Can I File A NC Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you’ve been injured on the job, you can file a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation claim. Whether your claim will be successful will depend upon the facts of your case and how well your Workers’ Compensation attorney constructs the arguments in favor of a recovery.
Procedure Steps For Filing A Workers’ Compensation Claim
Step 1 – Report the injury. You should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. This should be done in writing, to establish evidence that you provided your employer with notice of the claim. The employer can be unfairly prejudiced if they are not given an opportunity to evaluate the claim in a timely manner. Additionally, in an accepted Workers’ Comp claim, the employer has the right to direct where you receive treatment.
Step 2 – Complete Form 18. Form 18 is the Notice of Accident to Employer and Claim of Employee, Representative or Dependent for NC Workers’ Compensation Benefits. The form can be found online for download. A Workers’ Compensation attorney with a North Carolina Industrial Commission ID and login can submit the form for you electronically. This form should be filed with the Industrial Commission, provided to the employer, and finally a copy should be kept by the employee for their records. Ideally, the form is filed within 30 days of the injury, and certainly within two years of the date of the injury.
Step 3 – Await your employer’s response. If you need medical attention in the meantime, you should pursue it. However, within 14 days of submitting the form, your employer should respond either denying the claim, accepting the claim, or requesting an extension from the Industrial Commission. If your claim is denied, it doesn’t mean you can’t still fight for a Workers’ Compensation award. It just means your employer has spoken as to their belief that the injury should not be covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Consult With A NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Workers’ Compensation differs from personal injury in a few ways. Specifically, when you have a denied claim, it’s important to seek counsel from an attorney familiar with Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina. The denial of your claim means you will need to seek medical treatment on your own and pursue your employer for reimbursement after the fact. While you may ultimately have to request a hearing with the Industrial Commission in hopes that they decide the claim should have been covered by the employer, there are many additional steps along the way.
Your Workers’ Compensation attorney will keep track of your recovery progress with you, and when treatment is complete, he or she will submit a demand package to the employer. Even though the claim is denied, this package will present the facts of your injury together with the medical treatment and billing, in hopes the employer will reconsider. At this time, your Workers’ Compensation attorney will most likely be dealing with opposing counsel representing the employer.
The two parties can enter into mediation together, in hopes of resolving the claim. Mediation is usually conducted prior to requesting a hearing on the matter. Quite often the parties are able to reach an agreement—even on a denied claim—through the mediation process. If mediation fails, requesting a hearing is the next step in the process. While the ultimate goal of mediation is to reach an agreement, the parties are forced to mediate prior to the hearing for the purpose of saving the time and efforts of the Industrial Commission. Each matter that settles at mediation is one less case for the commission to facilitate.
The Workers’ Compensation Settlement Agreement
If you’re able to reach an agreement, it will be memorialized in a document known as a Clincher. This 10 page document is drafted by defense counsel and edited and approved by your attorney. It details the facts leading up to the injury, together with the details of the injury suffered, and all medical bills associated with the injury. The Clincher is accompanied by a Release—a document where you are settling the matter once and for all in exchange for the settlement.
Lastly, your settlement agreement will detail your responsibility with regard to your medical bills, and address for the commission how your are proposing to address Medical Liens in your Workers’ Compensation settlement.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney Fees
Whereas personal injury attorney fees are generally one third of your settlement (and slightly more if a lawsuit needs to be filed), Workers’ Compensation attorney fees for the plaintiff are capped at 25%. The paperwork your Workers’ Comp attorney provides you will clearly spell out the attorney-client fee agreement. One important note is that much like personal injury, if your Workers’ Compensation lawyer doesn’t recover anything for you, you should not owe them anything.
Speak With A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
If you would like to speak with an attorney about your personal injury case, we’re here to help. The call is free and you will come away with a much better understanding of your options. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click to request a FREE CASE EVALUATION, and we will be in touch shortly.
If this article about North Carolina Workers’ Compensation claims was helpful, you may find other helpful articles on our Personal Injury Blog. Thank you for visiting the website—we hope it has been helpful.