Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

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North Carolina enforces some of the most employee-friendly workers’ compensation laws in the country, but many injured workers are not fully aware of their rights under the state’s Workers’ Compensation Act, nor are they aware of their employers’ obligations when handling workplace injuries. If you or a family member recently suffered an injury while working, a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can help you exercise your rights.

A Law Firm That Stands Up For Injured Workers

A work injury can prove very costly, leaving you with stacks of medical bills and preventing you from earning a paycheck. If you were injured on the job, you deserve compensation for your medical bills in addition to wage loss benefits. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you seek the full and fair amount of compensation you are entitled to.

Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC is a trusted ally for injured workers in Charlotte, throughout North Carolina and across the southeastern United States. Our attorneys have extensive experience navigating the workers’ compensation process and are passionate about protecting the futures of people who have suffered serious and life-altering injuries. We can help you make sense of your situation and secure the benefits you legally deserve.

While it is possible for you to file a workers’ compensation claim without hiring an attorney, you are unlikely to reach the same level of results you could expect when you have seasoned legal counsel on your side. The right Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer is the ideal asset to have on your side, no matter how severe your injury may be or what type of work you do. Our firm has years of experience assisting all types of injured workers in all industries.

Serving Workers In All Occupations

People who have been injured on the job have already gone far above the call of duty to their employer. They should not have to fight for their workers’ compensation benefits. We are here to fight that battle on your behalf. Your employer has certain responsibilities when it comes to facilitating your workers’ compensation claim, and you should not be mistreated simply because you notify your employer that you intend to file a claim after a workplace injury.

Working with a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer means you are prepared to face any unexpected issues you encounter with your employer and/or their insurance company. The attorneys at Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC, have successfully resolved many workers’ compensation claims for employees in all types of workplaces. We represent injured workers from all walks of life and a broad range of industries, including:

  • Construction. This is one of the most inherently dangerous fields in which anyone can work. Construction industry workers face all types of hazards on every job site, and some of the most common injuries reported in this industry include slip and fall accidents, injuries from heavy equipment, injuries from dropped and falling objects, electrocutions, and more.
  • Manufacturing. Working in any type of production center often entails working with or near various types of heavy machinery and specialized equipment, some of which can inflict tremendous injuries unexpectedly. Many people who work in manufacturing jobs must also work with or near hazardous chemicals, some of which are capable of causing adverse medical complications with repeated exposure.
  • Warehousing. Warehousing jobs often require the use of loaders, forklifts, and other specialized vehicles that are capable of inflicting severe injuries when accidents happen. It is also possible for injuries to occur if items are dropped, if shelving collapses, or if dangerous chemicals are spilled in a warehouse. Slips, trips, and falls are also possible, some of which may result in serious injury.
  • Medical. Medical professionals have inherently dangerous jobs because of their proximity to patients who may carry infectious diseases. Bloodborne pathogens, viruses, and even the potential of suffering traumatic injury because of unpredictable, dangerous patients are just a few of the workplace hazards facing doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in Charlotte.
  • Hospitality. The hospitality industry may not seem inherently dangerous, but employees in this industry regularly suffer a wide range of work-related injuries. Traumatic injuries from falls and other accidents are common, but workers in this industry also face the risk of repetitive stress injury because of the physical labor they are required to perform every day at work.

Whether you were injured in a single accident or you suffer from a repetitive stress injury that developed over several years, we understand the hardships you face, and we are here to help. Many people working in Charlotte may suffer injuries, develop illnesses, or acquire medical conditions that they are not sure how to prove are work-related.

Your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can help gather evidence like security camera footage from your workplace, testimony from witnesses who saw your injury happen, and records of workplace maintenance, safety inspections, and regulatory compliance to help prove the exact cause of your recent injury.

Determining Whether Your Work Injury Is Eligible for a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Working with an experienced Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can ensure you verify your eligibility to file a claim. An injured worker may mistakenly believe that because they caused their own injury, they are not qualified to receive workers’ compensation benefits, or they may overlook other valuable avenues of recovery that may be available to them. Determining your eligibility to file a claim for benefits will be easier with an attorney’s help.

Generally, any work-related injury in Charlotte may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. If your injury occurred while you were performing your job duties in good faith and the injury is severe enough to cause you to miss work for an extended period of time, you likely qualify to file a claim. Your employer is required by state law to disclose your rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act.

Remember that it is possible to file a workers’ compensation claim for a traumatic injury you suffered in a specific accident, for an illness you acquired from your work conditions and environment, or for a repetitive stress injury that you acquired over time. You must be ready to prove that the injury directly resulted from you performing your job duties and that it did not arise from any other cause.

When it comes to fault for your injury, North Carolina operates on a no-fault rule for workers’ compensation claims. This means it is possible for you to have caused your own injury but still qualify to file a claim. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. If you made an honest mistake or injured yourself through an act of simple negligence, you will likely still be eligible to file a claim.

