The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act was developed to help people who were injured at work. Without this safety net, injured workers and their families might struggle to pay bills while dealing with an injury and related medical expenses.
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 while working for an employer, you may be entitled to wage-loss benefits and medical expenses for the work-related injury.
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.
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, depending on the circumstances, 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.
There may be disagreements about how much money is needed to cover an injury or illness. It’s best to contact an experienced injury lawyer should this circumstance arise. A workers’ compensation attorney will work with the employer and their insurance company to ensure benefits for the worker.
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 lawyer immediately.
The appeal process will start with a hearing with a judge, and it will require organization and evidence gathering to ensure a fair outcome.
Workers’ compensation laws are complicated, but you don’t have to fight for your benefits alone. With four convenient locations throughout North Carolina, the DeMayo Law Offices are dedicated to helping injured workers maximize their benefits.
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 recovers 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.
Contact A Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Do you have questions about a denied workers’ compensation claim? The workers’ compensation attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices are here to help.
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