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Can Your Age Influence the Outcome of Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Nov 19, 2016 Brown Moore & Associates Workers' Compensation

Many people are quite surprised to learn that their age can have an effect on the outcome of their workers’ compensation claim. This is becoming a more prominent issue as many workers are extending the number of years that they work before retiring.

The US Census Bureau recently reported that more than 20% of Americans over 65 years old are still in the workforce, and the numbers continue to grow. Yet, when these older workers are injured on the job, they face more obstacles when it comes to seeking the compensation that they deserve and need through workers’ compensation benefits.

There are also some unique issues that occur with the youngest of the working population. In this post, we’ll explore how your age can influence the outcome of your workers’ compensation claim, whether you are in the older or younger categories of the United States workforce. If you have any questions at all about your work injury, or if you are struggling to receive your rightful workers’ compensation, please reach out to the team at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC today. Our compassionate attorneys are standing by to offer a free consultation so we can help get you through this.

The Physical Challenges of Growing Older and Pre-Existing Conditions

Everyone knows that as our bodies grow older, we are subjected to greater physical challenges. This is also where pre-existing conditions can come into play if you’ve been injured on the job. For example, it is a natural part of the aging process for people to experience back problems, knee problems, and various other issues related to the degeneration of various parts of your body as they grow older along with the rest of you. It is very important for older workers to be aware that these pre-existing conditions do not disqualify them from receiving workers’ compensation benefits if the pre-existing condition is aggravated by a new injury.

Many employers and insurance companies will want to deny your claim, but you should not assume that being denied means that you are not entitled to benefits. Rather, you should contact Jon R Moore at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC right away to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get the benefits that you need and deserve.

What Older Employees Need to Know About Workers’ Compensation and SSD

Although many people are continuing to work past the age of retirement, and you may think of older workers as being those over the age of 65, for the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to include workers over the age of 45 in the category of ‘older workers.’ This is because it may be wise for those over 45 to consider Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits as well as workers’ compensation benefits after a workplace injury.

You may be eligible for workers’ compensation as well as SSD, though you are unlikely to be able to collect the full amount of both simultaneously. Knowing which direction to go after a North Carolina workplace injury can be difficult and confusing, so we recommend that you contact us at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC for legal advice.

Most Common Injuries Sustained by Older Workers

The same workplace injuries that affect younger workers also affect older workers. Anyone can fall down on the job, at the same level, or from a height. Anyone can get into a machinery accident. Anyone can get into a work-related auto accident. In some cases, older workers are less likely to experience injuries because they have the experience to avoid any work-related accidents. Thus, the most common issues that older workers experience in work-related injuries include back problems, muscle degeneration, repetitive strain injuries, and joint problems.

Unfortunately, these are also some of the most difficult injuries to seek compensation for because you are tasked with proving that an accident at your job is what caused the injury. Your employer or insurance may initially deny your claim because it is was a long-term or ongoing injury. In some cases, you might be eligible for other disability benefits, and this may be the better option. The only way to know for sure is generally to ask an attorney who has all of the evidence and facts related to your injury and your claim.

What About Younger Workers and Workers’ Compensation?

While older workers may have a harder time seeking workers’ compensation benefits, younger workers are actually more likely to sustain work-related injuries and less likely to pursue workers’ compensation benefits afterward. According to the National Safety Council, only 20% of new workers are trained in safety procedures. Further, younger workers tend to take on more physically demanding jobs that are more likely to result in accidents, such as jobs in the construction industry or in farming, for example.

Then, you take into consideration the fact that these younger workers are less experienced, have often had less training, and are likely to be less informed about their rights; and you can see why youth can be an even greater hazard to US workers than age. In many cases, younger workers are reluctant to report their injuries and are more fearful of losing their jobs for doing so. They are also more likely to think they can push through an injury and keep working.

Whether you fit into the category of older workers or younger workers, any workplace injury should be taken seriously. You need to be aware of your rights and options when you’ve sustained a work-related injury.

Deadline to Report a Work Injury in North Carolina

Any person who sustains a workplace injury or illness needs to be aware that there are a few deadlines in place. First, under North Carolina law, every injured worker or their representative must report an injury or illness to the employer as soon as possible. We always recommend that these injuries be reported immediately, and within 30 days from the date of injury. However, pinpointing the exact date of some workplace injuries or illnesses can be challenging, particularly for occupational illnesses or repetitive motion injuries that develop over longer periods of time. In these cases, you need to report them to your employer within 30 days from the diagnosis.

However, making an initial report and filing an actual workers’ compensation claim are two different things. In some cases, a person may not realize the full extent of their injury or illness until well after the 30-day period has passed. In these cases, there is an overall statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina. All work injury claims must be filed within two years from the date of the injury or illness occurring. Failing to file an application for benefits within the statute of limitations will likely result in the person being unable to recover the compensation they deserve.

Contact a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

You do not have to go through this process alone. If you or somebody you care about has sustained a workplace injury or illness, contact an attorney as soon as possible. It does not matter what your age is – a workplace injury is something that you, your employer, and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier must take seriously. We will have your back.

Contact the determined Charlotte workers compensation claim attorneys at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC to ask about a free consultation for the important advice and information you need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and to ensure that your rights are protected in a North Carolina workers’ compensation claim.