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Can I Get Fired if I File for Workers’ Comp in North Carolina?

A man in a suit carrying box of belongings after being fired at work.You can probably guess the legal answer to this question is: No – you cannot get fired just for filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina.

But the unfortunate truth is that it does happen sometimes.

Does that mean you shouldn’t file a workers’ compensation claim? Absolutely not! Don’t allow yourself to be bullied. A skilled NC workers’ compensation lawyer may be able to help you take steps to protect your job or file a discrimination claim, if needed.

Considering a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

If you’ve been hurt on the job, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need money to cover medical bills or the time I’ve been out of work?
  • Is it possible that I will need medical treatment for this injury down the road?
  • Could this injury result in permanent damage?
  • Might this injury affect my ability to work in the future?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, we strongly encourage you to file a workers’ compensation claim and to contact a qualified workers’ compensation attorney. Don’t put your physical or financial health at risk for an unknown.

After all, jobs may come and go, but you’re living in the only body you’re going to get. You need to take care of it.

2 Ways to Potentially Minimize Being Fired After a Workers’ Comp Claim

Here are two important ways you may be able to protect your job after a workers’ compensation claim. Depending on your specific case, your workers’ compensation attorney may have additional suggestions.

  1. Be a good employee – Don’t make the mistake of thinking that once you’ve filed a workers’ compensation claim, you’re immune to getting fired. You’re not. You can still easily be fired for any number of reasons like repeatedly being late, slacking off, or for any other behaviors or reasons an employer might fire someone. Your work habits may be especially scrutinized after returning to work, so don’t give anyone cause to think you’re not being the very best employee you can be.
  2. Get someone to look out for you – If you feel like your employer is “out to get you,” we highly recommend hiring a workers’ compensation attorney. A seasoned workers’ compensation attorney may have the experience needed to recognize what’s happening and how it could eventually hurt your case. Plus they may be able to help you be preemptive in gathering evidence. Generally speaking, evidence gathered beforehand may be more convincing than evidence you gathered after the fact. And a workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help leverage this evidence if you’re fired when filing your discrimination claim.

Need a North Carolina Workers’ Comp Case Evaluation – FREE?

If you’ve been injured at work, don’t go through the workers’ compensation process alone. There’s just too much most people don’t know about the system. Even some of the more savvy clients we’ve known have made seemingly minor mistakes that cost them (big) in the long run.

One more point. Don’t feel like you can’t afford to hire a qualified workers’ comp attorney. You can! At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we work on a contingency basis, so you don’t owe us an attorney’s fee if we don’t get you compensation for your claim. What are you waiting for? Contact us online or call us at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

5 Common Sense Ways You Can Try to Avoid Rear-End Crashes

Rear-end crashes are among the most common collisions occurring throughout North Carolina and the U.S., according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The agency found that about 87% of rear-end crashes involved distracted driving on the part of the at-fault driver. And in 81% of those crashes the lead vehicle was stopped.

A rear-end collision can change your life forever. Consider the story of Tony, one of our clients. He was living the dream and simply driving home from work one day when his life was forever changed. Click here to read Tony’s story.

5 Ways to Try to Avoid a Rear-End Collision

Rear-end accidents can often be avoided! And prevention is up to each of us. We can start by practicing five simple things every time we get behind the wheel:

  1. Don’t tailgate -Tailgating or following too closely behind someone else is just plain rude and inconsiderate, not to mention unsafe. If you don’t leave enough distance to stop, there’s a very real chance you will end up hitting another car – and likely blamed for the crash. Remember: one car length for every 10 mph.
  2. Don’t stop short or cut people off -If you slam on your brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pull in front of another car, cars around you may not have time to react. Look ahead and plan ahead.
  3. Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed – Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them. A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting the car in front.
  4. Don’t drive distracted – Pay careful attention to what is going on in front of you, behind, you and all around you – but not to your phone or that last cold French fry at the bottom of your fast food bag.
  5. Avoid drunk or drowsy driving – Both drunk and drowsy driving make it harder to pay attention to what is going on around you and can cause delayed reaction time. This makes rear-end accidents much more likely. Stop to rest if you are too tired to drive safely. And if you have been drinking alcohol, call a North Carolina designated driver service, Uber, Lyft or a taxi.

And remember this: It’s nearly always the driver who strikes the vehicle in front of him who is assumed to be at fault. That may mean facing liability in a civil suit in addition to dealing with the accident and injuries.

