Wilmington, NC Workers' Compensation Benefits Attorney
Wherever You Were Injured On the Job, Call Us
We urge you to contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C., when you have suffered a workplace injury or have been denied workers' compensation benefits. We are very knowledgeable of the state laws and processes for filing and appealing claims. Let our experienced lawyers take care of your case while you focus on recovering.
Helping You Understand Your Rights and Obtain Workers' Comp Benefits
When you have been injured performing your work duties, you do not have to prove that your employer or co-worker was negligent in order to pursue workers' compensation benefits.
Our North Carolina workers' compensation rights attorneys are committed to helping employees across a wide range of industries - from agricultural to automotive to maintenance to clerical - collect benefits for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages/wage replacement
- Permanent loss of physical function
- Vocational training
- Payment for care provided by family members
Call to Discuss the Level of Benefits, Depending Upon Your Disability:
- Medical treatment: You are entitled to receive paid medical treatment and all healthcare necessary that is directly related to your injury or disability. You must receive treatment from an approved healthcare provider.
- Total permanent disability (TPD): If your injury leaves you fully and permanently disabled, you are entitled to receive 66 and 2/3% of your average weekly earnings (typically calculated based on earnings from the previous 52 weeks of employment). TPD payments can sometimes be negotiated as a lump-sum payment. In many cases, you also become eligible to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, available 12 months after the date of your disability. It is noteworthy, however, that TPD benefits are now limited to a maximum payment of 500 weeks, unless you can prove "total loss of wage- earning capacity." (The law previously allowed for lifetime benefits until it was changed by our legislature in 2011.)
- Temporary total disability (TTD): While you are out of work during your recovery period, you are entitled to receive 66 and 2/3 % of your average weekly earnings (typically calculated based on earnings from the previous 52 weeks of employment). There is a limit on the number of weeks you may receive TTD payments (again, up to 500 weeks), depending upon the level of disability.
- Temporary partial disability (TPD): If you are able to return to work with restrictions and with reduced pay, TPD benefits will pay 66 and 2/3% of your lost earnings for up to a total of 500 weeks.
- Permanent partial disability (PPD): This benefit pays a certain amount depending upon the type and level of disability you suffer. The disability type and payment are listed in a schedule published by the North Carolina Industrial Commission on Workers' Compensation. There can be a lot of variation in the level of these payments depending on the rating assigned by your doctor. You are entitled to a second opinion.
You have the right to receive workers' compensation benefits if you have been injured at work. Regrettably, obtaining benefits is often more challenging than people think. Even minor errors can cause your workers' comp application to be denied. Also, insurance carriers often "deny first, and ask questions later." We want to make sure you obtain the medical treatment and services you need to make the fullest recovery possible.
According to the law, your employer's insurance company has the right to choose which doctor evaluates your injuries. When this happens, the selected physician often minimizes the extent of the injuries, or returns you to work too soon, which in turn limits the amount of compensation the insurance company must pay you, the victim. Under the law you can ask for a second opinion on treatment and there is a mandatory right to a second opinion on disability ratings. Our lawyers will ensure that those opinions are properly requested.
Our firm has handled all kinds of workers' compensation matters, including fatal injuries, repetitive motion injuries, permanent partial disability, and permanent total disability. We handle diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other forms of cancer that can be caused by exposure to asbestos and chemicals found in the workplace. The sooner that we know of your potential claim, the sooner we can help you. Timing is very important, as there are strict statutes of limitations.
FAQs About North Carolina Workers’ Compensation
Who is required to carry workers’ compensation in North Carolina?
Any company that has three or more employees, regardless of full-time or part-time status, is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. In North Carolina, there are special rules for contractors, trucking operations, corporate officers, members of LLCs, and nonprofit organizations. However, most employers in North Carolina are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If you have any questions about whether your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, simply give us a call. We will find the answer.
How do I file my workers’ compensation claim?
The first thing you should do when injured at work is fill out and file a Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. The Commission will then send a notice of the claim to the workers’ compensation insurance company. A copy of the form should be given to your employer; but an employee should never rely on an employer to file the claim with the Commission. However, it would be helpful for you to talk to us before the filing of a Form 18 since rules have changed about whether injuries not listed can later be claimed.
How long do I have to file my workers’ compensation claim?
After the injury, you should file your injury claim within 30 days. However, failing to do so may not necessarily result in the denial of your claim. Injured workers have two years to file a claim under the statute of limitation. DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINES!
How much can I get in benefits from North Carolina workers’ compensation?
The amount of benefits paid out by workers’ compensation is two-thirds of the employee’s average weekly wage. The average weekly wage is the pre-tax weekly earnings before the accident. It also includes any overtime and bonuses, and some non-wage allowances. The amount of total compensation available to one employee is capped at an amount that’s set every year by the North Carolina Industrial Commission.
Should I settle my North Carolina workers’ compensation case?
A settlement, also known as a clincher in workers’ compensation cases, will end all medical and wage replacement benefits for the injured worker. It can be very complicated to determine whether or not a settlement is in your best interest, as opposed to ongoing receipt of medical care and wage replacement benefits. It will depend on your age, education background, work experience, future work plans and what, if anything, is required for future medical care. It’s complicated, and what is right for you may not be right for someone else. This is especially true since the world of “workers’ compensation” was upended in 2011 when the North Carolina Legislature limited recovery, in almost all instances, to 500 weeks of wage loss benefits. A workers’ compensation settlement can also affect Social Security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, private disability policies, and company-sponsored health insurance. Because of this, anyone who has been offered a workers’ compensation settlement should speak to a lawyer who can advise on whether or not you should take it.
When It Really Matters - Contact Rhine Law Firm, P.C.
We invite you to contact our North Carolina workers' compensation benefits attorneys at (910) 772-9960 or toll-free at (866) 772-9960 for a free initial consultation with one of our experienced lawyers regarding your legal needs. Our law office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. We offer Spanish interpretation and translation services.
“They worked hard for me after I was involved in an auto accident. I appreciate their efforts and making me feel like family.”