What You Need to Know
Almost every injured worker could benefit to some degree with help from a good workers’ compensation lawyer, if only because the claim process can be confusing and often becomes a game of hurry up and wait. However, not every injured worker needs an attorney to protect their rights and to obtain reasonable workers’ compensation benefits. So, if you are an injured worker you must consider the potential benefits in light of many factors, especially including the cost of legal services. Often this is not an easy decision. However, having a no-charge consultation with an experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney will make you better-informed and help with this decision.
When you call our firm, you first get to talk with a knowledgeable paralegal who knows the correct questions to ask in order for us to start helping. Often, after obtaining the key information about your matter, my paralegal and I will discuss the key issues involved and the questions you posed. If necessary, I will speak with you on the phone to clarify your rights or to make specific recommendations. Sometimes we can answer simple questions over-the-phone, and you get some peace-of-mind learning about your rights. But, if your matter is more complicated, then we offer a no-charge consultation where you sit down and discuss your case with me – the attorney-in detail, and I explain the workers’ compensation process, address key issues in your matter, and then help you decide whether you need legal representation. Most importantly, the consultation is confidential, so neither your employer nor the workers’ compensation insurance company or claims administrator needs to know.
For a general overview of the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act, please visit the N.C. Industrial Commission Home website at www.ic.nc.gov. On the homepage, you will find a tab entitled Injured Workers, which will take you to information regarding necessary steps to file an accident claim, along with printable Industrial Commission forms.
In light of the direction provided by the Industrial Commission’s website, we definitely recommend that you do the following if you have been injured on-the-job: (1) immediately report your accident and injuries to your employer (with some form of written documentation); (2) request that the employer direct you to healthcare professionals to provide proper medical treatment; and (3) file a formal claim notice (Form 18) regarding your accident with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, as such is described on its website. [Note: We do recommend that you consider consulting an attorney regarding the completion of the NCIC Form 18, specifically regarding the nature of the accident events, the specific injuries sustained, and your purported average weekly wage (AWW). Although such information can be revised or clarified by an amended Form 18 report filing, it is best to have accurate information in the initial report filing.]
Ultimately, it is easy to get confused by the legal terminology that workers’ comp lawyers and claims adjusters use, because of the seemingly complicated laws and rules surrounding on-the-job accident claims. Accordingly, we want to provide helpful information regarding what we have found to be the main topics most injured workers are concerned about while giving some plain-English recommendations.
To help you navigate through the unique terminology of workers’ compensation, please see The Key Vocabulary of Workers’ Compensation in the article entitled A Practical Framework: Proving Disability under the Workers’ Compensation. In addition, the article provides a thorough explanation on what we call the Disability Pyramid and how our firm helps injured workers become entitled to workers’ compensation for their loss of earnings.