What Can You Do To Protect Your Right To Workers’ Compensation in North Carolina?
Any North Carolina workers’ compensation claim has to be started right away if you’re going to protect your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. It doesn’t matter if the injury seems minor because even the mildest of symptoms could lead to great difficulties and even disability down the road. Report your injury and seek medical treatment as soon as possible after any kind of injury, with a full evaluation to ensure that there are no injuries that you are unaware of or that are more serious than you think. Taking the following actions will ensure that your right to North Carolina workers’ compensation is protected and that your case is taken seriously. However, the order of these actions may vary, based on your circumstances and the specific details of your injury.
Report The Incident and Injury To Your Employer
Depending on the injury, this may be the very first step, even before seeking medical treatment. However, if you are rushed to a hospital, you may have to report the injury as soon as you are in a position to do so. In some cases, your employer will be notified right away simply because the incident requires emergency medical care. Even so, you would be wise to provide notification of your injury in writing, by email, or even by text. Doing so will ensure that there is a written record of yourself informing your employer of the injury, and you will have this evidence when you need it.
When you do this, be specific. State how and where the injury occurred, as well as exactly when it occurred. The workers’ compensation laws of North Carolina state that you must report the injury within 30 days of the incident, though it is wise to do so as soon as possible. Having said that, there are certain cases where you can report the injury beyond this deadline. For example, if you did not notice the symptoms of the injury right away, but did within a reasonable timeframe, then the 30 days could start from the date of discovery of the injury. This is often the case with occupational illnesses.
File Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Form 18 with the NC Industrial Commission
Again, depending on the situation, you may do this after seeking your initial medical treatment. When emergency care is required, you can go to any nearby hospital. To initiate the filing of your workers’ compensation claim, you will file Form 18 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and this has to be done with two years of the incident, though – again – you should do it right away to ensure that you do not run out the statute of limitations and to preserve the strength of your claim. You should also make sure that your employer receives a copy of this form.
Seeking Medical Treatment After a North Carolina Work Related Injury
As we’ve already mentioned, when you seek medical treatment, in the order of necessary events for a workers’ compensation claim, will all depend on how severe and urgent your needs are. When you do seek medical treatment, you’ll want to fully explain how the injury occurred, including the fact that it happened at work, and also be clear about the range and severity of symptoms you’re experiencing. Once your workers’ compensation claim is accepted by your employer, they will likely choose an approved physician for you to seek treatment from.
At this point, you’ll need to get any restrictions or necessity to take time off of work in writing from the doctor that you see. You should then follow all of the doctor’s instructions to the letter and take any prescribed medication as intended. Make sure that you keep all of your doctor’s appointments, and do not deviate from their instructions and guidelines in any way.
Maintain Adequate Records for Your North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Claim
When it comes to North Carolina workers’ compensation claims, it’s important to maintain records of treatment and time off of work, in addition to documents associated with the filing of the claim. You need to keep copies of everything and keep them in a safe and organized place. All of this will come in very handy if there are any disputes and if you need an attorney to evaluate the claim.
No Matter What Happens, Never Quit Your Job While Pursuing Workers’ Compensation
One of the most common mistakes that people make while pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is to quit their job because of the difficulties associated with work life after a claim has been filed. For example, you may be put on light duty work that you feel is demeaning or dull. You may be retaliated against in some way by your employer, which is illegal but does happen. No matter what happens, don’t quit your job. If you feel you are being retaliated against, discuss this with your attorney, but don’t quit.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
There are many situations where the advice and representation of a skilled North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer will be beneficial and perhaps necessary to obtain the benefits that you deserve. This is necessary if your claim is denied or if you aren’t getting the benefits that you should be getting. Even if you just have questions about your workers’ compensation claim, an attorney can help. Call Brown Moore & Associates to schedule your free consultation today.