North Carolina Injury Lawyers Evaluate Your Claim FREE

If you’ve been injured in any kind of car wreck or if you’ve been denied for Social Security Disability, call us at 1-866-900-7078 or click here  for a free case evaluation.

Teen Distractions Behind the Wheel Kill — 5 Simple Steps That Can Help Save a Life

Summertime means more teens will be driving on our roadways – and many will not be paying attention. Inattention behind the wheel among teens is so widespread that AAA refers to summertime when teens are out of school as the ‘100 deadliest days for teens.’

Crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths, and distracted driving is thought to contribute to more than half of teen crashes. Worse, teen fatality rates are three times higher than other age groups.

As a father of two teenagers who will be driving on their own soon, these statistics alarm me. As a lawyer, I have seen an exponential growth in distracted driving crashes in recent years.

We’re Taking the Distracted Driving Message to High Schools

For these reasons and more my firm has partnered with EnDD.org (End Distracted Driving) and the American Association for Justice (AAJ) to offer a distracted driving educational program to area high schools.

This program was developed by Joel Feldman, an attorney whose 21-year-old daughter was tragically killed by a distracted driver. It is truly unlike any other we know of, and has been extremely well received by more than 300,000 students in 44 states and Canada. And it is recognized by traffic safety experts, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Governors Highway Safety Association, as one of the most effective programs for teens.

Joel worked with psychologists and teen safe-driving experts to integrate behavioral science, behavior change theory, and teen-targeted persuasion principles specifically designed to avoid any potential teen backlash of feeling as though someone is trying to restrict their freedom and rights.

We are excited about this effort. And based on feedback, we hope it will help make a positive impact in our communities.

5 Ways You Can Help Curb Distracted Driving

Because distracted driving affects all of us, it’s everyone’s problem. And this growing and deadly epidemic needs attention from all fronts. Here is what each of us, including you, can do to help try to render distracted driving unacceptable – period.

  • Model appropriate behavior behind the wheel. Don’t drive distracted
  • Download, print, and display the YES! I WILL family pledge and safe driving agreement from EndDD.org
  • Visit teendriving.aaa.com/NC for safety resources for your teen drivers
  • Start discussions early on, well before teens reach driving age
  • Take advantage of some of the latest apps (some free) and tech gadgets that can help make it easier for teens (and all of us) to avoid using phones while behind the wheel.

I urge you to join me in modeling this behavior for our young drivers, so that eventually this dangerous practice will no longer be considered acceptable.

If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact us online or call us at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Is the Insurance Company Using a Workers’ Comp Nurse to Watch Over Me?

When you’re hurt on the job, experience has taught us that one of the insurance company’s primary concerns is cost control.

If your injuries are serious, the insurance company will often assign a workers’ comp nurse to closely monitor your medical treatment and the recommendations your doctors make.

It’s important to know the purpose of the nurse’s involvement – and how you can protect yourself if your rights are violated. Below are important things to know if a workers’ comp nurse becomes involved.

Who Is a Workers’ Comp Nurse?

Workers' comp nurses are case managers, coordinators & more who don't provide direct care.

Workers’ comp nurses are case managers, coordinators, and rehabilitation nurses who do not provide direct medical care.

Contrary to your physical therapist or occupational therapist, a workers’ comp nurse is more of an overseer.

How Does a Workers’ Comp Nurse Become Involved in My Case?

Most frequently, workers’ comp nurses become involved at the request of the insurance company. The insurance company selects the nurse and pays them.

Nurses are often brought in when serious injuries occur, or when medical costs begin to rise. You can also request that the Industrial Commission assign a nurse free of charge.

What’s the Point of a Workers’ Comp Nurse?

According to the Industrial Commission, workers’ comp nurses are directed to coordinate and plan medical care with the goal of assisting you back to your pre-injury level of function. They are supposed to communicate with your doctor about your treatment plan and work capabilities.

However, in our experience, some workers’ comp nurses have ended up becoming more of a mouthpiece for the insurance company, focusing more on costs rather than what is best for the injured worker. Workers’ comp nurses should not:

  • Direct medical care (tell the doctor or you what treatment you should or shouldn’t have)
  • Advocate for one type of treatment over another
  • Advocate for a change in your treatment plan
  • Advise you on any legal matters involving your workers’ comp claim

Workers’ comp nurses are allowed to come to your doctors’ appointments, but you can request a private exam with your doctor, in which case the nurse will speak with your doctor after the appointment (with you present).

Nurses will often speak with your doctor about your work restrictions and ability to return to work. The nurse should not be pressuring your doctor to ease your restrictions or release you to your full duty of work.

