The workers’ compensation system that it is a complex program that can confuse most injured workers who are dealing with it for the first time.
Even the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC), the state agency which administers our workers’ compensation program, tacitly acknowledges the system’s complexity with more than 70 frequently asked questions listed in six sections.
In its section of the most common FAQs, the NCIC helpfully tells North Carolina citizens that “all businesses which employ three or more employees” are required to have workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. It also tells injured workers that, if it turns out that their employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, they should file a Form 18 and Form 33 with the Commission to obtain benefits. They should also report their employer to the NCIC Fraud Section.
The NCIC website also advises that an injured worker should report their injury to their employer, orally and in writing, immediately, and must do so within 30 days to protect their eligibility for benefits. Other answers to FAQs explain that an injured worker’s employer or Industrial Commission officials may pick the doctor who will treat their injury, that payments for medical expenses and lost wages will be sent weekly, and that workers’ compensation will reimburse workers for certain travel expenses connected to medical treatment.
Due to the complexity of the workers’ compensation system, we have also answered several Workers’ Compensation FAQs on our website.
Let us answer the most important question here – Do you need an attorney for your workers’ compensation case? The answer is yes. We believe that it is always important to consult with an experienced attorney when you have suffered a serious work injury.
You need an attorney on your side to make it an even fight as you pursue workers’ compensation benefits. That’s right – you may have to fight for benefits, especially if you have been severely injured and your medical bills will be costly.
Your employer pays for workers’ compensation insurance, so your employer and the for-profit insurance company have an incentive to pay as little as possible for a claim. If the insurer is a public company, it has a legal obligation to stockholders to boost profits by keeping claim payments low. To ensure this, the insurance company employs lawyers to fight claims like yours.
The lawyers who work for the insurance company know workers’ compensation law. They also know that you don’t. If your employer, through the insurance company’s adjusters or lawyers, challenges your claim and denies benefits or treatment, you are allowed to have your case heard at a hearing. Hearings are before a Deputy Commissioner who is a judge employed by the NCIC to decide claims. You have the burden to prove your case to the Deputy Commissioner while the insurance company and their attorney will fight to protect their interests.
The best way to maximize your chances for a favorable outcome is to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney fighting for you. That’s the service Riddle & Brantley provides. When your financial livelihood is on the line – when justice counts – we’re here for North Carolina workers.