If you have been injured on the job, it can be very important to hire an attorney to try to protect your long-term financial well-being and that of your family.
The workers’ compensation system is meant to provide wage replacement benefits and medical treatment for injured workers. Those wage replacement benefits are crucial for a person’s financial health and the financial health of their family. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can try to make sure an injured worker receives the wage replacement benefits they are potentially entitled to.
In my 15 years of handling workers’ compensation claims, I have assisted numerous clients who have faced dire financial consequences – often because they waited too long to hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney to help them. In some of these cases, the workers’ compensation insurance company had inevitably not paid them the benefits to which they were entitled before my involvement.
Often that has to do with paying weekly benefits on a timely basis. In North Carolina, workers’ compensation law requires an employer to pay two-thirds of an injured person’s average wages on a weekly basis.
But that doesn’t always happen.
Withholding Your Benefits Checks
Workers’ compensation clients typically receive checks every week. But what some adjusters will do is try to keep our clients from getting on “repetitive pay,” which is when the checks are delivered on the same day each week. Instead, they’ll issue a check on one day one week and then another day on the next week, so our clients are, at times, forced to go almost two weeks without a check. Our hands are tied, though, because technically they’re getting a check every week. It’s not until there’s a 14-day lapse between checks that we’re able to do anything. In one case, we filed a motion to get the checks on repetitive pay because even though our client was only receiving around $100 per week, he was a single dad and needed the money.1 What’s the point of all this? It’s only going to make us more determined to make sure the client is treated right.
An attorney can help try to ensure those payments are made in a timely manner and in conjunction with the law. Bringing in weekly payments, just as you had been doing with your weekly paycheck while you were working, is extremely important.
“Miscalculation” of Your Benefits Amount
In other situations, I have seen insurance companies fail to correctly calculate the weekly amount that is due to an injured worker. These miscalculations led to injured workers receiving substantially less benefits for several weeks or months while they were receiving medical care.
An experienced attorney can investigate what they think is the correct weekly amount and fight, if necessary, with the insurance company to try to get those benefits corrected and promptly paid to you.
Workers’ compensation cases with severe injuries, such as those involving the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system can be very complex and expensive to treat. The financial strain and stress as a result of your injury and your inability to work can compound rapidly. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help to potentially minimize those financial consequences within the bounds of the law.
Your Biggest Risk – the Insurance Company
In our estimation, the biggest risk you face in attempting to recover benefits is to trust the insurance company to pay you the full amount of everything you may potentially be owed – and pay you in a timely manner.
Most insurance companies are for-profit businesses – their profit. That is not wrong – it’s just business. Insurance companies are so profitable, in fact, that in 2016, the insurance industry’s assets ($5.8 trillion) totaled more than the GDPs of all but two countries in the world – the United States and China.
The less they pay you, the more they keep. But what some people may not realize is the tactics some insurance companies may use to try to “spin” the facts in their favor so they can keep more of the compensation you may be owed.
Truth be known, insurance claims reps, investigators, adjusters, and many others in that business are expertly trained and highly skilled at finding ways to keep money that may be rightfully yours. We know firsthand. Several of our employees are former insurance company employees.
North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law
I and several James Scott Farrin workers’ comp attorneys are also Board Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law. There are only 148 of us out of the more than 28,000 attorneys licensed in North Carolina, – that’s less than 1%.3
Becoming board certified is a rigorous and lengthy endeavor. Candidates for board certification must devote a significant portion of their legal practice to workers’ compensation for at least five years. Additionally, they must meet Continuing Legal Education requirements and be favorably evaluated and recommended for certification by other lawyers and/or judges. There’s also a lengthy written exam, which lasts six hours and covers many aspects of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law, including nuanced details from decades of court decisions.
Get a Free Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Attorneys
If workers’ compensation is delaying or refusing to pay for work benefits, or if they are denying approval of medical treatment or compensation, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 to learn how a workers’ compensation lawyer from the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin could potentially benefit you. The sooner the better.
Our confidential case evaluations are free, and you may learn that you’re entitled to more than the insurance company claims.
3Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 31, 2017.