Work Injury Expenses Should Not be Directly Paid by Employers
Minor cuts and bruises are common workplace injuries, but even some minor injuries are serious enough to require medical attention. Recognizing that workers’ compensation claims are administrative hassles, some employers may offer to pay minor medical bills directly. Each Charlotte workplace injury attorney at our firm understands that simplicity is a major motivator for workers who just want to get treatment. However, this decision can lead to potentially-expensive legal situations down the road.
Not All Injuries Are as Minor as They Initially Seem
Workers who can get around normally after receiving treatment for an accidental injury can later face the surprises of additional medical concerns that arise days — or even weeks — after the initial injury. These are known as delayed onset injuries. Examples of such injuries include:
- A seemingly minor bump on the head that creates symptoms that are later diagnosed as a brain injury
- Minor back strains that become more painful because they actually represent a spinal cord or disc injury
- Cuts and abrasions that become infected, sometimes spreading throughout the body
Suddenly, ice packs, bedrest or a few stitches are no longer adequate treatment for injuries. Injury victims may need expensive diagnostic tests, physical therapy or even surgery. Employers typically turn to other types of insurance coverage or even their own funds to pay for the initial treatment of certain injuries out-of-pocket. Unfortunately, they may not provide any guarantees that they will stand behind their workers over the long haul.
Avoiding Workers’ Compensation Claims Can Create Complex Legal Issues
When minor issues become serious, some employers might use evasive techniques to avoid paying the additional expenses related to injuries. They may assert that the accident reporting deadline required by law has been exceeded. Of course, if records indicate that they paid for treatment, it is clear that the employer knew about the accident at the time of the injury. On the other hand, they may claim that the later injury is not associated with the initial workplace accident.
Regardless of the reason for denial, workers are left in a difficult position. Even if they turn to their health insurance policies to pay the expenses, those claims may be forwarded straight to the North Carolina Industrial Commission when they have to check the claim form box stating that the injury happened at work.
Situations like these call for support from an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who knows the legal options that may be available to hold employers accountable. Any worker who experiences challenges when trying to seek payment for a workplace accidental injury claim should call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form.