Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Charlotte
When you are hurt on the job, medical bills and monthly expenses can quickly pile up, especially if you are unable to continue working. Filing for workers’ compensation benefits can help offset your losses.
At Stewart Law Offices in North Carolina, our knowledgeable Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys can explain your right to benefits and provide compassionate service during this stressful time. Our goal is to help you fight for the maximum amount you are entitled to receive for your workplace injury.
Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation, during which we can answer your questions and explain what to expect throughout the claims process.
What Types of Benefits Does Workers’ Compensation Provide?
On-the-job accidents can happen in any occupation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), more than 70,000 work-related injuries and illnesses occur in North Carolina each year. Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to cover losses that result in these situations. How does workers’ compensation pay you for the injuries you suffer? By providing the following types of benefits:
- Coverage on Medical Expenses: This includes diagnostic testing, treatment, follow-up care, medications, and your travel expenses to and from doctor’s appointments.
- Ongoing Medical Care and Rehabilitation: When job-related injuries cause chronic conditions and permanent disabilities, workers’ compensation provides for ongoing care and any physical rehabilitation you require.
- Lost Wages: How much does workers’ compensation pay for lost wages? Under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, workers’ compensation payments vary based on your injuries and the amount of time you are unable to work, up to a maximum of nearly $1,000 per week.
- Disability Payments: You may also be entitled to a lump-sum payment if your injuries result in permanent disfigurement, such as scarring or the loss of use of a body part. When permanent disabilities prevent you from working, payments may continue for years after.
- Vocational Rehabilitation / Retraining: If your injuries or illness prevents you from returning to your prior occupation, workers’ compensation may also cover any occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation, or job retraining you need to return to the workforce.
- Death Benefits: When on-the-job injuries and illnesses prove fatal, workers’ compensation death benefits can help offset funeral expenses while ensuring your family is provided for now and in the future.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Workers’ Compensation?
If you suffer an injury on the job or are diagnosed with an occupational illness, it is important to report it to your employer immediately so that a claim can be failed. There is an automatic seven-day waiting period, during which, if you return to work, benefits will not be paid. Once you have been off the job for 21 days, your workers’ compensation payments will then begin and will be applied retroactively to the date when your injury originally occurred.
At what rate of pay? In most circumstances, workers’ compensation covers roughly two-thirds of your average weekly wages, or 66 ⅔ percent.
While you are waiting, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding work and activity restrictions while following up with any correspondence you receive from your employer or from the North Carolina Industrial Commission (IC), which handles workers’ compensation claims. This is where our South Carolina workers comp lawyer can help, making sure the appropriate documents are submitted and that your claim is not being held up due to problems on your end.
How Often Are Compensation Payments Made?
Workers’ compensation payments are made on a weekly basis, but there are some situations in which the Industrial Commission may authorize them on a monthly basis instead.
When Can Reimbursement for Sick Travel Be Collected?
Once you travel more than 20 miles to and from your doctor’s appointments, workers’ compensation will then reimburse you for your travel expenses. The amount depends on the average costs of fuel at the time you are keeping these appointments. For example, in January of 2000, the rate was 25 cents per mile. In 2016, it was more than double that amount.
Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Pain and Suffering?
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation does not compensate you for the pain and suffering you endure as the result of job-related injuries or illnesses. This may seem unfair as you only receive a portion of your lost wages, but it is one of the trade-offs of being covered through the workers’ compensation program.
Can I Sue Workers’ Compensation for Pain and Suffering
In order to pursue compensation for pain and suffering, you will need to file a civil lawsuit, which is different from filing for workers’ comp.
You may be entitled to sue your employer if your employer’s actions were a direct cause of your injuries, such as with an assault, or if they violated federal law in terms of safety. You may also be entitled to sue manufacturers of defective parts, tools, or supplies used in your job or another third party, such as a contactor or subcontractor, if their negligent actions were a direct cause of your injuries.
What If I Am Permanently Disabled?
Even a seemingly minor work accident can leave you with injuries that have the potential to be disabling. Permanent disability payments can help you provide for yourself and your family in the event you are unable to return to your job. Even if you able to eventually return to work despite your injuries, you may be entitled to permanent partial disability payments.
How Much Does Permanent Disability Pay?
For permanent disabilities, you would be entitled to the amount you currently receive in workers’ compensation for the rest of your life, with periodic adjustments for cost of living.
If you suffer permanent partial disabilities, such as the loss of use of your hand, the IC Rating Guide advises that your benefits will be calculated using a formula that multiplies two-thirds of your weekly wage, a disability rating provided by your doctor, and the amount of time allowed off work by the IC. This could result in a lump-sum payment for your workplace injury.
Talk to Our Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
At Stewart Law Offices, we can answer any additional questions you have about workers’ compensation benefits while providing the helpful legal guidance you need. Call or contact our Charlotte workers’ compensation attorneys online today and request a free consultation.