If you have suffered a work injury in Raleigh, you may be entitled to financial compensation. This includes compensation for your medical bills and loss of income, and it could potentially include compensation for other losses as well.
But, to protect your legal rights, you need to be careful. You need to make smart decisions, and you need to make sure you are doing everything necessary to collect the workers’ comp benefits (and/or other compensation) you deserve. With this in mind, here is an overview of what to do if you get hurt while you are on the job:
7 Steps to Take After Suffering a Work Injury in Raleigh
1. Report the Injury to Your Employer
One of the first things you need to do after a workplace injury is to report the injury to your employer. The North Carolina Industrial Commission advises that injured workers should “[r]eport the injury to the employer, orally and in writing, immediately and in any event within 30 days.”
While many employees are hesitant to tell their employers that they have been injured on the job, it is extremely important to report a work-related injury promptly. If you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, waiting too long can jeopardize your claim.
2. Seek Treatment for Your Work Injury
It is also extremely important to seek medical treatment for a workplace injury as soon as possible. When you report the injury to your employer, your employer might tell you that you need to see a specific provider. If this happens, you must see that provider as long as the provider offers treatment that is “appropriate to the seriousness of your injury.”
If your employer does not tell you where to go, you can see a doctor of your choice. As the NC Industrial Commission explains, “Depending on your circumstances, appropriate health care may be obtained from your family doctor or a hospital emergency room.”
3. Follow Up with Your Employer
Once you receive a diagnosis and initial treatment, you should make sure your employer has everything necessary for your claim. Confirm that your injury report has been received, and make arrangements with your supervisor, manager, or human resources (HR) representative if you will need to miss time from work. If you have concerns about telling your employer that you need time off, you should feel free to consult with a lawyer at this stage.
Importantly, the requirements to report your injury and see an employer-approved doctor only apply if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you do not have a workers’ comp claim, you do not need to file an injury report at work. Furthermore, you can (and should) see a doctor of your own choosing.
4. Follow Through with Your Medical Care
Regardless of whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you need to stay on top of all necessary treatments and rehabilitation for your work injury. Unfortunately, if you have a workers’ comp claim, this may be easier said than done. Your employer and/or the insurance company has a lot of decision making power when it comes to your medical care. Certain expenses might not be approved, even if your doctor recommends a particular treatment.
To make sure you receive the medical care to which you are legally entitled, you need to have a clear understanding of your diagnosis and treatment needs. You should also consult with a lawyer about your legal rights.
5. Determine What Claim(s) You Can File
One of the most important reasons to seek legal counsel after a work injury is to know what options you have for recovering compensation. While many injured workers in Raleigh are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, these benefits are not available in all cases.
Depending on the cause of the injury, you might also have a third party claim. Potential grounds for action against a negligent third party include:
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Other types of personal injury, such as injuries caused by a contractor or subcontractor or a careless driver
6. File Your Claim(s)
In some cases it may be necessary for workers to complete and submit a workers’ compensation claim to the NC Industrial Commission. However, in other cases the employer will report the injury to its insurer and you will be notified of the carrier’s decision.
A work injury lawyer can advise you whether you need to file a workers’ comp claim yourself. Your attorney can also help you bring any third party claims.
Both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims are subject to strict deadlines and specialized legal procedures. It is in your best interest to consult an attorney promptly and let a professional handle the filing(s).
Finally, you need to take decisive action to ensure you get all of the compensation you deserve after a work-related injury. If you have a workers’ comp claim, you may need to appeal an adverse decision or even file a lawsuit to get your full benefits. Third party personal injury claims might go to trial.
With all types of claims, mistakes can be costly. It is crucial to have a knowledgeable lawyer who can provide you with reliable guidance every step of the way.
It is important to take all work-related injuries seriously. Failure to seek medical treatment or notify your employer can make it difficult for you to get the workers’ compensation benefits and other compensation you may be entitled to.
The Whitley Law Firm has extensive experience with North Carolina workers’ compensation law. We also have the knowledge and resources to investigate the negligence and wrongdoing of third parties to identify additional avenues for recovery.