a lot of pieces to a workers’ compensation case. Documenting the injury, getting necessary medical treatment, filing paperwork and following procedures (often involving insurance companies and lawyers) can make for a difficult time, especially when you are injured and you don’t understand your rights. Please remember that very strict time limits are in place concerning workplace injuries and if you wait too long, you can lose your right to the compensation that you may be entitled to.

If You Were Involved in a Worker's Compensation Case, Our Attorneys Can Help. Contact Us

What Happens If a Claim Is Denied?

There are several reasons a legitimate claim could be denied or limited. The most common reason is that injured workers fail to meet the state deadlines for filing or forms aren’t properly completed.

Other reasons a claim could be denied include:

  • Missing forms or documentation
  • Lack of credible evidence (i.e., medical records, witness testimony, etc.)
  • Disputes with the employer or insurance company
  • The injury isn’t severe enough to qualify

In North Carolina, any injury or illness must be reported orally and in writing to the employer within 30 days of the accident. Workers will also need to formally file the claim (Form 18) with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. This form establishes a legal claim of injury on the victim’s behalf and must be filed within two years of the injury.

Decision letters are mailed approximately two weeks after the claim is filed. If you receive a letter from the Commission denying the claim, note the appeal deadline, and contact a workers’ compensation law firm immediately.

In order to appeal the decision, you must first notify the Industrial Commission of your intent to appeal within 14 days of the denial. You will attend a mediation conference with your attorney, and the mediator will make a recommendation based on the evidence in your claim. The appeal process will start with a hearing with a judge, and it will require organization and evidence gathering to ensure a fair outcome. Presenting detailed medical records and other evidence can be key to your success at this step. It’s very important to have an attorney who is experienced with workers’ compensation appeals, as the process can be complex.

Workers’ compensation laws are complex, but you don’t have to fight for the benefits you deserve alone. With four convenient locations throughout North Carolina, the DeMayo Law Offices are dedicated to helping injured workers maximize their benefits.

Call us at (877) 333-1000 to schedule a free case consultation or tell us about the accident online to get started today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Workers’ Compensation

Your workers’ comp attorney is the best source for information about your claim, but here are some answers that may help you with the questions you may have.

What is workers' compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a state-required insurance program required for employers with 3 or more employees to compensate employees who are injured or who get ill from work-related incidents. Workers’ compensation is a system that pays for medical costs and lost wages resulting from the work-related injury or illness. In order for an employee to benefit from workers’ compensation, they are not allowed to sue their employer for negligence.

What injuries are covered under workers' compensation?

Nearly all work-related injuries are covered under workers’ compensation, regardless of who caused the injury. Also, if you are injured and would like to receive workers’ compensation, you do not have to prove negligence or prove liability.

What injuries are not covered by workers' compensation?

If your injury is the result of a self-inflicted incident, a crime you were committing, or if the injury occurred because of conduct that violates company policy, workers’ compensation may not cover the resulting costs or lost wages.

Does an injury have to be the result of a specific work-related accident to be covered by workers' compensation?

No. If you sustain an injury like carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of continued use or misuse, workers’ compensation can cover the cost of the injury or any lost work. However, proving that your injuries are the direct result of your employment may be difficult. If you would like to receive workers’ compensation, contact DeMayo Law Offices as soon as possible. Our workers’ compensation lawyers may be able to help you.

Is there a waiting period to receive benefits?

In North Carolina, you must wait seven days after your injury before you start receiving benefits, unless your disability lasts for at least 21 days. If you miss 8 to 21 days of work, you will receive benefits for those days. If you miss more than 21 days of work, you will receive benefits for the entire time, including the first week of your injury. The compensation rate for wage benefits is two-thirds of your average weekly wage (AWW). Medical benefits are paid immediately following the injury, with no waiting period.

How long will my benefits last?

For injuries that occurred before June 24, 2011, there is no time limit. For later cases, benefits can continue for up to 500 weeks, with a possible extension in certain circumstances. Benefits stop when you return to work or when your employer files an Application to Terminate Benefits with the Industrial Commission.

Who chooses my doctor in a workers’ compensation case?

Your employer has the first opportunity to choose the doctor who treats you. You may request a change in doctors from the Industrial Commission if you can show that a change is necessary to cure your condition or help you return to work. You may also ask another doctor for a second opinion on your injury.

Does workers’ compensation cover mental health conditions?

Certain mental health conditions may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if they arise from your employment. North Carolina workers’ comp laws are relatively restrictive in this respect. You must be able to prove that you developed a mental condition, such as anxiety or depression, as a result of a specific workplace accident. The general stress you experience in your everyday job would not count, even if it caused you to develop a mental condition.

If a family member dies on the job, can I collect workers’ compensation for them?

