Restaurant Employee Injury Claims in Charlotte
Lawyers Assisting North Carolina Restaurant Employees With Workers’ Compensation Claims
While a restaurant may not seem like an inherently risky environment, employees in these workplaces are routinely exposed to a variety of risks. Injuries may occur in the kitchen, due to slips and falls, and even because of sustained toxic exposure. When a restaurant employee suffers any kind of injury, they may be entitled to workers’ compensation through their employer’s policy. Workers’ compensation benefits include coverage for medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages, but many restaurant employees have difficulty navigating what can be a frustrating, conflict-ridden process.
If you work at a restaurant and suffered a work-related injury, Stewart Law Offices can help you fight for what you deserve. Our skilled lawyers have many decades of combined experience and understand how to effectively approach restaurant employee injury claims in Charlotte. Our compassionate team is also sensitive to your financial situation and will make every effort to relieve the burdens you are experiencing. One of our attorneys is happy to come to you at your home or in the hospital if you cannot come to us. We will walk you through your legal options and review our strategy for dealing with anticipated obstacles and maximizing any potential recovery. Protecting your interests and enforcing your rights are our top priorities, and we will aggressively fight to secure an optimal outcome*.
When you hire our attorneys, we will fiercely advocate for you and fight to get you the medical care you need plus any temporary or permanent disability benefits warranted by your injuries.
Common Injuries for Restaurant Employees in North Carolina
The back-of-house and kitchen areas of a busy restaurant can be surprisingly chaotic environments. The likelihood of injury in a restaurant setting increases when these areas are overcrowded, overworked, and disorganized. Employees may even become injured in guest-facing areas if they trip, slip, or overexert themselves when handling food or dishware.
Some of the most common injuries a North Carolina restaurant employee may sustain include:
- Sprains, scrapes, broken bones, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries caused by slips and falls
- Burns caused by stoves, deep fryers, ovens, or any other electrical appliance
- Overexertion caused by lifting or moving heavy tables, trays, chairs, or dishware
- Car accident injuries sustained when delivering food
- Illnesses caused by toxic exposure to hazardous chemicals used in some restaurant buildings or cooking equipment
Can Restaurant Employees Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits in North Carolina?
Many restaurant employees receive a majority of their wages through tips, which differs greatly from how workers in other industries are generally compensated. This may lead you to wonder whether restaurant employees can get workers’ compensation when they are injured on the job.
As a restaurant worker, you can most likely file a
- You are an employee (not an independent contractor)
- Your employer has at least three employees
- You were not intoxicated when you suffered your injury
- You were not trying to harm yourself or another person when you suffered your injury
- You suffered a work-related injury
Many restaurant employee injury claims in Charlotte run into trouble because employers claim the victims are independent contractors and are thus not entitled to coverage. While it is true independent contractors are not covered by workers’ compensation insurance policies, some employers misclassify employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits.
Do not automatically assume your employer is correct if they say you are an independent contractor. Your autonomy (or lack thereof) generally determines whether you are considered an employee or independent contractor under the law. If you are a barista, cook, chef, waiter/waitress, host/hostess, dishwasher, or server who works for a restaurant at a specific location, there is a good chance you are an employee, no matter what your employer says. If your employer misclassified you as an independent contractor, you may still be eligible to get workers’ compensation benefits if you were hurt at work.
If you are a food delivery driver, you may or may not be an independent contractor. If you work for a single restaurant, do not set your own schedule, and use a company vehicle, you are most likely an employee, meaning you could be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident that occurs while you are on the clock. If you work for an app-based service (such as Postmates, UberEats, or Doordash), set your own hours, and use your own vehicle, you are most likely an independent contractor and are not necessarily entitled to benefits when injured.
Not sure about whether you are considered an employee or fear a misclassification is preventing you from getting benefits? Our attorneys at Stewart Law Offices can assess your situation and help you understand your rights.
How a Lawyer Can Help With Restaurant Employee Injury Claims in Charlotte
Employers and their insurers frequently seek to pay out as little as possible for workers’ compensation claims. Your employer’s insurer may look for any excuse to deny your claim or limit your coverage. They are hoping you are not aware of your rights and do not have the resources to fight back.
If you are a restaurant employee who was recently injured at work, get in touch with our legal professionals if:
- Your employer is threatening retaliation if you file a workers’ compensation claim
- Your employer is claiming you are not entitled to benefits because you are an independent contractor
- Your claim was denied for any reason
- Your employer refuses to report your injury
- Your employer’s insurance company is not responding to your calls or e-mails
- Your employer’s insurer offers an inadequate settlement
- The doctor chosen by your employer or the insurance company does not recognize the severity of your injuries
How Long Does A Restaurant Worker Have To File A Workers’ Compensation Claim In North Carolina?
You can lose your right to workers’ compensation if you do not act quickly after being injured while on the job. You must report your injury to your employer within 30 days of the date you were injured or the date you discovered an injury may be work-related. As a general rule, you should make this report in writing, and you should submit it as soon as you can. Once an initial report has been made, you will have two years from the date of the injury (or the date you discovered the injury was work-related) to file a workers’ compensation claim.