If you were working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, intentionally violated workplace safety rules or industry regulations, or if you injured yourself because you engaged in horseplay at work, these issues could potentially disqualify you from filing a claim. It is important that you consult a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer as quickly as possible after an injury, especially if your employer tells you that you are disqualified from filing a claim.

Your attorney can review the details of your situation and assess whether your employer has handled your case in good faith. If there are any disputes about whether you caused your own injury or if any other specific party is directly responsible for causing it, your attorney can resolve these issues for you as well. Once you have determined your eligibility to file a claim, your legal team can guide you through this process efficiently.

Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Charlotte

Filing a claim for workers’ compensation benefits after an injury at work is just like filing most other types of insurance claims. However, you face the added challenge of your employer’s involvement in the process and the various terms and conditions you will need to follow to secure the benefits you are legally owed. Once you have reported your injury to your employer, they must log the incident in a formal report and give you the forms needed to file your claim.

As part of your claim filing process, your employer’s insurance carrier will likely require that you undergo a medical evaluation from a doctor it has approved. This workers’ compensation physician must determine your level of disability based on the overall severity of your injury and your remaining functional capacity to work. The higher your rating, the more you can potentially receive in benefits.

Your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you in securing a second opinion if you believe the workers’ compensation doctor you visited did not assess your condition correctly. Once you have your disability rating and medical reports from all the doctors you have seen about your injury, you should be ready to file your claim with your employer’s insurance company. An investigation of the claim is required before sending a settlement offer.

During the insurance company’s investigation of the claim, a representative will likely contact you and/or your attorney to ask questions and clarify any issues the company identifies with your claim paperwork. It may find a reason to reject the claim, in which case you will need the help of a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer to appeal the decision and/or file a complaint with the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC).

If your claim is approved, the insurance company will send a determination of benefits explaining the extent of compensation you will receive for the injury. For most injured claimants, this determination of benefits will include medical expense coverage and disability benefits that reflect their diminished ability to work and earn income. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can verify that your benefits are acceptable.

Benefits You Can Receive for a Work Injury in Charlotte

There are two main objectives behind the state Workers’ Compensation Act. The first is to ensure a financial safety net for injured workers, covering their medical expenses and providing disability benefits when they cannot work while they recover. The second is to protect employers from civil liability for their injured workers’ damages. As long as an employer has the required coverage, they cannot be sued for a workplace injury in most cases.

When an injured employee’s claim is approved for benefits in the state, the benefits determination will include medical expense coverage and income replacement benefits. Medical expense coverage is typically straightforward; an injured employee can receive full coverage for any medical care related to their work injury. In most cases, it will include the cost of any ongoing rehabilitative care they may need after a serious injury.

Income replacement benefits vary from case to case and are awarded based on the severity of an injury, the victim’s remaining functional capacity to work, and their typical earnings during the year prior to their injury. It is possible for the claimant to receive partial disability benefits if they retain some ability to work and earn income while they recover, or they could receive total disability benefits if they are unable to work at all.

If you are awarded partial disability benefits based on your disability rating, you can continue working on light duty or in an alternate position if your employer has one available during your recovery period. You will need to report any changes in your medical status and your weekly earnings to the insurance company to maintain your eligibility for these benefits. If you recover enough to return to work, your benefits will cease.

If an injured worker fails to meet their reporting requirements, their benefits are likely to be terminated immediately. They may even be charged with workers’ compensation fraud if they attempt to continue collecting benefits after they have recovered. If you have any questions about your obligations under the terms of a partial disability benefits determination, consult your attorney so you do not risk losing benefits prematurely or facing legal penalties.

If an injured worker cannot work at all due to the severity of their injury, they can qualify for total disability benefits. If you are awarded total disability benefits, each weekly payment will be about two-thirds of your average weekly pay for the year prior to the injury. For example, if your average weekly pay was around $1,200, you should receive roughly $800 in each benefits payment. These payments can continue for up to 500 weeks or until you recover and can return to work.

In some cases, severely injured employees can qualify for permanent disability benefits. These benefits may continue until retirement age. Insurance companies tend to try to avoid these long-term commitments and may offer large lump sum settlements in lieu of an ongoing permanent disability benefits payment plan, but you should consult your attorney before accepting any such offer.

It is also possible for an injured worker to transition from receiving total disability benefits to partial disability benefits if they recover enough functional capacity to return to paid work but remain unable to earn as much as they did prior to their injury. Ultimately, one of the most important factors when it comes to your disability benefits from workers’ compensation insurance is your functional capacity.

Death Benefits

If you have lost a family member from a fatal accident at work, their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance may provide death benefits to you and the deceased’s other beneficiaries. There are typically strict terms and conditions regarding how much a claimant can receive in workers’ compensation death benefits and who is eligible to claim these benefits. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can address any such issues you encounter with such a claim.