If looking at alternative work you might be able to do, the nurse can only recommend you for, or direct you to, suitable employment – jobs that are within the restrictions assigned by your doctor.

What Are My Rights When a Workers’ Comp Nurse Is Involved?

Your rights when a workers' comp nurse is involved on your case.

If you have a workers’ comp nurse assigned to you, remember this:

  • You are entitled to a private exam with your doctor, outside the presence of the nurse
  • You are entitled to be present when the nurse talks with your doctor
  • You can request the nurse be removed from your case for advocating for the insurance company or for violating the rehabilitation rules

In our experience, some workers’ comp nurses have focused more on costs instead of health.

NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers Evaluate Your Case FREE

If you are having problems with a workers’ comp nurse looking out for the insurance company and not for your health, contact us online or call 1-866-900-7078. We can file a claim and work to try to ensure the workers’ comp nurse understands their limits, so you can focus on your recovery.

Putting the Brakes on North Carolina’s Rear-End Collisions

You’re driving along minding your own business when suddenly the driver in front of you slams on their brakes causing you to brake suddenly and unexpectedly – you barely miss hitting him. Good for you. You were paying attention.

Not good for you – the guy behind you was not. He was on his phone! One moment you realize he’s not going to be able to avoid crashing into your car, the next you find yourself face first in a deployed air bag.

Wouldn’t it be nice if cars could pay attention and act as a back-up for their drivers who are failing to meet their responsibility to pay attention?

Yes it would. And yes that technology is here.

(Good thing – especially for certain areas in North Carolina.)

Automatic Braking Technology Potentially May Help

The popularity of in-vehicle safety devices is nothing new. Seat belts, for example, were not even an option in many cars during much of the 1960s.  But since then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that safety technologies have saved more than 600,000 lives.

Ever-advancing auto safety technology could potentially make a big impact on reducing the number of car accidents in North Carolina. This is particularly good news for rural areas in our state, where WCTI reported our state ranked third in the nation for the most non-interstate rural road traffic deaths! And according to a WRAL.com report, it’s also good news for divers in Pitt, New Hanover, Vance, Person, and Stanly counties, as AAA data shows that this is where drivers are most likely to be involved in a car crash in N.C.

Clearly some N.C. drivers could use a little help behind the wheel. Enter automatic emergency braking systems (AEBS). These advanced braking technologies are designed to help reduce the chances of rear-end accidents, which caused one-third of crashes in 2013, according to NHTSA data. Why so many? A large number of drivers involved either didn’t apply the brakes at all or didn’t fully apply the brakes prior to the crash.

The agency reasons that AEBS systems can potentially help intervene by automatically applying the brakes or supplementing the driver’s braking effort to either avoid the crash or at least mitigate it. Admittedly these systems are not perfected yet, and some car manufacturers have had to recall some models because of these braking systems. But the agency feels AEBS technology has the potential for such great promise that it wants to see manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in newly manufactured vehicles. The rollouts would potentially begin with collision warning systems and then add autonomous emergency braking once the agency completes standards for them.

Two Types of Automatic Braking Technologies

When a car is directly in front of you and you are having difficulty stopping in time, even a few seconds can make a huge difference. AEBS may potentially help reduce the risk of human error when braking, by presumably adding those important seconds. Regulators claim that two new automatic braking technologies that show promise are the crash imminent braking (CIB) and the dynamic brake support (DBS).

Crash Imminent Braking (CIB)

CIB works by identifying when your vehicle is going to strike an object such as the car in front of you.  This system kicks in regardless of what the driver is doing. If the system determines that a crash is about to occur, the braking system is designed to automatically apply your vehicle’s brakes.

Dynamic Brake Support (DBS)

The DBS system aims to enable your car to respond as quickly and effectively as possible when you brake suddenly. If the system determines that the driver’s braking is not adequate to avoid the accident, the system is designed to provide added braking assistance to supplement the driver’s braking efforts.

N.C. Car Wreck Attorneys Evaluate Your Case FREE

Sadly, many drivers just don’t pay attention. They’re distracted by cell phones, flying sippy cups, cheese stuck on a burger wrapper – or all these things simultaneously.

With the proliferation of advanced safety devices like collision warning and AEBS systems, perhaps we, as lawyers, won’t have to deal with as many accidents caused by inattentive drivers.

But if you are the victim of this all too common situation, contact us as soon as possible or call 1-866-900-7078.We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

Can I Apply for Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina if I’m Not a U.S. Citizen?