If the death is related to a workplace injury or a disease acquired in the course of employment, you may be able to collect if it is within six years of the date of injury or onset of disability, or within two years from a final determination of disability. You should discuss this situation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

What employees are exempt from the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act?

Certain employees are not eligible for workers’ compensation under North Carolina law. These include casual employees who don’t work regular hours, domestic or household employees, farmworkers on farms with fewer than ten employees, certain railroad employees, and employees of the federal government. Federal employees are covered under the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act.

Can I receive workers’ comp if I contracted COVID-19 on the job?

It is possible to receive benefits if your employment exposed you to COVID-19. You must prove that your work exposed you to a greater risk than that of the general public, and that your job exposed you to the disease. To establish an injury by accident claim, you must show that you contracted COVID-19 as the result of an accident arising out of your employment.

Can I file a personal injury claim while seeking workers' compensation?

But There are situations where you may be able to sue your employer for gross negligence. For instance, if they do not offer workers’ comp benefits. There are also some legal loopholes that may let you file a lawsuit. Your employer may tell you that you can’t sue, so it’s a good idea to speak to one of the attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices to learn more about your options.

With this in mind, let’s review some of the rare scenarios where you could sue your employer.

  1. You can file a lawsuit if you believe a coworker, manager or employer hurt you. This doesn’t happen often, but it is a possibility. This situation can include things like slander, invasion of privacy, assault, rape, and deliberately causing emotional distress. Since these attacks can cause physical and emotional harm, you may be able to file an intentional tort lawsuit.
  2. You may be able to file a lawsuit if you were injured by a third party. If your injury was caused by faulty products or equipment, you may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, retailer or distributor. For instance, if you were using scaffolding that broke, causing you to fall, the manufacturer could be liable. Because a third party’s negligence caused the accident, you can sue regardless if you’re receiving workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you win a product liability lawsuit, your employer may ask for reimbursement of the money they spent on your workers’ compensation claims.
  3. You may be able to file a lawsuit if your workers’ comp benefits were denied or taken away for no reason. While this is a valid lawsuit, it requires an extensive amount of work for you and your attorney. There are many requirements that have to be met before your case will go to trial. Each state deals with this situation differently, so you should get in touch with a North Carolina worker’s compensation law office to learn what you should do if your workers’ comp benefits are denied.

What North Carolina Workers Need to Know

Workers’ compensation functions like insurance. However, collecting these benefits prohibits a worker from suing his or her employer for injuries.

To receive workers’ compensation, you have to be employed at the time of the injury, and the injury must be a result of the employment. In other words: injuries must be caused by whatever tasks are required by the job.

This rule also extends to illnesses sustained while working (e.g., lung cancer or mesothelioma) and cumulative trauma such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Benefits can be provided temporarily while the injury heals or provided in perpetuity, depending on the circumstances.

Workers’ compensation claims are awarded based on strict liability: this means fault or negligence doesn’t have to be proven or assigned to a particular party in order to collect benefits.

All North Carolina employers who employ three or more workers must obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers. If an employer fails to provide this coverage, they could face stiff financial penalties or be charged with a misdemeanor or felony and possibly imprisoned. All injured workers who qualify are entitled to workers’ compensation, and neglecting to provide these benefits is a criminal offense.

Workers' Compensation Results

Results

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$1,000,000

Settlement after mediation for a client who fell at work while doing inventory and suffered multiple fractures to both legs and face. (Mecklenburg County, 2009).

$910,000

Settlement for a client who was injured when a tractor-trailer driver fell asleep and hit client’s vehicle in the rear causing serious injuries, including the loss of an eye and reconstructive surgery. (Cabarrus County, 2010).

$805,000

Settlement for a client who was injured in an automobile accident while on the job when another driver ran into the rear end of his vehicle while stopped in traffic. Client received serious back injuries requiring surgery (Burke County, 2012).

$650,000

Settlement after mediation for a client who fell into a hole while working causing serious injuries to client’s back and legs.

$600,000

Settlement after mediation for a client who fell at a worksite and broke his back. (Mecklenburg County, 2009).

$550,000

Settlement for a client who was injured at work when he fell backwards and hit his head on a forklift truck. (Lincoln County, 2007).

$545,000

Settlements for client who was injured while driving a vehicle for his employer when another vehicle crossed the center line hitting the vehicle the client was in resulting in a broken back and other injuries. (Gaston County, 2006).

$490,000

settlements for a client who was injured in an automobile accident, while on the job, when another vehicle crossed the center line and hit client’s vehicle head-on. Client’s leg and ankle were fractured requiring multiple surgeries (Davie County, 2012).

$450,000

Settlement for a man who was kicked in the face by a horse, fracturing his eye socket, injuring his eye, and causing a concussion. This client also had some cognitive impairment from his head injury. (Union County, 2015).

