Accidents at work are common. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that more than 3 million workplace accidents occur each year. According to BLS, at least half of these accidents require an employee to miss at least some time from work.
In North Carolina, injured employees are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in almost all work-related accidents. Unfortunately, recovering these benefits can sometimes prove challenging.
There are many pitfalls in the claims process that must be avoided. The following is a list of five common issues that could potentially impact your claim.
1. The Application
All workers’ compensation applications need to be filled out thoroughly and without any errors. Many workers’ comp claims are denied simply because of minor errors in the paperwork. Please do not let this happen to you. You can protect yourself by working with an experienced attorney throughout the entire application process.
Another common reason why workers’ compensation claims are denied is because of timing problems. This is incredibly frustrating for injured victims. If you have been hurt on the job, it is imperative that you notify your supervisor, in writing, as soon as possible after your accident. Under North Carolina law, your accident needs to be reported to your company within 30 days. The failure to do so could cost you your benefits.
3. Having Witnesses
Lack of supporting statements from witnesses could potentially result in the denial of your claim. Of course, not every accident has a witness. That being said, if witnesses are available, it could be critically important for you to track them down and obtain statements from them.
4. False Information
Lack of candor in the application process could lead to rejection of your claim. Never provide false or misleading information on your workers’ comp claim. If you are found to be misrepresenting the truth in any form, you could lose out on your benefits. This could occur even if you claim is otherwise legitimate.
5. Suspicious Red Flags
Additionally, any other red flags or suspicious material in your application could hinder your ability to recover your benefits. Beyond the issues that have already been mentioned, some other red flags that you should be aware of include:
- Filing immediately prior to retirement or a layoff
- Taking a significant amount of time off prior to the injury
- Changing doctors at suspicious times
- A tip that indicates that the worker has another, unreported, source of income
- Failing to keep important appointments
A red flag does not mean that you will not be able to recover benefits. However, it does mean that you need to be exceptionally careful and thorough when dealing with your interviews and applications.
Why Hiring an Attorney Helps
The good news is if your claim has run into a problem, you still have legal options. The North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at Riddle & Brantley, LLP can help. We assist clients with any part of their case, including investigation, application, mediation and appeal.
If you have run into any issues with your NC workers’ comp claim, you need to keep fighting. Please do not hesitate to contact our office today to set up your free case evaluation.