Shelby Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
You have a mortgage payment to make, bills to pay, mouths to feed. That’s why you work so hard. But when an injury on the job knocks you off your feet and keeps you out of work, even for a relatively short period of time, you can feel like you are drowning. The bills pile up while your bank account balance dwindles. And all the while, you are just trying to heal.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a workplace accident, know that you are not alone. Turn to a knowledgeable and compassionate workers’ compensation lawyer to discuss your case and set the path for pursuing compensation. At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, our experienced workplace injury lawyers are dedicated to taking the burden off you and your family during this stressful time. We can negotiate with your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company directly on your behalf to demand full and fair compensation for your injury.
We serve clients throughout Shelby and Cleveland County, Gastonia and Gaston County, Lincolnton and Lincoln County, and Rutherfordton and Rutherford County. Our dedication to providing personalized and professional service to injured workers in these communities is one of the things that sets us apart.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your workplace injury claim.
What Defines a Work-Related Injury?
Normally, when people think of work-related injuries, they think of something major and obvious, like a fall from a ladder at a construction site. While these types of injuries do account for many workers’ compensation cases, there are a variety of injuries that could be considered work-related. Common types of work-related injuries are:
- Injuries caused by a specific traumatic accident on the job
- Injuries that developed over time, such as the repetitive stress injuries carpal tunnel and tendonitis
- Disabling diseases caused by health hazards that an employer exposed workers to, such as asbestos
What Are Some Common Workplace Accidents?
Although the law requires employers to follow specific safety measures to protect workers, accidents still happen. In fact, there are several commonly reported types of workplace accidents:
- Slip-and-falls or trip-and-falls
- Falls to a lower level
- Overexertion from lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying
- Being struck by an object
- Being caught in or compressed by something, such as machinery
- Equipment failure
No matter the cause of your workplace injury, we encourage you to seek advice from a knowledgeable Cleveland County work injury attorney. Although there are common types of workplace accidents and injuries, every case is unique. At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, our attorneys will give you the individual attention you deserve.
Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
If you are injured on the job, you have a legal right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, even if you caused the workplace accident, as long as you were performing an authorized activity at the time. The North Carolina workers’ compensation program is a no-fault system, meaning that an injured employee may be entitled to benefits regardless of who caused the accident.
Injured and temporarily disabled employees in North Carolina may qualify for a range of assistance after an on-the-job accident. The benefits include coverage of medical bills, replacement of lost wages, temporary partial disability and permanent partial disability.
How Can I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The North Carolina Industrial Commission recommends the following steps to file a workers’ compensation claim:
- Tell your employer about the injury and seek medical treatment. Note that your employer has the right to pick where you seek treatment.
- Tell the doctor that your injury is work-related, and give him or her the name of your employer. That way your treatment can be billed as a workers’ compensation claim.
- Notify HR or the appropriate manager as soon as possible of your injury. If you are too injured to do this in person, a family member, friend, doctor or attorney can do it for you.
- Within 30 days, you must give your employer written notice with the date of the accident and a short description of the injury. Make a copy of the written notice to keep in your records. Your employer is required to report your injury to the workers’ compensation insurance company for review of your claim.
- Follow your physician’s instructions for medical treatment. Failure to follow your doctor’s orders could hurt your claim.
You should also contact an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your case. A lawyer can help you properly document your accident and resulting injuries, and give you guidance on pursuing full and fair compensation.
Beware: An employer may encourage you to let your health insurance pay the bills rather than filing a workers’ compensation claim. It’s unwise to do that. Do not assume that your health insurance will pay all your bills if you have suffered a workplace injury. Private health insurance also has no provision to replace your lost wages if you’re out of work.
What If My Workers’ Compensation Claim Was Denied?
Unfortunately, some employers and insurance companies will try to deny your injury was work related or will limit your benefits or offer to pay less than a claim is worth. It is important that you know your rights about pursuing workers’ compensation. Keep in mind:
- When a claim is denied, your employer must give you the exact reason for the denial. Reasons may not even be related to the injury itself. For example, improper filing of paperwork can be a reason for denial.
- Your first step is to request mediation by filing a Form 33, Request for Hearing, with the Industrial Commission.During mediation, both sides will argue their case and specifically address the reason for the claim denial.
- If the mediation is not successful, you may request a formal hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
- If your claim is denied by the commission, you may continue to pursue your case in the North Carolina Court of Appeal.
As you can see, the process can be quite complex and daunting, and your employer knows this. Pursuing a serious workers’ compensation claim on your own can be extremely challenging, but the skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert are ready to fight for you.
Can I Be Laid Off While I’m on Workers’ Compensation Leave?
Your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. So you cannot be fired just because you got injured on the job. If you are concerned that you are going to lose your job after filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact an experienced labor law attorney immediately. At Teddy, Meekins & Talbert, we take your rights as an injured worker extremely seriously, and we will aggressively fight for those whose rights have been violated.
How Can a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help Me?
The North Carolina workers’ compensation program is complicated. It can seem overwhelming if you’re trying to recover from a serious injury at the same time you’re pulling together paperwork to file a claim or appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim.
A knowledgeable Cleveland County workers’ compensation lawyer at Teddy, Meekins & Talbert can help you navigate this complex system and advocate for full and fair benefits for you. However, there is a time limit to file claims, so don’t delay. Contact us today by calling (704) 734-9512 or by using our online contact form.