Workplace accidents can have serious consequences for employees, leaving them injured and uncertain about their future—especially if their injuries are pretty severe. When it comes to seeking compensation for incidents like these, there are two common paths to take: submitting a workers’ compensation claim or submitting a third-party claim. Typically, most people would be quick to file a workers’ compensation claim and call it a day. However, there are certain situations where filing a third-party claim could be filed alongside it or be used instead.
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation insurance
If you sustain an injury while working in Charlotte, you have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Businesses who have more than three employees are required to carry their own workers’ compensation policy. This type of insurance serves as a financial safety net for employees (or their families) who have sustained a work-related injury, illness, or fatality. It operates on a “no-fault” system, meaning that the employee cannot be blamed for their injuries and they cannot be fired by their employer for getting injured or for filing a claim.
Workers’ compensation coverage
The purpose of workers’ compensation is to ensure that employees receive necessary medical benefits to aid in their recovery, along with a replacement of wages they lose due to their inability to work. Additionally, rehabilitation services are also part of this program, helping injured workers regain their physical well-being and return to work when possible. This coverage encompasses various other expenses, including doctor visits and even medication. However, the amount of compensation received is contingent upon the seriousness of the injury and the time needed off work.
The workers’ compensation claims process in North Carolina
The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim involves a series of steps to ensure that the injured worker receives the benefits to which they are entitled. First and foremost, it is crucial to promptly report the accident or injury to your employer, following the guidelines set by your workplace. This report serves as an official record of the incident and initiates the claim process. Additionally, you must document the injuries sustained, which may involve seeking medical attention and keeping records of diagnosis, treatment, and related expenses. These steps help provide evidence to support your claim and demonstrate the extent of your injuries.
When a third-party claim is an option
Let’s talk about another option called third-party claims, which can be an alternative to workers’ compensation. In these cases, it means that someone other than your employer may be held responsible for your workplace accident. It’s like when someone else, besides your boss, may have contributed to the incident. This “third party” could be a contractor, a company that made a faulty product, or another individual involved in the accident.
Imagine you only had a few spare minutes to use the bathroom at work. You tried to be quick, but as you walked in, you slipped and fell. Turns out, the floor was freshly wet from a mop, but there weren’t any signs around. In this case, you may be able to file a third-party claim against the contracted cleaning company because the staff did not put up any caution signs once they finished. If they had, you probably would’ve been more careful.
The most significant difference between workers’ compensation and third-party claims in Charlotte is the benefits and compensation types they offer. With workers’ compensation, you typically receive medical benefits and wage replacement, which help cover your medical expenses and lost wages. However, in third-party claims, you may have the opportunity to pursue additional damages beyond what workers’ compensation provides. These damages could include compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, or other losses resulting from the accident.
Third-party claims process
If you decide to pursue a third-party claim, the process generally involves filing a legal case. It’s important to gather evidence that supports your claim, such as witness testimonies, photographs, or documentation of the incident. Identifying the party responsible for your injuries is also crucial, as this will be the focus of your legal case. Building a strong case is essential to increase your chances of obtaining compensation through a third-party claim, so this is where it would be beneficial to get a skilled Charlotte personal injury attorney involved. Legal proceedings can involve negotiations, settlement discussions, or even going to court if a fair resolution cannot be reached through other means, which is not an easy battle to win on your own.
Can a third-party claim be filed alongside a workers’ compensation claim?
In North Carolina, it is generally possible to file a third-party claim alongside a workers’ compensation claim. These two types of claims serve different purposes and can be pursued simultaneously. Workers’ compensation provides benefits to injured workers regardless of fault and is designed to cover medical expenses and wage replacement. On the other hand, a third-party claim is filed against a party other than the employer who may be held responsible for the workplace accident.
By filing a third-party claim, you may have the opportunity to seek additional compensation for damages that are not covered by workers’ compensation. However, while workers’ compensation is generally a no-fault system, a third-party claim requires establishing fault or negligence on the part of the third party.
Filing both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party claim can provide injured workers with a comprehensive approach to seeking compensation for their injuries. However, navigating these legal processes can be difficult on your own. These legal matters involve complex rules and procedures that can be challenging to navigate, especially if you’re dealing with the stress of an injury at the same time—that’s why it’s advisable to consult with an attorney with experience in both workers’ compensation and personal injury law.
Contact our Charlotte attorneys today
If you have been involved in a workplace accident and want to take the next best step forward, contact Price, Petho & Associates. Our attorneys have the necessary legal knowledge and expertise to guide you through the entire process, ensuring you understand your rights and maximize your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, fill out our contact form today. We have offices in Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton.