Workers' Compensation Attorneys in Wilmington, NC

workers' compensation claim in wilmington, nc

If you were hurt in a workplace accident or have become ill due to conditions at your job, it is natural to be worried about your ability to support yourself and pay for the medical treatment you need. This can be particularly stressful if your treatment and recovery prevent you from working for a significant amount of time. Fortunately, workers’ compensation exists to protect and support people like you.

The benefits you could receive from a workers’ compensation claim include money to cover your treatment costs, lost wages, and more. Because the process of getting benefits is not always simple or straightforward, though, choosing a knowledgeable Wilmington workers’ compensation lawyer to represent you is crucial. You need someone on your side who understands how workers’ compensation claims are handled in North Carolina and who has a long track record of success in representing workers like you.

At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, our attorneys are designated by the North Carolina State Bar as Board-Certified workers’ compensation specialists. To discuss how we can make a difference in your case, contact us for a free consultation.

Understanding What Workers’ Comp Benefits Cover

If you were injured on the job in Wilmington, you may wonder what types of benefits you are entitled to receive. Workers’ compensation benefits are generally intended to cover the costs of treating your injuries and a portion of any income losses you suffer due to missed time at work. These benefits can include:

  • Medical expenses – Any medical care you need to treat your work-related injuries such as hospital invoices, therapy bills, and prescription costs.
  • Incidental costs – If you require transportation to access medical care, you could recover the costs of traveling to and from doctor’s visits or other appointments.
  • Occupational rehabilitation costs – If you are unable to return to your previous job, you could receive benefits that cover the costs of education or vocational training that prepare you for different roles.
  • Temporary disability benefits – For temporary disabilities, you could recover up to two-thirds of your average pre-injury income while you are out of work. If you are hurt but can still work in a limited capacity, you may be entitled to two-thirds of the difference between your current and pre-injury weekly earnings.
  • Permanent disability benefits – For permanent disabilities, you may be entitled to two-thirds of your pre-injury average income for a specific or unlimited number of weeks, depending on the nature and seriousness of your disability.

Deadlines for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim

If you plan to file a claim for workers’ compensation in North Carolina, there are two important deadlines you should keep in mind:

  • 30 days – This is the amount of time you have to notify your employer of your workplace injury. You must submit a written report to your employer within 30 days of the incident that caused your injuries or within 30 days of the date when you first became aware or should have been aware that you had grounds for a claim. Keep a copy of this report for your records.
  • Two years – This is the amount of time you have to file a claim for compensation with the N.C. Industrial Commission (NCIC). You generally have two years from the date you were injured or diagnosed with an occupational disease to file a claim. If you received employer-provided medical treatment, you have two years from the date of the last payment for your treatment to file.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits?

You shouldn’t have to wait to receive the workers’ comp benefits you need to cover the costs of your medical treatment. In most cases, you should be able to notify your doctor during your initial visit that you suffered a work-related injury, and he or she can bill your employer or their insurance provider directly.

If you miss work because of your job-related injury, there is a seven-day waiting period before you are eligible to receive disability payments. The seven days do not need to be consecutive, and partially missed days count toward the seven-day total. If you are disabled for more than 21 days, you can recover benefits for the initial seven-day waiting period.

If you need to negotiate for a substantial settlement for a serious work-related injury or long-term disability, it could take much longer to obtain benefits. You may need to reach maximum medical improvement before your doctor can determine how your disability may affect you. This could take months or even years. An experienced Wilmington workers’ compensation attorney can help you know what to expect and negotiate for a full and fair settlement.

What to Do After an Injury at Work

If you were hurt at work in Wilmington, there are several important steps you should take to protect your health, your legal rights, and your ability to recover benefits in a workers’ comp claim:

  • Notify your employer promptly. Submit a written report of the incident that caused your injury to your employer within 30 days of the injury or diagnosis.
  • Seek immediate medical attention. Visit a physician who can evaluate your condition, diagnose any injuries, and recommend appropriate treatments. Your employer may have a physician on-site or may provide a list of doctors to choose from.
  • Follow through on your doctor’s recommendations. Follow through on your doctor’s advice to give yourself the best chance at recovery and to show that you are taking your injury seriously.
  • Maintain thorough records. Keep receipts from any expenses you incur due to your injuries as well as the amount of time you are unable to work.
  • Contact a workers’ comp lawyer. A knowledgeable lawyer can help you document your injuries and complete and submit Form 18 to the NCIC. A knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer in Wilmington can also help you appeal a denied claim.

Our Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Are Ready to Help You

At Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC, our Board-Certified workers’ compensation specialists know what it takes to help injured workers fight for the full benefits they are entitled to receive. If you were hurt on the job in Wilmington, call or reach us online today for a free and confidential case evaluation.