When you get injured while working, you may be scared to report your injury to supervisors for various reasons. You may be worried about paying for the costs of the injury. You may be counting your savings in your head while wondering how you could possibly pay for your bills while you miss work.
Auger & Auger has seen these exact reactions in our clients before, which is why we want to help them navigate the workers’ compensation system as effectively as possible.
Filing a workers’ comp claim may be intimidating if you have never done it before, especially if your workplace has policies that actively discourage it. Appointing your own workers’ compensation attorney can help you fight for your legal rights to the compensation you deserve.
Hiring a workers’ comp lawyer can allow you to file the strongest claim possible, with evidence backing that your injury was within the scope of employment and that all of your medical treatments were necessary. We also help injured workers seek all forms of compensation available, decreasing the chances that they are left with bills and other costs they have no idea how to cover.
You may be unsure about filing a workers’ comp claim, but there are legal experts who can answer your most pressing questions. Most importantly, you have nothing to lose by learning about your next best steps to take since your initial consultation appointment is always free.
Schedule a free, no obligation case evaluation with one of our experienced workers’ compensation lawyers today by calling (855) 969-5671 or by using our quick form to contact us online.
The vast majority of employers in the United States are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. This form of insurance pays for the costs of medical treatment, partial lost wages, and other expenses in relation to an injury or illness that developed during the “scope of employment.”
Employers in North Carolina and South Carolina are required by law to carry workers’ comp insurance for their employees, with a few exceptions. In both states, agricultural operations with a small amount of employees may be exempt, as are certain railroad businesses.
In North Carolina, certain agricultural product sellers may also be exempt. South Carolina exempts nearly all agricultural and railroad operations, as well as employers who had an annual payroll of less than $3,000. Understanding these exemptions and whether your employer qualifies is a key step in knowing how to proceed with a possible workers’ comp claim.
Employers carry workers’ comp as part of what’s known as “the grand bargain” between them and employees. By providing insurance to cover all work-related injuries, including those technically caused by the employee, employers can receive immunity from personal injury lawsuits filed by employees.
If an employer is not in compliance with state workers’ comp laws or incorrectly believes that they are exempt, then workers may have additional rights to pursue compensation. The company may also receive a citation, fines, or even criminal prosecution, depending on the circumstances.
Time is of the essence after a workplace injury. Your first step is to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If your work-related medical condition is the result of an illness or repetitive stress strain, you should seek medical attention as soon as you notice the first symptoms.
Under both North Carolina and South Carolina law, employers are allowed to choose which doctors their employees must visit in order to file a workers’ compensation claim for their injury. You should know in advance if you are required to visit a certain doctor, network, or provider group in order to comply with your employer’s policy.
Report your injury to your supervisor in a timely manner. In North Carolina, you have just 30 days to report your injury and file a claim. In South Carolina, you have the marginally more generous window of 90 days.
Contact a workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation to see if you have additional legal factors that must be considered for your case. You may have risks of having your claim denied if the injury was not clearly job-related, or “within the scope of employment.” You may also have additional forms of compensation available that are not initially offered through your claim.
Workers owe it to themselves and their families to seek out the maximum amount of compensation available for their circumstances. Doing so is fulfilling part of “the grand bargain” while enforcing your rights as a worker to be covered for the inherent physical and medical risks of your job.
Many employers attempt to skirt around workers’ comp laws by declaring their employees “independent contractors,” or ICs. Employees who receive a 1099 form for their yearly earnings are often classified as independent contractors. Since ICs are technically self-employed, businesses or persons who provide them with contract work can be considered not obligated to provide them with workers’ comp coverage.
However, state workers’ compensation commissions and appeals courts are all too aware of these tactics.
The North Carolina Industrial Commission notes that they, “may still find that the workers were in fact employees based upon its analysis of several factors, including but not limited to the degree of control exercised by the employer over the details of the work.”
South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation Commission states that, “it is possible for an employer to pay workers via 1099 and still be required to maintain workers’ compensation insurance coverage.”
Do not feel reluctant to explore your options for filing for workers’ compensation, even if you think your employer may claim you are an independent contractor. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you explore your available options, including the possibility of obtaining a court order forcing the company or person that pays you to cover your medical costs and lost wages.
If you have had your claim denied or if your employer’s insurance carrier refuses to cover certain costs, you have rights. You can appeal your claim to the insurer with the help of a workers’ compensation attorney. If that does not work, you can bring your case in front of your state’s regulatory commission.
In the event that your claim is still denied, you may be able to have your case heard for an appeal by the relevant state appellate court.
Facing difficulty during your claims process does not have to mean giving up. You can appoint a workers’ compensation attorney to build you a strong case, back up your assertions with evidence, apply law and prior case rulings as necessary, and generally handle all of your legal obligations during your quest for the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Learn more about your legal options and what your next best steps to take might be during a conversation with one of the many highly qualified workers’ compensation attorneys at Auger & Auger.
Book an appointment for a free, no obligation consultation now when you call (800) 559-5741 or contact us online.