Any injury at work has the potential to cause a host of problems for the victim, from interfering with their ability to continue working and earning income for their family to causing a variety of adverse medical issues. Injuries to the hands and feet are particularly difficult for several reasons. Foot injuries can interfere with the victim’s ability to walk, stand comfortably, and handle lifting and carrying that may be part of their usual job duties. Hand injuries can also be disruptive, especially if the victim needs to type, use hand-operated tools, drive, or perform other manual tasks with their hands to do their job.
The purpose of workers’ compensation insurance is to provide a financial safety net to injured workers. Additionally, workers’ compensation insurance protects employers from facing liability for their injured workers’ civil damages. Most employers in Charlotte are legally required to have workers’ compensation insurance, and this insurance can be crucial for them to recover from any injury from work.
The overall filing process may seem simple enough. However, in reality, many injured employees throughout the Charlotte area encounter unexpected complications with their claims that they do not know how to address on their own. The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, can help you if you find yourself in this situation. Our team has years of experience handling all types of work injury claims, including those pertaining to injuries to the feet and hands. We know how debilitating these injuries can be, and we will do everything we can to maximize the benefits you obtain from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
It is technically possible to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits without hiring an attorney. There is no law that requires you to have legal counsel for this process. However, having an experienced attorney on your side will make the claim filing process easier to manage and more likely to yield the results you hope to see. Additionally, if any unexpected complications arise with your claim, you will be prepared to address them with your attorney’s help.
Your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can help you through the initial claim filing process. If you require specific documentation to proceed with the claim, or if you encounter any problems with your employer’s handling of your claim, your attorney can address these issues on your behalf. When dealing with the insurance carrier, most insurance companies will try to minimize claim payouts whenever possible. Some even engage in bad faith tactics to minimize their financial liabilities to injured workers in Charlotte.
When you have a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney representing you, an insurance carrier is far more likely to handle your claim in good faith as efficiently as possible. There are several steps to complete before you can receive your benefits, and you could have grounds for additional legal recourse depending on how your injury occurred. Ultimately, The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, is prepared to offer the comprehensive legal counsel you need to approach each stage of your work injury case with confidence and peace of mind.
Injuries to the feet or hands can happen in any workplace, often unexpectedly. Foot injuries may occur from dropped objects, crushing injuries, or harm inflicted by vehicles or heavy equipment. It is also possible for repetitive stress to cause foot injuries, and this type of damage can be difficult to treat and entail a long recovery time. Hand injuries can occur from hands being caught in-between objects, crushing injuries, repetitive stress, and various other causes. Hand injuries can be especially disruptive to the victim’s life due to the vast number of daily tasks the average person completes with their hands.
Under North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws, any injury to the hands or feet is covered by the employer’s insurance as long as it occurred while the worker was performing their job duties. This includes any incident they caused themselves, as long as it was an honest mistake. An injured worker could be excluded from workers’ compensation benefits if they caused their own injury because they were working under the influence of drugs or alcohol or if they intentionally disregarded workplace safety rules.
Whatever the cause of your injury may have been, you are required to report any injuries to the appropriate person in the company immediately. Any delay in reporting the injury will cast doubt on your claim. An insurance carrier may determine that since it took you so long to report the injury, it could not have been as severe as you claim. You should report your injury as soon as possible, and your employer will need to meet various legal requirements in the initial stages of your workers’ compensation claim.
Injuries to the feet can prevent the victim from walking unassisted, cause pain throughout the lower body, and require extensive rehabilitative care and recovery time. After hand injuries, victims could be unable to grasp objects, perform fine motor functions, or handle the basic daily requirements of their job.
Workers’ compensation will not only pay for immediate medical care the victim needs to recover from their injury but also any ongoing treatment they will require to handle ongoing rehabilitative care costs. As part of the claim filing process, the injured worker will need to undergo a medical evaluation from a physician approved by their employer’s insurance carrier. This medical professional will assign them a disability rating, which is a numerical indicator of the overall severity of the injury and the functional capacity they retain. The higher the rating, the more the victim can receive in workers’ compensation benefits.
