Workers’ compensation is there to help you should you ever be injured while working. It also covers any of your loved ones who are injured or killed while working. It provides replacement wages and medical coverage. Depending on the severity of the injury, you might receive the benefits temporarily or in perpetuity. In any event, the laws governing workers’ compensation are complex, and it would be a good idea to consult with a lawyer whose focus is workers’ compensation to get advice and counsel before filing your claim. There are four things you should consider.
- What to Do if You Get Hurt at Work
Even before retaining a lawyer, you can do several things to make sure there are few, if any, snags in your case. They are:
•Report your injury to your employer immediately.
•Get immediate medical treatment so that you do not exacerbate the injury.
•Contact your insurance company.
•Draft a written statement of the incident, have it notarized, and present it to your employer within 30 days.
•Follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter.
In many cases, this will be enough to get your claim going and to receive the compensation you need and deserve. In some instances, however, despite your best efforts, there will be snags. In these cases, you can contact a law firm, such as Rizzi Law Group, for help and advice.
- What’s an Expert?
You might hear people talk about “highly experienced” or “expert” lawyers. Such lawyers exist, to be sure, but they’re not allowed to call themselves “experts” unless the State of North Carolina agrees. Workers’ compensation law is one of the 12 practice areas in which the state recognizes legal specialization and expertise. The North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization vets any lawyer who wishes to specialize. If the lawyer meets the qualifications, the state grants that lawyer the title of legal specialist in workers’ compensation.
- Courtroom or Boardroom?
Based on the merits of your case, you might be able to receive just compensation without needing to appear before a court. If you need to retain a lawyer to help protect your rights in the face of a stubborn insurance company, then you should expect the possibility of going to court. Sometimes, however, you might be able to negotiate instead. Rely on your lawyer’s advice in any situation.
- What’s All This Cost?
In general, lawyers whose focus is workers’ compensation, whether they’re legal specialists or not, are paid out of your compensatory benefits. Usually, this payment is between 25 and 40 percent of your total compensation. Rule 1.5 of the North Carolina State Bar Association says that your lawyer must provide you with the required payment information, “… in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation.”
You should never think, “It’ll all just work itself out,” when it comes to workers’ compensation. The law is there for your protection, but you have to cross the right “Ts” and dot the right “Is” to take advantage of it. Protect yourself and get well soon.
About the Author: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her husky Snowball. You can find her on Twitter at @LizzieWeakley and on Facebook at facebook.com/lizzie.weakley.