Many people want to know if they can apply for workers’ compensation if they’re not a U.S. citizen or if they’re undocumented. The answer is, yes, they can.

Workers’ compensation was initiated to encourage employers to keep their working conditions safe – or pay the consequences. As such, the law does not allow for any discrimination based on work status.

Yet, we know from firsthand experience that some employers and insurance companies may try to convince non-U.S. workers to settle for much less than they may be entitled to – or deny them benefits altogether. We’ve had some insurance adjusters tell our clients that they’re lucky to get any amount no matter how small it is, just because they are not U.S. citizens or because they are undocumented. That’s a lie. Some employers, too, have lied to our clients (and to us!) to try to avoid paying benefits.

A non-U.S. citizen working in a field of green vegetables.Here’s a case that shows how low some employers will stoop to skirt their responsibility. (Sadly, we have seen circumstances similar to these more often than you might think.)

We took on a case of an injured worker who was undocumented and had sustained a catastrophic injury. Although the employer hired this undocumented worker, after the injury they denied any knowledge of him! And if that’s not contemptible enough, the workers’ compensation insurance company (not surprisingly) sided with the employer and rejected our client’s claim.

Left with severe disabling injuries, no job, and no income to pay for a place to live, the injured worker retained our firm for help. As if the blatant deceit on the part of the employer and insurance company were not enough, what underscored this situation for the entire team working on this case was that the insurance company was rudely unsympathetic toward our client’s precarious circumstances.

We do not tolerate this kind of abuse!

In spite of this lying, deceitful employer and rude insurance carrier, we turned a denied case for that undocumented worker, who had little education and little recourse outside of our representation, into a six-figure settlement.1 We obtained documentation that proved the employer had lied – lied about our client’s employment and lied about having anything to do with him, period!

What NC Law Says About Undocumented Workers

In North Carolina, workers’ compensation benefits basically can’t be denied to any person, regardless of their status as a non-citizen. The law states that:

“The term ’employee’ means every person engaged in an employment under any appointment or contract of hire or apprenticeship, express or implied, oral or written, including aliens, and also minors, whether lawfully or unlawfully employed…”

The law assumes that the person who employed you has automatically agreed to pay compensation for a personal injury or death by accident that happens while you are doing your job, and that you will automatically accept this payment. It means that almost every employer with three or more employees has to offer worker’s compensation to all of their employees, and that includes undocumented workers too. No matter how the employment agreement was (or wasn’t) made, you may be covered for your injuries, even if nothing was in writing.

In the end, it typically doesn’t matter if you are undocumented, or if the work relationship was by verbal agreement, or if you had a contract in writing. Any employee who suffers an injury or an accident during their job may be entitled to workers’ compensation.

Yet, as you see from our story, some employers and insurance companies may try to take advantage of worker ignorance in order to deny them their rights, payments, and benefits. We know of situations where they even bully or threaten the worker. Our experience has shown that many non-U.S. workers, especially those who are not in the country legally, are afraid of repercussions and are willing to accept any settlement offered just to avoid making a claim. In the construction industry, for example, 75% of non-fatal injuries to Hispanic workers go unreported, according to the Center for Construction Research and Training.

Can You Receive Workers’ Comp If You Used a Fake Name or Social Security Number?

Yes.  While you should not use a fake name or a fake social security number, you may be entitled to workers’ comp benefits even if you did use a fake name and Social Security number.

In the landmark case Gayton v. Gage Carolina Metals, Inc., Ruperto Gayton, an undocumented worker who had presented a false social security card and a false resident alien card when he was hired, injured his back while he was moving a pallet and herniated two discs. The court ruled that Mr. Gayton was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The employer and the insurance company accepted the claim and began paying for his temporary total disability. (The employer’s case was built around trying to get out of their responsibilities, not about whether the worker had presented fake documents.)

2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms”

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin received the highest ranking by 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” for Workers’ Compensation in the greater Raleigh area.3

NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers Will Evaluate Your Case FREE

Our workers’ comp staff at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, includes six North Carolina Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialists, two of whom were also a former Special Deputy Commissioner, and a former Deputy Commissioner from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and others who used to work for workers’ compensation defense firms.

If you suffered a work-related accident, do not delay reporting your injuries or contacting us just because of your citizenship status, or even if you happen to be undocumented. We’re here to try to make sure that you get all the benefits that the law grants you. And we are here to try to stop companies from bullying or intimidating you.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-866-900-7078 and let us evaluate your situation for free.


3 Visit www.bestlawfirms.usnews.com for more information about criteria for inclusion.

Applying for Social Security Disability Infographic

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