$390,000

Settlement for a client who suffered serious injuries while working on the job. (Guilford, 2007).

$360,000

Settlements for a client who was injured while on the job when the vehicle the client was driving was struck in the rear by another vehicle causing various injuries. (Gaston County, 2004).

$350,000

Settlement for the estate of a truck driver who suffered a heart attack when he was trying to put out a fire on his trailer cause by faulty brakes and ignition of the brake fluid from overheating. (Union County, 2014).

$350,000

Settlement for a client who was injured when he lifted a heavy bag of coins, causing him to rupture a disc in his low back. The client had to have a low back surgery to remove the ruptured disc and to fuse the area of his spine where the disc was removed. The client was unable to return to his job due to lifting restrictions and chronic low back pain. (Mecklenburg County, 2014).

$350,000

Settlement for a client who received serious neck, back, and shoulder injuries that required surgery after bags of coins fell on the client when the client was working inside of a vault. (Mecklenburg County, 2014).

$325,000

Settlement for a client who was injured when working as a lineman and he contacted an overhead powerline, causing severe electric shock, burns, tissue damage to his hand and foot, and damage to his heart. This client was unable to return to his job of lineman. (Wilkes County, 2017).

$325,000

Settlement for a client who was repairing a power box on a light pole and was shocked by high voltage electricity, causing a brain injury and seizure disorder. This client became disabled from working because of his injuries. (Mecklenburg County, 2016).

$300,000

Settlement for a client who was injured on a construction site when he lifted a heavy metal board, causing him to rupture a disc in his low back. The client had low back surgery and a spinal cord stimulator implanted. The client now has permanent restrictions of no heavy lifting. (Mecklenburg County, 2014).

$300,000

Settlement for a client who injured his back while carrying some metal boards at a job site. Back surgery was required after the injury. (Mecklenburg County, 2014).

$285,000

Settlement for a client who received serious burns that required skin grafting and resulted in permanent nerve damage when a chemical tank exploded (Lincoln County, 2011).

$280,000

Settlement for a client who received serious injuries to his head, neck, shoulders, and back when a 2,000-pound pallet broke and fell on him as he was unloading a trailer (Mecklenburg County, 2011).

$280,000

Settlement for a client who was on the back of a trailer, pulling a pallet when it broke, causing him to fall and hit his head and suffer from back and neck injuries. (Accident took place outside of NC, 2009).

$275,000

Settlement for a client who received serious injuries to his whole body when he fell 28 feet to the ground from a bucket lift after the safety harness broke. (Caldwell County, 2011).

$275,000

Settlement for a client who was working in a bucket lift when his soft harness broke causing him to fall 28 feet to the ground. He suffered multiple injuries to the head, neck, back, arms and legs. (Caldwell County, 2006).

$275,000

Settlement after mediation for a client who sustained a back injury while picking up heavy cable at work. (Catawba County, 2013).

$275,000

Settlement for a client who lost his hand while cleaning a grinding machine. (Duplin County, 2013).

$269,000

Settlement for a client who was injured at work when a patient fell on her leg causing serious neck and back injuries. (Catawba County, 2013).

$260,000

Settlement for a client who received serious back injuries while working on an automobile assembly. (Cabarrus County, 2012).

$260,000

Settlement for a client who received head and other serious injuries after falling 20 feet to the ground while working on a roof. (Mecklenburg County, 2011).

$260,000

Settlement for a client who suffered brain and other injuries after falling 20 feet off a roof. (Michigan, 2009).

$250,000

Settlement for a client who was injured when he fell off a dumpster and injured his neck. The client required a two-level fusion surgery in his neck and ongoing pain management treatment. (Mecklenburg County, 2017).

$250,000

Settlement after mediation for a client who was injured in an automobile accident while on the job, causing serious head and back injuries. (Mecklenburg County, 2013).

$250,000

Settlement for a client who lost his leg when a log fell off a conveyor belt and hit the client. (Catawba County, 2007).

$250,000

Settlement for a client who fell off a bench while painting causing head and spinal injuries. (Guilford County, 2007).

$250,000

Settlement for a client who injured his knee while pulling a box of electrical material. (Mecklenburg County, 2007).

Contact DeMayo Law Offices

Do you have questions about a denied workers’ compensation claim? The North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices are here to help. We can guide you through the process from start to finish, so that no detail is missed. The success of workers’ compensation claims often depends on providing accurate and complete information, according to strict deadlines. Our firm has decades of experience helping clients obtain the compensation and benefits they deserve for their injuries. We take pride in our ability to serve all our clients with personalized care and top-quality legal advice.

We have three convenient office locations throughout North Carolina. Call (877) 333-1000 to get started now.