Charlotte, NC Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Legal help for workers injured on the job throughout North Carolina
If you’ve been injured in a work-related accident, you may be facing issues you thought you would never have to deal with. Workplace injuries can take you off the job and prevent you from earning a living. Even if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation, these claims can be complex and require you to comply with specific statutory procedures to protect your rights.
Without guidance from an experienced attorney, you may lose valuable rights and fail to receive the compensation necessary for you and your family. The attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through your workers’ compensation claim. We can also help with delayed or denied claims, as well as represent employees in wrongful termination and third-party liability claims.
What would you like to know?
What is workers’ compensation?
Workers’ compensation is a state-operated system that provides benefits to workers who sustain a compensable injury by accident arising out of and in the course and scope of their employment. The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act defines “injury” as those “arising out of and in the course of the employment, and shall not include a disease in any form, except where it results naturally and unavoidably from the accident.”
Benefits can also be paid for certain recognized occupational diseases. An occupational disease is any condition caused by the specific type of work that you do. If your job involves a higher rate of a particular disease, it may be considered an occupational disease. There are specific conditions that are recognized in the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, including asbestosis, silicosis, synovitis, tenosynovitis, bursitis, and chemical exposure.
In North Carolina, workers’ compensation covers employees injured by accident in the course of their employment, even where the employer is not at fault. In fact, workers’ compensation will pay even when the employee accidentally caused his or her own injuries. However, by accepting this coverage the injured employee waives the right to sue the employer for negligence – though, in some cases, an injured party can still sue a third party responsible for the injury.
What coverage does workers’ compensation provide?
After a work accident in North Carolina, an employer is responsible for:
- Medical care. Workers’ compensation pays for medical expenses, including hospital and rehabilitation services, prescription medication, and travel expenses. The injured worker may also be entitled reimbursement of travel expenses to treatment facilities.
- Lost wages. Lost wages are paid after the first seven days of disability and are calculated at the rate of two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wages. These benefits are referred to as “Temporary Total Disability” or TTD, and “Temporary Partial Disability” or TPD.
- Compensation for any permanent injuries. For permanent injuries, workers receive payment based on North Carolina’s schedule of injury benefits, which lists compensation for specific injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
Sometimes due to the extent of an injury, an injured employee is unable to return to his or her current job. To assist the injured employee in returning to the workforce, an employer may utilize the services of a vocational rehabilitation counselor to assist the employee in finding another job. Vocational rehabilitation is governed by the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, and failure to cooperate with vocational rehabilitation services can result in the termination of workers’ compensation.
Employees are eligible for coverage when their injury comes “out of the course and scope of employment,” meaning that the injury must result from an accident. However, when a workplace injury occurs due to intoxication, horseplay, or your own intentional act, you may be barred from collecting workers’ compensation benefits.
What are common causes of Charlotte workplace injuries?
Each workers’ compensation case is unique and comes with its own set of details and circumstances. With that said, there are a host of common, broad-stroke causes for workplace accidents that can cause serious injury.
Common causes of workplace injuries include:
- Falls from heights
- Repetitive motions involving micro-tasks
- Struck against object or equipment
In all cases, securing the benefits you deserve is easier with the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The economic interests of employers and their insurance providers will not always have your best interests in mind, and they may be reluctant to pay you a fair amount for your lost wages and medical bills. The Charlotte attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates can help.
How do I file a Charlotte workers’ compensation claim?
After a job-related accident, the most important thing to do is to make a report of your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Document exactly how the injury took place, taking note of any co-workers or supervisors who were present at the time of the accident. Then you must file a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission by completing a Form 18.
The following are important North Carolina workers’ compensation laws you need to know about if you want to file a claim in North Carolina:
- Injured workers have 30 days to give notice of their injury to their employer.
- Injured workers have 2 years to file a claim.
- Most employers in North Carolina are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, certain domestic workers, farm laborers, and federal employees are exempt from this requirement.
- If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, you can file Form 33, Request for Hearing, to ask for your case to be heard before the Industrial Commission.
Once you file your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, your employer can either verify compensable injury or dispute the claim.
Can I be fired for filing for workers’ compensation?
In North Carolina, it’s illegal for an employer to terminate an employee simply because he or she files for workers’ compensation benefits. However, North Carolina is an “at will” state. That means an employer can terminate employees, even if they are on workers’ compensation benefits, so long as their termination isn’t retaliatory, and is based on behaviors unrelated to the claim. Reasons for termination may include:
- Unexcused absences
- Poor job performance
- Inability to perform job duties
When an employee is missing work to recover from an injury, it leaves the employer in the difficult position of being down one worker. This is a particularly delicate issue that’s prevalent in the industrial and manufacturing industries.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, contact the Charlotte wrongful termination attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates. We can help.
What is third-party liability in workers’ compensation?
Work-related injuries can be compensated in one of two ways. If the accident was no one’s fault, or the fault of your employer or a coworker, you will typically receive workers’ compensation. If you were injured due to a separate party’s negligence, you may be able to bring a third-party personal injury claim.
Examples of third-party liability for a workplace injury include:
- Car accidents or truck accidents occurring while you were driving for work purposes
- Getting hurt on a construction site by negligence on the part of a subcontractor or another work crew
- Suffering injury because of a malfunctioning or defective machine or tool
- Being injured at a client’s workplace because of dangerous property conditions
Third-party claims can be filed in addition to workers’ compensation claims, and while it is another step in the legal process, there are many benefits to filing a third-party claim. Third-party claims open doors to recover compensation for damages that a workers’ compensation claim alone don’t cover, including:
- Compensation caps
- Stricter time limitations
- The inability to recover for non-economic damages
A third-party claim allows injury victims to recover compensation for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress. Additionally, in some cases, a victim may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages punish the negligent party in cases where the defendant acted particularly negligent or reckless. A third-party claim not only compensates you but brings the negligent party, whether that be an individual or a manufacturer, to justice.
Is there a workers’ compensation attorney near me?
You can find Price, Petho & Associates at 1420 Elizabeth Ave in Charlotte. We also maintain offices in Rockingham and Rutherfordton for your convenience. If you are too injured to come to us, we make home and hospital visits as well.
Skilled Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyers
Since 1979, the attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates have aggressively represented thousands of individuals with their workers’ compensation concerns, building a track record of million-dollar and multi-million-dollar awards. Often, employers fail to handle job site injury cases correctly, sometimes even refusing to do what is right for their employees. We handle all types of cases, including complex claims involving wrongful termination or issues involved with returning to the workplace. From construction accidents to other workplace injuries, we know how to get results. Call 704-372-2160 or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Serving Charlotte, Rockingham, Rutherfordton, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
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