When a work-related injury occurs and disrupts your daily life and routine, you may find yourself in an overwhelmed state of mind. Suddenly, you are facing potential lost income, days or weeks away from your job, doctor appointments, medical claims, and piles of paperwork. Workers’ compensation, while designed to protect employees, can often be an additional source of confusion, disruption, and anxiety. The system can be complex, especially for someone who has never faced this type of situation. While figuring out the next steps and how to financially cope, workers’ are also attempting to recover physically. This is why many people reach out to a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. Since these attorneys have dealt with a wide variety of workers’ compensation situations, they are able to quickly provide answers to overwhelmed employees, offer advice on the next steps, help to simplify the paperwork process and ensure that fair compensation is secured.
While every situation has a unique set of circumstances, these are four of the most commonly-asked questions people have regarding workers’ compensation in North Carolina:
- What benefits am I entitled to receive through workers’ compensation?
- There are three main benefits employees will receive through a workers’ compensation claim. Eligible workers’ are entitled to medical care to obtain a cure, provide relief, or lessen the period of disability. They are also entitled to be compensated for wages lost for being out of work due to the injury. Finally, workers’ who are permanently injured are entitled to be compensated for their permanent injury. Permanent injuries may also involve a disability rating. This is a doctor’s broad judgment on the percentage of loss to your injured body part. For example, if you have an arm injury, the doctor may give you a 10% rating to your arm which means that the doctor believes your arm is only 90% from where it was pre-injury. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has provided a Ratings Guide to define the percentage of loss to a body part post injury. The rating is put into a formula to define the amount of compensation your injured body part is worth. It is best to have an experienced attorney help you calculate the value of your rating and, if appropriate, get a second doctor to provide an opinion on your rating which may increase the value of your case.
- If I caused the accident that led to my injury, am I still eligible for workers’ compensation?
- As long as the injury was caused by an accident at work, fault is not a factor in receiving benefits.
- Can I be compensated for pain and suffering under workers’ compensation?
- Part of the tradeoff for not having to worry about who was at fault is that workers’ cannot be awarded for pain and suffering.
- How are the wage benefits calculated?
- Workers’ compensation allows injured workers’ to receive 2/3 of their average weekly wage while they are unable to work. The average weekly wage is determined by averaging all earnings of the injured worker from the 52 weeks prior to the accident.
There are many elements to a workers’ compensation case. Though these four questions are usually at the forefront, there are many other aspects to these complex claims. For more frequently asked questions, check out our recent visit to Charlotte Today.
Since you will only pay legal counsel upon receipt of benefits, it is in your best interest to reach out to a qualified legal professional at the beginning of your injury to ensure appropriate steps are taken and all paperwork is completed. Remember, the insurance company is not working for you; only a lawyer you hire will be able to look out for your best interests.