What Are Your Responsibilities If You Are Hurt at Work?
A hurt on the job lawyer can help you understand your rights and obligations after a workplace injury. If you have been hurt on the job, you will need to comply with North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws to recover the benefits you deserve. While these laws are designed to protect eligible employees, they also impose strict requirements. If you don’t meet these requirements, you could lose your right to benefits, and you may have to bear the financial costs of an on-the-job injury on your own.
While the requirements for filing a workers’ compensation claim in North Carolina are strict, they are sometimes straightforward. You can likely meet most if not all of these requirements on your own. With that said, you should not hesitate to speak to an attorney if you have questions or concerns.
Call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 to speak to a hurt on the job lawyer in Raleigh, Kinston, or New Bern. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help.
Your Responsibilities If You Are Hurt on the Job in North Carolina
Let’s say you are injured in a workplace accident. What do you need to do to protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits? Under North Carolina law, your primary responsibilities include:
1. Report the Injury to Your Employer
You should report your on-the-job injury to your employer as soon as possible. Not only is this required under North Carolina law, but, as discussed below, injured workers must see approved medical providers in most circumstances as well. When you report the injury, you should ask if your employer has an on-site care provider or an off-site provider where you will need to go for diagnosis and treatment.
2. See an Approved Medical Care Provider (Unless You Need Emergency Care)
The responsibility to see an approved medical care provider applies unless you need emergency care. If you are facing a medical emergency, you do not have to ask your employer where you can go for help. You can go to any emergency room (in an ambulance if necessary) without running the risk of being disqualified from receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
3. Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Advice
Once you see a doctor, you must follow the doctor’s orders when it comes to your recovery. If you ignore the doctor’s recommendations, your employer and/or its workers’ comp insurer may be justified in refusing coverage for future medical needs or time missed from work. As an injured employee, you have a responsibility to do your part to get better; this means doing what your doctor recommends.
4. Make Sure Your Employer Has Written Notice of Your Injury
In North Carolina, it is not enough to simply tell your employer that you got injured on the job. The law requires all employees to report their injuries in writing. Typically, injured employees must provide written notice within 30 days to preserve their right to workers’ compensation benefits.
5. Tell the Truth
Finally, when you have a workers’ compensation claim, you have a responsibility to tell the truth. If you misrepresent the cause, severity, or effects of your injury, this could result in a denial of benefits. Employers and their insurance companies will investigate employees’ claims when they have suspicions that employees may be lying, and they will not hesitate to accuse employees of fraud.
Additional Steps Involved in Recovering from an On-the-Job Injury
Along with meeting these requirements, there are some other important steps you will need to take when filing for workers’ compensation. First and foremost, you should not simply assume that your employer and/or the insurance company will take care of everything. Workers’ comp benefits may be improperly calculated or unfairly denied.
To ensure that you are paid the full benefits you deserve, it is important to do the following:
- Determine Which Benefits You Are Eligible to Receive – Are you limited to claiming medical benefits? Or are you entitled to partial or total disability benefits as well?
- Calculate Your Workers’ Compensation Benefits – If you are entitled to disability benefits, how much should you be receiving each week? How long should your benefits last?
- Determining if You Have a Claim Outside of Workers’ Comp – In addition to your workers’ compensation claim, could you also have a third-party personal injury claim? If you have a personal injury claim, how much additional compensation are you entitled to recover?
You might be able to answer some of these questions on your own. However, an attorney who handles workers’ compensation claims is much better positioned to provide you with knowledgeable legal guidance after being hurt on the job.
Speak to a Hurt on the Job Lawyer Today
A workplace injury can impact not only your ability to earn a living but multiple aspects of your life. There are a number of steps you need to take to protect your right to workers’ comp benefits and preserve any additional legal claims you might have.
The Whitley Law Firm can help you with all aspects of filing a workers’ compensation claim. We will also investigate to determine whether you have a viable claim against a third party whose negligence caused you to be hurt on the job.