The initial medical evaluation from a workers’ compensation doctor is a critical step toward receiving the benefits you need for your injury. Foot and hand injuries both often cause problems for the victim, both in terms of leaving them unable to work and for causing a host of complications that require extensive medical care. The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, will work with you to determine the full scope of benefits you should expect from a successful workers’ compensation claim in Charlotte.
A workers’ compensation claim follows a very similar process to how one would file any other type of insurance claim. However, the claimant in this situation faces an additional challenge due to their employer’s role in the process. Although most Charlotte employers handle their responsibilities in good faith and facilitate injured workers’ claims, others do not. If your employer has retaliated against you for asking to file a claim, fired you after a work-related foot or hand injury, or has refused to provide you with the materials needed to file your claim, you should consult a Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney immediately.
If your employer upholds their responsibilities, they will create an incident report that details how your injury occurred and provide you with a list of local doctors you can visit for a medical evaluation. This is an essential part of the claim filing process for most injured workers in Charlotte. You will need to visit a doctor approved by your employer’s insurance carrier, and they will assign you a disability rating that indicates the seriousness of the injury and any adverse medical complications you are likely to face because of it. Once you have completed these initial steps, you are ready to file your claim for benefits.
The average injured worker in Charlotte can receive two kinds of compensation for a work-related foot or hand injury: medical expense coverage as well as disability benefits for the income they cannot earn during recovery. The insurance company will review the details of the claim and provide the claimant with a determination of benefits, explaining the compensation they will receive.
When considering medical expense coverage, the average injured worker can expect their employer’s insurance carrier to cover the full cost of all medical treatment they need to fully recover from their injury. This includes medical expenses immediately following the injury as well as future medical expenses if they need ongoing care. For example, an injury to the foot could prevent the victim from walking unassisted, and they may need to undergo physical therapy to regain full functional capacity. For a hand injury, the victim may need similar rehabilitative treatment to regain full use of the affected hand.
Benefits for lost income are more complex. Workers’ compensation insurance was conceived to offset the financial impact of the injury while the worker recovers, and this will often entail ongoing disability benefits. If you are left unable to work due to your injury, you have the right to receive benefits every week for up to 500 weeks. These benefits are paid in partial or total designations based on the severity of the injury.
A worker can qualify for partial benefits if they can still work following a work-related injury but can only earn less income than prior to the injury. Partial disability benefits will offset the loss in earning power, but they will need to report any money earned to the insurance company to remain eligible for these benefits. Total disability benefits are paid when a worker cannot work because of an injury. In most cases, injured workers will receive about 66% of their average wages with each weekly payment until they can go back to work.
North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws not only exist to protect employees by providing job security and financial compensation to lessen the impact of a work-related injury but also to protect businesses from some liability for their injured employees’ damages. However, an employee only has this protection if they have appropriate insurance coverage. If an employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, they are fully liable for an injured employee’s damages resulting from a workplace injury.
Your Charlotte workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine whether you can start a civil suit against your employer, but it is more likely that you will have grounds for a personal injury claim against a third party. If any party outside of your work caused your injury, you have the right to start a workers’ compensation claim since the injury occurred while you were performing your job duties. However, this third party would not have the civil immunity that your employer has, so you could file a third-party personal injury claim against them to recover recompense for the losses that workers’ compensation does not cover.
Ultimately, any foot or hand injury from work can impose a wide range of complex challenges on the victim, and the workers’ compensation claim filing process is not always as straightforward as it may seem at first. The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, has years of experience helping people in the Charlotte area with all types of work injury cases, and we are ready to put this experience to work on your behalf. Whatever your case entails, you can trust our firm to provide ongoing compassionate legal counsel until you recover the compensation you legally deserve.
We have helped many past clients recover from foot, hand, and other injuries at work. You can expect close attention to detail through all phases of your recovery efforts, and we will be ready to address any disputes that could arise with any phase of your claim. It’s important to start your claim filing process as soon as possible after your injury to have the greatest chance of successfully securing the benefits you legally deserve, so contact The Bollinger Law Firm, PC, today to schedule your consultation and discover more about the services we offer.