Hurricane Florence recently dealt a severe blow to the state of North Carolina. This storm interrupted many people’s livelihoods and presented severe health hazards in many areas. In the process, there were increased risks of job-related injuries. If you were injured on the job as a result of the unusual hazards presented by Hurricane Florence, or as the result of other forms of work accidents, there are two important benefits provided under the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act for job-related injuries:
- Medical treatments to help you recover from your injuries
- Payments if you are not able to work because of your injury
3 Steps to Hurricane Florence Workers’ Comp Benefits
Medical treatments and workers’ comp payments can help injured workers try to avoid financial ruin and more severe health consequences. If you are not careful, the requirements of the Workers’ Compensation Act could result in you losing eligibility for these benefits.
If you are hurt on the job, there are three important steps to remember to protect your workers’ compensation rights:
1. Report your injury to your employer
After even very serious injuries, many workers attempt to “tough it out” and avoid immediately reporting their job injury to their employer. This can be the result of many factors, such as job dedication or concern that the employer may retaliate after the report of a job injury. However, it is very important that prompt documentation be completed, such as by an incident report, in a timely manner after a job injury.
The Workers’ Compensation Act has certain forms that need to be completed in a timely manner. The Form 18 is the injured employee’s report of injury to the employer and should be filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission as soon as possible, including within 30 days of your injury. This form lets the North Carolina Industrial Commission and your employer know that you are requesting to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries. If you do not file the claim within 30 days after the work injury, then your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company may create additional obstacles as you attempt to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
There is also another form, called a Form 19, which should be promptly filed by the employer after their knowledge that an employee was injured. However, an injured employee should not assume that the employer will file their claim.
We have seen many instances where an employer may be aware of an employee’s job injury for a long while, but never report the claim to the workers’ compensation insurance company or even to the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
We have also seen instances when an employer may then deny, after the claim is filed, that they even had knowledge of the job accident in the first place. These are all issues that an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, like those with the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, is prepared to handle.
2. Get medical treatment
If you are injured on the job, obtaining prompt medical care is the best way to try to avoid your injury becoming even worse. We have seen many situations where an injured employee may believe that a condition, such as a sore back, is hopefully not that serious, but then becomes much more severe than the employee originally thought. We have seen many instances where clients initially hoped they could “tough it out” and continue to work, only to realize that they only made their health condition worse by delaying treatment. We have also seen situations where the workers’ compensation insurance company then pointed to delay in obtaining treatment as a reason to attempt to avoid paying workers’ compensation benefits. Timely reporting of job-related injuries and obtaining prompt medical treatment are important factors in preserving your health as well as your rights to workers’ compensation benefits.
3. Consult an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Of the more than 28,000 attorneys who are licensed to practice law in North Carolina, only a small fraction are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation law. At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we have six attorneys who are Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation law.
Some of our workers’ compensation attorneys include former Deputy Commissioners from the North Carolina Industrial Commission and a former state senator who helped write some of the workers’ compensation laws in North Carolina.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys are compensated on a contingency fee basis, which means that there is no attorney fee unless a recovery is obtained for the client.2
For that reason, there is no increased attorney fee if someone obtains legal representation at an early stage, middle stage, or late stage of their case. In light of the complexity of these issues and the important timeframes that apply after job-related injuries, over 20 years of experience has taught us that it is in the best interest of an injured worker to obtain experienced legal representation as soon as possible after a work accident.
Get a Free Case Evaluation From NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers
Don’t become another Hurricane Florence statistic if you were injured as a result of the hurricane. When it comes to trying to get the benefits you may deserve from the workers’ comp insurance company, there is a lot at stake. That is why we urge anyone who has been injured on the job to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.
We will fight hard for you to try to ensure that all the necessary measures are taken to try to prove your right to benefits.