Jacksonville Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workplace accidents can be serious, life-altering incidents. Work environments that place employees in close quarters with heavy machinery, electrical components, hazardous substances, and unsafe property defects can lead to disabling and even fatal accidents. In 2017, the North Carolina Department of Labor investigated 35 fatal work accidents. Hundreds of others weren’t fatal but caused serious worker injuries.
Get Help After Your Jacksonville Workplace Accident
If you or a relative suffered serious injuries in a job-related accident in Jacksonville, North Carolina, partner with the workers’ compensation attorneys at Riddle & Brantley. We have NC State Bar Certified Specialists in Workers Comp to help you. We can strengthen negotiations with employers’ insurance companies and argue for maximum compensation. We can also take your case to court if necessary for full recovery. Contact us today to speak directly with an attorney about your potential case.
How Can Our Law Firm Assist Injured Workers?
For years, the team at Riddle & Brantley, have helped the Jacksonville, NC, community. We’ve volunteered at local events, helped with fundraisers, joined the local Better Business Bureau, helped military families, and provided pro bono legal representation to low-income families in the area. We stand by Jacksonville’s workers and are here for them after work-related accidents. We can provide the following services:
- Workplace accident and environment investigation
- Collection of incident reports and employer’s safety violation records
- Interviews of eyewitnesses to the event
- Handling of your workers’ compensation claim
- Negotiations with your employer’s insurance company
- Filing of a personal injury claim instead or on top of a workers’ comp claim
- Representation of your case in court
The sooner you contact our firm after an injury, the better. Waiting could mean running the risk of missing an important deadline, such as the deadline for filing your workers’ compensation claim. Prompt legal attention, on the other hand, can preserve key evidence and ensure you file everything by the required dates.
Are All Employers Required to Purchase Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
North Carolina law requires all businesses with three or more employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. The law includes sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations. All of the above businesses must prove purchase of coverage of all employees, or self-coverage unless they fall under one of the following exceptions:
- Certain railroad operations
- Casual employees not falling under the course of the business’s regular trade
- Domestic servants
- Farm operations with fewer than ten laborers employed by the same farm
- North Carolina federal government
- Commissioned agricultural product sales operations
Employers terming their contractors and filing 1099s are not necessarily exempt from purchasing workers’ compensation insurance. Depending on the level of oversight and the degree of control the employer has over your work, you may receive workers’ compensation coverage as a 1099 employee. Similarly, if you are a subcontractor, you may receive workers’ compensation from the owner of your contract.
In addition, some sole proprietorships (self-run businesses), partnerships, or LLCs may not fall under the statutes since the business owner does not always count as an employee. Similarly, corporate officers may not count as employees. Pay attention to the number of employees your employer maintains, as it may affect your right to workers’ compensation. If you are in doubt, ask your attorney to help you determine whether your employer should have workers’ compensation.
What Happens if Your Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Employers required to have workers’ compensation insurance and choosing not to purchase it risk severe financial penalties. Further, depending on the case, your employer could face misdemeanor or felony charges, which come with financial penalties and even imprisonment. Your employer should post your right to compensation for on-the-job injuries somewhere in an easily accessible area.
If you are the victim of a workplace injury and your employer did not purchase workers’ compensation insurance, you can contact a personal injury attorney and file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. The employer then needs to provide compensation for your damages. States sometimes have a state-run fund for employees to draw workers’ compensation funds in the event an employer fails to purchase the insurance; however, North Carolina does not and hiring a personal injury attorney is your best course of action.
What to Do After a Workplace Accident
Like all states, North Carolina imposes strict laws when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. The workers’ comp system will provide benefits to cover an injured worker’s medical costs, partial lost wages, and disability expenses, but only if the employee obeys the rules for filing. Protect your right to recovery by following these steps:
- Tell your employer. Report the accident to your employer as soon as possible, and no later than 30 days after the accident. Write down what happened, how, when, and where.
- Go to the hospital. Get prompt medical care for your injuries. Your employer legally must allow you to take medical leave to visit the doctor and heal from your injuries. You do not have to go to a doctor on an approved employer list in North Carolina in emergency situations.
- Assess your eligibility. NC’s workers’ compensation will provide coverage for eligible employees who suffered their injuries or illnesses while performing work-related tasks. The workers’ comp system covers almost all injuries and illnesses if they relate to work.
- File your claim. All employers with three or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Ask your employer to file the claim or do so on your own. The form you will submit is Form 18 – the Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee.
- Call a workplace attorney. Contact an experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer to discuss whether your employer is treating your case fairly. A workers’ compensation lawyer can also help you get more from your claim than negotiating it on your own.
What Damages Can You Recover Through Workers’ Compensation?
North Carolina workers’ compensation insurance provides compensation for all of the typical damages caused by on-the-job accidents. You do not need to prove your employer or another employee liable, or assign fault in any way. As long as the injury took place at work and within the scope of your job, you may file a workers’ compensation claim for the recovery of several types of damages.
- Medical expenses. Your employer chooses the medical provider, but must pay for your care, prescriptions, equipment, and any other related expenses.
- Vocational rehabilitation services. If you are unable to return to your job due to disability, you can train for and locate another job.
- Wage replacement benefits. North Carolina workers’ compensation pays wage replacement benefits at a rate of two-thirds the most recent wage.
What if the Court Denies Your Claim?
If you have already filed a workers’ compensation claim and received a denial, the opportunity for compensation still exists. Speak with a workers’ compensation attorney about requesting a hearing before the Industrial Commission. Your attorney will file Form 33, a request for hearing form.
At the hearing, your attorney will present evidence supporting your claim. It is important to retain all documentation of your injury and the circumstances under which it occurred, including all medical treatment records, bills, and other paperwork. If there were witnesses to your injury, your attorney can seek their testimony. Additionally, testimony from your doctors regarding the extent of your disability or injury can prove useful.
Contact Us to Understand Your Rights in a Raleigh Workers Compensation Claim
Riddle & Brantley, wants Jacksonville’s injured workers to secure the settlements and jury verdicts they need for financial security today, tomorrow, and far down the road. Whether your injuries resulted in temporary time off work or permanent disabilities that prevent you from performing your job, we can help. Trust us with your claim to experience the difference talented Jacksonville injury attorneys can make. Contact us today.