If you’ve been hurt on the job, you may wonder what kind of claim you actually have. Typically, if you are hurt on the job, you will have a workers’ compensation claim. With a worker’s compensation claim, if you are hurt on the job, and you didn’t hurt yourself intentionally, and you weren’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you probably have some type of workers’ compensation claim. Unlike other types of claims, a workers’ compensation claim is largely controlled by the state’s statutes. In North Carolina, if your injury and treatment require you to be out of work, then the workers’ compensation insurance company pays you for two-thirds (2/3) of your average weekly wage. How long that lasts depends on your treatment. Whether you have to miss work or not, such a claim should cover all of your medical treatment related to your work injury, and you would have no co-pays or deductibles. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to get any treatment for your injuries approved by the case worker assigned to your claim by the workers’ compensation insurance company, or, better yet, run it by your lawyer before you see a new doctor. You still have some freedom with regard to what treatment you get and who you see, but if you follow the correct steps, it’s much easier to get that treatment paid for without a lot of hassle.
Several differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim (also known as a third-party claim or a liability claim) are that with a workers’ compensation claim, you can’t recover your full lost income, you can’t recover ANYTHING for pain and suffering, and you can’t recover for punitive damages. With a personal injury or liability claim, you may need to file a lawsuit and possibly try your case before a judge or a jury to get the full value of your case. Workers’ compensation cases are handled before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, and disputes are heard by hearing officers called deputy commissioners or commissioners; there is no jury with a workers’ compensation claim.
Sometimes, you may have BOTH kinds of claims. For example if you are working for a company making deliveries and your vehicle is hit by someone else while you are driving on the job, you will likely have BOTH kinds of claims. In these situations, your workers’ compensation claim will still pay for your treatment and pay if you have have to miss work, but then they are likely to have a lien for reimbursement on any settlement or jury verdict you get in your third-party claim. These cases can be tricky, and it’s always a good idea to get an attorney to help you examine the facts and see what help you need. At the Miller Law Group, our attorneys have over 50 years of experience in handling all types of personal injury claims, and can give you advice on the best course of action. If we can help with your workers’ compensation claim or your personal injury claim, we’ll do it on a contingency fee contract, so you don’t pay anything until we get you a recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation. The award-winning attorneys at the Miller Law Group have got your back.