Death benefits from workers’ compensation generally reflect the number of dependents the victim left behind after their death. There are limits to how much a policy will cover, and you may encounter all types of resistance from an insurance carrier if you intend to seek death benefits from a workers’ compensation insurance carrier. It is imperative to have legal counsel on your side for this type of claim.

Potential Complications With Your Employer

While the majority of state employers process their injured workers’ requests to file workers’ compensation claims in good faith, some employers retaliate against their injured employees due to the rising cost of their workers’ compensation insurance premiums and other financial issues that workplace injuries cause. This is unlawful and qualifies as illegal retaliation. If you have experienced this, you need to consult an attorney immediately.

While you typically cannot file a civil suit against your employer in response to a workplace injury, you could have grounds for a claim if they wrongfully terminated you, created a hostile work environment, or discriminated against you because of your work injury. Your Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer can advise you on how to address any such issues in your claim.

It is also possible to have grounds for a separate civil suit against your employer even if they do have workers’ compensation insurance, but only if they directly and intentionally caused your injury somehow. For example, if your supervisor compelled you to perform a task outside of your usual job duties and this task had a virtual certainty of causing an injury, your employer would be liable for damages you cannot recover through workers’ compensation insurance.

Third-Party Personal Injury Claims in Charlotte

While you will have grounds for a civil suit against your employer only under certain conditions, you may have the ability to file a third-party personal injury claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim if anyone outside of your work directly caused your injury. For example, if a utility worker, vendor employee, contractor, customer, or other third party is directly at fault for your work injury, you can file a personal injury claim against them.

This third-party personal injury claim can enable you to recover compensation for losses that workers’ compensation insurance won’t repay. For example, you will receive only a limited amount of compensation for your lost income from workers’ compensation insurance, as the insurance carrier will pay up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage each week in disability benefits.

You can seek compensation for the remainder of your lost wages as well as the pain and suffering you experienced if you file a third-party personal injury suit against whoever caused the injury. Success with this type of claim will require following the same steps you would need to follow after any other personal injury. You need to prove fault for the injury and prove the extent of your resulting damages.

It is important to remember that while your fault may not factor into your workers’ compensation claim, any shared fault you may hold will prevent you from filing a third-party personal injury claim due to the state’s contributory negligence rule. Under this rule, a plaintiff cannot seek compensation from a defendant if the plaintiff shares fault for the damages cited in the claim.

Resolving a Third-Party Claim in Charlotte

Many personal injury claims filed in Charlotte are not resolved through litigation and are instead resolved through private settlement negotiation. During the settlement process, the parties involved in the case meet privately and attempt to reach a mutual set of terms for resolving the case. As long as they are both willing to compromise, this process offers more expedient results than they could expect in litigation, and they have more influence over the final outcome.

If you cannot settle your case privately, you will need to take it to court, and this could take months or even years to resolve. It is also possible to encounter various disputes with your workers’ compensation claim, potentially leading to litigation against an employer and/or an insurance carrier, as well as a formal hearing before the NCIC. Ultimately, your case may involve many unpredictable issues, and you will need an experienced attorney to resolve them.

The Strong Advocate Injured Workers Deserve

We are well-versed in the tactics employers and their insurance companies use to limit and deny workers’ compensation benefits. They may argue that your injuries are not as severe as you claim they are. They may claim your injury was not job-related at all. We know how to counter these arguments and always fight tenaciously when our clients’ rights are on the line.

Butler, Quinn & Hochman, PLLC, has built a strong reputation as a leading choice for workers’ compensation counsel in Charlotte because of our commitment to providing client-focused legal counsel in every case we accept. We take time to learn about our client’s unique needs and concerns, address their biggest challenges and opportunities as their cases unfold, and do everything we can to maximize their recoveries in the most efficient ways possible.

When you choose our firm as your legal representative, you are investing in a dedicated advocate who will be ready to provide the guidance and support you will need for each stage of your work injury case. From filing your initial claim to your employer’s insurance carrier to determining the full extent of the damages you may be able to recover from a third-party injury suit, you can count on us to help you fully recover.

Speak With A Knowledgeable Work Injury Lawyer Today

You have a limited window of time to file your workers’ compensation claim in Charlotte. There is a one-year statute of limitations, meaning you need to file your claim to the insurer no later than one year following the date your injury occurred, but you must report the injury to your supervisor within 30 days of the injury. It is always advisable for an injured worker to start the claim filing process as quickly as possible to have the greatest chance of success.

During your initial consultation with our team, we can answer your questions and help you determine whether we would be a good fit as your legal counsel. We have experience handling all types of work injury claims for employees of all industries, and we are adept at resolving complex civil claims for damages in Charlotte. We are confident that we can identify all your various avenues of legal recourse and maximize the results you ultimately reach.

Whether you are pursuing an initial claim for workers’ comp benefits or appealing a denied claim, we are here to provide you with the skilled representation you need. To arrange a free consultation with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer in Charlotte, contact our law offices online or by telephone at 704-569-9800.

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